I like a drink. I'm not a big boozer, but I do love a glass of beer, lager or wine at the end of the day. As I've only just had a baby, I've not had a drink since I found out I was pregnant in September. That. Is. A. Long. Time.
I never found it difficult to avoid drink when I was pregnant, but now that I've got a newborn and with it the breastfeeding, lack of sleep and endless work, I'm starting to feel that having a drink at the end of the day would be the best thing in the world.
The other day, I buckled under the pressure of a bottle of 'very fine red wine' my husband had bought. I'd fed my son, then had dinner. I had half a glass of the wine (Oh. My. God. It was BEAUTIFUL), expecting that I'd not have to feed him for another 2 hours by which time I'd have metabolised the alcohol. Nope. The second I finished the wine, my little one woke up wanting to feed. I'm sure it would have been fine to feed him, but I'm a normal, paranoid mum, so I drank 3 pints of water and walked him around for an hour with him crying in the hope that most of the alcohol would be gone... I vowed never to even think of drinking again until I've finished breastfeeding...and shouted my husband for having the cheek to buy such a nice wine when he KNEW I shouldn't drink!So you can imagine how pleased I was this week to get some Hoppers - the non-alcoholic alternative to beer by Juice Brewery. Like Jenny Cornish, "if I'm going to drink beer, I want it to BE beer"... But after my wine debacle the other night, I really don't want to even think about alcohol right now.
I decided to taste test the three Hoppers flavours -- Citrus, Blackcurrant and Apple -- with my 12 year old son and my mum.
First up: Citrus flavour.
I told my son to sniff it first, he said, 'I've got a blocked up nose, so I can't really smell things.' Not much help. really. I thought it smelled 'hoppy', my mum thought it smelled a bit like 'beer and apple juice'.
After the first sip my son declared that he preferred Citrus Hoppers to beer. 'What beer have you had?!' I asked. 'Guinness. That's too bitter. Tiger beer. That's not very bitter. Oh! And I had a taste of a Black Velvet which is champagne and Guinness.'
I didn't want to dwell on wondering where exactly my son had tasted a Black Velvet, so asked my mum what she thought of it. 'It tastes better than it smells. It's rather refreshing. It would be nice on a hot day.'
On to the Blackcurrant flavour.
My son has never liked blackcurrant, he hates Ribena and gives me all the black Wine Gums. I am a huge blackcurrant fan. My mum is American, so doesn't really have much experience with blackcurrant, so I wasn't sure what she'd make of it.
My son had his first sip and said, "This is GOOD! And it looks like a dark beer!" My mum tried some and thought it was too sweet and preferred the citrus, though said, 'I'd choose this over a cola any day." I thought it wasn't blackcurrant-y enough. I told them that I thought the citrus one was more refreshing, though the blackcurrant one might taste better with a dash of blackcurrant cordial and my son, after he'd finished his glass, said, 'Actually, I might prefer a Ribena to that.'
On to the Apple flavour.
Immediately, this looked more like lager, it even had a good head of foam on it. We all agreed that it smelled most like lager out of the three of them - there was a definite smell of hops.
My son thought it tasted like cider - though he said he'd never tried cider, so was just guessing. There was a definite apple undertone to it though. My mum said that if she wanted something with more of a lager taste, she'd choose the apple one, but still preferred the citrus flavour. I thought it would be perfect on a hot day over some ice - which isn't really a 'beer thing', but I felt it needed to be just that much colder to be perfect.
In the end, I liked Apple the best, then Citrus, then Blackcurrant. My son and mum liked Citrus, Apple, then Blackcurrant.
All-in-all, I thought Hoppers was rather nice and look forward to drinking some more! It's certainly not a beer clone, but it's got a much more grown-up taste than plain old fruit juice. I'm fed up drinking lime and soda or orange juice, so Hoppers will be a welcome addition to my non-alcohol-drinking life.
For more information on Hopper visit Juice Brewery.