According to the Oxford English dictionary, ‘Small Beer’ is “a thing that is considered unimportant.” While most low alcoholic beers have an undesirable reputation – namely because they’re generally terrible – 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 ex Sipsmith’s duo 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.
Currently, the brewery produces a lager (2.1 per cent ABV) and a dark lager (1 per cent ABV). As well as being low in alcohol, the dark lager also contains only 25 per cent of the calories typical of a normal beer. On pour, the beer is chestnut brown, crowned with a foaming off-white head. Aromas of milk chocolate, coffee and roasted malts are instantly distinctive, complete with further notes of black cherry. Each of these elements continue on the palate, with a dry bitterness that carries the light bodied beer and continues with the lasting finish. While The Small Beer Co.’s dark lager isn’t necessarily the most captivating dark lager on the market, it doesn’t pretend to be; rather a convincing, circumstantially captivating revolution in low alcohol beer. Bud Light, this is not.
Further information on The Small Beer Co. can be found here.