“Northern Light” is a 0.5% pale ale from Yorkshire’s Saltaire Brewery. Get tasting notes, plus info on calories, carbs, sugar, ingredients and stockists, in this review.
I’m calling it – the UK’s capital of non-alcoholic beer isn’t London. It’s Yorkshire.
Over the years, “God’s own country” has given us everything from Wensleydale cheese to Sean Bean.
Now – thanks to traditional breweries branching out into sub-0.5% beer – it’s gradually becoming a low and no hotbed.
The Yorkshire breweries brewing non-alcoholic beer include Hambleton Ales, Leeds Brewery, Northern Monk, Sam Smith’s and Ilkley Brewery. (Oh how I wish I had such a selection to choose from here in the south of the UK.)
Another brewer to add to that list is Saltaire Brewery, which is based in Shipley and named after the model village built by Sir Titus Salt in the mid-1800s to house his workers.
Producing its first beers in 2005, Saltaire now brews upwards of five million pints a year. It launched its first non-alcoholic beer, “Northern Light” (0.5%), at the start of 2021 for the Dry January campaign.
Northern Light is the brainchild of development brewer Rob Cooke. Rob previously worked at Brewdog, a brewery known for its impressive selection of no and low beers.
As well as water, barley malt and hops, Northern Light contains oats and lactose (milk sugar). So it’s not suitable for vegans.
There’s only one type of hop – Citra – in this one.
It’s not gluten reduced, so not suitable if you’re on a gluten-free diet.
Calories, carbs and sugar
Unfortunately, there’s no info on the label about the calorie, carbohydrate and sugar content of this beer.
So it might be one to miss if you’re watching what you eat and drink.
Flavours, appearance and mouthfeel
Northern Light is dark amber with a slight haze. There are signs of loads of carbonation, producing a creamy off-white head.
The aroma is sweet and features a backing of caramelly pale roasted malts alongside sherbet, passionfruit, grapefruit and a floral lychee character. There’s a smidge of sulphur in the background, but it’s handily disguised by the sweeter aromas.
The body is full and the carbonation is light, kept in check by the fuller mouthfeel.
The flavours on tasting are less varied than in the aroma, but its simplicity doesn’t detract much from the experience.
The main flavour – presumably pushing through from the malts – is a light liquorice. But don’t be put off if you’re not into your Allsorts as it balances nicely with a standard lightly roasted malty flavour.
Little of those fruity flavours from the aroma have made it into the taste, but I didn’t really miss them.
The bitterness is low, but it lingers nicely.
Saltaire Brewery is doing the UK capital of non-alcoholic beer’s reputation no harm with Northern Light.
An impressive mouthfeel and body plus ample flavours in the aroma and taste makes it a handy one to have in your NA beer line up.
Key info – Saltaire Brewery Northern Light
- Name: Northern Light
- Brewery: Saltaire Brewery
- Style: pale ale
- Alcohol content: 0.5%
- Calories: unknown
- Carbohydrates: unknown
- Sugar: unknown
- Ingredients: water, hops, barley, oats, lactose
- Country: UK
- Dispense: bottle (330ml)
- Selected stockists (UK): Light Drinks* (use the code STEADY at checkout to get 5% off your Light Drinks order), Saltaire Brewery