English Small Ale

Cade:There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it a felony to drink small beer...
Dick:The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

-William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2

In Shakespeare's time, beer was brewed in three sequential batches from the same grains and hops. The first batch was rich and flavorful, the “reserve" for nobility and the wealthy. The second brew, the “common" was of moderate flavor and body. The third was “small" beer. This cheap, unremarkable, dilute, insipid low-alcohol, low-calorie concoction filled the niche that is today filled by “lite" beers of the same general description.          

Brewing technology has changed a great deal since then, but for some reason the only low-calorie offerings available are cheap lagers; diluted malt liquors made from inferior barley cut by corn or rice, with the water touted as the most flavorful component. At 217 Brew Works, we consider that the true crime.

When our Master Brewer created an undiluted all-malt ale with flavor, character, and color that also happened to have reduced carbohydrates and a mere 114 calories, associating this wonderful brew with those lesser concoctions by calling it “light" would have been at least a misnomer, if not a misdemeanor. We therefore took the liberty of reviving the name of Small Ale, a style of beer which, not having been made for centuries, no longer carries the odious baggage it once did.

Cade's Felony is a tasty golden ale with palpable malt character and a subtly floral hop nose. Made with the finest American and Belgian malts, English hops, and North Carolina know-how, you won't believe Cade's Felony has so few calories and such good flavor. It's gotta be illegal.

First Place, 1998 World Beer Championship: Reduced Calorie Ales

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A tasty mild golden ale with malty tones accented by a subtle spicy, floral hop bouquet. One taste and you'll never believe it only has 113 calories... it's gotta be illegal.

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