So, after drinking consistently far too much, I took the plunge and ordered a mixed case of alcohol free beers - having tried the nasty alcohol free ones available locally.
I know that everyone has different tastes but I went out of my way to note down each one. There was a load of them (mostly IPAs) that tasted so similar that I would struggle to tell the difference. (flowery, hoppy light summer ale style)
I list my notes below - in order that they were drunk and complete with typos - in case it is useful to anyone - maybe if you like a certain kind of beer then you will be able to find similar alternatives.
erdinger - fruity, not unpleasant. refreshing infusion
maisels weisse - nice in small doses
st peters without gold - very malty, nice
st peters without - malty with hints of grass. not so nice
Paulina weissbeer. takes ok, just like weissbeer. a touch fruity but not bad. nice small doses. too sweet really
Schneider Weiss - very good. Not so fruity, quite bitter. Favourite weissbeer by far
doom bar zero. not bad, drinkable
venture point five. summer ale, drinkable, flowery
big drop paradiso citra - summer ale, drinkable, flowery, quite nice. other half likes
thornbridge zero five . fruity, flowery, a bit fizzy but nice
ilkley virgin mary. as above. fruity, flowery, a bit fizzy but nice
Holy faith northern monk. Another citrus flowery one. Ok
Drop bear bonfire stout. Fizzy Guinness
first chop yes - more citrus flowery fizzyness
big drop kingiz gateau stout - not quite a stout, but a kind of slightly fruity dark drink. does taste of gateau though. Or dark tizer / irn bru?
big drop uptown lager. less flowery than others, quite nice. a slightly citrus lager
brewdog - nanny state. hoppy , citrus. not as much so as others. quite nice
big drop pine trail - as above. little softer . citrus/flowery but mellower. pretty drinkable
crunch AF peanut butter stout. really as bad as it sounds. peanuty and sweet as feck
brewdog lost AF - much lighter lager, less flavour. not as good as nanny state
jump ship - yardarm lager. like a slightly bitter lager, not unpleasant
drop bear - new world lager. not flowery. like a slighly bitter lager , not unpleasant
Speckled hen zero. Drinkable light bitter. Not like speckled hen at all, but not unpleasant
Infinite session ipa. Slight hop and citrus, quite drinkable
infinite session - american pale ale. similar to IPA, slightly sharper
beavertown lazer crush - ipa. sweet almost raspberry beer. odd
hammerton zed pale ale. slightly nasty weak bitter taste. nothing to commend it
ghost ship 0.5 - citrus but not excessively. a decent ale
big drop good things irish stout - slightly fizzy guiness. not unpleasant
drop bear tropical IPA - sharp citrus, sweet smell of pineapple but not the taste. quite nice actually
nirvana brewery dark rich stout. different, looks like a dark stout with slight fizz. recognisable but indescribable taste, maybe very dark hops or chocolate. almost spiced. interesting
Drynks smashed lager - huge bottle of lager with an overriding taste of parma violets or tumble dryer sheets. went down the sink - first one
sam's brown ale. Actually very good. Like newkie brown really
big drop off piste hazlenut porter. vanilla hazlenut. just don't
nirvana brewery - traditional pale ale. slight caramel taste, a little too sweet for me
nirvana classic ipa - flowery summer IPA. not so bad
So the winners for me:
Ghost Ship Zero
Samuel Smith Alcohol Free Brown Ale
Big Drop Good Things Irish Stout
Nirvana brewery Dark rich stout
Infinite India Pale Ale
So I ordered those and also some Infinite Session lager, and just for balance some full strength Leffe Blonde
Maybe this gives someone some ideas of things to try. Also Heineken zero and San Miguel are both drinkable
Love the ghost ship big cans, 9 pints in a big tin thing with a tap. Pours very nicely, has to be alcoholic though, no breakfast beer in this house...
Erdingers very high salt content might be a problem for some ( but it does tasted good) .
normally I would agree but my body is writing a strongly worded letter of complaint. I am trying to go 2 nights in a row per week off the booze which would be a first in a long time - well over a year - then see what happens.
If only beer didn't taste so good!
I went without booze from NYD until last weekend and had a few alcohol free beers in the meantime. I live in France so they're a bit behind anything like that, so I had to settle for Heineken 0.0 (which I find fine when I just want something refreshing that hardly touches the sides - it helps that normal Heineken is nothing special either).
Quite enjoyed Brooklyn Brewery Special Effect but again can only get that in a supermarket down in Grenoble.
