As alcohol-free beer continues to grow nationwide, it should come as no surprise that Yorkshire is playing a huge role in its development. While no Sheffield breweries currently have an AF beer to their name, there are a number of breweries across God’s Own County who are raising the bar for quality low ABV options.
Brewed in Leeds, and a familiar site on taps across Sheffield, Ridgeside Brewery were one of the first craft breweries to dive into the AF world. Back in early 2019, when the ‘craft’ options consisted of Nanny State and Big Drop’s early offerings, Ridgeside put down a marker with their Nothing But The Rain beer. With 440ml cans and branding in keeping with their higher strength offerings, they showed what could be done. Three years later, they are on their NINTH version, with each one using different hops and malts, and with each new beer comes more drinkers trying AF beer and more AF drinkers trying Ridgeside.
Another early adopter was Ilkley Brewery. Known for their Mary Jane pale ale, head brewer Ally Confessore had learned the finer details of alcohol-free beer during her time at Brewdog, before creating Virgin Mary, the 0.5% hoppy pale that joined the ‘Mary’ family at Ilkley in 2019. Whispers are they’re adding a second AF beer in January, with a stout being added to the range.
North Brewing & Northern Monk
Back in Leeds, 2020 a recent collaboration has made people notice. A household name in the AF beer world, Coast (now known as Brulo, and the project of Beer52 founder James Brown) dropped a massively fruity collaboration with North Brewing. Also in Leeds, Northern Monk are getting ready to launch their Holy Faith alcohol-free IPA that really blew people away last year. After almost a year off the market, it’s fantastic to see another highly prestigious brewery committed to AF beer.
Honourable mentions must also go to C84, formerly the Great Yorkshire Brewery, up in North Yorkshire, who have worked with AF specialists Lowtide as well as producing their own AF options. Elsewhere, Saltaire jumped on the bandwagon this time last year, with their Northern Light pale, while in Tadcaster, the somewhat problematic Samuel Smith are now a few years into regularly brewing their alcohol-free Brown Ale, another firm favourite among AF beer drinkers.
Give AF beers a try
With so many established names across Yorkshire offering an alcohol-free option, it would be great to see Sheffield jumping on the bandwagon. Personally, a big vibrant hoppy number from Triple Point would go down a treat, or maybe a moorish bitter from Abbeydale. With the market continuing to grow and grow, we’ll reach a point where those that don’t produce lower ABV beers will be in the minority; I’m looking forward to seeing how things continue to develop locally.
This article was written by Robin from @AFBeerClub