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Dry January, not dull January: try these delicious low-alcohol drinks

John Wilson: Two beers and Spanish and French bubbly to begin the year in fine style

It is that time of year when it is timely to look at a few “low or no” drinks to enjoy during a dry January, or at any other time of the year. Generally, low alcohol is accepted as 1.25% ABV or less, and alcohol-free 0.5% or less. I’m not sure if 1% beer qualifies as alcohol-free, but I would argue it does.

Over the past year I have enjoyed many low or no alcohol beers, including Mikeller, Hope Hop Off, Øl Implosion, Wicklow Wolf Moonlight, as well as Guinness 0.0 in my local. Stonewell, MacIvors and Highbank all make very good alcohol-free cider alternatives. Low and no wines are improving all the time; I find the sparkling wines are best.

Kinnegar Brewing has just released a new low alcohol (1%) IPA, which will become part of the core range. “We feel there’s scope to translate several different beer styles into the low-alcohol arena,” says Libby Carton. “It’s tricky when we’re working with traditional brewing methods and don’t have the luxury of hugely expensive de-alcoholisation units, like the big boys.

“Our Low Tide is a simple pale ale, so comparatively neutral in flavour, with the malt and hops playing roughly equal roles. Its fresh citrus character comes from the hops. BAP 37 is an IPA, so it’s a lot more hop forward. The dominant flavour and aroma of the hops relegate the malt to a comparatively low profile position on the palate.”

Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager

0.5%, €2 for a 500ml bottle

his Bavarian brewed alcohol-free beer, launched last year, is aimed at lager lovers. Lightly hazy, fresh and crisp, lightly floral, with citrus, light hops and a malty touch.

Widely available from off-licences and supermarkets

Kinnegar Brewers at Play 37 Low Alcohol IPA

1%, €15

Fresh, forward and hoppy with crisp citrus and a nice bitter bite. A lovely refreshing beer.

From kinnegarbrewing.ie and specialist off-licences

Hollow Leg Alcohol Free Sparkling Albariño

0%, €15

Elderflower aromas with fresh pear and green apple fruits, good acidity and a dry finish. Drink it before dinner or with fishy starters.

From Dunnes Stores; Cavavin Galway and Limerick; Leonards, Trim; Swans, Naas; Cass & Co Dungarvan; Drinknolo.ie; Molloys; Deveney’s D14; Blackrock Cellar; Neighbourhood Wine; Vintry, D6; Grapevine, Dalkey

French Bloom Organic French Bubbly

0%, €30

White flower aromas, with elegant pear, red apples and a nicely balanced acidity. A very stylish glass of bubbly. The prefect aperitif or to drink with seafood and white meats.

From Brown Thomas; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Clontarf Wines; Cashel Wine Cellar

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