La Decouvérte, Microbrasserie Le BockAle, Drummondville, Quebec, Canada (Alcohol <0.5%) $45 for a case of 12 online, also available through stores (473ml Can)

Well, what do you know? Once again I have been mightily impressed by another non-alcoholic craft beer.

Perhaps it’s me getting older and more sensible, but I suspect that this time around it must have something to do with the vast amount of wine I have been tasting for work as of late. I swear that after a week of intensive tasting, some of these new craft non-alcoholic beers are the best thing ever.

Whilst it is rare that I have tasted anything that is quite as good as my preferred Big Drop beers from the UK, this “near beer” American- style-IPA from Drummondville, Quebec comes extremely close, and so it squeaks in with four and a half apples out of a possible five… a pretty top notch recommendation for a non-alcoholic beer.

For me, the trick with non-alcoholic beers is managing to achieve some decent balance without the additional heft and weight of the alcohol, and this is why so many of these “near beers” beers fall disastrously flat, and I chuck them down the sink after only a couple of sips. This Decouvérte IPA from Le BockAle is a pure masterpiece of beery equilibrium, and I really do have to doff my tweed cap to the Brewmaster for his excellent craft on this one.

While I certainly don’t see as the archetypical “Hophead”, I can certainly appreciate a good hop-driven punch in my beers, and Decouvérte has this in spades. Utilising Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot hops, this beer simply oozes tropical fruit aromatics, mainly passionfruit and pineapple, with a splash of bright citrus. In the glass it pours an attractive hazy yellow, bordering upon orange, and delivers a moderate sized white head with moderate-minus lacing.

The carbonation is in keeping with the style, so very well balanced, and certainly not becoming the palate’s focus due to the absence of alcohol; for me this is a common issue with many non-alcoholic beers I have tasted recently.

The hoppy tropical character continues onto the dry palate, where it meets up with subdued roasted barley and cracked black pepper. The finish is medium plus, but ends satisfyingly crispy.

Just the thing to enjoy well-chilled after a long afternoon working in the garden in the baking summer sun. Very good indeed.

4.5 apples out of 5
(Four and a half apples 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 he could go through a fair bit of that stuff, and that’s the truth!