What is alcohol free beer – plus many other questions
People often ask what is alcohol free beer? It says alcohol free, so is it ? Can I stop drinking on it?
There are plenty of questions that get asked on my blog and of course I am not a diet or medical expert but I believe in common sense in an ever confusing market.
After being diagnosed with liver failure I needed a big lifestyle change and to be fair I am lucky to be alive. Given that I did not have a so-called “problem with drinking” I decided to move toward the social drinking of alcohol free beer.
However, the consumption of it was confusing. What is alcohol free? What is ABV? Can you safely drink it? Crikey it was more complicated than drinking alcohol along with the scarcity of product and that look you got which said “what’s the point”?
Yet I could buy a bottle of wine for one and no-one would blink? What was this strange world of alcohol free that I had entered.
So alcohol free beer is when the alcohol has been taken out or it is brewed with the same ingredients but with no alcohol involved in the process.
Make no mistake this is clever brewing and it’s a growth market with sales up over 23%. It’s a good area for profit right now as people make different choices and focus on their health.
Which is the best alcohol free beer?
Wow that is a million pound or dollar question depending on where you are at. Now this blog has very much a 0.0 focus so I tend to review products that either have a natural trace as you would find in orange juice and bread rolls as opposed to the 0.5 % ABV beers.
Now both are fine in general terms but if you have a medical condition or want to be completely alcohol free will depend on the choice you make. Its a small difference but an important one!
Taste has evolved over the years from Becks Blue to San Miguel Zero so depending on your taste buds you are in a much better place than years ago when you were more likely to spit it out or order a soda instead.
You now have a selection of great brands to work through and find your natural home. There is limited choice but there is choice.
The one thing I can say is that these brewers do now take the taste seriously and brewing methods have really evolved to give a great product over the nonsense we used to put up with. It was bad like really bad!
Bear in mind I have been alcohol free for about 18 months but I still think of myself as a newbie and that gives a good indication of the reality out there in bars or home shopping.
The top 3 brands I lean toward the most in order of preference and I review them on my blog are :
- San Miguel Zero
- Peroni Liberia
- Bavaria 0.0
My review of my top alcohol free beers is here if you fancy a read and let me know what you think!
Is Heineken 0.0 alcohol free?
Yes legally it is but bear in mind there are two brewing processes, one which is brewed with no alcohol at all and then one where the alcohol is extracted.
In terms of alcohol free not low alcohol it is very much safe to drink. Having said that as with all fermentation you can get a trace of alcohol.
However, before you jump up and down bear in mind there is more natural alcohol in fermentation in orange juice and bread rolls. Confused well yes it does depend on the way they make it.
So legally Heineken 0.0 is alcohol free but if you check the back it states not more than 0.05%. That is a legal requirement as it might have a trace. However, if you are in any doubt avoid but in reality there is alcohol in everyday products it’s just not listed because it does not have to be.
Don’t you love consumer law but it is there to protect us and that’s a good thing.
In reality however and as far as the law is constructed it is alcohol free. You will find this brand as “the go to” brand in many bars, in fact its their only one choice very often and they are so happy that they have it!
Can you get drunk off alcoholic free beer?
No is the quick answer, you would have to drink 100 bottles even with a trace for it to matter and even with the 0.5 % brands you would have to consume a great deal. However, with 0.0% beer you would never get drunk although people who drink it without realizing it have got drunk mentally and that is known as the “placebo effect” so the power of the brain.
They imagine themselves getting drunk and then when they realize they sober up pretty quickly. It is funny really but it does show the power of the mind and even the effect of alcohol as the thought could get your drunk.
Maybe that’s why social drinking is so powerful.
It’s great to see the totally alcohol free beer adopt the drive safe and pregnancy safe badge on the drinks. I would really encourage that for peace of mind. If there was a trace in your body you would have got rid of it before your next drink.
However, going 0.0% alcohol free means we don’t have to worry about that.
Is alcohol free beer bad for your liver?
There are many things that are bad for your liver! I know there is a group of people who say you can only drink water. That may be true and then there is a real world.
For myself and a damaged liver no alcohol is key. In fact, it was alcohol that was doing the damage not just to my liver but to my other organs as well and I was just a social drinker.
So get advice if you are undergoing medical treatment which is why I choose 0.0% beers rather than 0.5% or low alcohol even though it is probably OK for the majority.
Let me be honest, alcohol is bad, sugar is bad, fat is bad so alcohol free beer is fat free generally but certainly not calorie free either.
