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Essential Journal

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The Perfect Pairing

Because pairing beers with automobiles seems a tad irresponsible, here’s a few low-ABV pairing suggestions to help those on the wagon to keep their wheels spinning

For the designated driver: Big Drop Brewing Pale Ale
You’re the hero, the game-saver, the real MVP, your night of for-the-greater-good sobriety  deserves more than an endless succession of soda and limes. But let’s be honest, the vast majority of low ABV beers have the flavour profile of a soggy beer mat. Enter big drop brewing and their range of exceptional 0.5% beers. Dry-hopped and packed full of citrus, pine and honey notes, Dig Drops’s Pale Ale is a game-changing (and award-winning) entry into the ever-growing market of low ABV brews.


For the gym-bound – Stumptown Nitro Coffee
If the post-work gym session is often made all the more difficult with happy hour threatening to derail your gains, try nitro cold brew on for size. Not only does it look and feel like a swift, cold, half of Guinness, the high caffeine content makes for the mother of all pre-workouts. Whilst you will typically see it on tap, Portland-based Cold brew pioneers, Stumptown Coffee Roasters have gone so far as to can the stuff. Their 10 oz pop-tops offer a complex, smooth and full-bodied brew with a sweet finish for those looking for a more gym-friendly alternative to the black stuff.


For the health kickers – Real Kombucha
You’ve gone organic, you’ve taken up yoga, and you only eat meat once (okay, twice) a week. Bravo. But you’ve just realised you can’t actually drink avocado and you need liquid refreshment that is worthy of the temple that your body has suddenly become. The answer? Kombucha! Essentially super-healthy fizzy pop for adults, Kombucha captures the craft beer spirit of brewing without the booze. Real Kombucha’s Royal Flush, for example, offers a delicious balance between tea’s natural astringency and Darjeeling’s subtle notes of rhubarb, white peach, and almond. It won’t help with your downward dog, and it certainly won’t make your ‘namaste’ any less of a glaring cultural appropriation, but it sure is tasty over ice.


For the oh-so-sick of soda and lime – The Soda Works
Squeeze a wedge of lime in it. Add a sprig of mint. Garnish with a wheel of cucumber. Dress it up however you want, you’re still left with the same thing: Fizzy water. But add a helping of natural fruit juice, a dash of natural sugar and some light pasteurization and you have The Soda Works. Soda Works is a healthy, preservative-free alternative to soft (and hard) drinks that also happens to be delicious. Their pineapple and coconut soda conjures up images of summer nights spent sipping piña coladas without the excess of rum and not-so-summer-friendly double cream. And with each pop-art inspired can containing less than 5% sugar and only 69 kcals, The Soda Works as easy on the eye as it is on the waistline.


For the already hungover – Big Tom’s Virgin Mary
You were never planning on going out-out last night, and yet here you are. Your mouth is full of cotton wool, your brain feels two sizes too big for your skull, and you have those lunch time drinks with the in-laws that you’d forgotten about until just now. Naturally, you could try to power through. But hair of the dog is a gamble that often sees you bitten twice. Play it safe with a Big Tom Virgin Mary. Awarded the Royal Warrant in 2002, Big Tom tomato juice is a delicate blend of herbs and spices. The welcome addition of mustard, celery, cloves, pepper, chilli and ginger make for the perfect bloody mary mix that, unlike you, will stand up without the help of vodka.

Words by Will Halbert
Image Credits by Big Drop Brewing