One without please

Alcohol-free beer sampling

With the clear “NON” from the Migros cooperative members, it was clear that another alcohol-free beer was coming to the Swiss market. A market that is growing strongly worldwide and also in Switzerland. Besides Migros, many Swiss breweries also offer alcohol-free options. Of course, many foreign craft breweries have also joined the trend. So we went in search of a beer that can also convince craft beer drinkers who in general like a lot of flavour.

Alcohol-free beer is a growth market

Beer without alcohol is trendy and the market has been growing strongly for years. In 2019, the Swiss boulevard paper “Blick” already stated a growth of 50 percent since 2010. Sounds catchy above all and is also easy to achieve with low market volumes.

In concrete terms, this means: Since 2010, according to Statista, the market share of non-alcoholic beer in Switzerland has risen from 2.34 to 5% in 2021. And nau.ch wrote in November 2021 that sales had increased by a whopping 13% in 2020/2021. However, the article only refers to the sales of breweries affiliated to the Swiss Brewers Association. Nevertheless, since the overall market shrank in the same period, non-alcoholic beer is an important growth area.

Gastronomy is missing the trend

The trend is being picked up above all by the retailers. Salz & Pfeffer, the swiss gastro magazine, therefore notes with consternation that the gastronomy is missing the trend. Not so at Coop and Migros, the biggest Swiss retailers. They are constantly expanding their range of non-alcoholic beers, most recently Migros with its own “NON” beer. Migros has also greatly expanded its range and celebrated this last year with an article in its own magazine, for which Christian from bierversuche.ch wrote a brief outline of the different beer styles. This year, too, the topic of beer and non-alcoholic beer was worth a double-page and another article including Christian’s thoughts.

So it’s high time we went in search of a delicious zero-percent-beer that can perhaps also replace an IPA with alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, beers are usually not completely alcohol-free. However, a residual alcohol content of 0.5% is permissible, as this has no physiological effect, even if you drink a lot of it. By the way, an overripe banana contains about the same amount of alcohol.

Our recommendations

The selection included Barter Bier Prohibition Ale, Dr. Gabs Placebo, Felsenau Schüümli, La Nebuleuse Iversion, Mikkeller Henry & His Science, Mikkeller Limbo Series, Omnipollo Blabars-soppa, Thun Bier Golden Ale, To Øl Driving Home for X-Mas, To Øl Implosion, Uiltje Suberb-owl and Migros NON.

So here are our recommendations on the subject of non-alcoholic beer.

Mikkeller – Limbo Series
With lime and yuzu
Strongly reminiscent of lemonade with a very sour finish. Quite tangy with a hint of citrus zest.

Thun Beer – Golden Ale
Body is dry and has little of the sweetness otherwise typical. Harmonious and balanced with a slight bitterness on the finish. Little foam in the glass, a touch under-carbonated. Our favorite.

Uiltje – Superb-owl
Light color, the beer is fruity with notes of citrus. Needs some temperature to get notes of mango. Good hop notes with a bitter finish that lingers.

Barter Beer – Prohibition Ale
Light citrus notes, floral, dry and a slightly bitter finish that builds slowly.

Migros – NON
Starts somewhat like a typical non-alcoholic lager with malty sweetness, but transitions into a nice dry, not too prominent bitterness. Is balanced overall.

Make your choice

Of course, there are many more non-alcoholic beers like Loland 0.3 IPA, Lola IPA and Lola Wit, Barter The Driver, Brooklyn Special Effects, BrewDog Punk AF, Riegele Biermanufaktur IPA and many more. In the end, everyone has to find the non-alcoholic beer that tastes best to them. Or else, one can enjoy the variety, which will probably become even greater and more versatile in the coming years.

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