I went to my local caviste who luckily does a great range of craft ales and bought my usual selection and spotted some 0% ones by a brewery in Grenoble called Edmond.
I bought some ambers and a dark ale (the guy at the cash desk warned me they were alcohol free in case I'd made a mistake!) - really wasn't impressed by either of them and am beginning to wonder if more lager-ish styles are better suited to 0% beers. I might have to nip back and try the IPA and blonde.
Very much a fan of alcohol free beers during the week ... so which ones are best? Dunno but I like:
- Ghost ship zero
- Brooklyn Lager 'Special Effects'
- Claustahler unfiltered alco free
- Brewdog Punk AF
- Birrell (not sure how to buy here, in Czechia it's everywhere)
As a rule of thumb stuff thats < 0.5% alc / vol is better than stuff that's is 0.0% alc.
agree, Heineken zero probably tastes no better or worse than normal Heineken.
Plenty of IPA & lager-ish ones seemed OK above - but if you are after darker beer then the Nirvana dark stout, ghost ship zero and the sam smiths brown ale were in my opinion actually genuinely good. Not quite sure how you would get them in France though
If you're partial to an IPA, Vanderstreek 'Playground' IPA (0.5%) is well worth a go.
I haven't tried as many AF beers as you, and clearly we have different tastes because I was completely underwhelmed by Ghost Ship, but it's definitely my favourite AF beer.
The real key to Heineken Zero is you can pretty much mix it interchangably with normal heineken for a sort of 'half beer'.
Erdinger if I want something refereshing - I've often had it mid bike ride on hot days.
Brooklyn Special Effects is the only non-alcohol beer I've ever found I'd choose for the flavour.
I'm sick of people thinking that putting a citrus toilet block in some hops makes a 'small batch boutique beer'. Rats piss.
Good man, I’m only once a week these days. Love a beer but hate hangovers
Seem to recall the erdinger one actually being marketed as isotonic at one point... so seems legit for mid ride
Where did you get your mixed case from? I'd like to try some of those. My favourite so far is Brewdog Hazy AF. Didn't like Nanny State at all.
Some good sounding ones in that list. I've just finished a pack of Leffe zero. Worth a try if you like the taste of Leffe.
The mixed pack came from Drydrinker.com - not cheap but convenient for what I got. I got a mixed pack of "36 british ales" and a mixed pack of Weissbeer / Wheat beers.
I just ordered some more beersniffer but their website is poor in comparison. But I could mix alcohol free and "full fat" in one order
Impressive list. My go to AF beer is Nanny State. I probably marginally prefer the taste of Punk AF but NS is only 21 cals a tin/bottle which makes it pretty much calorie free in my book!
I'm not sure of the technical definition of isotonic but if it means replacing lost salt in your bike ride then Erdinger should suit you since it contains 13 times more salt than most of the other zero/ low alcohol beers on the market.
I haven't got it in for Erdinger but there's a reason that it ( like Badoit sparkling water) tastes so much better than its rivals and it's simply salt.
It's interesting. I dont drink during the week now and tried AF beer. Just didn't get on with them. It felt a bit pointless. I now drink San Pellegrinos or other fizzy fruit options - found a great rhubarb option for bitterness - or a warm Horlicks instead.
If I'm going to drink a beer, I want it to be beer.
The big drop galactic milk stout is my favourite of the things I have tried.
I like their pale ale as well, and the citra, and more widely the tiny rebel low alcohol one (clwb Tropicana - but partly because I like lilt), and Punk AF and Nanny State.
Galactic milk stout from big drop brewing company is excellent for non alcoholic. The shipyard offering is good too, on a par with ghost ship if not slightly better. Those are my two preferences for non alcoholic beers at the moment.
> The real key to Heineken Zero is you can pretty much mix it interchangably with normal heineken for a sort of 'half beer'.
I've been know to do that with Brewdog Punk AF and Punk IPA.
The punk AF is nice enough as a refreshing cold drink, and fine when driving, but just seems a bit 'thin' taste wise.
Have you tried all the AF beers in the OP though? For many years I was of the opinion that all AF beer was utterly undrinkable and I'd rather have a glass of water - literally, a San Pellegrino with ice and lemon was my preferred AF option. But some of the IPAs are actually not bad, and I'm now a convert to AF beer.
I recently ordered an assorted crate of brewdog AFs. They are all good, the Lager, lost af is outstanding. So good I ordered some of the real stuff to compare it with. The AF version is tastier than its alcoholic parent.
