Interview with Ted Fleming of Partake Brewing

I follow the nascent N/A beer market with interest so I was glad to be able to ask a few questions of Ted Fleming, the CEO & Founder of Partake Brewing.

1. Why did Partake want to do an N/A beer?  What did they think was missing from the market?

 Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which has led to many changes in my life. One of the biggest changes was my decision to give up alcohol and with that one of my favourite things and social activities – craft beer. As I began to explore the world of non-alcoholic beer as an alternative I realized that there was a significant lack of variety and high-quality NA beer like I had come to love in the craft beer experience. Every non-alcoholic beer I tried made me feel like I was compromising on something, which is why I wanted to launch Partake to bring authentically great tasting craft beer to the NA beer drinker.

2. Is the calorie counting drinker market the same now as it was last year or have attitude shifted?

 Overall, we have seen a significant shift in the market over the past few years with consumers wanting to see lower-calorie beverages across all areas. This is likely reflective of the increase in wholistic diets, the keto diet, as well as a decrease in desire to consume sugary beverages. Due to this, and since our launch in 2018, we have seen an increase in low-calorie beer across the non-alcoholic beverage category as well as the alcoholic beer category. There has also been an increase in more sessional beers with a lower ABV from brewers across North America.

3. What is the best-seller of your range and why do you think that is?

 Our best-seller in stores is our Pale Ale, coming in at 10 calories a can with zero carbs and won the World Beer Award for Best Non-Alcoholic Beer (2018). Our customers love it for it’s citrusy aromas and crisp finish. It also has our biggest distribution across the USA and Canada. The Pale Ale is a very accessible flavour profile for a variety of beer drinkers and is a great beer to always keep stocked in your fridge for any occasion. However, a very close 2nd overall is our IPA which is our best-seller online ( 

4. What is the biggest challenge in crafting a non-alcoholic beer?

 The biggest challenge is the delicacy of our beer to create the right balance of aromas and flavors. In full-alcohol beer the alcohol provides a flavor buffer that can hide a lot more potential imperfections and gives the brewer a larger margin for error. We also have a lot more to prove, we aren’t just trying to prove we make a great beer but we are also proving that we make a great beer without having to compromise on calories or having to consume alcohol to enjoy a great beverage.

5. Are there special one-off beers in the pipeline?  N/A pastry stout or double dry hopped IPA?

We definitely have some exciting new beers in development right now. One of these is our new Radler that we are working on launching sometime this July as an online exclusive ( The best way to stay up to date on when our new beers are launching is to subscribe to our newsletter as we usually release these in a very limited run to gain feedback and insights from our community.

Featured Double Review – Grainwave and Indiewave IPA from Ceria

I have watched the progress of Keith Villa’s new beverage project and wondered what it would taste like. Lo and behold, I found a shop that had both Ceria “waves”. Grain and Indie.

GrainWave – Getting an orange juice, orange candy aroma.  Initial thought is orange juice concentrate watered down.  There is some spice but not enough to move the needle.  The blood orange is good but there isn’t much else here.  Take out the beer color and this is a seltzer.

IndieWave – This one tastes weird. Not bad but just does not meld. Not a noticeable hop aroma.  Getting a lot of grapefruit taste. Almost juice like. Decent bitterness but there is an odd malt taste in the back. 

Featured Review – Slightly Mighty from Dogfish Head

The final lo-cal IPA for February comes from Dogfish Head with Slightly Mighty. The twist here is that the East Coast brewery has added Monk Fruit extract to add sweetness and tropicality.

SM pours a mix of orange and yellow. Getting a little citrus hop nose from it. Stands in the sessionable camp to me rather than watery. Not a lot of spritziness here but it sends a hop message through. It has a good balance. Malt raises a hand, as does some sweetness but the roof of the mouth bitter sticks for a goodly time for a 4% and 95 calorie beer.

Featured Review – Stone Neverending Haze

Clocking in at a mere slip of a 4% abv, Stone Neverending Haze is much lower than most of the IPA’s from Stone. It is also one of the most colorful labels as well, weaving light blue and primary colors in waves. The beer is a proper muddled hazy. Their is a good kick of hops that drops out fairly quickly. A bit of a watery sensation. Getting some earthy, pine needle notes. A bit of toasty grain notes too.

In the Tap Lines for February 2020

header_attractionsFebruary will find me back in Astoria for the second time in as many years.  This time to visit during Stout month.  Reports from the Oregon Coast as well as birthday beers are to be expected but first there will be a little bowl of Super…

~ e-visits to (3)  off the beaten path breweries like Everybody’s Brewing in Washington State, Taos Mesa Brewing in New Mexico and Zillicoah Beer Company in Asheville.
~ special featured reviews of beers that are low alcohol and/or low calorie
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to The City – Season 2 – Reno
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your February started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) February 3rd – Brew Lab at Dry River Brewing
2) February 15th – Los Angeles Ale Works 3rd Anniversary

Party Magic

Following on the heels of their Special Effects (low alcohol) amber comes the IPA version from Brooklyn Brewery, Party Trick. It will be interesting to see if this one becomes part of the SoCal distribution because I want to do a taste test between these two.


I was perusing the shelves at the lovely Vroman’s Bookstore recently when I noticed that next door was no longer an Office Depot but had changed over to a Total Wine & More.

Even though their inventory is a bit skewed to quantity and not enough locals, I decided to browse and I found cans from Bravus Brewing which does Non-Alcoholic beers. So I picked a pair up.

Pours an opaque light orange color. Aroma is lemony, but in an off way. The can is a hare over two months old and in a can though it was not found in the cooler section. Bitter in a weird way with a metallic end. Even after sitting out to breathe it did not improve. A bit tea like which might be a brewing flaw over a storage flaw.

Oatmeal Stout
Tastes smoky and a bit watery. Head was pretty thin. Weird chocolate taste here too. Bit of metal taste in this one too. Tastes almost like it is turning sour. But this beer is just over a month old. Better than the IPA but still not great. Maybe this is why there aren’t a lot of N/A beers out there.

Session Fest 2017 @ Eagle Rock

One of my favorite festivals enters its seventh year, Session Fest presented by Eagle Rock Brewery has ZERO beer over 5.0% ABV but all have 100% creativity. This year it will be held on Saturday, April 29 from noon to 6pm.

The beers are “brewed by ERB and Eagle Rock Public House employees. Paired up with brewers on the team, the whole staff gets a chance to fully experience the process of making the beers they sell in the taproom.”

Tickets include commemorative half pint glassware + 5 beer pours. $25 early bird, $30 at the door. Must be 21+ to attend.


There are beer categories still left to be filled. Gluten-free now has more (still not enough) options and the alcohol free section of the store shelf could use freshening which is where the new, and aptly named, Heineken 0.0 comes in.

This new beer would join an 0.0 line that already includes Amstel 0.0, as well as radler products including Soproni 0.0 Maxx Radler and Amstel 0.0% Radler outside the U.S. but would be the first global offering.

Currently the lowest available are the “light” Heineken at 3.3%. Will a craft brewer enter this market? Might be a opportunity here.

Session Fest 2016

Ready to get your Session on?

In the early years of Session Fest, it was just Eagle Rock pumping out a crazy amount of weird lighter ABV beers. Last year’s Betelguse beer made with bugs being a good example. But this year, the field is wide open with Bagby and Ladyface and even the Public House location of ERB in on the action. Plus many others.

Photos and beer favorites to follow but I hope you are there too!