What is the best non-alcoholic beer on the market?  We tested seven brands

What is the best non-alcoholic beer on the market? We tested seven brands




Seven brands of non-alcoholic beer tested

Photo: Julio Bonfante/iStock

Five plainclothes people – including the reporter who is talking to you – occupy a table at the Câmara Fria Bar, in Moema, for a beer, lots of beer. A full plate – or rather a full glass – for the bohemian inspectors? Not this time! First, because we drank for work (and we can prove it!). Also because the drinks in question are classified as “alcohol-free” according to Brazilian legislation – that is, they contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume.



Samples of non-alcoholic beer marked for blind tasting

Samples of non-alcoholic beer marked for blind tasting

Photo: Felipe Rao/Estadão

In addition to myself, Paladar reporter and pregnant woman, journalist Adriana Moreira — who began consuming non-alcoholic beer in 2021, while being treated for breast cancer — received Julia Reese, brewer Gabriel Ramalho, and brewer Nathaniel Bertholo. The task of sensory evaluation (and blindly) of the non-alcoholic beer that the report found on the market. In total, seven brands were evaluated by judges, who took into account aspects such as appearance, foam, aroma, carbonation, flavour, taste (taste) and drinkability of the samples.

“A good non-alcoholic beer is one that, even with this peculiarity, presents the sensual appearance of style, that is, it resembles the same alcohol-containing product on the market. Among the samples tasted, we have identified some good beers that maintain their balance and flavours. distinctive and others that brought more sweetness or unexpected flavors to the style declared on the label,” commented Julia.



Judges tasting non-alcoholic beer at Paladar

Judges tasting non-alcoholic beer at Paladar

Photo: Felipe Rao/Estadão

For comparative reasons, the panel included larger beers, both national and imported, found on supermarket shelves: Becker, Brahma, Budweiser, Estrella Galicia, Heineken, Itaipava and Oettinger. But it is worth noting that the number of non-alcoholic labels, with various patterns, produced by craft breweries is increasing. “The maturation of the non-alcoholic beer market is recent and happening very quickly. A trend that should continue to be strong in the coming years,” bets Gabriel.

Check out our non-alcoholic beer order below.

classification

Budweiser All Zero

(3.99 R$, 350 ml, at Saint Marche)

Launched in Brazil in March of this year, it promises the same flavor and refreshment as the original Budweiser version, but without alcohol — and it seems to deliver on its promise: “It doesn’t even look like a non-alcoholic beer,” one judge said. In blind tastings, it took first place for having good carbonation, consistent foam, fruity aroma, strong bitterness, and a dry finish. You can “go for a run and go back to zero,” as the product ad suggests. Ingredients: Water, barley, rice, hops and flavorings. Alcohol content: 0.0%.

0.0.0 Update

(4.79 BRL; 350 ml at Carrefour)

The alcohol-free “verdinha” option, as it is affectionately called, arrived in Brazil in 2020 and already has a huge number of fans – including those who are loyal to the original, but for one reason or another have to stop drinking alcohol. Beer took second place on the podium for being well-balanced and highly drinkable. The aroma and flavor wander between barley (biscuit-looking) and floral hop. Medium bitterness is present. Ingredients: water, barley, hops, natural malt aroma; Alcohol content: 0.0%.

0.0.0.0 Update

($5.99; 250ml at Carrefour)

The alcohol-free version of the popular Spanish beer is produced through an intermittent fermentation process. Golden in color – the darkest of the specimens, “reminiscent of the color of guarana” – has a very present aroma and flavor of barley (derived from necessity). It has good carbonation, and a slight bitterness, but the opinion of the judges was divided regarding drinkability: while some agreed on a noticeable residual sweetness, others considered it saturated. Ingredients: water, barley, corn and hops. Alcohol content: 0.0%.