Sadly out of stock last time I checked.
I've found that AF cider is much more like the real thing than AF beer (or wine)
I'm a fan of Heineken 0.0 as my 'go to'.
Love Beavertown Lazer crush, Punk AF and Erdinger AF as a recovery drink.
Been off the booze for well over a year now so thank you for your list which has given me lots of new ones to try!
I would like to but I can't do fizzy drinks like San Peligrino except in tiny does - I can almost feel them eat my teeth as I drink them. Caffeine in the evening will end up with no sleep so that basically leaves horlicks which is a big no for me.
I have a galactic milk stout in the fridge for later , hopefully that is is as good as others have stated below - I used to be a skeptic of AF beers but not I am less so. Whether I can keep up the good intentions longer term is another matter.
> I would like to but I can't do fizzy drinks like San Peligrino except in tiny does - I can almost feel them eat my teeth as I drink them. Caffeine in the evening will end up with no sleep so that basically leaves horlicks which is a big no for me.
> I have a galactic milk stout in the fridge for later , hopefully that is is as good as others have stated below - I used to be a skeptic of AF beers but not I am less so. Whether I can keep up the good intentions longer term is another matter.
I wish you well and understand your struggle, I truly do. I'm functional alcoholic so to me, trying to replace beer with faux beer doesn't work for me. Same with faux meat; when I have a veggie day, which is becoming more regular, I would much prefer to make, as an example, a sweet potato and squash curry with peas rather than a quorn curry which tries to imitate meat. It just never will and does the veggie option an injustice.
Same with beer/wine. If I'm going to remove alcohol, remove it entirely, even the pretence. It has been hard but I've found a groove and for alcohol free days, replacement with different option entirely work best for me.
There are some cracking low calorie, low sugar, natural fruit options.
What a great tasting list! I've only tried about half but of those your favourites match mine.
You missed Peroni Libera!
Neither of our favourites are on your list!
My wife's - Vanderstreek Playground
Mine - Brightside Nemo
I will hunt out some of the ones I am missing.
Last night's "session". 1 winner and 3 losers:
big drop galactic milk stout - very tasty. the best stout so far, will buy more
harviestoun wheesht. Very malty, more unpleasant than pleasant . could not drink more than one
drop bear yuzu pale ale. tastes like lager and lime with an aftertaste of a hint of toilet cleaner. not as bad as it sounds but there are better
brewdog punk AF - bitter, hoppy IPA, hint of grapefruit. not unpleasant but not the best
Where did you get the galactic milk stout from... we tried to get more a month back and didn't seem to be able to buy it on its own?
it came in the mix pack from drydrinker but you can get it direct from the brewery
most of big drop stuff I found to be very good. Google suggests that big supermarkets stock it too , which may be an option depending on where and how you want to spend your money
Best pale ale I have tasted is Störtebeker Atlantic Ale alcohol free. So good you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the real stuff, at least when served cold.
Same with weissbiers, actually: The alcohol free versions need to be drunk much colder than the real stuff (which outside Bavaria unfortunately tends to be served much too cold in most pubs and beer gardens). For the alcohol free stuff I agree that Schneider is best! Erdinger and Paulaner run it close.
For a standard continental Pilsener, nothing beats Kulmbacher Alkoholfrei Premium Herb.
No mention of Becks Blue?
Top Deck ;)
Was my entry level drug aged 9. Never looked back
> No mention of Becks Blue?
I would imagine that falls into the "stuff I can easily buy locally but tastes nasty and gives alcohol free beer a bad rep" category*
*personal opinion. don't sue me.
> Best pale ale I have tasted is Störtebeker Atlantic Ale alcohol free. So good you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the real stuff, at least when served cold.
No, no, no! Ale should be drunk around the 10degC mark.
One of the main reasons I won't drink in Wetherspoons, the beers are way over chilled.
Beck's alcohol free used to be excellent until they were bought up by InBev and switched to the "blue" branding. Now it is the same shit as anything else from Anhaueser Busch who merged with InBev in 2008(?).
Jever Fun is much better if you are looking for an alcohol free North German Pilsener (even if they have since been bought by Radeberger, the most vile of German industrial beers!).
I agree, but still think that the alcohol free stuff needs to be consumed somewhat colder than the real stuff.
I therefore store my alcohol free beer in the fridge and take it out for a while before drinking, and the regular stuff in the cellar.