Lower alcohol beers appear to be going from strength to strength and it's the kind of space Melbourne's Bad Shepherd have been quietly working in for some time. Back when they opened their brewpub back in 2015, the 2.9 percent ABV Tiny IPA was part of their core range and it's remained there to this day, while more recently they've released plenty of lower ABV sours, including Citrus Radler at the start of 2022. But now in March, they've released their first truly alcohol-free beer that sits below 0.5 percent ABV and they’ve done so by adapting one of their best-loved sours, Passionfruit Sour. It pours looking a little bit like homemade lemonade but given just how strongly passionfruit comes to the fore, thanks to both the actual fruit and Galaxy hops, it's far more likely to remind you of a particular brand of soft drink featuring the same fruit. While the sourness isn’t about to rip the enamel from your teeth, it’s just as noticeable as it is in many kettle sours and balances out passionfruit’s sweetness, while this Passionfruit Sour's smooth palate weight thanks to the oats and wheat used make it feel like a whole lot like you're drinking the full-strength version.
Summer Punch meanwhile, has a few more fruits and a touch more ABV too. The sour ale sits at 1.1 percent and combines passionfruit, orange and peach with Galaxy hops to once again help drive fruited flavours. Once again, wheat and oat in the malt bill ensure Summer Punch has quite a soft mouthfeel and while each of the three fruits is easy to pick up, a ripe note of peach seems to have the upper hand before the beer's tart side provides a mouth-puckering finish.
Published March 4, 2022 2022-03-04 00:00:00