Hopper Soft Brew — zero alcohol fruit beer

Will anyone drink fruit juice with a beer flavour – or is that a beer-like drink with fruit flavour? Apparently it’s going gangbusters in the UK and it’s now being distributed in Canberra retail outlets.

The non-alcoholic drink, called Hopper Soft Brew and targeted at young adults, claims to be all-natural, with no additives or preservatives.

Billed as the soft drink born in a brewery, it’s the brainchild of a former Coca Cola Amatil executive, David Mead.

Mead says it’s made at the Southern Bay Brewing Company, near Geelong but took some years to perfect technically.

The brewer starts by making wort – derived by boiling water, malted barley and hops – then blending it with fruit juice and later pasteurising it and adding carbon dioxide. The boiling process, aided by natural enzymes, extracts soluble sugars from the malted barley. In brewing this is to prepare the sugars for alcoholic fermentation. But in this case, there’s no fermentation.

The result might best be described as a full-bodied soft drink with an energetic, persistent beer-like head, fruity flavour and colour derived from the fruit. The range currently includes citrus, apple and blackcurrant.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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