It's been a while - sorry about that. I've been posting very nearly every day on my other site UKNatureBlog so check that out for wildlife including lots from my own garden.
I've also been busy preparing for the imminent arrival of my first child, which is exciting and already life-changing. For instance I've now joined my wife in not drinking alcohol as I may be required to rush her off to hospital at a moment's notice. Hence I have entered the murky world of low alcohol beer! So far we've sampled Becks Blue (zero alcohol), Cobra Zero (zero alcohol) and Clausthaler Classic (< 0.5% alcohol). And I must say that Clausthaler has been a revelation that wins out over the others. It doesn't taste watery and overly bitter (like the Becks) but it's not cloying and overly malty (like the Cobra). In fact it actually tastes like a fairly normal weakish French bottled lager to me, which is a fair feat when it leaves your head clear. I know it's German but it reminds me of Kronenbourg or St Omer in stubbies when camping in France for some reason.
Actually it's truly quite wondrous stuff as you can savour a cold beer or two on a summer's afternoon and not be in the slightest bit muddled or woozy for the rest of the day. It's just refreshing, tasty and beery. I picked it up in Waitrose on a whim, but I now know that it's actually the most popular alcohol-free brand in Europe and I can see why.
I learnt a lot about it from this very good and fact-filled review by a beer-craving pregnant lady, a few notables from which I'll expound upon here. Apparently they brew it in the same manner as other German purity-law beers, but with a special yeast that doesn't generate nearly so much alcohol. This sets it apart from most other low alcohol brews that pass normal strength beer through an osmosis process that knackers the flavour. Clausthaler claim that the small amount of alcohol in their beer is just enough to make it properly 'beery' compared to those with none. Anyway - Clausthaler is thoroughly recommended, though I'm still hoping to find some low-alcohol bitter in the supermarkets. The 30p a can 2% generic value bitter you see in the low-end supermarkets doesn't count as the alcohol content is clearly just the result of penny-pinching.