0.0 fourth brahma

(3.69 BRL, 350 ml at Carrefour)

Veteran among the non-alcoholic options available on the market – produced since 2013 using the de-alcoholic method – has a light body, low bitterness and emollients, ensuring a good drinkability. But it lost points due to the concentrated sweetness of the malt and the pronounced oxidation notes. Ingredients: water, barley, corn, cane sugar and hops. Alcohol content: 0.0%.

Fifth Oettinger Kohlfry

(R$11.90; 500ml at Saint March’s)

Imported beer (non-alcoholic) is imported from Germany, and claims to follow the German Purity Act of 1516, that is, in the production process, only water, barley and hops are used. In blind sensory analysis, he presented a medium-low, low-carbon body. The malt-wort flavour, with almost no bitterness, and high sweetness greatly affected drinkability. Ingredients: water, barley malt and hops extract; Alcohol content: 0.5%.

6th Baker 0.0

(5.49 BRL, 500 ml in Carrefour)

German beer had a strong aroma and flavor of malt brine – like other samples of this painting – and other defects that the rulers did not forgive, such as sulfur leaves and cooked vegetables. In addition, the drink has a secret bitterness and a very sweet taste. “Remind me of raisins,” one judge defined. Ingredients: water, barley malt and hops extract; Alcohol content: 0.0%.

0.0% Itaipava VII

(3.39 BRL, 350 ml, in Pão de Açcar)

Unwanted odors, such as sulfur notes indicating cooked vegetables, made beer lose points instantly. In the mouth, the drink was also not very good: “Very light texture, low carbonation, it should have a taste, there is almost no bitterness and sweetness in the mouth,” summed up one of the judges. Ingredients: water, barley, corn, cane sugar. Alcohol content: 0.0%.

Meet the jury

Adriana Moreira

Estadão’s supplement editor, author of the I have Cancer blog. And now? Being a connoisseur of light beer, she switched to non-alcoholic beer in 2021, while being treated for breast cancer. Today, it is already cured, it maintains this habit (but excludes alcohol-containing versions for special occasions).



Journalist Adriana Moreira

Journalist Adriana Moreira

Photo: Felipe Rau / Estadao

Daniel Nagas

Gastronomy reporter in Paladar and beer sommelière formed by ABS (Brazilian Association of Bartenders), “fresh” beer is preferred over pasteurized beer. I recently switched to non-alcoholic options, once I found out she was pregnant, and was surprised: “Aside from the sweeter versions, which I don’t have, there are labels that really go unnoticed.”



Journalist Danielle Nagase

Journalist Danielle Nagase

Photo: Felipe Rao/Estadão

Gabriel Ramalho

Working at Goose Island Brewpub, Pinheiros, the brewer has a degree in gastronomy, specializing in serving and producing beer, having worked in several areas of this market. On tasting, he found that “without a doubt, it is now possible to drink good non-alcoholic beer, of various prices and styles”.



Brewery Gabriel Ramalho

Brewery Gabriel Ramalho

Photo: Felipe Rao/Estadão

Julia Reese

A partner of Sinnatrah Cervejaria Escola, she gives lessons, lectures and organizes tastings. She is a brewer, sommelier, judge in beer competitions, as well as a brand consultant. In terms of the non-alcoholic beer market, it celebrates the release of other styles as well as a larger American. “Both those with a specific medical condition and current driver are eligible for an IPA and the alcohol-free Weizen option,” he objects.



Brewer and bartenders Julia Reese

Brewer and bartenders Julia Reese

Photo: Felipe Rau / Estadao

Nathaniel Bertolo

A lover of good bars and good drinks, according to himself, he curates beer and beer at Câmara Fria, Original and Pirajá bars, all of which are Cia-owned. Traditional commerce, where he works as a brand manager. He recently took a beer brewing course to learn how to brew his brew at home, as well as better understand all the processes.



Beer curator Nathanael Bertolo

Beer curator Nathanael Bertolo

Photo: Felipe Rau / Estadao

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