So you need a healthy balance and if you have liver disease avoid alcohol altogether thus why I am so passionate about 0.0% alcohol in beers. However, it can also be just choice and you choose not to drink alcohol full stop.
At the end of the day its a growing market regardless of health. You are the consumer remember?
Overall choice is good and having that could prevent more issues with our lives overall not less. If you are looking for a transplant for your liver read the guidelines as any movement either side could stop that happening as the medical community are very strict on this and so they should be.
Can you drink alcohol free beers if you are an alcoholic?
Only you will know! For an alcoholic the mere presence of a trace can be enough to go back to drink so only you will know your limits and your triggers.
However, it can go further just being in a pub for example. It is not the alcoholic free drink as such that can cause people go back to alcohol it’s the feeling, the social atmosphere so we are triggering a feeling. The brain is programmed to move toward pleasure.
It really varies from person to person. However, for the majority having an alcohol free drink means you can socialize without feeling any pressure and it is a great alternative.
Science is now showing that if the choice is there and the alternatives to alcohol drink are good then people will go for them if they believe it will help with their health.
Can an 18-year-old buy non-alcoholic beer?
My advice is just roll with it. Yes and no depending on where you live. Its actually the same if you are 30 or 50 on home delivery.
Alcohol free drink is governed by the same rules rightly or wrongly so it was only yesterday when my parcel of Bavaria zero was delivered, I was out but the driver came into my apartment building to put it outside my door. Perfect I thought. Then my mobile rang and we both knew he would not leave it. No signature and no passport!
Now you can read my review of the Bavaria Alcohol free here, I love it for its value but I still need to sign even though the brewing process has no alcohol as part of that.
I know a few people who have gone back to alcohol after getting annoyed about having to produce an ID and at our age I can understand why. However, seriously just go with it, in many countries you will be asked. I have stopped worrying about it.
In the alcohol free world don’t sweat the small stuff!
Is non-alcoholic beer bad for your heart?
Contrary to what many people think, alcohol free does have calories so if you are overweight then yes. However, many have lower calories like Bud Zero and overall that is true of all of them generally. The heart is a complicated one but if you are moving toward an alcohol free lifestyle then that can only be a good thing.
For me people talk about heart health but very little about liver health.
How do you know if alcohol free is 0.0%
Every alcoholic drink has what they called a ABV rating. So to answer the question of what is alcohol free beer, the answer lies in the ABV when you put the usual ingredients of beer to one side.
This will be stated on an alcohol beer as part of the brands sometimes. So San Miguel 0.0 for example but that is not true of all brands. Peroni Libera does not for example yet it is 0.0 abv. Confused yet?
However, the real test is on the label – the ABV label as I call it! ABV stands for alcohol by volume so the measure of the amount of alcohol in the drink. So you want 0.0 clearly stated. Low alcohol is not the same as alcohol free.
Can you drink non-alcoholic beer every day
Keep a balance here so if you are not worrying about the alcohol now that is great , but think about your calories and the sugar in particular. I remember when orange juice was hailed as the health guru for everyone.
Kids were drinking tons and tons of it in cartons and of course with no fiber and all sugar they piled the weight on! You would not eat hundreds of oranges in one go. It is like smoothies, fine in moderation but too much of anything is not good.
You may also need to ask why you are drinking them every day.
It’s all about balance!
Having said that it is certainly better than downing alcohol in large amounts every day so go figure.
Can diabetics drink non-alcoholic beer?
Treat anything concerning alcohol free beer like anything you consume. Remember it has sugar. I am not a medical adviser so check with your medical professional.
Is non-alcoholic beer better for you than regular beer?
If you are looking to reduce your alcohol content absolutely ! It gets mocked by therapists sometimes but I deal in the real world.
What can you suggest that is an alcoholic free alternative to beer?
I am a big fan of alcohol free gin which is now a real quality product. I write a review of my favorites here.
What is alcohol free beer?
So in summary the bottom line to the question of what is alcohol free beer? It is just that.
Beer without the alcohol, with the same ingredients and maybe just a bit fewer calories and sugar. However, the benefits of going alcohol free are amazing. It’s all about balance and one alcohol free beer is not a panacea for every health issue going.
However, if you are looking to reduce or eradicate alcohol in my book the more choice the better. Bring it on! Always get medical advice if you are concerned.
I would love to know what your views are on alcoholic free beer and if you have any recommendations? Have you successfully used it to reduce your alcohol intake?
This blog is based on your view and sharing them. I always respond as soon as I can. How do you balance 0.5 abv beers verses 0.0 abv and do you check the labels?
Please leave your message below as I would love to hear from you.