Half a percent, that is!
Yesterday, we were in a big Tesco's store far from home and they had a selection of low- and no-alcohol beers. Health and budget are on our minds this year in the Hockney household, so I thought I'd give three of them a go. They were 3-for-£3, which is pretty cheap (they were marked as £1.30 each, compared to £1.80 for proper beer). All three are 0.5% alcohol, when I normally buy 4.2% - 6% beers, so 5% alcohol costs 50p.
Shipyard Low Tide Pale Ale, brewed by Marstons
I thought Shipyard was a UK brew, but it's a US brewer licensing to Marstons. When they say 'Pale Ale' they mean the American style of hoppy, thin, near-lager.
The beer came out of the bottle very frothy, but didn't take long to settle down. It's clear, golden, and tastes the way untreated pine smells. I don't want that from my beer.
I didn't take a photo because it didn't occur to me to write this up.
Adnam's Ghost Ship 0.5
This strikes me as foolish - to name a beer after one of your full strength beers. It just begs the drinker to compare the weaker version unfavourably. Morland do the same thing with their low alcohol beer, but as I really can't stand their beer at the best of times, this doesn't matter to me.
This beer was even frothier when opened, but flattened out at the same speed. At least this one tasted like beer, albeit a very light, thin beer (which after all, it is). Ghost Ship is not my favourite Adnams (I'll have a Southwold, please), and this was better than Shipyard, but that's not saying much.
Adnams apparently do a light amber ale - Sole Star.
Big Drop STOUT
Big Drop's business is to make only 0.5% beers, and make 'em damn well. Most of their offerings I've seen have been in the American style, but they now brew winter and brown ales. Alas, Tesco's didn't have those, but this stout is very good indeed! If you passed this to me in a pub and said it was a mild, I'd drink it happily. That was what milds originally were - weak beer from porter and stout recipes (I await correction in the comments). This beer is treacly and has a decent aftertaste. No woodwork resin residue in this can.
And that's another thing - I don't drink beer from cans at home as a rule, but I couldn't taste the tin, whcih is excellent. The only shame is that this is a 330ml can (American influence), rather than the others being 500ml almost-pints. Of course, this is a beer I'd happily drink again, so I guess I'll have to can it...