Just testing: six of the best alcohol-free beers

Hot on the heels of our feature about alcohol-free beers, here’s a taste test of six bestsellers

By Tim Gibson

Ah, it’s a tough life, but you know how it goes. The boss calls up and says he’s sending six bottles of beer your way. Asks if you’re prepared to sample them all and make a few tasting notes for an online feature.

    The boss calls up and says he’s sending six bottles of beer your way.  

There’s just one teeny-weeny catch: none of the beers contain alcohol. But given that it’s half three in the afternoon and you’re due to take the kids for a walk later, that’s probably just as well. No one enjoys a drunken dad on the side of the road.

So here, in no particular order (actually, that’s a lie: it goes from best to worst), are my notes on six of the UK’s bestselling alcohol-free beers. Cheers!

1) Brewdog Nanny State

If you like your ale hoppy, Nanny State won’t disappoint. It has the crisp finish of an IPA and is every bit as refreshing. Drink it after a pint of normal bitter and you’ll find it rather lacking in something. But sup it with a clear palate and you’ll be impressed by its depth of flavour.

The thing I most like about Nanny State is that it’s not too fizzy. That’s a big point in any beer’s favour so far as I’m concerned, and reflects this product’s status as a genuine craft ale. If lager’s your thing, steer clear. But if you enjoy a traditional-tasting bitter, you’ll no doubt find Nanny State fits the bill nicely.

2) Infinite Session IPA

Infinite Session makes three craft beers, and they’re all alcohol-free. The lager and the American Pale Ale are perfectly suppable, but the IPA is the pick of the bunch.

Hoppy, fresh and light, it’s a drink you can quaff all night long (as the name suggests). I found it a bit fizzier than Nanny State, and a lot less floral in flavour. It’s somewhere between a lager and a bitter, but packs a refreshing punch that makes it an ideal barbecue beer. Slips down perfectly with a burnt burger and a charred sausage.

3) Free Damm

Of the plethora of non-alcoholic lagers to hit the shelves in recent years, Free Damm is probably the finest. Drink it with a fresh mouth (i.e. not one that’s been sipping full-strength lager) and you’ll barely spot the difference between this and the real thing.

Free Damm is a bit burpy, but the same could be said of pretty much all lagers. On the plus side, it’s hugely refreshing and makes the perfect tipple for a 5pm boost on a summer’s evening. Or a 3pm boost. Or even an 11am one, for that matter…

4) Budweiser Prohibition Brew

The biggest reason Budweiser Prohibition Brew deserves a place in this list is that you can barely taste the difference between it and Bud’s regular offering. For some, that’ll serve as eloquent commentary on the merits or otherwise of American lager. But others will see this black-labelled product as a satisfyingly soft lager with a refreshing character.

I fall firmly into the latter category. I’ve always enjoyed American and Canadian lagers, despite their lack of popularity in comparison to European beers. So Bud Prohibition is a nice fit for me. If I’m going to drink an alcohol-free lager rather than an ale, this is the one I’d choose.

5) Heineken 0.0

Heineken’s non-alcoholic offer is a stark contrast to Budweiser’s, in as much as it feels every inch the European lager. Trouble is, as with one-time market-leader Becks Blue, you really can taste the difference in comparison with the full-strength offering.

That’s not to say Heineken 0.0 isn’t perfectly drinkable. But it definitely feels like a compromise choice, in a way that products like Nanny State and Bud Prohibition don’t. You’ll know you’ve gone alcohol free with this beer.

6) Birra Moretti Zero

I had such high hopes for Birra Moretti’s alcohol-free offering, but it just didn’t hit the spot. By far my favourite lager when drunk at full strength, this product didn’t taste right at all. It was too fizzy, too sticky and just too lacking in flavour for me to enjoy. The post-swig burps were even more unpleasant.

As with Heineken, the problem may be the sharp contrast between this and the beer it’s meant to replicate. Whatever the reason, this is one non-alcoholic beer I’ll definitely be steering clear of.

© 2020 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 24 March 2020

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Why alcohol-free beer may be the perfect summer tipple

You may also enjoy: Just Testing: Smokin’ Tom’s barbecue tips

Jobs currently available

Commercial Manager
Sector: Retail
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910265
About the role

Just Recruitment have a fantastic opportunity for a bright and ambitious Commercial Manager to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Based in Colchester, Essex, you will be working as part of their supplier negotiation team.

Duties will include:

  • Negotiating purchasing agreements to ensure the best deal for the business.
  • Delivering support to both managers and estimators in their pricing and queries.
  • Providing a point of contact for our suppliers to help deliver their message to our staff and customers.
  • Attending events, shows and exhibitions to network and identify further possibilities for a better deal.
  • Working alongside the Product File team to creating pricing structures to enable our staff to trade competitively.
  • Identifying new product ranges and suppliers that will provide futureproofing for the years to come.
  • Providing direct assistance to the Commercial Director with support from the other Commercial Managers.
  • A good level of competency with Excel is a must. Experience in either a similar role or a related industry is preferred.
  • Key personality traits would be a keen grasp of numbers and an enthusiastic, dynamic, ‘can do’ attitude.
Read more
Maintenance Engineer: Mon to Thur 4.30pm – 2.30am
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £25,000 - £33,000 per annum
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910254
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an enthusiastic, motivated and talented individual for the position of Maintenance Engineer on behalf of a company based in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Primary responsibility:
The primary responsibility of this role is to lead preventative and reactive mechanical maintenance in order to support Operations

