I asked for a smooth beer and when I got exactly what I wanted I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale is a very decent nolo beer. It’s smooth and compliments food well, particularly anything carb-heavy like pizza, pancakes or sandwiches. It strongly reminds me of what men and women and children (yolo) drank with their breakfast during Shakespearean times when clean water was hard to find. It’s a good water alternative, a great soft-drink alternative and an amazing Bud Zero alternative but it’s a bit too close to water to do anything special. Whilst it is inoffensive and refreshing, it doesn’t have a great deal of personality or hoppiness so it’s best to drink along with a meal rather than to savour on its own.
When I was staring at my second can of Minus looking to conjure up some first impressions or rather second impressions, I realised I had been pronouncing the name, ‘Minus’ wrong and that I hadn’t really understood the beer’s name at all. Another beer review off to a rip-roaring and drama-filled start.
In an attempt to respect the Norwegian origins of the beer, I was pronouncing it ‘Mee-nus’ instead of ‘Mai-nus’. I’m not entirely sure where my pronunciation originated, certainly not from the Nordic language courses I never took.
Either way, I got there in the end. Minus is an intriguing name for a nolo beer because beer is generally advertised as an adder of things: adding confidence, adding calories, adding delusions of grandeur. For this brew, I interpret the Minus name as saying two things:
1. That this beer is so light that the act of drinking it alone burns more calories than the beer itself has. And…
2. That this beer strips away any alcohol-fuelled delusions so what you taste is what you get.
Minus comes from Aegir Brewery, one of the first craft breweries in Norway established in picturesque, fjord-heavy Flåm, Norway in 2004. Aegir has a rare combination of being forward thinking beer and gin-wise whilst still paying tributes to its Norse roots with their brewery named after Norse God of the Seas Aegir, and their brewpub giving patrons the epic feeling of being in a cosy Viking longhouse. Minus is Aegir’s only nolo offering from an impressively diverse range of beers so I’m keen to let my tongue have a crack.
Pistonhead Flat Tire Alcohol Free Lager Initial Review
Is there such a thing as too smooth…
The Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale is one smooth af customer. It smells starchy, light, a bit malty and has a slight tanginess reminiscent of citrus hops. Despite this, it doesn’t smell particularly hoppy.
When I taste it, my first thought is that it’s inoffensive and aggressively smooth. I can appreciate what Minus was going for here, to be a simple nolo pale ale, something along the lines of a nolo bitter. In that respect, Minus definitely achieved the goal by being super-drinkable, not sweet and slightly bitter. However, it does feel like it’s missing something…
Minus doesn’t taste particularly hoppy. I wouldn’t say it’s as watery as something like Heineken 0.0 but it does feel closer to water than I like a nolo beer to be. It’s difficult to savour a beer that is so, so smooth and simple. It’s sort of hard to go beyond saying…’It’s pretty decent and isn’t exactly going to blow your socks off, which might be what you’re after if you have a bad habit of losing socks.’
I will say that the aftertaste is very satisfying… With candy, you get an aftertaste of sweetness and you know you just ingested something that was bad for you and bad for your body because your mouth and body are telling you so. With Minus, the aftertaste is telling you that you made a healthy choice for your body.
Aegir beers are meant to be paired with food. So naturally, I decided to drink Minus on its own. However, after a medium experience with my first can of Minus, I thought better of it and decided to drink one Minus with food and one without to keep this review as comprehensive as possible.
With 2 scones, the Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale serves as a great accompaniment. It reminds me of how folks would drink an ale with breakfast in Shakespearian times because water wasn’t clean. In that sense, Minus washes down carby foods like scones and pizza beautifully so it would serve you very well if you wanted a beer with your meal.
Where to buy Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale
Aegir Minus pale ale is available in most Norwegian grocery stores, restaurants and pubs if you happen to live there or are visiting.
Otherwise, you can also buy cans of Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale online easily from one of the following sources:
- Craft Metropolis
The Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale price varies depending on where you buy it from and how many cans you buy. I bought 2 cans from Wisebartender for £1.99 per can.
Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale Nutritional Information, Ingredients and Calories
The ingredients for Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale are:
Water, Malted Barley, Hops and Yeast.
This beer is gluten free.
Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale Calories are unsurprisingly few given how light it tastes and smells.
|Nutritional Information||Per 100mL|
|Energy (KJ / KCal)||42 / 10|
|Of Which Saturates (g)||0.05|
|Of Which Sugars (g)||0.1|
Final Summary of Pistonhead Flat Tire
TLDR: Minus Alcohol Free Pale Ale is the only nolo offering from Norwegian based craft brewery, Aegir Brewery.
Minus, itself, is an extremely smooth albeit uninspiring nolo pale ale. It is super-duper light even compared to other nolo beers and has an ABV of 0.5%. It is also gluten-free. I drank two cans of Minus, one on its own and one with scones because Aegir is big on food and beer combinations.
When I drank Minus on its own, I appreciated how smooth and drinkable and refreshing it was. However, I found that it was a bit too close to water in taste and didn’t linger or leave a lasting impression. When I drank Minus with scones, I found it much more enjoyable because it added something extra to the eating experience. Minus is a good nolo in the sense that it enhances the experience of eating foods, particularly carbs such as pizza and pasta.
I gave it 3.5 stars out of 5. If you are someone who really enjoys a bitter, particularly with food, then this is a good nolo to invest some fridge-space in. Outside of Norway, you can purchase Minus online for £1.99 a can. Enjoy.
- Aggressively smooth
- Bubbly and a refreshing and bitter aftertaste that lingers in the back of the throat
- Compliments light food well
- Not a lot of personality
- Slightly watery