Europe: The Alcohol-Free Beer Review 

Where do you take a girl who doesn’t drink when you’re abroad? Whereas past-Me would have treated this as a three month bar hop around Europe, sober-Me has largely enjoyed the varying sizes and strengths of European coffee. Alcohol-free beer back home is pretty eh, so I was interested to see if other countries have embraced the brand. And they have! Spain sells alcohol-free beer by the single can for around fifty to sixty cents, and the north Of France had a great selection of fruity offerings, mainly from Bavaria and San Miguel. Here are the ones we’ve tried so far.

Mahou: Sin

Imagine my sheer, unbridled joy when I realised that you can have an alcohol-free beer with your meal at a Spanish McDonald’s. It was actually 1% according to the back of the can, and made me feel as close to drunk as I’ve been in the last two and a half years. A solid entry into the alcohol-free beer leagues and better than the becks blue I am often stuck with back home. Probably shouldn’t have more than one though.

Rating: 7 for taste plus 1 bonus point because I’m having a beer at McDonalds!!

Budvar 0.0%: Pomegranate, Peach, Pineapple

Deliciously sweet, like going for a walk in the countryside and settling down with a nice picnic. If you’d poured this into a glass and told me it was Shloer, I wouldn’t have questioned you. Not too fizzy which means you could drink this indefintely. Definitely a nice novelty flavour that you could buy a six pack of and share with your family without worrying you were crafting the next generation of alcoholics. 

Rating: 8

San Miguel 0,0: Lemon, Apple

These taste like they are trying to be beer, which I appreciated. I love the fancy flavours but a successful alcohol-free beer needs to make me feel like I’m one of the lads still. The lemon one was the right side of bitter, with a strongly carbonated aftertaste. Burp. I could stand in a group at a party with this and not feel awkward.

Rating: 6

San Miguel 0,0: Isotonica

Oh god. What is that taste? Hang on, I’ll ask Josh. He has no idea either. It tastes like a beer, but a bad beer. A beer with a bad reputation, a beer that nobody wants to sit next to at lunchtime. Unnerving aftertaste like the hops went rotten or something. I am not feeling this one.

Rating: 1 – bad beer.

Buckler 0,0

Thanks to the earlier Mahou, we were able to ask the bartender for “dos sin alcohol?” and these appeared. €2, better than the staggering £4.60 we’ve paid for Brewdog’s Nanny State in Brighton. As a malt-based beer it was alright, something to kill time with as we waited to use the bathroom. The aftertaste is what ruins it for me, it feels like waking up in the morning with a dry mouth.

Rating: 4

Heineken 0%

YES. We are in complete agreement that this is the best, genuine alcohol-free beer we’ve found so far. From my hazy memory it does actually taste like a good lager, and Josh corroborated my suspicions. Plus it looks legit too. I’ve seen advertisements for it on billboards in Spain, and if they’d rather pay to display this rather than the alcoholic version than it must be good. 

Rating: 10

Aiguade Moritz 0,0%

A pretty standard entry elevated into the ranks of interesting by it’s funky design. Not too malty or acidic, and since I’m pretty much an AFB guru now I can drink one of these as easy as drinking a coke.

Rating: 5

Damn 0,0%

I’m not sure if Damn is the brand name or whether this beer was just shouting at me to get my attention, but a can of this was about 35 cents and we drank them in the street as we walked through Madrid. Very good for something so cheap, not too hoppy and very enjoyable.

Rating: 6

Panaché <1%
Thankfully this didn’t make me feel dangerous like the 1% Mahou and it also tastes delicious. Panaché seems to be peach flavoured and is wonderfully sweet on a hot day. I’m running out of words to describe fake beer but I’ll definitely pick up another six pack of these when I’m back in France.

Rating: 8  

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