Heresy: I like alcohol free beer
OK, I stopped drinking beer because of nasty things the doc kept saying.
Then, I recently saw an article by a local SF columnist tasting NA beers.
Hmmm...I decided to give 'em a shot.
I liked 'em.
Well, let's be clear. The flavor of NA beers were clearly a notch below regular beer. I did not do head-to-head tests, but they certainly seemed to lack an entire dimension of taste.
OTOH, I really liked the flavors and variety of tastes. They had a surprising range of flavors, from IPA-ish to rich and malty. They are now regular residents in my frig.
I liked these:
I did not like these:
I was surprised that there were only 3 that I outright did not like.
re: Mr. Scrapple
"Beer is proof God loves us'' (anybody know?)
Anyway, I drank n/a beer when I was pregnant because, well, I was pregnant when out and when given a choice, it was Warsteiner or Kaliber. O'Doul's was okay in a pinch, but I didn't care for Sharp's at all. When I was waiting for friends at a restaurant bar while pg and nursing a virgin beer, some drunk guy went off on me for drinking while pg. It was pretty funny.
My favorite was once Birell. Owned by a large Swiss brewery (Hurlimann, since bought out IIRC), it was long contract-brewed in the US by a variety of regional brewers (C. Schmidt's & Sons, Matt, etc.) and was often found in "health food" stores and other non-licensed food stores.
Unlike many NA's, which tasted of unfermented wort -when they tasted of anything- Birell proudly noted the use of Brewers Gold hops on it's label, and it tasted and even smelled like it. Have not seen it in years in the States, but IIRC it's still contract brewed around the world by assorted breweries.
I was involved in a similar tasting a number of years ago. We found O'Doul's Amber, an NA based on an all-malt Oktoberfestbier, to be one of the best.
Another one I found later and liked very much was Erdinger NA, a NA wheat beer.
You tend to find harsh bitterness in NA beers, and the two I mention happen to be styles that aren't particularly hoppy.