Something's been brewing over at BentSpoke and it's something a little different for the Canberra beer company.
The brewer has just released FreeWheeler, its first non-alcoholic beer.
Filled with all the hoppy goodness that we've come to expect from a BentSpoke IPA, it's fully fermented, just like a normal beer, with citrus and slight caramel malt flavours coming through.
"We've always been about creating hop-forward beers - we love showcasing the flavours and characters that come from different hops from all around the world but obviously using lots of local Australian ones as well," BentSpoke co-owner and head brewer Richard Watkins says.
"And the non-alcoholic beer market is going to be an important beer market going forward for breweries. It's taken off around the world - Heineken Zero is now one of their bigger products.
"So we felt when we looked at the current non-alcohol products in the Australian market that there was a bit of a gap there in terms of getting one [that] tastes basically like a normal beer."
What's different about this particular non-alcoholic beer is the filtration process.
BentSpoke uses a filter system from brewery equipment manufacturer DME, based in Canada. Effectively it takes the flavour from an alcoholic beer, which can then be rehydrated with deaerated water and then carbonated to make a non-alcoholic option.
"So we brew a normal beer at three-and-a-half per cent, and then we remove all that flavour from the beer and then rehydrate that flavour into a non-alcohol product," Watkins says.
"And what it does is it keeps that full beer flavour live and fresh. It allows us to best replicate what a normal beer would taste like.
"It was a challenge and it took us a while to get it working really well and create a product that we're really happy with but I feel like we've been able to do that and early feedback says that we've been able to do that as well."
In a way, the reputation BentSpoke has created for itself over the years - of being a brewer that tends to ride the top of Australia's biggest beer poll, the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers - has put more pressure on their entry into the non-alcoholic market. They needed a non-alcoholic option that tasted like its alcoholic counterparts.
And that's why BentSpoke took their time with it - to make sure FreeWheeler still had that great taste we've come to expect from the brewer.
"We definitely experimented getting the malt base right so that we had some body in the beer," Watkins says.
"It's very hard to create lots of body in a non-alcoholic beer because you haven't got that alcohol to create some of that. So we worked hard with our malts to try and get that malty sort of character.
"Once you have the malts, you can layer the hops in on top of that. So we trialled a number of different hops and settled for three hops that we felt gave us our best hop flavour that is more reminiscent of an IPA."
Will this be the beginning of a range of non-alcoholic options from BentSpoke?
All signs are pointing to yes.
"I think that this is the start and we'll just see how this goes," Watkins says.
"And then from there we'll be able to work out what product's next and whether it's a cider or whether it's another beer, we're a bit unsure yet but now that we really understand the process to do it, I think we can definitely expand our range."
We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.