Hairless Dog NA Black Ale
Hairless Dog NA Black Ale
Black Ale / Hairless Dog NA / 0.0%
Based out of Minnesota, Hairless Dog Brewing Company specializes in making flavorful non-alcoholic craft beer coming in at 0.0% alcohol by volume.
It is tough to make a quality non-alcoholic dark beer. At least, that is my assumption, as I have not run across many, and those that I do are typically lacking in at least one area. But when your claim to fame is being the first craft brewery in the country whose products are all entirely free of alcohol, I suppose it is on you to try.
Minneapolis-based Hairless Dog Brewing Company sells three varieties of beer across the nation for those who are looking to lay off the booze for one reason or another. And while IPAs remain king in so many parts of the U.S., in order to provide something for everyone, they came up with a black ale. I’m no expert in the process of beer making, alcoholic or otherwise, but the lack of dark NA beers on the market leads me to believe it is more difficult than producing a simple lager. There is no reason that dark beer lovers wouldn’t want to be healthier and avoid a hangover or two.
After having mixed feelings about their other two beers, I decided to take a step over to the dark side, sample their black ale, and come up with a Hairless Dog NA Black Ale review. While parts of it were strangely reminiscent of their IPA and Citra Lager, there were plenty of unique characteristics that helped it stand out.
Is Hairless Dog NA Black Ale Good?
Personally, I like it when the label of a can has some personality that is specific to the beer within. While Hairless Dog does not do that per se, they do have a delightfully minimalist design of, you guessed it, a dog with barley dangling out of his mouth. Each variety is distinguished by its own can color, the NA Black Ale being teal.
As you might expect from an NA craft brewery, the label’s messaging leans on personal health and ridding your life of hangovers. It is adorned by messages such as “Party like there’s a tomorrow” and “0.0% Regrets.” The can also informs us that this beer comes in at just 80 calories. While all of this health information can be useful, the question remains, “Is Hairless Dog NA Black Ale good?”
Hairless Dog NA Black Ale Review
Poured into a pint glass, the beer is even darker than I was imagining. It looks more like a traditional porter or stout with a very deep amber appearance and a nice-sized off-white head that leaves a substantial ring of lacing as it dissipates. Some carbonation is visible but not much.
I understood it more between the brand’s IPA and Citra Lager, but this brew also the same underlying wort aroma. While it took me off guard at first, and there is a sort of sour tilt to it, I don’t find it unpleasant. On top of that base scent, I also get fainter hints of toffee and chocolate, as well as a dash of smokiness.
Initially it seems that the taste is going to follow the nose, with some decent roasted malt up front. There are a lot of pleasant components reminiscent of quality alcoholic stouts and porters, including the smokiness and the toffee taste. Those flavors, unfortunately, don’t hang around very long as the profile transitions to a more subdued base of malt and wort. Again, this isn’t disagreeable by any means, it just lacks a lasting punch.
Just as with the appearance, there is a small amount of carbonation throughout. The mouthfeel is a solid medium, with the body coming in a hair heavier than that. It’s nice to be reminded that’s possible in a non-alcoholic beer. As I have found with all of their offerings, the finish is very clean and crisp, hardly any lingering hop flavor, which I have discovered to be common in many NA brews.
All in all, I can tell that they have some of the components lined up and ready to be capitalized on. Maybe they are trying to play it safe, or maybe there is some other obstacle to getting those components to come through and stand on their own. Composing this Hairless Dog NA Black Ale review, I came to realize how much I did enjoy many things about this beer. It just left me wanting a little bit more of those promising characteristics. All of this and more gets weighted in my mind as I come up with a rating for the third beer that I have sampled from this unique craft brewery.
Hairless Dog NA Black Ale Rating
While stouts and porters can be some of the most delicious beers out there, we all know that they can be a little too heavy at times, making it difficult to enjoy as many as you might like. I like for my dark beers to have a good balance between flavor complexity and drinkability. This black ale may lean just a little in the other direction, as it goes down rather easy but lacks some of the tasty punches.
Of course, if it were easy to make a rich and robust dark beer that simply had the alcohol removed from it then many breweries would do just that in order to satisfy their customers looking to try out sobriety. The NA dark beers that I have sampled all seem to have this subdued flavor profile that is neither offensive nor overly impressive.
When coming up with my Hairless Dog NA Black Ale rating, I have to take into account its competition in the market as well as whether it succeeds at what its trying to do. It’s the best of its kind that I have come across, and it makes for an enjoyably drinkable beer that has just enough roasted malt to not be a disappointment. I can’t give it the absolute highest rating, but it is a great base that could seemingly be built upon to create something really special. For that, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
From Youtube Channel: Non-Alcoholic Beer Channel