Budweiser Zero vs. Heineken 0.0

A non-alcoholic beer review

Good news, NA beer drinkers -- we are starting to have some options when it comes to readily-available no and low alcohol beers!

From the price to the fact that you can find it almost anywhere, this isn't going to be replacing any go-to craft non alcoholic beers in the rotation but it is a frontrunner in the warm weather/lawn mower/afternoon category.

Gone are the days of choosing between diet soda, coffee, and that "one" near beer that doesn't taste great and carries a bit of a stigma. And while the non alcoholic beer community has a long way to go - especially in the US - I am happy to announce that the major beer players are officially in the alcohol-free race and I am here for it. So is the rest of the world it seems. Bring on the brews!

In this NA beer review we'll be stacking the latest edition from the horse-drawn beer giant Budweiser Zero up against the german race-car beer, Heinken 0.0 A fair fight when it comes to availability, price, style, and well-known middle-of-the-roadness (and I don't say that as a bad thing).

First, let's take a look at Bud's non alcoholic beer darling.

Budweiser Zero

According to their website Budweiser Zero is made for beer drinkers who are looking to cut back on alcohol, but still want the refreshment of a Budweiser.

Makes sense -- any honestly I think they did it.

Funniest part of their website? How they talk about the water quality... "Our filtered water is tested daily for purity by our brew masters." I mean that is good, but water is like the #1 most important part of your drink I guess I would have thought you could throw some fancier words in there like reverse osmosis or something.

Speaking of marketing. It's pretty cool to see NA beer ads on during NFL games, on the sidelines of NBA courts, and during primetime with A-list names involved. Nice work, Bud!

Bud Zero is a golf course beer. Nothing more, nothing less.


non alcoholic beer - coors edge

Name: Budweiser Zero

Release date: December, 2020 (US) earlier version released as Prohibition

Style: Non-alcoholic lager

Cals/Carbs: 50 Cals, 11.5g Carbs, 0g Sugar /12oz

Avg. price (US): $8.50 - $10.50 / six-pack

Overview: Similar to the Coors, this Bud tastes just like a full strength Budweiser. A light body with a very crisp finish. It is refreshing and not overly sweet like some NA macros can be.

Look: Clear yellow. Mild carbonation and little-to-no head. Goes a little flat.

Aroma: Doesn't smell like much to be honest. Very mild, maybe a little bit of grain or rice.

Taste: What I notice right away is the lack of added sugar. This is more savory than sweet, which is nice. It also isn't overwhelming with flavor but I think that is the point. The carbonation is nice and when it is cold it really just tastes like a Bud.

Feel: Light and easy to drink. Super refreshing and feels hydrating.

Coolness factor (aka marketability): I actually think they did a good job with this. The can is pretty sweet and doesn't scream NA (I like the subtlety) nor does it follow suit of most of the Craft NA trend that seems to be loud, bright packaging that reminds you of seltzer water or kombucha. They seem to capture the attention and loyalty of non-bud drinkers with this one.

The takeaway? I'm drinking this on the golf course and that is about it.

Now for the Heineken.

Heineken 0.0

Heineken's alcohol-free beer is still having it's 15min of fame and I think it's exposure to the world is good for all NA beers around the world. And it appears they are trying to reach all types of beer drinkers.

I'd 100% grab one if I'm watching soccer.

As read on CNBC, “It’s not about a replacement strategy, it’s complementary,” said Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken USA. “Sometimes I drink Heineken. Sometimes I drink Heineken 0.0. ... So what we see happening is that this is in addition to our own Heineken position. We see this as an ‘and’ not an ‘instead of purchase.’”

While it has been getting some poor marks in general, it is making up for it with wide-spread availability, major corporate sponsorships, and normalizing non-alcoholic beer drinking to a large degree.

Most known for its TV commercials and major deals with both F1 and EUFA Champions League, the green bottle is now everywhere. So I tried it.

Here are my thoughts.


non alcoholic beer - heineken 0.0

Name: Heineken 0.0

Release date: January, 2019 (US) earlier released in Europe in 2017

Style: Non-alcoholic pale lager

Cals/Carbs: 69 Cals, 4.8g Carbs/100 mL

Avg. price (US): $8.49 / six-pack

Overview: Similar to the Coors, this Heineken tastes pretty spot on to a full strength Heineken. You get the same sweetness, the same slight skunky-ness, and a similar, albeit stronger, aftertaste. If you are looking for a Heineken you could swap this with any others from the family and likely not notice,

Look: Clear gold, not much of a head. Overall a pleasant and familiar sight. It pours and looks like any Heineken does.

Aroma: This is where things go downhill a little for me in this review. It is noticeably sweet and skunky smelling, and not entirely appetizing. Which to be fair, isn't too far from the original either.

Taste: I didn't know this before I tried it, but it does have some added sugar (to replace the alcohol) and I can taste it. It is slightly fruity, malty, and syrupy. Not bad, but not quite as refreshing for me. I also am not a fan of the lingering, almost-bitter, aftertaste.

Feel: Light and easy to drink. I wouldn't call it refreshing per se, but it does have a certain nostalgia to it's taste and mouthfeel. The aftertaste makes my mouth feel a bit dried out, and I would be hard pressed to drink more than a couple in a setting.

Coolness factor (aka marketability): I don't think this nails it particularly in the US. The coolness factor for me is the fact that you are drinking something clearly European. It feels like a classic staple found in pubs across the pond. I'd 100% grab one if I'm watching soccer. As far as ordering it at the bar and maintaining your street cred? No problem. This is a totally respectable choice.

The takeaway? I'll go to it in a pinch, but it isn't necessarily for me. The best part about this non-alcoholic beer is that you can find it almost anywhere. Bar, restaurant, grocery store. And it's definitely good enough to drink when the other options are limited.

Budweiser Zero vs. Heineken 0.0: The Winner

For me, the clear cut winner between the two is Heineken 0.0.

I'm eager to hear what you think.

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