Friday, 1 February 2013

The big Alcohol Free Beer test - Beck's Blue v Cobra Zero v Erdinger

Us runners love our beer and for a couple of decades now the brewers have been trying to come up with an alcohol free beer that actually tastes like real beer. So here is a quick review of the current best efforts for those of you looking for something lighter.

First up is Beck's Blue. Available in packs of 275ml bottles this is one of the most popular alcohol free beers available and made by removing the alcohol after the beer has been brewed out. The taste can best be described as a bit metallic and while its definitely recognisable as a lager it is definitely on the thin side. I found this beer was at its best when very served very cold and its refreshing for a post training run tipple.


Next up is Cobra Zero. Packs of four for this one and nice sized bottles that look good in the fridge. This is the marmite of beers in more ways than one ! It has a similar yeasty taste and apparently that is down to the brewing process. The fermentation is stopped almost as soon as it is started, hence the yeasty flavour. I tried this beer cold, at room temperature and very cold indeed but nothing I could do made it palatable for me. Even pairing it with a fiery curry failed to disguise the taste. Not my favourite and no doubt some folks will love it.

Last in the test was Erdinger Alkohol Frei. Getting hold of it was much trickier than for the market leaders and its only available in UK in a 500ml bottle. This is a version of Erdinger's Weissbier and a very good job they have made of it too. It looks like a weissbier and the taste is remarkably close to that of the standard product. The extra body of a weissbier probably off sets the lack of alcohol ensuring that the beer isn't thin or tinny. It goes well with food or just own its own, chilled. The one caveat with this one is that it does actually contain a miniscule 0.4% alcohol so may not be suitable for the teetoal !

And the winner ....
Erdinger Alkohol Frei  - prost !




6 comments:

Bryn Reynolds said...

I've ended up on the alcohol-free Becks in the run up to exams and always found it quite palatable. It'll never be the same as a quality ale but compared to the mass-produced lagers it's quite reasonable.

Ben Ward said...

I enjoyed your review. You could check out Bavaria which comes in lager and weissbier varieties. Both are 0.0% alcohol content and are widely available. Also, M&S carry an own-label German 'alkolholfrei' beer. Hope you write some more reviews!

Anonymous said...

The trick is blend your alcohol-free beer. Try half-and-half of Cobra Zero and Bavaria, and prepare to be (pleasantly) surprised!

Danny Wan said...

Hi Adrian,
I have stumbled across your post. I work for Bavaria Beer so of course I am bias BUT please give it try as we have some great varieties including our original 0.0% and a great 0.0% Wit. Both are zero-alcohol as they were brewed with no alcohol formation ever taking place.

Doyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doyler said...

I've tried all three and my favourite was the Cobra, I found it smooth, sweet and yeasty, which I loved. I found the Becks a bit sharp with a slight metallic flavour. Erdinger is good but I find that you have to buy it where there is a good demand for it. If it has been lying in a storeroom or on a pub shelf for a while it does not taste as good as it can. The Erdinger of course is not as mentioned before alcohol free, despite the label.