The Small Beer Brew Co proves that you can have full-flavoured beer without the high alcohol content
The beers made by Small Beer Brew Co exist for those occasions when you want the crisp, refreshing enjoyment of great beer, but without the adverse effects. Based on the “Bermondsey Beer Mile” in south London, the Small Beer team exclusively brew a range of classic beers below 2.8 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) that are known for their exceptional flavour at a sociable strength.
“Historically a successful day of brewing meant maximizing the volume of alcohol created from your grain,” explains co-founder James Grundy. “We turned that thinking on its head, instead looking to maximize the flavour profiles delivered by each ingredient while minimizing the alcohol being produced throughout the brew. It may sound simple, but it’s a truly pioneering production methodology in the brewing field. Prior to us launching, your only choice was to drink at the extremes, all in with 5 per cent or all out with non-alcoholic. My business partner and I wanted to enjoy fantastic beer that let us strike our own balance, without suffering the bleary-eyed consequences.” It’s the quality of ingredients, custom-designed brewing kit and the long process of “lagering”, as the Germans describe it – a minimum of six weeks – that gives the Small Beer range its unmistakably pronounced flavour profiles at a truly sessionable strength.
“Small beer” was once a staple of British life, deemed far safer than water and enjoyed for its hydrating and nutritional properties. Frequently featuring in the works of Dickens and Shakespeare, it succumbed to dramatic improvements in water filtration in the late 19th century – and the art of its production was lost. Until now.
Small Beer Brew Co has four beers – a crisp Pilsner, a juicy Pale Ale, a rich amber, known as Steam beer, and a unique 1 per cent Dark Lager. They are available in bottles, cans and kegs and can be found through supermarkets Ocado and Waitrose, at the Small Beer Brewery tap room and website, as well as at the bar of institutions such as The Savoy, the Royal Opera House and National Theatre. “We are perfect for the cultural space, where you look for refreshment, without the worry of nodding off during the performance ” says James. “We meet a demand for those who are looking for low-calorie, low-sugar, low-carb and low-alcohol content but still want a cracking beer.”