Eat & Drink

An Aussie Brewery Reckons You Won’t Miss The Grog In Its Non-Alcoholic Beer

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but at some point over the past 10 to 15 years of my life I switched from goon sacks and brightly coloured lolly drinks, to becoming something of a low-key craft beer snob.

What I can pinpoint, however, is when I suddenly had zero tolerance for alcohol and three drinks had me knocking into walls and dealing with a mild hangover the next morning. Yeah, thanks coronavirus.

I know I’m not the only one who’s suddenly become a lightweight, so you’ll be pleased to know there’s a new Aussie brewery, Heaps Normal (fab name, IMO) and it’s crafting non-alcoholic beers that are meant to mimic groggy ones. It comes at a time when an ABC survey showed 90 percent of Aussies think we need to work on a more mindful drinking culture.

 

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“We’re not here to talk about being sober or hold that up as the end goal,” explained Co-founder and CEO Andy Miller explains.

“Whether you’re taking a night off or ditching the booze for life, we reckon it’s time to talk about something more interesting — like the epic stuff you’re doing instead of getting wasted. Whether it’s burning the midnight oil or burning up the dance floor, let’s challenge ourselves to tell better stories”.

Honestly, he has a point. But how does the non-beer beer taste?

“It was a technical challenge to make it taste like a full-strength beer,” said co-founder and Head Brewer Ben Holdstock. “We didn’t want to brew just another non-alc beer. It was important to us to brew an alcohol-free beer that stands alongside some of our other full-strength favourites”.

Because I’m super professional and all kinds of sciencey, I’ve decided the only way to really be able to compare it to regular beer is by doing a taste test. I know, I can’t believe I get to pass this off as work either.

I had the Heaps Normal Quiet XPA to try, so I felt it made sense to blind taste it against other hoppy brews. There were no single XPA cans at my local, so I went with three other craft IPA varieties (like I said, totes legit and profesh).

I forced my housemates to get involved and we took turns pouring the different brews into opaque mugs (so froth and colour wasn’t a factor, as the non-alcoholic beer is quit distinct visually) while the taste testee waited outside.

The set-up for your reference. Sorry my house is messy. I said I was professional, not tidy.

Here are the results, make of them what you will.

Taster 1: Kassia (me)

Beer preference?: The hoppier the better for me, so IPAs and XPAs are my wheelhouse.

Picked the non-alcohlic beer from the line-up?: Yes.

Comments: “Surprisingly it had a hoppier initial taste than any non-grog beer I’ve tried before. It’s by far the best not-beer I’ve had, but it doesn’t have that lingering flavour”.

Taster 2: Mel

Beer preference?: Normally she prefers wheat beer, but dabbles in all brews. Fun note, she’s German so I’m assuming she knows her beers.

Picked the non-alcohlic beer from the line-up?: Yes.

Comments: “It’s definitely not a beer taste, it’s more like… yeah I don’t know but it’s not my favourite”.

Taster 3: Ash

Beer preference?: Hates beer.

Picked the non-alcohlic beer from the line-up?: Not even close.

Comments: “I don’t drink beer much, but the only one I thought was beer and the only one I actually liked was the non-alcoholic one. It was the bubbliest, and it was the nicest”.

So there you have it folks, a pretty inconclusive study, but I would surmise that non-beer drinkers will enjoy it the most. Having said that, while I will pick beer every time because that’s the type of snob I am, if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic alternative this is definitely the best one I’ve tasted.

If you’re looking to chill out on your drinking habits, or can’t keep up with your old ones, you can try it out for yourself from over 100 stockists around Australia which you’ll find here, or pre-order it online here.

(Lead Image: Instagram / @heapsnormal)