Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects

Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects

A hoppy lager with an unexpected piney aroma and pleasantly bitter finish. The beer gets its golden, bready sweetness from dry-hopping with Citra and Amarillo hops

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This is the first nolo beer I ever had on draught. It was at Brudenell Social Club whilst I was there to see the brilliant reggae artist Kofee with my mate, so yes, this one is tied to a good and special memory. That being said, because of the intoxicating (in a dopamine sense, not alcohol) nature of that particular concert, I can’t remember how it tasted, it’s like my memory was erased. Most sinister, I can only assume I had picked up some valuable knowledge from tasting that beer that either the world, or much more likely my own brain was not ready for. This time shall be different.

During an interview with Carlsberg Marston – the distributor for Brooklyn Brewery in the UK, I mentioned my fondness for Brooklyn Special Effects and the Sales Manager said they enjoyed using it at conferences to test whether or not visitors can differentiate Brooklyn Special Effects from its alcoholic counterpart. In a surprise that I saw coming, they could not, which is pretty cool and a good testament to the beer’s quality.

Brooklyn Brewery brews proudly out of Brooklyn, New York and Special Effects is an award-winning nolo brew. Let’s see how it stacks up!

Special Effects – First Impressions

Webster defines ‘Special Effects’ as…Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that to you and if I ever do you have my permission to fling velvet at me, the worst punishment known to mankind. Special Effects is the opposite of velvet, it’s a unique and widely available nolo beer e.g. I had a few over the weekend at Headrow House

It is a dark amber, coca-cola coloured lager. The nose jumps right out of the bottle/glass. Much like me when I have to pee, this beer hops. The hops have this nice and dank piny smell. To some, dank smells bad but I think it’s a sign of the hop quality/flavour. There’s also a light maltiness when I really inhale the brew. 

Special Effects has a foamy, bubbly and quite dominant mouth-feel. It’s not necessarily a silky smooth lager, it’s more spiky and even rubbery (meant in a positive way). The taste matches up with the nose and hits in two phases, 1. That’salotofhops and 2. That’s earthy. The flavour is piny and resiny and I can best describe it as tasting how tree-bark smells. In this sense, Special Effects is grounding and appropriate both for concerts, for nature and for your basic socials. Personally, I find the maltiness on the heavy side, but I still rate it highly and it’s one of my favourite brews to find available at pubs/concert venues etc…Give it a go the next time you see it out and I guarantee you’ll get a wonderful nolo buzz.

Where to Buy Brooklyn Alcohol Free Special Effects

You can find bottles of Brooklyn Special Effects at many of your local UK grocers, though maybe not at the express locations. You can also find bottles online at the following… 

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Wise Bartender
Wise Bartender
Dry Drinker
Dry Drinker

Special Effects Price

The price of Brooklyn Special Effects varies depending on where you buy it from and of course, how many bottles you buy. I bought 2 bottles from Wisebartender for £2.19 each.

Brooklyn Special Effects Nutritional Information, Ingredients and Calories

Brooklyn Special Effects is vegan nolo beer with the following ingredients:

Water, Malted Barley, Maltose, Hop extracts, Natural flavouring

Nutritional InformationPer 100mL
Energy (KJ / KCal)121 / 29
Fat (g)0.0
Of Which Saturates (g)0.0
Carbohydrate (g)6.3
Of Which Sugars (g)2.9
Protein (g)<0.5
Salt (g)0


TLDR: Brooklyn Special Effects is a vegan nolo beer brewed by Brooklyn Brewery which is distributed by Carlsberg Marston in the UK. The brewery challenges its patrons to see if they can taste the difference between Special Effects and its alcoholic counterpart, most cannot.

I rated this brew 4 out of 5 stars. It ranked highly because of its immense hoppiness, earthy flavours and sessionability. The only mark against it for me was its maltiness, I found it slightly overbearing.

This brew can be found in many pubs in the UK including Greene King pubs. It can also be purchased online at places such as Wise Bartender for £2.19 per bottle. Special Effects is low calorie and a healthy alternative to beer on a night out. Give it a try the next time and enjoy one excellent nolo placebo.

Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects Details

Drink Style
Dietary Information

A hoppy lager with an unexpected piney aroma and pleasantly bitter finish. The beer gets its golden, bready sweetness from dry-hopping with Citra and Amarillo hops

Value For Money
3.3 Overall Rating
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Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects