Germany has a proud tradition of beer drinking, as have many European countries. However I’d say that the citizens of Deutschland have been more forward-thinking when it comes to the consumption of alcohol-free beers, or ‘alkoholfrei’ as they are known in the German language. You tend to get a wider range of non-alcoholic options in bars over there, and the drinking of such beverages won’t produce a response akin to “Dave! What the hell are you drinking that for!?” as we might well get over here in the UK. The adoption and normalisation of nolo beers is further advanced in Germany than in many other countries, and hopefully we can also look forward to this acceptance in years to come.
Veltins Pilsener 0.0% has been around since at least the mid-2010s, with the brewery being around much longer – almost 200 years at time of writing. Founded in 1823 by Clemens Veltins, the brewery was actually directly influenced by American brewing techniques instead of traditional German methods. The young Clemens had made a ‘pilgrimage’ of beer tasting in the US lasting 6 years – what a terrible ordeal it must have been for the wee lad! Returning home (probably with a headache) he quickly set up shop in the town of Grevenstein in the Sauerland region and got down to the job of brewing American-influenced pilsner beers. Now, nearly two centuries on the brewery is still in the Veltins family hands, and in recent times their beers have been the fourth highest selling in their native country. High praise indeed, let’s hope this bottle of Veltins Pilsener 0.0% lives up to the hype.
The beer pours a pale golden yellow colour with great clarity and some steady streams of visible bubbles. A good white frothy head is produced and sticks around as we drink. The nose is bready dough, sweet honey, along with some slight lemon citrus and a pinch of Saaz spice. All quite familiar in alkoholfrei pilsners, but not becoming too much like wort.
The sweet honey from the aroma is the initial taste, morphing into toffee lager malt as we continue tasting. There’s very little hop bitterness for a pilsner, though there’s a slight mineral astringency in the background. The carbonation is quite high and the body is on the medium-side, with a soft but slightly syrupy mouthfeel. We get a short sweet finish to the drink.
Veltins Pilsener 0.0% shares many similarities with other, older non-alcoholic German pilsners, such as Bitburger Drive and Clausthaler, but there’s just a bit too much sweetness in it for this to be a repeat purchase for me. Sure, if it’s the only AF option at a bar or restaurant I’d be happy with it, but I’d also be wishing for something with more hops.
Buy Veltins Pilsener 0.0%
Veltins are a big enough brewer that you might see some of their beers in the big supermarkets. I’ve yet to see Pilsener 0.0% in one though, so the internet is once again your best bet:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Barley Malt, Hops, Carbonic Acid From Fermentation
|Country of Production
|Brauerei C. & A. VELTINS – https://www.veltins.com/
Veltins Pilsener 0.0% Review
Palatable pilsner but with higher sweetness than I’d like. Similar in style to the older AF lagers.