Bittersweet Perfection

Plus a hoppy Minnesotan IPA and an NA NC State Cocktail

Wotcha! Back in the ModSub saddle with three new drink recommendations after a lovely break back in the U.K. Welcome to all the new readers!

In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: Summit Brewery - Nialas Non-Alcoholic IPA

  • 🥃 SPIRIT: Bark & Bitter - Novara

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Carolina Cherry Bounce

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Read time: 6 mins 47 sec

NAN

Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: New collab from Imagine Nation Brewing and nonprofit Tell Us Something in the form of OUTspoken Non-Alcoholic Pale. (link)

  • 🍷 WINE: Proxies have teamed up with Nomadica to put out a new Bubbly White (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAILS: Looking for an Italian Spritz this summer? Check out the Riboli Family Wines nonalcoholic version of their new RTD Spritz Del Conte in 750 ml bottles. (link)

  • 🍷 WINE: Florida’s Bodvár House of Rosé are introducing Bodvár No 0 to the market. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: A new take on Bauhaus Brew Lab’s Nah Hazy IPA has just been released. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Not one but two new beers from a Deschutes Brewery collaboration with Patagonia Provisions coming September 1. (link)

  • 🍹 SPIRITS: Not sure if we’ll see this in the U.S. or not, but Crossip have brought back their Blazing Pineapple for a limited time this summer. (link)

ON THE BAR

In each edition of The Modern Substitute, ON THE BAR focuses on three drinks you should be on the look out for. We’ll give you a quick rundown of our thoughts on the drink, who makes it, where to buy it or, in the case of mocktails, how to make it.

Please note: due to popularity or limited runs, some drinks may be out of stock - please check with the beverage companies for updates.

NA Beer

Summit Brewery - Nialas Non-Alocholic IPA

  • St. Paul, MN

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: summitbrewing.com • store locator • online stores

  • Price: $9.99-$12.99 (6-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: I had a quite lovely moment of serendipity a couple of weeks ago. I was by the river, sipping a Californian NA beer, talking to folks about Oregon NA beer when the phone rang, and a friend asked me if I wanted her to pick up some Minnesotan NA beer. "Well, yes please," I said. The nonalcoholic beer scene in Minnesota is well-regarded, so I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to try some out.

Summit Brewing Company has been around for donkey’s years. They opened the year I left school, and if that needs perspective, I’m starting the last slide toward retirement. Even Mrs. ModSub mentioned she used to drink Summit beers when she was in graduate school in Minnesota. In the nearly 40 years since Mark Stutrud first brewed Summit Extra Pale Ale, the brewery’s flagship beer, the company has remained independently owned and pretty much doing things the way they want to.

In September 2022, the brewery announced their first entries in the NA beer space with Nialas Non-Alcoholic IPA and Nialas Non-Alcoholic Irish-Style Stout. The culmination of three years of development, Nialis (pronounced nee-uh-lis) is the Gaelic word for zero or nothing, and a tip of the hat to resident Irishman Damian McCann, chief brewing officer, and the person tasked with the “toughest projects of his career.”

The Nialis IPA was the gift my friend brought back from Minneapolis, picked up from Marigold, the city’s first nonalcoholic bottle shop. If you like your IPAs hop-forward, then this is one you need to add to your "must-try" list.

The beer pours with a reasonable cloudiness and a beautiful head that sticks around for a lot longer than most. On the back end, the malts are allowed to come into play before a gentle bitterness sees things out. Halfway through consuming the beer, there is an impressive lacing on my pint glass. I’m loving this IPA. Super tasty and refreshing. Very impressed.

Both beers are available now in five states (Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin) and, of course, on the brewery’s online store. Search them out. You’ll be glad you did. Now I just need to persuade my friend to bring me back some of that stout!

How does Summit Brewing Co., describe their Nialas Non-Alcoholic IPA: Discover Nialas Non-Alcoholic IPA! A classic hop-forward India Pale Ale, this NA beer boasts flavors of toast and English biscuits with aromas of apricot, tangerine and mixed berries. Brewed with a complex blend of imported malts and experimental US hops, it finishes clean and bitter. With less than 0.5% ABV it’s perfect for exploring all the possibilities your day has to offer.

