The brewers at Guinness Open Gate Brewery have risen to the challenge of creating a non-alcoholic beer that tastes nice. We were invited to try the new lager, Open Gate Pure Brew, today and after lead brewer John Casey guided us through a tasting, he revealed the beer is free from alcohol.
“It is quite a refreshing beer and it has character. You then get more of the hop character, there is a nice level of bitterness but not too bitter with a little bit of fruitiness, and it finishes nice and smooth,” John says.
The brewers have been developing the beer for over two years, taking a different approach to how non-alcoholic beer is usually made in order to make something beer lovers will enjoy drinking.
“From a process point of things, quite often non-alcoholic beers are produced as a full-strength beer then removing the alcohol, but we consciously took on the challenge of not doing that with Open Gate Pure Brew, hence the time input.
So what we have done instead is looked at tailoring our brewing routine, our fermentations, our mashing, and marrying it up with a select of yeast to naturally and fully ferment the beer. The yeast strain only produces a very limited amount of alcohol.”
This has been a project that Guiness have kept close to the chest for the past few years, until they had made something they knew they could be proud of, Global Head of Beer at Diageo Mark Sandys says. “When we started the Open Gate Brewery and talked about all the different beers we wanted to do somebody said the ultimate challenge for a brewer is to make a beer that tastes great but without the alcohol,” Mark says.
“We wanted to make a beer that could stand shoulder to shoulder with any of our beers and we think we have achieved that. I think the fact that it uses a different process and a different yeast than anything we have used before, and as far as we know it is different from what anyone else is doing at the moment.”
Whether you’re driving, watching your calorie intake or don’t want to drink soft drinks while out for a night, this is a really appealing addition to the market.
“This is definitely a consumer space that we see growing and it’s not necessarily about non-drinkers,” Mark says.
“People are making choices about occasions where they drink or just watch their alcohol consumption. From our research we found the reason why this sector is growing is that when people go out and they are not drinking alcohol, they don’t want to be drinking water all night, the soft drinks options can be quite calorific and they are not having that beer experience. What we hope with Pure Brew is that people will still be able to feel like they are having a beer and join in in the camaraderie of the beer experience.”
Open Gate Pure Brew will be rolled out to 250 pubs in Dublin in January and will be available nationally from March. For more visit www.guinnessopengate.com.
By Róisín Healy
Inform | Inspire | Indulge