Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale

Big Drop

Brewed by Big Drop Brewing Company
Style: Non Alcoholic beer
Ipswich, Suffolk, England

Launched in October 2016 by the-then City lawyer Rob Fink, who, along with his school-friend/band-mate, designer and entrepreneur, James Kindred, saw a gap in the market for a craft brewery dedicated solely to great quality, full-flavoured low/no alcohol beer, as opposed to major drink manufacturers producing non alcohol beers as an afterthought. The result was Big Drop Brewing Company, who specialise in producing low-alcohol beers.

The company make a large variety of different styles of non-alcoholic beer, including a sour, a regular lager, a golden ale and a milk stout, and sell far and wide, including to Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada and Australia. They are savvy with their network distribution as they have many large supermarket chains selling their wares, from Tesco’s, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons (all in UK), and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands. And it isn’t only cans, they even are on draught as well in certain places in the UK.

They have won numerous awards and accolades in their very short existence, which is impressive. In 2020 they won two golds at the World Beer Awards for their style and their Pine Trail Pale Ale won the World’s Best in the Low Alcohol Pale category, plus country best, their Galactic Milk Stout won World’s Best Flavoured Low Alcohol category, plus country best, Paradiso Citra IPA won Best Specialty IPA in the UK, and for the World Beer Awards in 2019 their Brown Ale won World’s Best in the Dark Beer Low Strength category, while for the 2017 edition of the World Beer Awards World Beer Awards, the Pale Ale was named World’s Best Pale Beer (low strength). So they have done good. Even the Beeb got in on the act by naming the brewery as one of three ‘Best Drinks Producers’ in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018.

I see its Stout won a Gold Medal at the International Beer Challenge and a UK Silver Medal at the World Beer Awards, when judged against full-strength stouts and porters. Ha ha, now that’s just taking the piss. Better than a Guinness? YEAH SURE……..

And seeing their pen pics on their site, they have that soy look down to a tee, go figure as this is non alcoholic after all……. They do have the whiff of the BrewDog about them, definitely tapping into that hipster market, with their snazzy can designs, crowdfunding platforms and appealing to the upper and middle class tippler. They are even into movement therapy and yoga, yes, fucking yoga of all things. Not football but yoga, lol. Look at the Covid year, to say a big thank you to the NHS staff, Big Drop visited various hospitals in and around London and gave the staff free pints of their piss to “enjoy”. “What, a 20 hour shift? No worries, have a pint of our non alcoholic pish” That’s tone deaf marketing, really scraping the barrel stuff. Look I know the market for non alcoholic beer is expanding rapidly at the moment, but still……ffs

Review: 300ml can of Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale: 0.5% vol.

Comes in a nice dinky can, small but very easy on the eye, I guess that is why my wife bought it for me when I told her to grab me a few beers when in town. I mean why the fuck else would I be drinking non alcoholic beer, I mean come on, lol!

It says on the can that it is a “World Beer Award Style winner”, I can see that as the can logo and design is quite swanky. It is also a Certified Gluten Free brew, low in sugar and ok for vegetarians, if non alcoholic wasn’t bad enough!

Can be bought widely in the UK, and comes in cans and bottles.

From the pour we get a massive white head, pretty big, a lot of carbonation going on. The colour is golden amber. Not bad on the eye.

The aroma is very sweet, very sweet malts I am getting. Piney and citrusy on the nose, plus some honey. Kind of smells like a perfume, very aromatic, floral and distinctive. Nice.

Ok onto the taste…… oh no, not nice at all, very light and has a taste that just escapes as quick as possible from your mouth, running away from the taste buds.

Also far too sugary, a yucky sickly taste. Is this to overcompensate for the lack of an alcoholic bite?

Disgusting aftertaste as well, the Hops are not nice at all, and fruits are too overbearing. This is not looking well.

Generally pish water, hard to stomach. No thanks. Sorry I am not “hip” enough to appreciate!

To be fair to them it does taste like a real beer, like an IPA, and not like the usual low alcohol beers that do be very shandy like in their taste. I just reviewed it as a bad pale ale, and not as a non alcohol beer, to which I am generally allergic too! So in that sense it does work as an non alcohol pale ale, just I didn’t like it very much!

Reading into that, it says on their bio online, that unlike other non-alcoholic craft brewers, the Big Drop guys don’t boil off the alcohol or use a centrifuge or other technology on their recipes, they just use a particular “magic” yeast that naturally ferments to 0.5 per cent. OK, interesting, as a Guinness aficionado, I would love to try their famous stout, must look out for it in the future.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store