Hill Street “Craft Brewed” Lager, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol <0.5%) Selected Grocery Stores $2.95 (473ml can)

After what seems like an eternity in lockdown, I’ve been guilty of finding perhaps a little too much comfort in both beer and wine, and I’m sure that due to this I’ve been piling on the COVID lbs; not an an ideal situation, I’m sure you’ll agree.

With this in mind I thought I’d seek out more non-alcoholic alternatives, which brought me to Hill Street’s self-professed “Craft” Lager. I’d tried a can of it back at the beginning of the year and hadn’t been overly impressed. This may be due to issues of batch consistency, or perhaps I simply wasn’t in the right mental state to appreciate its modest pleasantries at the time, but I’m certainly glad I gave it a second chance.

Whilst I wouldn’t class this up there with the headier complexities of some of Big Drop’s non-alcoholic brews, this tallboy can does just the job after an afternoon working in the garden, or a long drive in the country, especially coming into its own as we slip into the summer months.

I guess that if I were to compare it to any other non-alcoholic beer it would be like a fresher, crisper, and flavoursome Clausthaler, and I’ll put that down to the smaller batch brewing. I’d also like to state that I’m not in anyway averse to the odd chilled, decades-in-the-market Clausthaler, so this relative (and local) newcomer made for some most welcome refreshment.

This afternoon I struggled to erect a Coleman 7 person tent for the very first time. The packaging stated that it could be up in 60 seconds… 45 sweaty and frustrating MINUTES later I managed to work out how to assemble the damn thing, and at that point nothing could have been any more appropriate than a well-chilled Hill St. Lager.

It pours a pale gold with a small white head, giving way to some very slight lacing in the glass. On the nose you’ll find some charming fruitiness and malt. These pleasant aromatics carry over to the moderately carbonated and crisp palate. The finish is reasonably short and zippy, with a little malty aftertaste. I usually cannot stomach alcoholic lighter beers, but this was really very appealing.

3.5 apples out of 5
(Three and a half stars out of a possible five)

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And after hitting the bottle in isolation he needs a few more evenings with some of these.