Many people associate alcohol free beer with flavourless, watered down lager drunk only by designated drivers or those looking to cut calories. But what you may not know is this: low and no alcohol beer has improved beyond belief in recent years, and nowadays there’s more choice and variety out there than ever before.
Whether it’s a more responsible attitude to alcohol enjoyment or the fact there are new and tantalising options on the market, the demand for alcohol-free beer alongside traditional favourites is booming. So before you write off low alcohol beer completely, let’s look at some of the best brews on offer and why they might be gaining popularity.
In the UK there is a limit of 0.5% to be able to call a beer alcohol-free. The brewing process of an alcohol-free beer is actually the same as of any other beer, except that less malt is used (enzymes from the malt turn starch into fermentable sugars, which eventually become alcohol). There are also special malts with as little fermentable sugars as possible. In addition, a special yeast type is used that produces less alcohol. Saccharomyces Ludwigii is a yeast that is suitable for brewing non-alcoholic beer. This yeast species produces no or less alcohol because it handles maltose and glucose less well, namely are the sugars that other yeast types easily convert into alcohol. vandeStreek Playground IPA Alcohol-Free, for example, is brewed in this way.
Another brewing method for alcohol-free beer is to remove the alcohol from the beer after the brewing process. There are various methods for this, including the so-called 'reverse osmosis' where the alcohol is removed under high pressure. Budweiser alcohol-free is an example in which the alcohol is removed at a later stage.
The brewing process of an alcohol-free beer is actually the same as of any other beer, except that less malt is used.
Moreover, when it comes to brewing alcohol-free beer, additional measures in terms of hygiene have to be taken. There are a lot of residual sugars in the beer, which means that no other brewing yeast can be added. The filling of the bottles must therefore be done on a completely steamed bottling line in order to prevent another yeast from growing.
16 of the best non-alcoholic craft beers
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Non-alcoholic pilsner, pale ale and wheat beer
In early 2017 the big beer brands launched 0.0 pilsners, such as the Budweiser alcohol-free, a refreshing pilsner with a soft malty body and fruity notes. Also the low-alcoholic radlers started to brew 0.0 variations. In the summer we tasted the vandeStreek Playground IPA Alcohol-Free. It’s an IPA with almost no alcohol (less than 0.5%), a fresh taste with citrus fruit, tropical fruit and a pleasant bitterness. It’s a perfect alternative if you want to pay attention to calories and on top of that you can still get behind the wheel after a few of these beers.
Most non-alcoholic beers are pilsners, such as Troost Malt or Jever Fun. However, more and more alcohol-free wheat beer and ales are appearing as well. Tasteful examples are Brewdog Nanny State, a pale ale with spicy aromas of hop and a bitter aftertaste, or Erdinger Alcohol-Free, a German wheat beer with a fresh taste and a slight bitterness in the aftertaste.
Countdown to Christmas with 24 surprise beers from 24 breweries!
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Out of stock
16 of the best non-alcoholic craft beers
£ 33.67 £ 27.95
Lager & Pils | 0.5% | 33cl
Budels Malt 0,0%
Lager & Pils | 0.0% | 30cl
Low & No Alcohol | 0.3% | 33cl
Paulaner Hefe Weissbier Alcohol free
Low & No Alcohol | 0.5% | 33cl
Amber & Red Ale | 0.0% | 25cl
White & Wheat | 0.5% | 33cl