With the arrival of Heineken 0.0 in Colorado, drinkers and athletes across the Front Range will now have access to one of the biggest selling non-alcoholic beers in Europe. But, why the hell should I care, you say? Well, besides offering a refreshing beverage to sip on that won’t make you tipsy, non-alcoholic beer might also have been the secret to the German Olympic team coming in second in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
When the story broke that the German Olympic team had 3,500 liters of N.A. Krombacher beer shipped in for their team at the Pyeongchang Games, most folks scoffed. “What do you expect from a bunch of Krauts?” seemed to be the underlying feeling. But, then they started winning — and winning, and winning.
The secret is in the fact that beer, even one without alcohol, has carbohydrates, sodium and water, all of which the body craves after a workout. Even better is the fact that low to no alcohol beers have very little diuretic effect on the body, which means they won’t dehydrate you. Plus, they’re not loaded down with all of the sugar prevelant in most athletic “recovery” beverages these days.
But, N.A. beers taste like shit, you say? Not really; not anymore. Gone are the days of non-alcoholic brews tasting flat and off. As with all aspects of the brewing industry, advancements in techniques and equipment has helped turn out more flavorful and fresh tasting alcohol-free beverages.
As for Heineken 0.0, it pours golden with a nice head that makes one think that there must be a mistake, that there must be alcohol in this beer. It goes down smooth with a nice flavor that is both refreshing and tasty. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a flavor bomb that’s going to knock you back, but really, neither is full-strength Heineken. When you reach for a production lager you know what you’re getting: refreshment that is not too complicated.
If you are looking for a N.A. beer with a bit more bang there are a few to look for on the shelves of your favorite liquor store. Clausthaler N/A and Bitburger Drive are two excellent German beers that have a full body and offer your taste buds something more. At the top of the podium is Paulaner Weizen Radler that combines the lemony taste that a traditional radler is known for, with the wheat flavors Munich-based Paulaner is world famous for. Hell, there are even a few craft N.A.’s out there.
So, don’t despair if you decide to take a break from drinking, or are the designated driver. There are some safe treats out there. Even better you could add a couple six packs to your fridge and toss out the Gatorade for your post workout download. Because, beer is always better.