The Best (And Worst) Non-Alcoholic Lagers

Giving up beer is hard work enough without having to spend ages trying to find an alternative, this guide to the best, and worst, non-alcoholic beers should set you in the right direction...
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Up until I gave up booze in January, I was always under the impression lager existed for useful purposes, such as making ugly, boring people more attractive and funny.  In addition, when taken hung-over, lager provided a refreshing and magnificent alternative to Del Monte’s breakfast range.  The critical key ingredient for me was always alcohol, then taste, but I am given to understand that some people actually have it the other way round.

I never thought I would miss the tasteof lager/beer, but after a month of drinking water and other hideous derivatives of it, I decided to have a look. I went shopping on the internet.  In ancient times, (pre 1992) if you found yourself in a niche, you just lived with it.  If you stopped drinking, you quietly sipped pop, or in the case of my alcoholic uncle, a glass of fruit juice served in a wine glass by my father with an embarrassing theatrical flourish.  In those more innocent times it was perfectly possible to go through life without ever experiencing the taste of alcohol-free beer, or even knowing that it existed. Happy Days.

Now, thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his invention of the World Wide Web, no niche need ever be ignored or neglected.
For example, somewhat incredibly you may find that your Bassett hound is wheat intolerant. If this is the case you could visit where we find Charlie the basset having problems:

“My 12 month old basset, Charlie, has been having problems*, he is very windy and smelly, however, since changing to Wafcol Salmon and Potato, he is completely different, no more sickness and no more smells..turns out he is sensitive to wheat and rice” Mrs Uttley

*Told you

Why would you feed your big-eared gormless looking dog wheat and rice anyway Mrs Uttley, you fucking krank?   No wonder he was blowing off, so would you if I fed you wheat and rice. He needs meat or something, oh I don’t know, maybe dog food?  I’m glad he’s on the Salmon now and stopped farting, but I worry Mrs Uttley.  I worry about what you think dogs eat.

Poor Cunt Charlie.

I never thought I would miss the taste of lager/beer, but after a month of drinking water and other hideous derivatives of it, I decided to have a look. I went shopping on the internet

Your niche may not be dog related. It may well be that you have severely mismatched feet. Do not panic.  If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of walking round (presumably in circles) with one foot like a Kangaroo and the other like Natalie Portman, help is at hand in the shape of odd shoe finder.

This site puts you in touch with other people with odd sized feet then I think you swap shoes or something.  Imagine being at home and your wife shouting up the stairs “The postman’s here..hey,  I think it might be your shoe” Incidentally, I tapped “Asics Gel Kayano” into the search engine, but none were available. Pity, because I really fancied owning a second hand elite single running shoe big enough to store crops in.

I digress. I really have digressed.  No wonder I kept getting sacked.  The niche I sought to pursue was alcohol free beer and in I have found its home.  I ordered a ”mixed case” of 24 bottles which came to about £25 and took about two days to deliver.  Bit of a misnomer saying it was a mixed case as we got four bottles of one thing and two of the other etc, no real rhyme or reason to the selection.  Maybe they were all pissed.   I’d like to think so.

I’ve picked 5 or 6 and reviewed them here, lest any of you are tempted, like me, to knock it all on the head and live an uncomplicated and pure life, free from booze. Although I wouldn’t fucking bother.

Bittburger - Really good, did the “Pepsi Challenge” in the pub with this on Sunday afternoon and everyone said it compared well to the bottle of Stella. It looked awful in a glass, really flat and lifeless, so it loses two stars.  The advertising states that this is the preferred beer of the German football team.  The England Football team official beer is Carling Black Label. We won’t go into the whole Right Wing Nazi thing. John Terry has enough on his plate - 3.5 Stars

Bavaria -  This tastes like it came from the slop-tray in the pre-gastro Barley Mow in Bath, put through a soda stream.   Try it warm, sieved through Eric Pickles’ underpants.  It will improve it. It is hideous and has a gruesome sweet aftertaste similar in odour to the sweat you get shaking on a Sunday night after six glorious days on the Gak.  - 0 Stars

Becks Blue - Becks always tasted a bit funny, not like any other lager and this tastes very similar (if my memory serves me right) to the real thing.  It has a slightly metallic tinge to it, but it is very good.  It’s brewed to the famous “Reinheitsgebot” German Purity law; then after brewing they carefully take the good, happy, enjoyable bit out.  - 4 Stars

Jever Fun -  Ironic that this is called Fun, given I have not had any since I gave up the piss.  No matter, this is the best of the lot. It’s hoppy, balanced and tastes very much like a strong lager.  No metallic aftertaste like the becks.  Another Reinheitsgeboteffort.  Lovely. Ich Liebe. Brilliant with Curry - 5 Stars

Clausthaler -  Number one in Europe and they have put some effort into it tasting like lager/beer. It’s not for me.  I still think it tastes a bit like the old Alcohol Free Lager of old, but not too unpleasant.  Bit of a sweet aftertaste. - 3.5 Stars

Dark Cheers - It’s an odd name for a no alcohol beer isn’t it? You could advertise it with a man putting his twelve bore away, smiling. Underneath the caption: “…no Dark Thoughts with Dark Cheers”.  I really wanted to like this, it looked magnificent being poured from the glass, like a stout. But it didn’t deliver on the taste, it tasted no more hoppy or yeasty or malty than Clausthaler - 3 Stars

So there you have it.  Enjoy.  Next month what’s the fucking point?

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