It seems apt that the first non-alcoholic beer I’ve chosen to review on this blog is the first one I ever tried, just over 20 years ago. I wasn’t actually aware that it was alcohol-free at the time, which came as an unwanted shock, and that probably soured me to the brand for a couple of decades. However, I have approached this review with a fresh mind and palate, and hopefully can give my unbiased opinion of the famous beer.
Beck’s Blue is the biggest selling non-alcoholic beer in the UK according to data from digital media company GlobalData, with sales of 122.59 hectolitres in 2018 – equivalent to 12,259 litres, or about 37,148 330ml cans. It’s brewed by AB InBev, the big multinational drinks producer, and thanks to their massive distribution network is the alcohol-free beer you’re most likely to see in pubs, restaurants and on the supermarket shelves. Like me, it’s probably the beer that most people have as their entry to the non-alcoholic world.
So what’s it like? It pours well, and produces a good, but short-lived head, with the beer itself having a light colour. The smell is certainly beer-y, though there is also a chemical tinge to it. No particularly recognisable hop varieties but some malty sweetness. So far so good, but this is probably where the praise ends.
Taste-wise, Beck’s Blue is pretty industrial. After trying the many varieties of alcohol-free beer available on the market these days, I can only say that Beck’s Blue tastes the same as it did those 2 decades ago; bland, far too gassy, and with a metallic aftertaste that is a common sign of carbon-dioxide injection. To me it’s the textbook taste of the previous generation of dealcoholised beers.
My mind and taste buds were open to possibly enjoying Beck’s Blue after all this time, and as a refreshing drink it’s probably ok. But it’s not a nice beer. Thankfully there are many alternatives out there.
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.03% alcohol by volume
14 calories energy
(taken from the Beck’s website)
Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast
Beck's Blue Alcohol Free Lager
Commendable that it was a pioneering mass-market alcohol-free beer, but Beck’s Blue can’t compete with modern offerings available on the non-alcoholic market.