With Brooklyn Brewery – Special Effects Non-Alcoholic Hoppy Brew
Brooklyn Brewery bet big on non-alcoholic craft beer for 2020. Dry January was getting more traction than ever before and several completely non-alcoholic breweries have been propping up the entire non-alcoholic craft segment. On top of that, non-alchoholic craft beer is now the fastest growing segment of the market. Brooklyn Brewery’s new hoppy brew, it legally can’t be labelled beer, is their bet on the growing market as more drinkers consider their health and consuming less alcohol.
The near beer has been popping up all of the SF Bay area since the nationwide rollout in January, even replacing full strength offerings from the brewery in stores. While I’m sure they want to have a presence as a niche product in some bars as a canned NA option, their main push is in retail. Neilsen stated a 48% rise in retail beer sales the last week of March with the increased demand due to shelter in place orders and bar closures. Consumers are proving to be more cost conscious as the economy becomes more uncertain by the day, and are looking toward broadly available brands and higher strength options from their local craft breweries.
As more people work from home and don’t have to wake up quite as early for their usual commute, or are looking toward unemployment for their financial security, non-alcoholic craft beer is in an odd place right now. The option for the health-conscious go-getter is less appealing when the gym isn’t open and meetings no longer require pants. Lower cost options with medium to high ABV seem like the choice from independent breweries offering take out cans and growlers as enthusiasts seek a little bit of relief from the turmoil courtesy of the local brewing company.
It’s a rough time for every industry, support your local independent brewery if you are financially able to. It will be interesting to see the trends that emerge as more breweries adapt to stay afloat, NA beer might have lost some of its steam, but it’s only a delay. Fingers crossed for all the small breweries out there, but there is a little comfort in the oft repeated words of Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, “beer isn’t recession proof, but it’s recession resistant.”
Brooklyn Brewery – Special Effects Hoppy Brew Tasting Notes
Slightly amber, more of a golden copper color like a Vienna lager. Medium-light thickness, just-off eggshell white head that deteriorates pretty quick.
Earthy, herbal tea and grass with a slight resinous, oily, pine character. Hop pellets. Dried grapefruit rind in black tea.
Coats your mouth satisfyingly but dissipates quickly. Light body that leaves a bit of iced black tea flavor on your palate.
Less hop pellet character than other hoppy NA beers that I’ve tried, but it’s still right there. More of an earthy tea character. A slight bitterness that gives it a crisp and refreshing bite. Not much bread or caramel flavor, but its just a touch that’s almost implied by the color.
This is better than some American pale ales I’ve had. It would be a great crowd pleaser for a group that isn’t into any one specific style of beer. It sounds bad, but it almost tastes like what generic “craft beer” would taste like to a lot of people who aren’t deep into it. If I was looking for a non-alcoholic option, this one is very close to as appealing as the Athletic Brewing Co. Run Wild NA IPA.