Heineken is a colossus. It is the 2nd biggest beer brand in the world, worth an estimated $12.9 billion. As a huge global player they have of course developed and marketed a non alcoholic/alcohol free beer. What does their new Heineken 0.0 taste like? Read on for my review.
Before we look at their new 0.0 beer, it’s worth just having a brief look at Heineken itself.
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What is the history of Heineken?
The Heineken story began on February 15, 1864. Gerard Adriaan Heineken took over the Haystack brewery in Amsterdam. Just 22 years old, Gerard had little brewing experience, but he had plenty of courage, self-confidence and entrepreneurial spirit.
He knew that to succeed he would need to take a big risk. He decided to brew only lager, even though the Dutch were much better at brewing ale, porter and brown.
That decision, as we now know, paid off – the second Heineken brewery opened less than a decade later in Rotterdam.
Gerard also knew how to go about his business. With an eye on the big picture, he treated his staff and clients well and made sure his product was always of the best quality.
How big is Heineken?
Heineken has over 300 brands which are available in over 190 countries. They are the number 1, biggest brewery in Europe and employ over 84,000 people globally. In anyones book that is a big business.
What are the top Heineken brands?
You many not know all the brands Heineken controls but there will be a few you do but didn’t know they owned.
- Heineken draught
- The Draught Keg
- The club bottle
- Extra cold
- The can
- Birra Moretti
- Pure Piraña
Why did Heineken develop an alcohol free 0.0 beer?
Why would Heineken launch a 0.0 beer into a market expected to be $35.6 billion by 2030? Hard to figure out, right?!
I know only too well the many reasons people are turning to alcohol free beer, i’ve written an article on 12 of them here.
The market for non alcoholic and alcohol free beer is compounding at an annual growth rate of 8.1% so if you are in the beer business you have to be in the alcohol free beer business too.
This correlates with the percentage of the population and especially young adults who are now not drinking alcohol. Covid has accelerated the move to a more health conscious lifestyle.
A key bonus is there is no way you can get drunk on 0.0 beers, i’ve crunched all the numbers and its just not possible.
All in all means there is a lot of money to be made in the alcohol free market and Heineken are cashing in with a huge global marketing campaign.
Heineken Zero Contraversy
Heineken didn’t want to engage with this and released a statement saying their beer is only available from non-Halal zones in the supermarket.
On to the tasting!
Ok, enough waffle on Heineken, you’ve came for my expert (no sniggering at the back) view on Heineken 0.0 so that is what you shall have…
What type of beer is Heineken?
It helps to know what type of beer it is you are drinking so you can rate it accordingly. You wouldn’t drink Stout and complain it was black and not hoppy.
Heineken is a lager, as such it will be light, mild, crisp, not too hoppy and not too bitter. They are still the most mass produced beer but the craft ales and IPAs are awaking the beer drinkers to a more hoppy flavour.
First up alcoholic Heineken
Just to have a reference point and the closest comparator, i’m tasing alongside regular Heineken. Ive been drinking this for years and its a known known
On tasting it’s an absolutely typical lager, not quite as watery as a Carlsberg tho. There is a hoppy smell but only a mildly malty but not too bitter. It’s pretty good as a big lager brand goes although my taste buds crave more hops these days. If i was rating it, i’d go 3.5. You could sink a lot of pints of this watching the rugby but there are better beer with not much looking.
Now for the 0.0
The look is certainly paler. There is less fizz, the head is smaller and disappears immediately and i can smell basically no aroma. Maybe a weird synthetic floral note?
The first sip… Interesting, and not in a good way. It certainly tastes nothing like the alcoholic brother. The lager flavour is light anyway but this is even lighter. Basically hardly any hops on the palate. It doesn’t taste empty or very thin but there are really weird high floral notes you don’t associate with beer.
Reading the can they say “alcohol free beer with natural flavourings” which is slightly unsettling in itself. What flavouring go into beer other than hops and barley?
It does have noticeably less mouth feel and fullness than its brother. It tastes overly sweet for a larger too, it ends very sweetly. Would you want this as a session beer watching the rugby? No.
Perhaps i’m being harsh on it. By the end of my 4 pack, it wasn’t too bad. Damned by faint praise.
Find out where this beer ranks compared to all the beers i have reviewed on my updated “Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page
What do my friends make of it?
Mixed opinion as usual. One friend who doesn’t drink for religious reasons thought it was brilliant. Another who hates any non alcoholic beer, predictably didn’t like it. Anther couple though it was decent. Sounds like a 6/10 on average again
Calories – 21 kcal per 100m
Carbohydrate – 4.8g per 100ml
Sugar – 1.3g per 100ml
Not bad numbers really. 70kcal per can
What do Heineken say about their 0.0?
Heineken® 0.0 is a refreshing non-alcoholic lager, brewed with a unique recipe for a distinct balanced taste, which now allows you to enjoy a Heineken® beer at any time of day. At Heineken®, we believe any beer carrying our name should reward the drinker and help them enjoy the moment.
We challenged our Master Brewers to apply all their expertise to brew the best possible non-alcohol beer using just natural ingredients. The result is a 0.0 beer brewed for beer lovers, by beer lovers.
They openly admit their 0.0 doesn’t taste like regular Heineken, which is good or i’d have been worried. They say…
How is Heineken 0.0 Brewed?
They make it the same way as regular Heineken, with their A yeast but use vacuum distillation to remove the alcohol and blend the brew with the infamous “natural ingredients”
Is Heineken 0.0 gluten free?
On their website they have a big spiel but the bottom line NO. The stated gluten PPM is (slightly) over the 20 level that draws the line between gluten free and not.
Ive written a complete guide to non alcoholic beers and gluten. If you want more information i would recommend reading it here.
Is Heineken 0.0 vegan?
Yes. As confirmed on barnivore.com
For more on vegan beers see my article on the matter. Why beers may or may not be and how to check.
Where to buy
For Amazon follow this link. The price can change around the world so best to click and find the latest.
Australia – Craft Zero is the place to go and get 10% off with code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE
*Affiliate Disclosure – if you click on the links and buy from these providers, i might receive a small commission*
Just ok, worth trying as it is everywhere but better beers exist.