“Stand Easy” is a 0.5% New England India pale ale from London’s Sambrook’s Brewery. In this review, get tasting notes and info on ingredients, calories, carbs, sugar and stockists.
Can you be a brewery if you don’t have a brewery?
Setting up a commercial brewing operation is hard – and expensive. Therefore, many “breweries” start off as “cuckoo” or “gypsy” breweries, which is rather romantic way of saying they rent out the equipment – and expertise – of established outfits.
Leeds’ Northern Monk started out this way. Denmark’s Mikkeller still produces beer at partner sites. Loads of specialist non-alcoholic breweries have done or still do too, including Big Drop, Force Majeure, Infinite Session and Drop Bear.
Through its partner brewing and packaging company, one brewery that offers these services to smaller and fledgling brewers – including non-alcoholic brewers – is Sambrook’s in West London.
Founder Duncan Sambrook set up the brewery in 2008, partly as a reaction to struggling to find any independently brewed local beers at a London beer festival. In those days, there were just a handful of breweries in London. Now there’s in excess of 100.
The brewery soon outgrew its first home and re-located to the former Young’s Brewery in Wandsworth in 2020 – a site that has been associated with brewing since 1533.
Sambrook’s produces a modest-sized range of cask, keg, canned and bottled beers. “Stand Easy” (0.5%) is the brewery’s first non-alcoholic beer. It’s labelled as a New England India pale ale (NEIPA).
In common with many non-alcoholic ales and NEIPAs, there’s some extra grains – wheat and oats – alongside barley malt in Stand Easy.
The hop varieties are Azacca, Wai-iti and Northern Brewer.
Calories, carbs and sugar
Many non-alcoholic NEIPAs contain a lot of calories and sugar and Stand Easy is no different.
There’s 30 calories and 6.9g of carbohydrates per 100ml. 4.6g of those carbs are made up of sugar.
Flavour, appearance and mouthfeel
Unusually for a NEIPA, Stand Easy poured translucent Amber with little haze on my first can. But my second can was definitely cloudier.
There’s loads of carbonation, which produces a luxurious ring of foam that sticks around as you empty your glass.
If you’re a fan of Mikkeller’s non-alcoholic beers, you’ll find the initial grapefruit aroma familiar. This is joined by lemon, lime and passion fruit, although these struggle to get on an even-footing with the grapefruit.
There’s also a little earthiness along with pale malt in the background. And a touch of sulphur, which blends nicely with the sweet flavours to create a balanced aroma.
The carbonation isn’t too harsh and the light to medium body has a chalky quality, which provides a dry finish.
Malt flavours are more prominent in the taste with caramel joining a sweet malt foundation. In another switch from the aroma, mango and peach are the fruit flavours present on tasting
The bitterness is light and doesn’t feature until mid-sip. The caramel grows stronger in the finish.
This is a solid, almost familiar, non-alcoholic beer.
There are some great flavours in the aroma and taste, and the mouthfeel and body is excellent.