The previous alcohol-free beer we reviewed from the Bavaria brand (a trading style used by the Dutch company Royal Swinkels Family Brewers) was our 6th review on the site back when we were still in the 2020 national lockdown in the UK. The term ‘beer’ could only have been applied loosely to Bavaria 0.0 Original, which in my opinion was more like a soft drink made from those old ‘pint pot’ penny sweets than a real beer. Nevertheless, even in the current booming market of both craft and macro non-alcoholic beers, Bavaria-brand offerings are still well stocked at most of the bigger supermarkets. The subject of this review, Bavaria 0.0% Wit, has been making an appearance on the nolo shelves more often than I’ve previously noticed, but it’s taken me a while to get around to trying it, after the experience of sampling it’s sugary sibling.
Royal Swinkels Family Brewers do know a thing or two about brewing. They’ve been at their game since at least 1773, and have been owned and run by the Swinkels family for more than seven generations. In their home country of Holland they are second only to beer behemoth Heineken for sales and beer output, and they also are large producers of malt, milling and toasting nearly half a million tonnes per year, with about one third of which is used in their own brews. Despite offering a range of full alcohol beers, Swinkels’ only wheat beer is their Bavaria 0.0% Wit, which I find strange for a company whose home country is celebrated for the style. Alcohol-free wheat beers tend to work well and provide most if not all of the flavours and aromas that a standard full-fat wit will supply. We’ve had very few low scoring nolo wheat beers here, but Bavaria’s Original still gives me (and my teeth) nightmares of cloying maltiness, and is perhaps already clouding my judgement of 0.0% Wit. Will we get a nice hit of banana esters, spicy cloves and creamy wheat? Or will we have another soft drink to throw on the pile? Let’s pop the top of this bottle and get it in a glass.
The beer pours a cloudy straw colour, and as with many wheat beers can produce a huge, glass enveloping creamy head if not poured with due care and attention – as happened to me on the first attempt for the picture! On the nose we get creamy wheat malt with hints of banana esters, giving an almost bubblegum note on the back end. Try as I might I couldn’t discern any clove or citrus. The aromas are quite enticing, though nowhere near as full bodied as some other wits we’ve tried before.
When tasting the beer is when the flavours and aromas start to fall into place, but first there’s an initial sweetness which is quite intense and gives the impression that we’re in for another soft drink. However this hit of saccharin is short lived as it’s overtaken by the ripe banana flavours, bold and enveloping. These indulgent tones are tempered by a citrus crispness, juicy orange, and a background of spicy clove and coriander. The mouthfeel is good and creamy, with gentle carbonation and medium body. We get a long, creamy, banana-filled, slightly sweet finish to the drink.
Bavaria 0.0% Wit rang some alarm bells on initial tasting with a pronounced sweetness – in fact it has even more sugar per 100ml than it’s Original cousin (3.9g vs 3.1g). The rest of the flavours manage to cover up this sweetness, and give a good, pleasing wheat beer experience to the drinker. It’s not the best non-alcoholic Wit we’ve seen by far, but it’s readily available and at quite a low price point, so I’d recommend you pick up at least a few bottles of this next time you see it at your local.
Buy Bavaria 0.0% Wit
You might be able to find Bavaria beers at your local supermarket or off-license (just don’t bother with the one with red branding). Their 0.0% Wit is also quite readily available online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Natural Mineral Water, Wheat Malt, Barley Malt, Hop Extract, Natural Flavouring, Acidifer: Lactic Acid|
|Country of Production||Netherlands|
|Brewer||Swinkels Family Brewers – https://www.bavaria.com/|
Bavaria 0.0% Wit Non-Alcoholic Beer Review
An initial burst of sweetness mellows into more traditional wheat beer territory. A very passable attempt at a non-alcoholic Wit.