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Honest Brew Fresh Start Low Alcohol IPA

For this review, this beer is a little different.

This is not a typical beer that you can pick up on the high street online, but is an HonestBrew special. In collaboration with Thornbridge Brewery, this beer is exclusively available through retailer HonestBrew.

On the back label, there is a small intro to this collaboration, which is written below:

We teamed up with HonestBrew to create Fresh Start, a fantastic new low alcohol IPA. This beer is packed with hugely flavourable and aromatic Citra and Mosaic hops from the USA. Expect a rounded citrus character with tropical stone fruit present on the nose. The body is crisp with a balanced bitterness to finish.

This came as part as a multipack order we made just as we were getting going with beer reviews on this site, but now is time to put it to the test.

Fresh Start Low Alcohol Initial Review

From the face of it, this bottle doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of a non-alcoholic beer; no blue text or block colouring, or noticeable ‘low alcohol’ labelling. The yellow design on the brown bottle looks smart, similar in design to other Thornbridge bottles.

thornbridge x honest brew fresh start

Upon closer inspection, it clearly states ‘Low Alcohol IPA’ and ‘0.5% Vol’, but noticeable enough that you could be picked up for it at a social occasion.

Opening the bottle, I’m expecting tropical stone fruit aromas. Without pouring it, there is a fruity aroma, but not obvious enough to pick out which. If any, I am going for plum. Pouring into a glass helps somewhat, but any fruity aroma is overshadowed by malt.

Once poured, it is light golden and visibly carbonated. There is just a small head which makes me hope it is not too fizzy.

For the taste, the first thing of note is the strong taste from the Citra hops. Of course, this gives strong citrus taste that is characteristic of American-type beers. After the citrus taste dissipates, there is a definite bitterness that kicks in, somewhat too much if anything. Whereas with an alcoholic IPA, you would get the kick from the alcohol, this is missing here, and it makes it feel somewhat empty.

For the mouthfeel, it feels thin, with reasonable carbonation from the bubbles.

As IPAs go, this is quite a light one, but has the expected characteristics. If you like American IPAs, this is likely one for you.

Once you’ve had a few mouthfuls, you forget there’s no alcohol, and it becomes a pleasurable drink in its own right.

Where Can I Buy HonestBrew X Thornbridge Fresh Start?

This beer seems to have been a one-off collaboration beer that is no longer available.

Both HonestBrew and Thornbridge have pages listing this beer, but is unavailable to purchase from both sites.

Fresh Start Ingredients, Nutritional Information and Calories

The ingredients list is as follows:

Water, Barley, Wheat, Hops and Yeast.

Both barley and wheat are allergens in this beer.

Nutritional Information
Per 100mL
Energy (KJ / KCal)32 / 8
Fat (g)<0.1
Of Which Saturates (g)<0.1
Carbohydrate (g)0.8
Of Which Sugars (g)<0.1
Protein (g)0.1
Salt (g)<0.1
Alcohol Content0.5%

The Verdict

Overall, this collaboration beer from HonestBrew and Thornbridge is good, but nothing too exciting.

The taste profile of this IPA is definitely American, which is obvious from the overpowering taste of Citra hops. Apart from that, the beer feels a bit empty and lacking any full rounded body or taste.

I’m glad I got to try it, but not too disappointed that it is no longer available to purchase. I would definitely entertain purchasing future low alcohol or non alcoholic beers from Thornbridge in the future and hope for something more exciting!