Is alcohol-free beer any good? We thought we'd save you some bother and do some taste tests. 

Here are the results, in no particular order: so, take your pick!


There are LOADS of alcohol-free and very low alcohol beers out there, from pale ale to lager to stout. Find one that suits you over on the Alcohol Concern Wales site


Leeds Brewery OPA

Calories per bottle: 66 (20 per 100ml)
Score: 5 out of 5

The Leeds Brewery are relative newcomers to the world of beer, having set up shop in 2007, but that doesn't seem to be holding them back. This new OPA is one of nearly twenty beers they produce, and it's one of the best alcohol-free beers we've had.

Two years in the making, this traditional English pale ale is just delicious. It's a bit hoppy and pretty malty, but not too much of either.

And it looks great too. It's got a lovely caramel colour. The whole brand and bottle design has obviously been well thought out. Like all Leeds Brewery beers, it has its own unique imagery - in this case an art deco sunrise over the sea. You're not going to feel embarrassed standing in the pub with one these in your hand.

OPA is available in the Leeds Brewery's six pubs, and hopefully in lots of other pubs and shops soon!

Innis & None

Calories per can: 62 (19 per100ml)
Score: 4 out of 5

Founded in 2003, Edinburgh brewers Innis & Gunn are famous for little bottles of strong beer, up to 7.4% ABV. So we had to take note when they launched a 0.0% pale ale for the 2017 Dry January market

Given the range of flavours Innis & Gunn have introduced to beer drinkers – rum, whisky, toasted oak – this one was bound to have something unusual about it. It’s hoppy, that’s for sure, but there’s more to it than that – a nice citrus bite, a lemony flavour that’s nothing like the shandiness of, say, Becks Blue Lemon. It’s got a depth of flavour you’ll struggle to find in most alcohol-free beers, and is a worthy competitor to its fellow-Scot, BrewDog’s Nanny State.

Like Bavaria 0.0% and Cobra Zero, this beer never had any alcohol in it, and can justly claim to be totally alcohol-free. It’s also a source Vitamin C, but we wouldn’t rely on it in preference to, say, fresh fruit and veg.

Innis & Gunn are currently marketing it as a “limited edition”, with no firm plans to make it a permanent part of their range. That may change, of course, if it’s a big seller. If you want to grab a can or two before it gets to be a rarity, it’s one of a selection of beers that have made the cut in the excellent new alcohol-free section in major Tesco supermarkets

San Miguel 0.0%

Calories per bottle: 80 (24 per 100ml)
Score: 3 out of 5

If you've ever been to Spain, or you've never been to Spain, you've probably had a San Miguel. The Spanish have been brewing it since 1890, and exporting it round the world. Owner Mahou San Miguel now produce 70% of the Spanish beer on the planet, and that includes a lot of alcohol-free beer.

When San Miguel 0.0% was launched in 2001, it was Spain's first ever cerveza sin alcohol - a pioneer, launched so drinkers could enjoy all the aroma, freshness and quality of beer, with 0.0% alcohol.

We wouldn't quite go that far, but it's not bad. It's clean, a bit thin, but definitely refreshing. If lager's your thing, this might just do it for you.

Sadly, its presentation lets it down a bit. Compared with the attractive red, gold and green colour scheme of San Miguel Especial and Fresca, this blocky blue and white design hardly screams out quality. It looks like a special product you might go and buy in the "free-from" section of the supermarket, rather than a beer you might pick out amongst other beers because it looks good. 

Cobra Zero

Calories per bottle: 78 (24 per 100ml)
Score: 4 out of 5

If you've ever had a curry, you've probably had a Cobra, and it's all thanks to the British-Asian entrepreneurs Karan Bilimoria and Arjun Reddy. Recognising our fondness for washing down a lamb korma with a lager, in 1989 they founded the Cobra company in their South London flat. Their aim was to brew a beer that was less gassy than most lagers and less bitter than traditional ales, especially for drinking with Indian food.

In 2005, the original 4.8% ABV Cobra Premium was joined by Cobra Zero. Using a recipe created by the Bavaria Brewery in the Netherlands, it's made with a special yeast that doesn't create alcohol, rather than having the alcohol removed at the end. Like Bavaria's alcohol-free offering, it can therefore claim to be 0.0% ABV.

Tastewise, we'd say that Cobra Zero has the same smooth flavour as the Premium beer and is equally low on gas. Surprisingly malty for a lager, it goes well with Indian food, of course; but shouldn't be kept just for curries, as it makes a decent accompaniment to any dish, especially when well-chilled on a hot day.

Look is often almost as important as taste, and the presentation of this beer is great, using a green glass version of the iconic Cobra bottle (elephants, crossed swords and all).

Cobra Zero also guarantees itself a diverse audience by being approved by the Vegetarian Society and certified kosher by the London Beth Din.

Heineken 0.0

Calories per bottle: 69 (21 per 100ml)
Score: 4 out of 5

When Heineken launched their first ever alcohol-free beer in March 2017, with a £2.5 million marketing campaign, it was a sure sign that the 'dry' drinks market is one the big players are taking seriously.

Heineken are making a big push to get their new beer out to pubs and bars. Like Carlsberg 0.0 it comes in a smart bottle that cries out, "Drink me while you're watching the footy on the big screen!". It's also one of a selection of beers that have made the cut in the excellent new alcohol-free section in major Tesco supermarkets.

Like Erdinger and FitBeer, Heineken are also hoping to attract health-conscious young consumers who are drinking less or abstaining all together, and the bottle has some very comprehensive nutrition information on the back.

Gerard Heineken and his descendants have been brewing beer in Amsterdam since 1864, so we'd like to think they know what they're doing by now. This new beers suggest that they certainly do. The company says that the initial response to Heineken 0.0 has been "overwhelmingly positive" with a "strong preference" for their beer over other zero-alcohol brews. It's not hard to see why.

It looks, smells and tastes like a great lager. It pours well, with a nice colour and a decent head, and it has none of the unpleasant aftertaste that mars so many other zero-alcohol beers. At least 4 out of 5, we say.


For more alcohol-free beer reviews, head to the Alcohol Concern Wales site.