Sawmill are the second Kiwi craft brewery to come to market with a zero ABV beer, after Bach Brewing’s All Day Non-Alcoholic IPA. Sawmill’s Bare Beer is a completely different beast (and yes, it is possible to have great variation in these products … they don’t have to be boring old Euro-lagers!). Sawmill have gone for a hoppy pale ale and they’ve done a great job with the ferment and the hop character. This is like a refined and more flavourful variation on Brew Dog’s Nanny State. Sawmill are rightly proud of the process, using a full fermentation, rather than reverse osmosis of a finished beer. They used a lot of speciality malts that are by nature poorly fermentable and hit that wort with their lowest-attenuating English Ale yeast. Lots of low alpha hops bring good bitterness and some hop oils to help with the mouthfeel. One thing they are up front about is that it’s well under the legal limit for a ‘no-alcohol’ beer in New Zealand, which is <1.15 per cent ABV. They hope to get closer to the 0.5 per cent mark in future iterations and I’m told this one is around 0.7 or 0.8 per cent. It’s a kind of compromise they were happy to make to get a superior flavour profile from a fuller fermentation. The end result is a perfect thirst-quencher with a punchy bitterness and some delicate citrus-pine hop notes.