When it comes to non-alcoholic beers, one word springs to mind.
No matter how hard the brewers try, they just can’t make a non-alcoholic beer taste anywhere near as good as one with alcohol. It always tastes wrong, different (in a bad way) and serves to remind you that what you’re drinking isn’t a real beer.
Presumably they’re made, in part, for designated drivers to drink so they can pretend they’re drinking proper beer. But only the dimmest of the dim would be tricked into thinking a non-alcoholic beer was the real thing.
However, I recently found a non-alco beer that I thought might possibly buck the ‘‘crap’’ trend. Perusing the alcohol section of my local Aldi, I was shocked to see a non-alcoholic hefeweizen from German brewer Paulaner. Truly I did not know such a thing existed – either a beer like this from Paulaner or a hefe with no alcohol.
Every single other alcohol-free beer I’d seen and tried was essentially a lager – which means it’s falling short in the taste stakes from the start. But a hefe? Now this would be interesting.
The pour looks like a hefe with a nice, big, foamy head. But that’s where the similarities between the real thing end, sadly. The beer does throw some very light banana aromas, which leads me to think that they’ve used some odd hefe yeast strain to make this (or they’ve just added loads of water to get the alcohol count way down).
Flavourwise it’s the same deal – the banana flavour is slight and there’s the quite distinct watery mouthfeel you get with alcohol-free beers.
It is the tastiest non-alcoholic beer I’ve tried but that is very faint praise indeed, given that all the others have been crap. Does it still fall within the ‘‘crap’’ description? I’d have to say yes.