Tag Archive: Zero Degrees


Bristol Brewers United: Smoked Porter : Bristol Collaboration 2012 (England: Porter: 6% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown with a red hue if held to the light. Dustings of vanilla froth coloured head that is more froth than bubbles. The head leaves a coffee cup side like trail as you drink.

Nose: Smoke. Rye bread. Dried beef jerky. Slight roasted elements.

Body: Very malty. Toffee and vanilla at the back. Smoke. A charred undercurrent and occasional liquorice trick.  Slight jelly like fruitiness with pineapple chunks. Slick and thick texture that comes slightly oily.

Finish: Slightly oily. Roasted and with a lot of smoke. Slight medicinal touch. Bubblegum. Still highly malted.

Conclusion: So do many hands make light work, or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Or other clichés.

Also, holy shit, how many breweries exist in one sodding city, and they all managed to get together to make this? Impressive.

The beer really shows the influence of the varied brewers involved.  It feels like new school fruity hops, an old school roasted base, very smooth character, restrained smoke and slight oiliness, all combined into an amazingly easy to drink pint.

Put it all together and, well, I have to say I’m impressed. The flavour is sweet but balanced by the roasted elements and smoke. It’s very BBF in its mix of old and new elements. There is a very solid sweet malt base which they build everything else off. This allows the smoke to be layered upon, and even just the very slightest Island medicinal character in the finish to keep you on the toes.  Very, very restrained though, more a hint that a full element so don’t let that put you off if that’s not your scene. The main elements are the sweet and smooth.

It is a restrained enough beer that you could manage a couple without being sickly, but it is still full of flavour.  It is a sign of the more old school brewers influences that this seems very well designed to take full advantage of the real ale and cask style to give a distinctive full bodied character.

Overall, yeah, if you can try it, do. It is extremely good.  Maybe I am being biased by the fact that it is such a big collaboration, or maybe by the fact that it is such a limited run. I can’t promise I’m not being influenced by that, all I can say is I really enjoyed this beer and I hope you do to.

Background: A collaboration between (deep breath) Bristol Beer Factory, GWB, Bath Ales (Which oddly, is in Bristol), RCH, Zero Degrees and Arbor Ales. That is some serious talent there.  I had to do some ringing around to hunt this down. Many thanks to James, the manager at The Salamander, who contacted me to let me know that it was on cask. (As of today it is available, there’s not much of it so if you want to try it I would advise going right away). Due to not having my camera on me at the time the photos are from a set taken on BBF’s Grain Barge – thanks to my mates for help with that one.

Zero Degrees: Pale Ale (England: American Pale Ale: 4.6% ABV)

Visual: Burnished brown with a decent off white bubbled head.

Nose:  Distinct citrus, lemon and lime. Light hops dashed over the citrus base.  Touch of grapefruit intermixed.

Body: Bitter. Lemon and citrus filled, yet chalk textured.  Lots of toffee and rich chocolate at the back.

Finish:  Long lasting fudge and chocolate with bitter and hops mixed in. Ends as pure unsweetened bitter chocolate. Grapefruit and mango.

Conclusion: So I can see how the buzz built up around the Zero Degree Brewery now. (Well buzz about their beer, the location and food was already pretty evident).

Initially I found it unimpressive on the front, but as it winds towards the end rich fudge and chocolate just fills your mouth, almost evaporating into the flavour. Late in the pint subtle grapefruit comes out, giving the impression of a careful mix between American and English pale ales, with impressive results.

It’s not perfect, a tad overly chalky for one, but it crafts together two distinct styles and is well worth a try. Even better its suits the food of the ZD restaurant as well. A beer that starts with traditional styling and builds to craft ale trapping in a quality brewed mix.

Background: I was amused when investigating this beer post tasting when I saw the official description say “similar to an English bitter, but in the style adapted by the craft-brewers of the U.S. West Coast” a description I swear I had not seen before writing the note. As with Zero Gegrees Mango, this was drunk during my first visit to their brewpub restaurant after hearing good mutterings about their beer. Notably, the location was very hospitable, open and friendly which lent a good feel to the evening, and definitely helped me enjoy the beer.  The openly visible brewing equipment at the heart of the restaurant was especially a nice touch.   Thanks To Dylan for his two Photos used in the two Zero Degree tasting notes.

Zero Degrees: Mango (England: Fruit Belgium Witbier: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy darkened lemon orange with a dashing of a head.

Nose: Dusty, light mango, citrus and wheat. Pineapple. Light cooked chicken. Lemon sharp.

Body:  Very sweet. Golden syrup and mango. Fizzy feel- lemon sherbet in texture. Not overly carbonated. Traditional lemonade. Honeycomb. Slight chalky texture near end.

Finish: Lemon sherbet, traditional lemonade. Bananas. Very sweet.

Conclusion: So I finally get to try Zero Degree beers, and decided to start with something light from their fruit beer range.  Its almost soft drink style in its light fizzy body (but without the mass of carbonation thankfully).  It does however do this without losing its distinct beer texture, and does come in with a decent degree of real fruit flavour.

Not complex, nor challenging like the fruit lambics. It is very easy going. A decent first drink of the night, or a summer session ale it feels. Very evident in the mango.

After deliberation I come to the conclusion that this is basically mango juice wheat shandy.  Not a high class fancy beer, but refreshing and low enough ABV to session.

A final thought as I finished the beer was that this would work as a good introduction for strident non beer fans, its just beer textured enough to acclimatise them, yet fruit juice enough to make it easily drinkable.   Fine for all beer pimps on a mission to convert.

Background: I have not tried Zero Degree beers before, but had heard repeated mutterings of their good reputation and the quality of the food at their brewpub so thought it was time to give them a try.  These bears were drunk at the brewpub with friends, alongside some light cooked snacks.

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