Last weekend (13 August) 2,500 people took part in the UK’s first ‘mindful’ drinks festival, showing that interest in lower strength and alcohol-free beers is clearly on the rise.
These session-strength beers are all 3.5% ABV or under, making them perfect for consumption during the week, or when you’re just looking to take it easy and avoid that dreaded hangover the next day.
1) Siren Craft Brew Half Mast
This self-labelled ‘quarter IPA’ from Berkshire-based brewery Siren comes in at 2.8% ABV but still packs in lots of flavour thanks to a generous portion of citrusy hops. Expect mango, grapefruit and apricot.
2) The Kernel Brewery Table Beer
Bermondsey-based brewery The Kernel regularly changes the hops and strength of its Table Beer, but it is rarely more than 3% ABV and one of the most flavoursome low-strength beers on the market.
3) Big Drop Brewing Co Chocolate Milk Stout
This Maidenhead craft brewery has made a name for itself with a range of high-quality, 0.5% ABV beers. The Chocolate Milk Stout is smooth, velvety and sweet, and recently won a silver medal in a competition alongside full-strength porters and stouts.
4) Thornbridge Wild Swan
Lemon, grass and straw notes dominate in this hugely refreshing 3.5% ABV pale ale from Thornbridge brewery. Hugely enjoyable both in 330ml bottles and on cask.
5) North Brewing Co/Ilkley Brewery Bonaparte
Sour beers aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but this 3.2% ABV Berliner Weisse from newly formed North Brewing Co and their fellow Yorkshire brewers Ilkley is well worth a punt. Light, bubbly and lip-smackingly tart, Bonaparte will prove popular among craft beer enthusiasts and Champagne lovers.
6.) Mikkeller Henry Jagger
Danish gypsy brewers Mikkeller are famed for producing beers at both ends of the strength spectrum, from massive barley wines to tiny session ales. This 2.2% ABV pale falls into the latter category, but makes up for its low strength with its delicate and floral hop flavours.
7.) Burning Sky Plateau
It may only be available in cask, but Sussex brewery Burning Sky has produced one of the best session pale ales on the market in Plateau. The 3.5% ABV beer is citrusy, grassy and floral and makes for the perfect lunchtime pub garden pint.