Our top 6 AF and low-alcohol beers - by Barbara Fitzsimons - One Year No Beer

The idea of sitting down with a frosty pint at the end of a hard day in the office, or on a sunny Sunday after an afternoon in the garden is an appealing one for many. However, with so many of us now wanting to hop on the alcohol-free bandwagon, just what options are there for us to quench our thirst AF? It is International Beer Day on 2nd August so when better to explore the best AF and low alcohol beers!

Hold my beer!

Beer is further ahead in its mission to perfect a non-alcoholic alternative than wine and spirits are. Furthermore, many pubs and bars are realising the increasing demand for low strength beers. A number of small and large brewers are also adding low alcohol versions of their flagship beers to their portfolios, and craft breweries specialising in such options are starting to emerge.

With this in mind, and in the interest of sharing tastes and tips, we recently asked the community what their favourite AF and low alcohol beers were, and have gathered the results below! For this list, we have considered beers that have 0.5% ABV or less – which is less than what occurs naturally in many types of food – and represents a range of choice, quality and culture. 

Bring on the beer AF!

For the lager drinkers

Heineken 0.0%
4 x 330ml for £3.50 from Tesco or 6 x 330ml for £4.09 from Waitrose in the UK or one case for $30.00 from BWS in Australia
ABV: 0.05%

Heineken’s 0.0% version is an easy-going, light and bubbly little number, surprisingly similar to regular Heineken, with fewer off-putting AF traits than many other under 0.5% beers. With a fruity flavour and slight malty notes, this option makes for an easy going booze-free beverage. Heineken 0.0% is already available in Australia and the UK, and this year will launch in the US, released in response to health and wellness demands.

For the hoppy tongued

Brewdog Nanny State
4 x 330ml for £4.50 from Tesco or 1 x 330ml for £1.25 from Sainsbury’s
ABV: 0.5%

From the brewery known for beers, bars and crowdfunding (as well as the strongest and most expensive beer in history!) comes Nanny State, a 0.5% hoppy beer that barks with an authentic bitterness, perfect for those partial to an IPA. Full of citrussy hoppy flavours with a lingering piney bitterness, Nanny State has orange, grapefruit and mango bound together in the malting process. This is low alcohol beer as it should be. 

For the thirsty

Becks Blue
15 x 275ml for £7.50 from Tesco
ABV: 0.05%

Sure, it’s not the best low alcohol option out there. But it’s a decent glassful when you’re not drinking alcohol, especially since it’s available in so many pubs and bars. The high bitterness might be an issue for some, but refreshing for others, with foam that leave a luxurious linger as it glides down.

For the ale drinkers

Low Alcohol Old Speckled Hen
12 x 500ml for £17.99 from Greene King or 1 x 500ml for £1.30 from Morrisons
ABV: 0.5% 

An alluring addition to the non-alcoholic beer market, and solid option for ale drinkers, is a low alcohol variant of the popular Old Speckled Hen. This option is brewed with Pale and Crystal malts alongside Challenger, First Gold and Goldings hops, and “faithfully delivers flavour characteristics reminiscent of the 5.0% ABV bottled beer,” according to the brewer. It’s a satisfying alternative to the real thing, with a malty, lightly toasted aroma, and a light toffee taste. This certainly paves the way for more low alcohol ale alternatives.

For the health conscious

Erdinger Alkoholfrei
1 x 500ml for £1.20 from Sainsbury’s
ABV: 0.5%

Besides its low alcohol benefits, Erdinger is promoted as an isotonic drink. With vitamin B12 and folic acid, this brew can be used as a recovery option after exercise. This AF beer has a wheaty aroma with subtle banana scents. With a distinctive, malty taste, there is a good depth of flavour and bitter finish. This option is an ideal non-alcoholic alternative on a hot summer’s day. 

For the Americans

Wellbeing Brewing Co Heavenly Body Golden Wheat
6 x 12 fl oz for $11.99 from Amazon
ABV: 0.5%

As the US has far fewer options in the AF beer market, we did some digging to include an option that was American-brewed. With a wide range of flavours available from this brewery, this US treat is a perfect thirst quencher with hints of grapefruit and spice. An award-winning recipe, based on a Great American Beer Festival, this brew is proud to be American, and is ideal when you are taking care of your heavenly body!

Glass half full

It’s fantastic news that more and more AF and low alcohol beers are available online, in stores, and in bars, with enough flavour options to keep it interesting, making that clear head in the morning all the more enjoyable! Bottoms up!


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