Learn more about Summit Brewing Co. at summitbrewing.com

NA Spirits

Novara & Tonic

BARK & BITTER - NOVARA APERITIVO

  • Ontario, Canada

  • Calories: 30

  • Sugar: 8g

  • Serving: 25 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: barkandbitter.com • store locator • a little harder to find in the U.S. but definitely out there

  • Price: $37.95

The ModSub thoughts: I have this odd habit with things I truly cherish. I shy away from them. It can take weeks, months, or even years before I finally go near them. For instance, if I get a t-shirt from a band I love, it's not unusual for me to keep it stashed away in a drawer for six months or longer. Just last weekend, I wore a shirt from The National for the first time since buying it at Red Rocks in August 2016. I've realized that I delay using these items because I don’t want them to disappear. The longer they remain untouched, the further I push out the date when they will no longer be part of my life.

So, I must admit, when I got my hands on a bottle of Bark & Bitter’s Novara Aperitivo, I hesitated to open it for weeks, knowing it would mark the beginning of the end. It's absurd, really, because I could simply buy another bottle. Welcome to my world of peculiar habits.

I first sampled the multi-award winning Novara at their Mindful Drinking Fest booth earlier this year, and it was love at first sip. I’m an easy mark when it comes to a bitter aperitivo, and this beautiful long bottle with its gorgeous label was easy to be drawn in by. The flavor is derived from blending a citrus distillate with a combination of eight botanicals and herbs, delivering a lovely balance of gentle sweetness and herby bitterness.

Enzoni

Novara is a spirit that is arguably just as appealing straight as it is mixed. Certainly, it can be the star of the show as the base for numerous afternoon cocktail recipes, and most will use it for exactly that purpose. There’s fun to be had with Novara served as a Spritz or a Negroni on a long summer’s evening. The Novara and Tonic went down extremely well a few nights back, and I dug into Bark & Bitter’s recipe collection the night afterward to try their Enzoni, an extraordinary Negroni and Sour hybrid that is, quite frankly, very special.

For me, though, this Amaro-like spirit, with its gentle glance at an Aperol, is best served in a liqueur glass, slowly sipped and savored. It’s bittersweet perfection straight from the bottle.

How does Bark & Bitter describe their Novara: A complex, non-alcoholic alternative to the traditional Italian bitter aperitivo. made with a base of non-alcoholic citrus distillate, lightly sweetened and finished with a maceration of 8 aromatic herbs and botanicals, including quassia, rhubarb root, bitter orange peel, and more. 

Learn more about Bark & Bitter at barkandbitter.com

Carolina Cherry Bounce from Jason Pedrick

CAROLINA CHERRY BOUNCE

  • Jason Pedrick, NoLo

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: Approx 3-4 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0.5%

The ModSub thoughts: If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Asheville, North Carolina, and you’ve tried an adult nonalcoholic drink, it will likely be because of Jason Pedrick. Toward the end of 2021, he started NoLo with the goal of making it easier for folks to socialize without alcohol. He started off with monthly pop-ups where he would teach people how to make nonalcoholic cocktails and sell the ingredients—roughly 25 brands—to make them. This progressed to an online store where he would deliver products around the city.

NoLo - Asheville, NC

Buoyed by the response, he took the business one step further by becoming a small distribution hub promoting NA drinks to local bars, restaurants, and venues. In his words, he was attempting to "accelerate the normalization of non-alcoholic adult beverages and to create more diversity in choice and inclusion for all in how we socialize.” In February 2023, with significant momentum behind him, Jason opened up his first retail location, NoLo, inside a huge art gallery, and currently stocks a whopping 300 products.

Back in an April edition of this newsletter, Douglas Watters of Dry Atlas gave us his thoughts on Kentucky 74, an NA bourbon by Spiritless. Jason had reached out about his take on North Carolina’s official state cocktail, which is a big hit with his customers—the Carolina Cherry Bounce. The original, which dates back to the 18th century, was essentially a brandy-based liqueur, though through the years the recipe has evolved to utilize vodka or bourbon, along with cherries and spices.

So last night, I finally got around to making it and now I could kick myself for waiting so long.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 Bada Bing Cherries, muddled

  • 2-3 fl. oz. of Spiritless Kentucky 74

  • 1/4 fl. oz. of Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters

  • 1/4 fl. oz. of lime juice

  • A couple of splashes of cherry juice

Shake with ice and then pour into a rocks glass with ice and include the muddled cherries on top.

This may just be the best cocktail you make all year.

Notes: Jason suggests using 3 fl.oz. of the bourbon to make sure the flavor really comes through. I used fresh Pacific Northwest black cherries and All The Bitter Orange Bitters in place of the Bada Bing Cherries and Stirrings Bitters, mainly to use up things I already had in the house. Jason also suggests adding a little honey simple syrup if you want to sweeten things up.

One thing before you go. Here’s a great newsletter on fitness and nutrition that I think you should check out. There’s excellent advice on living a more healthy life in this weekly 5-minute read.

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