Originally published on Green Man Review!
With the outpouring (GET IT) of low ABV and non-alcoholic brews from microbreweries, there’s a slew of interesting finds. And I have to say that Punk could fool a serious beer drinker if you put it in her glass and said nothing but “hey, here ya go.” This beer (beer-ish?) ain’t your momma’s O’Doul’s. No shade on OD’s; I dig their Amber. But I’m just saying there’s a whole lot for hop-lovers to enjoy here. At 0.5% alcohol and 37 calories – no that calorie count isn’t a typo – brew snobs? Get ready to be shocked and amazed.
There’s a blonde, straw-like color to this beer, with a slight cloudiness and light but constant fizziness. The head is quick to form upon pouring, but dissipates quickly, leaving a ring of small bubbles around the glass. I got a punch of hops when I started pouring this brew, my nose nowhere close to the glass. Once I did get close? The nose is strong with pine, hops, and a sweet peachy note that made me smile.
So, how does it go down? A few drops on my tongue feels and tastes like cool, clean water. But an actual sip? Blammo. Should be called Hoppy AF, and I’m not talking about the lack of alcohol. There’s a hoppiness that’ll hit you over the head, grab you, and shake the life out of you and your tastebuds. Pine, hops, and a strong hit of vegetal/sulphur-y bitterness comes fast, and that bitterness rides that sip all the way to Esophagus Land. My stomach didn’t instantly revolt, though I can tell she’s not exactly pleased. (I’m noshing on tummy-pleasing sweet Hawaiian rolls while I write this. Much like Oprah, I love bread.)
I’m not a fan of super-hoppy IPAs, so while Punk is a delightfully flavor-forward surprise? I’m not gonna go out of my way to seek it out after this pint glass is empty. Though if you’re made of stronger stuff than I, Punk would pair exceedingly well with grilled fish (especially if you’ve got a rockin’ fruit salsa to top it with), creamy cheeses and hefty crackers, or If you’re a real Iron Stomach, try it with Drunken Noodles (aka Pad Kee Mao), Hot Cheetos, or chili with all the fixin’s, and go for that full burn. You’re my hero…and I’ll be over here, talking soothingly to my stomach, in case she decides to go nuts. I don’t think so, but who’s to say? I was just proven wrong about non-alcoholic beers being boring, so anything is possible.