Thursday, July 5, 2007
Beer for Pregnant Women
I try the N/A (Non-Alcoholic) Beers so you don't have to!
If I were some sainted pregnant lady from the planet WebMD, my love for beer would have been automatically overridden by the dietary restrictions of the growing passenger inside me. Being far from that, I still give in to real beer once in awhile, but I have discovered that there are some pretty decent N/A beers out there that actually satisfy my cravings.
There are quite a few on the market now--gone are the days when O'Douls was the only option. I reviewed them individually below, but first I'll make a few comments that seem to apply universally:
1. N/A Beer never tastes cold enough. That shit could be frozen solid, but it still tastes like it needs another hour in the fridge. I have no idea why this is, maybe some scientifically inclined commenter can help me out here.
2. It has a malty, almost sweet taste to it.
3. It tastes a little flat without the alcohol. Not nearly as bad as the N/A Wine (it's absolute crap, don't waste your money, you are better off with Welch's).
4. You will only want to drink one. With real beer, one is just the warm-up, but the N/A will leave you feeling kind of full (maybe it's the malty taste?).
DISCLAIMER. Yes, there is a TINY amount of alcohol in n/a beer--by law, less than .50%. That means that you would have to drink between 8 and 12 of these to get the alcohol that is in one regular beer. Pregnancy police, please save your breath warning me about the hazards of consuming the same amount of alcohol that I get from my morning swish of Listerine--I'm not listening. Go start some hysteria on the Babycenter boards or something.
On to the beer!
St. Pauli Girl N/A
Crisp, clean, refreshing lager. Slightly skunky (think Corona), which may gross pregnant women out. Doesn't bother me, this is one of my favorites. This is the N/A choice you're most likely to find at bars and restaurants in the Bay Area. Tastes kind of like a Sam Adams Light or a Beck's Light.
Ah, ze Germans, zey make the best beer (see SPG, above). Clausthaler is the old guy standby for N/A. It's a nice, clean lager, but it does have kind of a funky metallic aftertaste. This is less pronounced in the dark version.
Another one of my favorites. Dark, strong, flavorful. Slightly malty, but in a good way. As mentioned above, there is less of a funky aftertaste to the Dark version. Unlike a lot of the N/A choices, it doesn't taste like light beer.
Honestly, O'Doul's tastes the most like real beer. That is because it tastes exactly like Coors Light (or Bud Light, or Miller Lite). If you care enough to read this post, you are thinking "that's not real beer," but it's actually pretty refreshing. Think beer at the Ball Park (Wrigley, not AT&T). The malty/flat taste is less pronounced in this beer. Of course, it's also very light and doesn't have as much flavor as the others. This is the N/A beer you're most likely to find at bars and restaurants outside of the Bay Area.
The darker version of O'Doul's. . .I drank this all weekend hanging out with my alcoholic family, and I felt like one of the crowd. It's not as dark as the Clausthaler Amber, but it's a little weightier than the regular O'Doul's. A little hoppier, still a very clean taste and very refreshing. Like St. Pauli, this one also tends to have a little bit of a skunky smell.
I was so excited to try this one, I love Beck's and I especially love their 64 calorie (come on, 64 calories!) Premier Light. . .but when the bartender poured this for me in Chicago I was totally disappointed. It tastes like stale Corona. I had another on this weekend, thinking I'd give it another try. . .disappointed again. The taste is just off. I can definitely say this is my least favorite N/A option.
Imported from Holland. Had this for the first time yesterday. . . not bad, but not great. It's very mild, and slightly sweet. The flavor profile is best described as "inoffensive." It's best attribute is that it is very smooth. It tastes a little like a Belgian beer.
I'll keep adding to this list as I try new brands--and please pass it along if you have any suggestions!
UPDATE July 24, 2007
Check out the Comments for Erica's guest review of PBR NA.
From the makers of Guinness. I was extra stoked to try this one. I even forgave the irritating phonetic spelling. Not a bad N/A. Drank it all week in Hawaii, since this was the resort's NA beer of choice. Malty, sweet, with an ashy aftertaste. Actually tastes a lot like a Newcastle. It also has a very nice color.