Four lagers and fifteen ales of 2.8% ABV or below were the stars of a packed tasting held by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group in the Houses of Parliament for MPs and Lords.
Following the Treasury’s Alcohol Taxation Review, published in November 2010, it was announced that duty on beers of 2.8% ABV and below would be reduced, with a revenue-neutral increase in beers over 7.5%. The reduction for lower-strength beers was later announced to be 50 per cent, while higher-strength beers will pay an additional 25% levy.
The beers on show in Parliament demonstrated brewers’ skills in coming up with lower alcohol yet tasty beers.
Secretary of the group, Robert Humphreys, said: “Members from all parties were amazed and greatly impressed by the variety of styles and characters of the 19 beers on show. The response of UK brewers large and small to the tough challenge of brewing exciting and saleable beers at this strength hugely impressed our members and demonstrates what a small change in the taxation regime can achieve.”
Andy Tighe, director of brewing at the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), added: “These beers – many of them new to the market – disproved any notion that low alcohol must, of necessity, equal minimal taste. And they displayed a plethora of colours, styles and flavours – ranging across the light and elegant, the delicate and fragrant, to the honeyed and warmly comforting, the brown ales, chocolate stouts, earthy meaty bitters and adolescent IPAs.”
With considerable retail interest in this burgeoning but nascent sector, the BBPA is looking to do more to highlight this growing category of beers in the coming months.
Ales tasted were:
Adnams Sole Star, 2.7% ABV, Suffolk
Brentwood Brewing BBC2, 2.5% ABV, London
Brodie’s Brewery Summer Stout, 2.8% ABV, London
Everards Southgate, 2.7% ABV Leicestershire
Greene King Tolly English Ale, 2.8% ABV, Suffolk
Guinness Mid Strength, 2.8% ABV
Harvey’s Sweet Sussex Stout, 2.8% ABV, Sussex
Harvey’s Bloomsbury Brown, 2.8% ABV, Sussex
Hop Back Heracles, 2.8% ABV, Wiltshire
J W Lees Hero, 2.8% ABV, Manchester
Marston’s Pale Ale, 2.8% ABV, Staffordshire
Marston’s Alcoholic Ale Shandy, 2.8%ABV, Staffordshire
Mann’s Brown Ale (Marston’s), 2.8% ABV, Staffordshire
S A Brains Founders Brew, 2.8% ABV, Cardiff
Welton’s Pride & Joy, 2.8% ABV, Sussex
The lagers tasted were:
ABInBev Rolling Rock, 2.8% ABV
Becks Blue, 0.05% ABV
Carlsberg SKOL, 2.8% ABV
Molson Coors UK C2, 2% ABV