I’ve invited beer blogger David Hamilton to give some recommendations on alcohol free beers. He knows quite a lot about beer and he’s also my husband, so you can trust that he has good taste.
Medical evidence is clear about the dangers of alcohol in pregnancy – but that doesn’t stop you occasionally hankering for a beer.
Non-alcohol beer has a poor reputation – but the recent rise of exciting craft beer has also delivered a boom in pleasant non-alcohol options.
Believe it or not, there are some I actually enjoy drinking just because they taste good, with any other benefits – clear head, in particular – just an added bonus.
Definitions first: non-alcohol beer still contains alcohol, but if it’s less than 0.5 per cent ABV – a standard pint of lager is about 4 per cent – than it can be described as non-alcoholic.
To make things easier, I’ve focused on options which you should hopefully be able to find relatively easily from a decent supermarket or pub.
However, if the original beer is bad then the golden rule is that the alcohol-free version isn’t going to be up to much. Start with a decent beer, then there’s a fighting chance it’s little brother will be worth a look. So avoid Heineken, Bud, Tennent’s and supermarket own brand versions and have a nice soft drink instead.
You’re on safe ground with some of the esteemed German brewers.
Schneider Weisse Mein Alkoholfrei (TAP3) has the malt and biscuit character you associate with beer, and a light tartness. Erdinger Alkolfrei is pleasant and gently sweet, as is the breakfast cereal-like Franziskaner Weissbeir Alkolfrei.
St Peter’s Without is nice too: burnt toffee and malty sweetness giving it a more traditional English ale feel. Adnam’s Ghost Ship alcohol-free is similar, and also worth a look.
Brewdog’s Popsicle Parade beers are terrific – sharp and fruity – but mainly only available in Brewdog pubs on draught, although the Nanny State is widely available and boasts a tempting citrus character.
These are all light beers. However, the undisputed pick of the bunch for me and the best non-alcoholic beer I’ve ever tasted is the dark Mocha Vanilla Shot Stout from Tiny Rebel. You might have to hunt this down – Cornelius and the Dockside Top have stocked it – and you’ll pay about £4 a can, but it’s worth it. Pronounced roasted coffee and sweetness – albeit with the characteristic thin body often associated with low alcohol – will fool many discerning drinkers.
So, pregnancy needn’t mean forsaking a beer. It’s reassuring to know there are some decent options out there that mean you can enjoy – really enjoy – a non-alcoholic beer.