Sceptical at first, for me Alcohol-free beer was for drivers, show-offs and those without a sense of taste. Those who wished to gain attention ordered an Alcohol-free Weißbier in a pub and seemed to look on the alcohol-ordering drinkers with an arrogant and smug eye just over the top of their ridiculous beer glasses.
For those with a car key in their pockets, that was a different story, I’ve been a believer in not drinking at all and driving since I can remember and those who chose to chauffeur others around all night and not jump on the jungle-juice themselves are the true heroes of the great night out.
However, those idiots who ordered alcohol-free beer at eight in the evening and were there by grace of foot, taxi or bus were (and still are) morons in my eyes.
However, I’ve found a use for alcohol-free beer and what a use it is: drinking a refreshing and tasty beverage before going to work, early in the morning, during the day and on nights where you’ve got an important day the next time you have to wake up.
Okay some of you have probably thought that before but with me beer is beer and beer without alcohol used to not be considered as beer. But what are the alternatives when you want a refreshing beverage? Tea is too warm (and I don’t like it), water is a bit dull (but also a good choice) and sparkling fizzy drinks are way too sugary for my taste (although when hungover I’m a coke junkie when it comes to the stuff in red cans). Juice has always been a dodgy one for me, too much acid, too much sugar and not as good as biting into the piece of fruit it’s supposed to taste like anyway.
Beer seems a logical alternative and if that beer happens to be devoid (or very nearly devoid) of the stuff that makes me dance on tables, talk utter shite and eventually leads to me falling asleep hugging a kebab, what a great alternative that is!
The next problem is finding one that tastes good. Most of the lagers and pilseners are awful and taste like sugar-infused barley water (without the added fruit). Refreshing yes, but then again so is petrol (probably) and I’m sure petrol hasn’t won any awards yet.
No Weißbier is the future of alcohol-free beer and quite recently I’ve discovered two very good alcohol-free Weizens that, whilst not necessarily tasting as good as the real-deal, are very good.
Schneider Tap 7 – Mein Alkoholfreies
Franziskaner Alkoholfreies Weißbier
Of course there are alternatives but I don’t rate them: Erdinger is too sweet for me, Maisels hasn’t got enough CO2, Paulaner is a bit watery and the smaller brewery stuff usually tastes a bit bready with big clumps of yeast…not particularly appetising.
The fact is that the production of alcohol-free beer is quite a difficult one and an expensive one too. In most cases the beers are brewed normally and the alcohol is then removed/dissolved in a way that I will never be able to understand. That’s why they often cost as much as and sometimes even more than their alcohol-containing older brothers – and those elder siblings have alcohol tax on them!
But no, alcohol-free Weizen is the perfect one-van left to unpack energy drink, the quick refreshment at half-time (if you’re playing that is), the I need something to take the edge off of having to go to work beer. Most of them are isotonic too and unlike that god-awful stuff in the blue and silver cans, you don’t get a film of sickly-sweet syrup lining your gums and smell like an old-fashioned sweet shop, you feel as if you’ve just enjoyed a beer and what’s better than that feeling?
So go forth and drink alcohol-free Weizen, just not in the pub with mates if you’ve not got a set of four (or two, or worse more than four) wheels waiting outside: that is just embarrassing.