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 rocky mountains Coors Edge 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 Coors' non alcoholic beer darling.
Matt Ferebee, associate marketing manager at MolsonCoors spoke about why they got into the near beer game, “The low- and non-alcohol trend is not going away, and we know we need to deliver more options for consumers who are in drinking occasions and do not want to consume alcohol, this is one step of many we’re taking to address these macro trends in the industry.”
You might be thinking, what about Coors Non Alcoholic? Edge has replaced it. Call it a rebrand or a glowup.
Coors (re)launched their alcohol-free brewski in America in 2019 and they've seen some pretty positive early success from their marketing efforts, including the TV commercial of a juror cracking a beer in court. Don't worry judge, it's non-alcoholic.
With Coors Edge I feel like I'm drinking a Coors. I enjoy the retro label, the classic blue mountains on the pale yellow cursive Coors. It looks like the mature, adult, older brother of the family.
Name: Coors Edge
Release date: November, 2019 (US) earlier released in Canada in 2018
Style: Non-alcoholic golden lager
Cals/Carbs: 41 Cals, 8g Carbs
Avg. price (US): $6.99 / six-pack
Overview: I'll be honest, I heard bad things about this before I tried it and I have no idea why. I really honestly enjoyed this NA Coors. It tastes eerily similar to Coors Original (Banquet), and was very refreshing. The flavor was light, not-too-sweet, and tastes how I would expect a light lager to taste. You can taste the barley, and it tastes a lot more like "beer" than any of the light full-strength varieties I've tried over the years.
Look: It looks how I imagine they want it to, golden. Mostly translucent and bubbly, this is a mirror of Coors Banquet as far as look is concerned.
Aroma: It smells, again, like a Coors (seeing the trend?). It has the distinct beer smell to it, but is light and bit grainy. Nothing much else to say here.
Taste: In this review I found this to be crisp and flavorful at the beginning, leaving a very mild aftertaste that isn't unpleasant. Drinking blind, you'd know this was a domestic beer. Light with hints of barley and a slight sweetness.
Feel: Healthily carbonated, but easily drinkable. Refreshing and thirst-quenching. This feels like warm-weather, a beer that would be easy to drink several.
Coolness factor (aka marketability): For a macro brand, I love the look of this beer. Classic yellow, bold blue, with the Coors script wrapping around the neck of the bottle. Side note for those trying to fly under the radar: if you put a koozie on this bad-boy (which you should, it's a perfect lawn-beer) there is no sign of it's alcohol content. Looks just like a Coors.
The takeaway? I'm a fan. 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.
Now for the Heineken.
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.
Here are my thoughts.
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.
Heineken 0.0 vs. Coors Edge: The Winner
For me, the obvious winner between the two is Coors Edge.
I'm eager to hear what you think.
Please consider sharing beer without a buzz with your friends and family. For more on this and other points of interest in the NA beer community, follow @beerwithoutbuzz on twitter and join the conversation.