According to the Oxford English dictionary, ‘Small Beer’ is “a thing that is considered unimportant.” While many low alcoholic beers have an undesirable reputation – even though they now make up over quarter of UK beer sales, due to increased demand – The Small Beer Co. are striving to change public perception.
Close to South Bermondsey station, the 5,500 square-foot brewery is the world’s first dedicated small beer brewing company, founded by James Grundy and Felix James. Pledging to produce “small beer, with big taste”, The Small Beer Co.’s concept is deeply rooted in history. For some time during the 1700s, clean drinking water was a rarity in Britain. As a result, ‘small beer’, traditionally brewed between 0.5 to 2.8 per cent ABV, became a staple of daily life, enjoyed in many households, work places and schools across the country. The Small Beer Co.’s 21st Century interpretation is inspired by one particular brewer’s first hand account, but completely re-invents the brewing process – using new methodology and technology to produce full-flavoured beer with low ABV. Here, beers are brewed to strength rather than stripped of their alcohol by reverse osmosis or cooking.
Joining the brewery’s core line up of three additional beers below 2.8 per cent ABV (also vegan and lactose free), Session Pale is a modern take on the classic pale ale, brewed with New World hops. These provide a bouquet of floral aromas, plus some feint lemon alongside additional notes of caramel, toffee and green apple peel. Green apple continues on the palate with a refreshing juiciness and succinct hop bitterness present alongside some savours of honeycomb and a complex malt profile that concludes with a grassy finish. Somewhat thinner than typical of the style, but with strikingly remarkable flavour considering its low ABV.
Further information on The Small Beer Co. can be found here.