It may be “dry” January but there is no need to forgo that pint of beer, lager or stout because the brewers at Nirvana Brewery believe that outstanding beer doesn’t need alcohol, that award winning flavour isn’t tied to ABV and that drinking with friends doesn’t have to mean a slow start the next day as you try to clear your thumping headache and feeling of nausea. Nirvana Brewery is Britain’s only dedicated low/no alcohol brewery – their beers are also low calorie, vegan , and have women at the helm! As I sup my chilled glass of the flagship lager, Bavarian Helles Lager, let me welcome onto the blog Becky Kean who runs this gem of a brewery … Hi Becky!
Hi! I’m Becky, the founder of Nirvana Brewery. We’re the UK’s only dedicated no-alcohol brewery, based in East London.
What inspired the launch of Nirvana Brewery in 2016?
We set out to brew really great alcohol-free beer when my dad gave up drinking. But I suppose the true inspiration began with our love of beer. As a family we loved sharing a beer together and enjoyed sampling beers from different craft breweries. When one of the family was no longer drinking it didn’t seem fair that they should be left out
I am really impressed that your brewery is Britain’s only dedicated low/no alcohol brewery. And that the beers are low calorie and vegan ! I definitely like your flagship lager, Bavarian Helles Lager. Which of your current drinks is your favourite?
Thanks! Our lager is our most popular beer and absolutely one of my all time favourites, but to be honest my beer of choice changes all the time. At the moment I’m really enjoying drinking the stout; the chocolatey, roasted flavours go down really well in the winter months.
Which drinks would you say are best sellers amongst your customers?
Well as I said our lager is definitely the best selling beer in the range. Lager is generally the most popular style of beer in general, but from a brewing perspective its one of the hardest beers to get right, especially when brewing alcohol-free. The fact that we’ve managed to brew a 0.3% lager that tastes just like a full strength beer, whilst also having the same clean taste and complex flavours of a craft lager I think is why people really love it. That being said our Classic IPA and Hoppy Pale Ale are a close second! They are really refreshing, modern hoppy ales that have all those delicious fruity and tropical hop flavours that most beer lovers look for in a craft beer.
Is it difficult to put together suitable “recipes” for your craft beers that live up to your ethos? Where do you get your flavour inspirations from?
It is super difficult to brew beers under 0.5% alcohol, let alone keeping them within our remit of healthy, natural and vegan. But we’ve spent quite a few years tweaking and developing our methods and recipes and now I’d say we have that bit down pretty well. So creating new recipes is fairly straight forward and a lot of fun! Our last project was brewed with the help of our social media followers who put forward their suggestions of their ‘Heaven’ flavour and their ‘Hell’ flavour. Our brewer picked her favourites from the responses and we’ve now got a Heavenly Orange and Thyme Sour, vs our Hell-ish Jalapeño lager!
Traditionally beer contains quite a bit of alcohol and calories; so how have you managed to brew craft beer without the deadly calories and alcohol … do you follow a different process than other breweries?
Good question! For the most part our process looks exactly the same as you would see in any other craft brewery. The difference in our brewing is all in the fermentation; we have to control the fermentability of the beer by using different temperatures, yeast strains and less fermentable sugars. We do use less malt which is the base of the alcohol-forming sugars, hence why there are fewer calories in our beers. Ultimately there is less sugar for the yeast to ferment, which results in fewer calories.
As you are based in the UK, are your beers available to purchase worldwide?
Yes we have a growing export business which we are very excited about. Our beers are sold throughout Asia and the Middle East as well as in Canada, and as far as Australia!
What do you enjoy most about running a brewery?
I love working in the drinks industry, its a really fun industry to work in. You get to be out there in the city, meeting with pubs and restaurant owners and see the interesting things happening in hospitality. But I also enjoy the physical nature of producing something tangible from fresh ingredients, and something that I can physically open and enjoy at the end (or middle!) of the day. Most of all though I love working with our amazing Nirvana team. We are close-knit team and I think we have a really nice culture here.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Well, as a brewery owner I would look totally out of place in anything too formal! So mostly I’m found in jeans and trainers, and sporting my branded Nirvana T-shirt and hoody. In my spare time it’s not too different, perhaps with a nice shirt instead of a hoody!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I suppose my favourite place to shop would have to be farm shops or foodie markets. I take so much delight in discovering interesting and different food and drink producers, I’m always looking for something new to try! When it comes to clothes shopping preference, I would have to say sites like Vinted as I’m trying to declutter and stop filling my wardrobe with ‘new’ stuff!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
My weakness is probably trainers. I can never have enough! I wear them all the time so each new pair seems to be worn out within 6 months. I also seem to need a different pair of trainers for work, running, gym etc. so I can never have enough. At the moment the next item on the wish list would probably be a new pair of running trainers for when the sunny weather starts again (I already have my winter running shoes sorted). 😉
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes because they are more flexible and versatile!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about Nirvana Brewery.
Yes, you can check us out on any of the channels below:
Also find us on Ocado or Amazon!
Thank you for chatting to us today Becky. I love the Bavarian Lager – very refreshing and it tastes of lager!!! 😊 I haven’t yet sampled the Pale Ale or Stout but I will do so.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Nirvana Brewery ( apart from Pinterest photo – by Linda Hobden)
My thanks goes to Nirvana Brewery for the mixed case of beer for me to review for the purpose of this post however all opinions expressed are 100% mine