Brewdog Nanny State


Brewdog Nanny State

Pale Ale / Brewdog NA / <0.5%

We made a hardcore beer and left the alcohol out. Nanny State breaks the curfew and slips under the radar. A brigade of speciality malts and North American hops sends bitterness to the brink and back. Squeezing this many hops in, and the alcohol out, is a testament to our craft.

As is the case in any industry, there are a few brands in the non-alcohol beer sphere that stand out from the rest in mere presence. It is hard to tell if this is based on true popularity and quality or simply marketing strategy. But I still find it important to sample these options and let those who are dipping their toes in the world know if these big names live up to the reputation. One of the larger NA beer makers that I have yet to review is Brewdog, based out of Ohio.

Brewdog is also one of the rare breweries that crafts both non-alcoholic beer and traditional alcoholic styles. The natural train of thought would be that a company like this should be better at creating booze-less offerings that mimic their traditional counterparts, but I have found that is not always necessarily the case. I have to say right off the bat that I am a bit skeptical of this first brew that I will be tasting. Not because it is a style that I don’t enjoy but because it doesn’t come with much of a classification at all. The cans that I purchased say nothing more than “Near Beer,” but online it is labeled as a hoppy ale. Still, I will do my best to remain open-minded as I work through this Brewdog Nanny State review.

Brewdog Nanny State Review

I am not sure if I’ve ever been as confused by a beer can label as I am by this one. The first point of confusion for anyone picking this up from the store is the aforementioned fact that there is no style classification present. Considering that this is apparently a hoppy ale, I find it odd that there is no mention of that anywhere. The other strange thing is the words “High flavor. Low alcohol” printed in large, bold, vertical lettering. At below 0.5 percent abv, this brew qualifies as non-alcoholic, so I find it odd that it’s marketed as “low” alcohol.

Aside from all of this, the can is fairly simply designed. The background is a green color gradient from top to bottom. There is a lot of bold font that doesn’t really tell us much. Typically NAs are proud to display their lower calorie counts, but I don’t see that anywhere on the packaging for this option. Maybe it’s beneficial for this review to not get a bunch of information upfront before sampling myself.

Poured into a glass, the body is a bright amber in color with, surprisingly a fair amount of haze. There is a nice-sized white fluffy head on the pour that dissipates quickly but gives way to a generous amount of lacing down the sides of the glass.

The thing that hits first and hardest on the nose is hops. This adds up, as some digging tells me that they use an array of five different hop varieties in the brewing process. There are some pleasant citrus notes on the nose as well, matching up with the hazy appearance. As is common in NA offerings, I get hardly any malt and a fair bit of sour wort. Hopefully it can stand out in some other way.

From the appearance and aroma, I expect this brew to essentially taste like an IPA. I’m unsure as of yet why it’s not classified as such. Let’s see if we can find out and answer the question, “Is Brewdog Nanny State good?” 

Is Brewdog Nanny State Good?

I wouldn’t say that the answer to this question is no, but right off the bat this brew reminds me of so many other non-alcoholic options on the market. Hops and citrus with more of that vegetal wort flavor that is really appetizing.

I think that they biggest attribute this beer has going for it is the generous amount of hops. A lot of NA offerings, even those classified as IPAs, come up short on the amount of hops they contain. Likewise, they usually don’t contain as much citrus as I would like either, and that is the case here. There is a little orange and a teensy bit of grapefruit, but it could use so much more.

I get a bit of a tea flavor from the profile. There is a grassy backbone that extends even beyond the hop quality. Aside from these, the flavor combo isn’t all that complex. It isn’t the worst hop, citrus, and wort balance that I’ve found, but it is far from the best.

The body is extremely light to the point that I can call it thin. There is even a bit of a watery quality to the texture, which is one thing you really don’t want to find in an NA beer. Because the body is so light, it does go down rather easily, but there isn’t much o fa refreshing quality. You could definitely pound a few of these, but I’m not sure what the endgame would be.

The finish is not what I would call clean or crisp, but I suppose it could qualify as medium. There isn’t a ton of flavor that lingers on the tongue and down the throat, just a bit of the hops, which is to be expected.

I didn’t find anything remarkable to this beer compared to the industry crowd. But what will all of this add up to in terms of my final Brewdog Nanny State rating? Finish reading and find out.

Brewdog Nanny State Rating

I do like that I found more hop character here than I do in a lot of non-alcoholic IPAs. I think that is what I’m forced to pretend this is, because I don’t know the substantive difference between an IPA and a hoppy ale. In most other ways, this brew does nothing to stand out from others on the market.

I don’t simply want to punish this beer because I have previously sampled many others that taste similar, but it does provide a nice baseline of comparison. The vegetal wort that turns people off has about a medium presence here, while there are a lot more hops than is typical. In an industry where hops still rule, that does count for something. It has convinced me to end this Brewdog Nanny State review by giving it a solid score of 3 out of 5 stars. Not offensive, but really there are better options out there.


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