Non-alcoholic beers have quietly been on the rise for some time, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been thrust onto centre stage. Sure, they might not be as satisfying as the leaded kind but when days are prohibition-dark, a cold non-alcoholic brew might be your only friend. This is by no means an exhaustive list but rather a selection that we think are worth your money.
According to Heineken, their non-alcoholic beer is twice brewed and fermented before removing the alcohol in a “natural” process. From there, it’s blended to achieve a flavour profile that is slightly malty and grainy with fruity and grassy notes. If you’re a Heineken fan, you’re going to have no problem smashing a few of these. They’re great when ice-cold but can be a little sweet for some when they warm up.
Castle is about as South African as South Africa gets (even though it’s now owned by Americans). So when SAB set out to brew a non-alcoholic version, they had to get it right. Luckily for them, they knocked it out of the park with Castle Free. It tastes like the Castle you know and love but you’ll be able to drink six and drive yourself home. Expect a brilliant gold brew with a great balance between malt sweetness and crisp hop bitterness.
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Erdinger is the world’s largest wheat beer brewery and they’ve been serving up Bavarian weissbier for over 130 years. Brewed with wheat and barley, weissbier has a distinct banana and spice aroma and flavour. So it comes as no surprise that their non-alcoholic version sports the same flavour – but it can be quite a shock if you’re expecting a lager. When you strip the alcohol out of beer, it could be considered a health drink. It’s full of carbohydrates, energy and protein. With this in mind, Erdinger actually punts it as a recovery beverage for athletes due to its isotonic properties (meaning it’s easily absorbed by the body). If you’re a weissbier fan, this is your brew.
Bitburger is a great example of a classic German pilsner and is one of the most poured beers in the country. The non-alcoholic version carries the same trademark clean and light malt body with plenty of classic floral aromas from its Hallertau hop bill. Non-alcoholic beers tend to the sweeter side due to the stripping process, but Bitburger has managed to avoid that entirely. This one is for drinkers who yearn for the crisp bite and lingering bitterness of a proper pilsner.
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Devil’s Peak Zero to Hero
Over the years, Devil’s Peak has made some outstanding brews and they’ve often led the way when it comes to innovation and introducing new styles. As far as a non-alcoholic beer goes, they’ve done it again with Zero to Hero. It might just be the best non-alcoholic beer on the market. It has a relatively light malt bill because the emphasis is all about the hops. It’s packed with American heavy hitters such as Citra, Cascade, Columbus and Amarillo, which comes through in the taste. Expect big tropical and citrus flavours supported by light toasted malt notes. They’ve also just released a new version with a hint of citrus.
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