Until recently, brewers didn’t bother too much with making mid-strength beers.
Instead of looking to brew a beer under 4 per cent, they wanted to play in the high-alcohol end of the spectrum and make crazy beers that pushed the 10 per cent mark – or went over it.
Part of that reason is that high-alcohol beers are easier to make than low-alcohol beers. The alcohol effectively camouflages all but the most obvious flaws, so when a brewer makes a low-alcohol beer they’ve got to be skilful as there’s nothing to hide behind.
There’s also the money-making option. You can drink several sub 4 per cent beers without getting all that squiffy. But one 10 per cent beer might set you back a bit. From a brewer’s perspective, that means if they make a good sub 4 per center, people can buy and drink more of them in a session.
More recently brewers have woken up to the bottom end of the alcohol spectrum. And one of the most spectacular examples of this is Bridge Road Brewers’ Little Bling. It’s part of the Bridge Road family that includes Bling IPA and Bling Bling Imperial IPA.
Little Bling is a “mid-strength IPA” that clocks in at 3.5 per cent alcohol. But if you drank it without knowing that, I guarantee you’d think it was a full-strength beer.
Most mid-strengths have a bit of thinness in the mouthfeel, caused by using less malt in the brewing. Aside from the slightest hint at the front of the palate, Little Bling has no thinness at all.
What it does have is plenty of flavour and bitterness from the piney-resinous hops. And it’s all so well-balanced too.
If you want to try it for yourself, Little Bling is easy to find. I picked up mine from Dan Murphy’s.