Based in Suffolk, England, Big Drop Brewing Co isn’t your usual across-the-pond brewing operation. And not just because they make a Mexican-style lager… but because all of their beers are non-alcoholic. (It also has operations in the U.S.; the beers reviewed below were all brewed in Illinois.)
The company currently produces 7 different brews, all hitting the scales at 0.5% alcohol. The beers, curiously, are not de-alcoholized. Per the company, “Unlike some brewers, we do not use a process to de-alcoholize our brews. We skillfully and carefully formulate our brews from the yeast we use and the fermentable sugars used so that the reaction is limited, thus naturally ensuring we do not exceed 0.5% abv in our brews.”
That’s unique, so let’s see how it all pans out.
Big Drop Brewing Paradiso IPA – Essentially created in a west coast style, this is a lemony, mildly bitter brew that feels a bit thin. It’s IPA-adjacent, to be sure, but short on power — even when compared to other NA IPAs. The finish is a touch weedy and green, but never off-putting. Fair enough if you drink it very cold. B / $x
Big Drop Brewing Pine Trail Ale – Bright and fruity on the nose, with an aromatic burst of lemon peel and florals, namely elderflower. That brightness can’t last forever, alas, and the palate sees a more traditional hoppiness dominating, earthy with lingering notes of green wood and rosemary. Drink it while it’s very cold; it gets a little skunky with time in glass. B-
Big Drop Brewing Coba Maya Mexi-Style – A reasonable facsimile of a non-alc Mexican lager. Notes of lemon and some saline give this an appropriately south-of-the-border vibe, though the lack of alcohol keeps it all pretty thin. Lots of ruddy malt on the finish gives this more of an earthy quality than expected, evoking notes of uncooked biscuit dough. B-
Big Drop Brewing Galactic Extra Dark – Dark beers are often the most successful at masking a nonalcoholicness, and Big Drop’s Galactic Extra Dark is easily the best in this lineup. A milk stout with a bold body and a creamy texture — and a hefty 102 calories — the beer pours on notes of dark chocolate and toasted nuts before retreating into more of a bitter, earthy backbone, tinged with anise notes. While a touch thin, it’s nonetheless an approachable and well-rounded beer that hangs in there with you for the entirety of the can without ever overstaying its welcome. A-
each $12 per six-pack / bigdropbrew.com