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 Bombardier Light Lager.
Bombardier Light Lager.

Cape Town micro-brewery takes on light beer market


Issued by HWB Communications - May 9th, 11:33

For decades, beer connoisseurs the world over have held heated debates over which is better; a lager or a light beer. 

In the world of beer connoisseurs, light beers have grown in popularity - often seen as the drink of choice for those wishing to manage their alcohol consumption or calorie intake.

Part of the thinking is that by opting for light beers, which has a significantly lower alcohol content, it will allow consumers to drink more beers in a shorter period without becoming intoxicated.

Despite a number of big brands claiming to be the creators of the light beer, the true father of light beer was Dr. Joseph L. Owades, a biochemist and Rheingold Brewing Company employee who, in 1967, formulated a beer with reduced carbs and calories by removing starch.

His creation was dubbed Gablinger’s Diet Beer. While the concept was great, the beer itself, unfortunately, was not. But the concept was quickly lapped up by major beer companies adding it to their product lines.

While many South Africans have appreciated light beers, a new entrant to the market plans to shake things up. Enter Noon Gun Brewery, a family-powered and “forged their own path” micro-brewery in Muizenberg, who is targeting the lighter side of the beer market.

A recent survey on SA craft beer claimed that pale lagers remain the most popular beer style. Leonard Henning, GM of Noon Gun Brewery, believes that there is a large market eager for light beer in South Africa.

Henning explains that South Africans were brought up with the proverbial “lager in a hand”.

“People are used to crispy clear lagers or pale beers, but this is slowly changing to include other styles of beer.”

He points out that the market is eager. “There are many sports enthusiasts who like craft beers, but with the high alcohol content and energy per millilitre, it makes them unable to enjoy as much as they like. With the introduction of the Bombardier Light Lager we can offer the best of both worlds; a great tasting craft beer, but with lower alcohol and reduced kilojoules, making it a perfect beer for sports enthusiasts, people watching their weight or even those who just like to enjoy a few pints without getting overly intoxicated.”

But what makes a light beer different?

Arno Matthee, Master Brewer of Noon Gun Brewery, says that, generally, any light beer has less alcohol and overall kilojoules compared to its standard version in the market.

“Light lager, sometimes spelled ‘lite’ lager, is a scaled-down version of the parent lager. Normally about 1% – 2% lower in alcohol by volume (ABV).”

Bombardier Light is around 40% “lighter” than Noon Gun’s standard lager, at only 3.3% ABV it already has 1.5% less alcohol than our standard lager.

“As for energy, it comes in at 132kj/ 100ml, which is quite low while maintaining a great tasting beer,” he points out.

There are also differences in the way that larger beer manufacturers make light beer in comparison to some microbreweries.

“Big manufacturers normally use corn syrup or sugar to make a light beer as these are more fermentable in larger batches. For our light beer we use rice,” explains Henning.

If the global trends are anything to go by, light beer is certainly going to continue to gain traction in the local beer marketplace.

The Bombardier Light Lager is currently available at several outlets and retailers, for example, The Bay Restaurant at False Bay Rugby Club, The Press Bar and Grill Sea Point and Craft Burger Bar Sea Point.

As for retailers, you can find Bombardier Light Lager at a number of outlets, including; Liquor City Claremont, Tops Welgedagcht, Aurora Tops Durbanville and The Village Tops, to name a few. 

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