San Miguel, the stereotypical Spanish lager, actually began life in Manila in the Philippines. Back in 1899 the Philippines were still a Spanish colony, and Spaniard Enrique María Barretto de Ycaza y Esteban applied for a royal grant to open up a brewery on the islands, in the San Miguel district of Manila. The brewery was a success, surviving both a revolution and the American occupation of the Philippines, and come 1914 the company began exporting their beers, initially to South East Asia, but in the coming years further afield. In 1953 they signed an agreement with Spanish brewer La Segarra S.A which allowed them to brew San Miguel-branded beer in Spain, and sell their goods throughout Europe. Spanish-produced San Miguel soon grew in popularity both in Spain and western Europe, which is why the average joe equates the brand to cheap Spanish holidays.
San Miguel 0.0 was launched in Spain in 2001, joining other nolo Spanish lagers such as Ambar 0.0 and Estrella Galicia 0.0. It wasn’t until 2015 that it was made available to the rest of Europe, with local breweries taking on production charges – in the UK’s case it’s in the hands of Carlsberg. Unlike most macro-brewed non-alcoholic lagers, San Miguel 0.0 is not brewed to full strength and then pumped through reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation. Instead the beer’s mash recipe is adjusted so that the amount of fermentable sugar is minimalised, meaning that the production of alcohol is limited. This method is actually in-line with many craft brewers of AF beer, though in the wrong hands can produce a malty, worty drink. The previous Spanish NA beers reviewed here have been average to good, let’s see where San Miguel appears on that spectrum.
Pouring the beer from the bottle we get a dark golden coloured liquid with decent clarity and not much visible carbonation. A mere whiff of a head is produced, and is soon islands of foam. On the nose we get bready malt, grains and a touch of honey sweetness. There is a slight smell of unfermented wort to it, though is nowhere near as bad as in a few beers I’ve tried.
Similar flavours await us when we taste. Slightly sweet bready malt, cereals, a very slight citrus edge, with little to no discernible hop flavour. The carbonation is on the low side, but the beer manages a creamy, almost oily mouthfeel which is unexpected but certainly not unwanted. We get a short slightly bitter finish, with perhaps a hint of iron to it.
I wasn’t expecting much from San Miguel 0.0 to be honest, and whilst it’s certainly a drinkable non-alcoholic beer, it doesn’t really have much going for it. If you like your NAs malty and slightly worty, with little to no bitterness, this should be up your alley and in your glass. It’s interesting to find a macro lager brewed using limited fermentation though, and I wonder if versions of the beer produced in different European countries are comparable.
Buy San Miguel 0.0
You can find San Miguel 0.0 in many UK supermarkets, I’ve personally seen it in Asda, Tesco and Waitrose. It’s also readily available online, check the shops below:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Barley Malt, Hops, Flavourings
|Country of Production
|Carlsburg UK – https://www.sanmiguel.com/en/
San Miguel 0.0 Alcohol-Free Lager Review
Drinkable, if rather worty macro lager. One for those who dislike bitterness in their beer and prefer the malty sweetness.