A story I hear a lot when researching companies who brew non-alcoholic beer and their reasons for doing so, is of people not wanting to drink alcohol but still wanting to drink beer, and being dissatisfied with the bland or sickly-sugary options they had available. And so it went for Charlie, Eddy and Felix, three friends from London who started up Freestar Drinks Ltd at the tail end of 2018. They wanted a beer that they could drink wherever the place, whenever the moment, without the alcohol. Certainly a familiar story, but the way Freestar have gone about creating their offering is very different – they have attempted to brew a beer without using fermentation at all.
The standard ingredients for beer are all there; water, malted barley and hops, with just yeast being absent from the traditional recipe. Also listed in the beer’s ingredients are ‘other natural ingredients’, a term that might instil fear in many. Whilst Freestar have not described their method of producing their beer, without fermentation to develop flavour, realistically it must come down to the blending of their ingredients. Whatever their process may be, the company say that compared to similar drink production it is far more ecologically sound, with 70% less waste produced and 80% less water used to make their beer than standard brewing methods. Did you know it usually takes 10 pints of water to make 1 pint of alcohol-free beer? If Freestar’s website is to be believed this certainly seems like a lot to me. Environmental credentials aside, is Freestar Prime Time actually a good beer?
Pouring from the can we get a clear golden amber coloured liquid with good clarity and some visible bubbles. A nice white fluffy head appears and does it’s best to remain by our side as we drink. On the nose there is a citrus lemon scent with a touch of sweetness. The lemon aroma does however not impart the freshness it usually does, indeed it’s almost like the fruit has gone off. And I can’t help but discern an aroma that I can only describe as sweaty socks.
On tasting we get the lemon citrus from the aroma, which has some sweetness to it, with some similarities to a shandy. Pale malt is there and some floral notes, but there is a background sourness to the drink which grows as you drink. The carbonation is good, adding to the body and producing a pretty good mouthfeel. We get a long, lingering bitter finish to the drink.
To me this is more an approximation of a beer rather than a proper beer, but this appears to be what Freestar were intending by going down the non-fermentation route. Bavaria 0.0% also uses this method of production, and quite frankly I’d rather drink that than Freestar Prime Time. Whilst I applaud the company for trying something new, and being environmentally sound while they are doing so, the flavours of their drink are just a bit off, and frankly weird. No thanks, not for me.
Buy Freestar Prime Time
I purchased my cans of Freestar Prime Time from a Sainsbury’s supermarket, and it’s also available online from one of the following bottleshops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Water, Malted Barley (Gluten Free), Perle Hops, Other Natural Ingredients
|Country of Production
|Freestar Drinks Ltd – https://freestar.co/
|Yes, less than 10ppm according to brewer
Free Star Alcohol Free Beer Review
Beer in name only, with a flavour profile that is all over the place, and not exactly pleasant.