Key responsibilities:

  • Leading preventative and reactive mechanical maintenance to support Operations
  • Assisting electrical support and associated work to support Operations
  • Responsible for leading infrastructure maintenance and upgrades
  • Provide support to the contractor coordinator dealing with external contractors and associated permitting systems
  • Provide support for Project Lead assisting with identifying potential suppliers and equipment, liaising with companies through to installation and commissioning stage
  • Provide support required to maintain the engineering side of SAP with regards to PPM scheduling, PPM job sheets, tracking breakdowns and keeping equipment infrastructure up to date
  • Responsible for ensuring continuous site improvements are achieved in line with Lean manufacturing principles e.g. 5S
  • Facilitate service contract management including regulatory requirements for maintenance-related activities
  • Ensure site engineering documentation and associated training is kept up to date in line with site procedures
  • Responsible for sourcing quotes and raising purchase requisitions to maintain stock levels

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Advance modern apprenticeship, BTEC Level 3 in engineering or HNC in Engineering, or equivalent
  • 17th (current) edition wiring regulations certification preferred but not essential
  • IPAF access license 3a and 3b qualification preferred
  • PASMA tower qualification preferred
  • Experience working in a busy manufacturing environment
  • Experience in change management and driving continuous improvement
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills with high attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to effectively communicate various organisational levels
  • Ability to understand and manage Engineering SAP system
  • Ability to understand and use procurement purchasing system
  • Good working knowledge of health and safety requirements including permitting systems
  • Ability to respond and react quickly to changing production demands.

Hours of work:

  • Hours of work are 40 hours per week with overtime as required to support production demand - Monday to Thursday 4.30pm to 2.30am.
Read more
Industrial Engineer
Sector: Engineering & Technical
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910249
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Industrial Engineer for a medical device manufacturer based in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Industrial Engineers are key within their newly created team whose primary responsibility is to deliver continuous improvement initiatives across all levels/functions of the business.  

Ideally, you will be an accredited Lean Six Sigma Green / Black Belt practitioner, with some experience within a manufacturing engineering environment.

You will be the driving force behind fostering a culture of sustainable change through the creation, coaching and embedding of LEAN methodology, its tools, and the supporting framework to deliver business transformation.

This is a great opportunity for development.  If you're great at coaching and motivating others we'd love to hear from you.

Responsibilities include:

  • To identify and deliver improvement activities across the business through employing process improvement methodologies and the application of innovative thinking
  • To work with key business stakeholders to build a Continuous Improvement environment to support an on-going programme of change
  • To lead, facilitate and coach LEAN/process improvement based workshops or Kaizens to drive ideas and solutions
  • To support the delivery of better value and greater efficiency through the identification and elimination of unnecessary complexity within business processes and identify better ways of working
  • To identify trends and process variations as part of establishing a Continuous Improvement monitoring system
  • To assist in the development and implementation of 'best-in-class' Continuous Improvement strategy
  • To take ownership of change initiatives from evolution/efficiency identification through to project delivery via internal governance and controls
  • To ensure the business impact and project objectives/dependencies are identified, reported on and managed at all times
  • To set up programs, deliver coaching and run projects across all functions
  • To complete post implementation reviews to ensure successful delivery has been achieved and to ensure that improvements can be made for future projects (lessons learned)

Suitable applicants will ideally have some work experience in the medical device industry or other regulated industry.

  • Accreditation in Lean Six Sigma Green/Black(preferred) belt as a minimum
  • Experience in Manufacturing / Engineering is essential
  • Significant experience of hands-on implementation of Continuous Improvement programs and LEAN solutions
  • Ability to operate and communicate within a cross-functional team made up of both technical and non-technical members
  • Manage time efficiently to meet reactive business demands
  • Ability to set-up, facilitate and lead improvements/Kaizen sessions with a range of business stakeholders
  • Strong understanding of how to interpret business needs and translate them into operational requirements
  • Project management skills highly desirable
Read more
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910231
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Senior Mechanical Engineer for a leading manufacturing company specialising in the design and assembly of mechanical and electromechanical products.

The role will involve leading and overseeing the engineering and design activities from the development of existing solutions or generation of new designs.

You will be carrying out technical research, testing and engineering analysis as well as generating test and technical documentation.

You will also be overseeing R&D activities, ensuring compliance with internal/customer requirements and UK as well as international legislation.

Skills and qualifications:

  • Educated to degree standard (or further, Masters, PHD etc.) in Engineering subject.
  • Understanding of technical requirements capture/compliance matrix, clause by clauses.
  • Solid engineering knowledge and background should have previously held a position of Senior Engineer or Principle Engineer, design skills desirable and 3D CAD capable (Catia V5 preferred).
  • Ability to both generate and present, technical presentations and documents.
  • Working understanding of design review / New Product Introduction process.
  • Practical FMEA / FMECA / Risk Engineering experience.
  • Basic understanding of reliability and safety analysis.
  • Ability to perform structural calculations (hand calculations).
  • Working knowledge of LV directive, IEE regs, appreciation of standards and legislation.

Technical zeal, engineering diligence.

Read more
Mortgage Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910240
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Mortgage Advisor to join an established mortgage company based in Sudbury.

As part of a local group who have been operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. Their office is rapidly expanding and they are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

You will have:

  • A CeMAP qualification
  • Experience within mortgage broking or financial services
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Read more