In the UK, Stella Artois is the beer of choice for a certain set of the population. Originally sold as a strong Christmas beer in the early part of the 20th century, it’s strength (5.2% ABV for most of it’s product lifetime) was arguably part of it’s popularity, and I can only postulate that it helped to fuel the lad culture of the 1990s/early 2000s. It’s a beer that my body seems to equate with headaches, and it must be over 15 years since I last had a sip of one.
An alcohol-free version of the beer I’ve always seen as a route for quick inebriation is certainly a strange one for me. If I can get past my prejudice, there must be other reasons why people drink Stella – maybe they like the taste? Stella Artois Alcohol Free is not InBev’s first attempt at an AF Stella – back in 2008 a 0.5% ABV version was trialled in the UK after being available in mainland Europe for a few years. Sold exclusively in Tesco, it doesn’t appear that it took off, as it seems to have quietly left the market. InBev obviously think there is room for Stella Artois Alcohol Free on the shelves now, so how does it fare against the current crop of non-alcoholic lagers from macro breweries?
Pouring from the bottle we get a pale golden liquid with good clarity and steady carbonation. A fair white head makes an appearance, settling down to a patchy froth after a few mouthfuls. On the nose we get a touch of malty caramel sweetness, and some spicy Saaz hop aroma. Definitely a similar aroma to a standard Stella Artois from memory.
Taste-wise we get light caramel malt along with some floral notes and bitterness from the Saaz hops. There is some sweetness there but not overly so, and the mouthfeel does have a slight stickiness to it. The finish is slightly sweet with a touch of citrus. It is similar to the Stella taste I remember, but different, in a good way.
Well, I never thought I would be writing a positive review of Stella, but I’m finding this alcohol-free version surprisingly drinkable, despite some initial revulsion. It has a clean lager taste with some added interest from the hops, is pretty low in calories and sugar, and where I’ve seen it for sale in supermarkets is surprisingly cheap. Well done to those Belgian brewers!
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.0% alcohol by volume
18 calories energy
(taken from the side of the bottle)
Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Sugar, Natural Flavours
Stella Artois Alcohol Free Lager Review
What a surprise, a crisp refreshing lager with some similarities to standard Stella Artois but with it’s own twists. Completely unexpected!