December 12, 2019 Comments (6) Views: 5080 Don't Try This

Don’t Try This : Hoegaarden O.O% “Non-Alcoholic” Wheat Beer



Hoegaarden O.O%, InBev, Belgium (Alcohol 0.0%, although LCBO website lists it as 0.5%) LCBO $11.95 (6 x 330 ml can)

So, as I mentioned a few weeks back, I’ve been trying out quite a few of these non-alcoholic beers lately. Thus far those two beers, the Stout and the Pale Ale, by the UK’s Big Drop Brewing win by a county mile. The rest of the competition is pretty mediocre, and provides very little of the satisfaction that the Big Drop “near beers” do.

And then there is the Hoegaarden 0.0%, an alcohol-free beer so truly terrible that it will put you off ever drinking the proper weapons-grade stuff. Seriously, why did they even bother with this?

First things first, it is brewed by InBev, but confusingly the LCBO website states that it is made in Belgium by Labbat Breweries, Ontario, so I’m not quite sure what is going on here? Perhaps a Labatt brewer goes over to Belgium and introduces the Hoegaarden brewery to Labatt’s notoriously bad brewing practices, and insists that the team make this travesty to his/her bottom-of-the-barrel specifications, I just don’t know.

What I do know is that you should never let this tastebud-free-focus-group-concocted swill touch your lips, and what more would you expect from the world’s largest brewer?

While I understand that there is a growing demand for alcohol-free beers, I’m pretty sure that there’s not a growing demand for something that tastes like half-flat oxidised Britvic 55 (read: rancid carbonated orange juice) mixed with stale beer tailings (Labatt beer tailings at that) and finished off with a little sprinkle of coriander and just a hint of stomach-curdled sick.

And did I mention how damn sweet this stuff tastes? I’d be interested to see the grams per litre, as it tastes decidedly sickly to my palate. Good Lord, what were they thinking? I guess it’s all to do with the fact that the beer is actually dealcoholised, therefore completely throwing off any sense of equilibrium and leaving you with a rank mix of disparate parts that don’t quite fit together?

I opened some for a friend and neither of us finished our glasses, the other four cans going directly to the recycling bin. A complete waste of money.

Avoid at all costs!

Zero apples out of a possible five.


Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that’s a bona fide brand destroyer. Good work InBev!


Tags: , , , , ,

6 Responses to Don’t Try This : Hoegaarden O.O% “Non-Alcoholic” Wheat Beer

  1. Antoine says:

    Let me ask you this: Have you ever tried the original 5% alcohol version of this beer? Don’t you think that you should have done, for your review to be fair? Because if you had, you would have noticed the same hints of fruity sweetness in the original hoegaarden. White beers tend to be sweeter. Looking at your posts, it seems that you prefer dark beers and stouts. Perhaps white beers are just not your thing. Hoegaarden has been making beer for over 500 years. Personally, as someone who was a big fan of the alcohol based hoegaarden, I find the 0.0% alcohol version excellent. Also, why are you reviewing non alcoholic beer? Like me and many others, do you suffer from a health condition preventing you from consuming alcohol? No? So this review is also in bad faith.
    Therefore I believe that your scathing review of this beer is unfair and unfounded, considering that you obviously don’t even like white beers.

    • Arnoud says:

      Antoine you are absolutely right about this review.

    • Harsh Sawnani says:

      Cannot agree more Antoine ! What a scathing, polarized, tasteless review. If someone likes (read loves) Hoegaarden or similar Wit Blanche then the only reason for you to dislike it is if you have burnt your tongue & sense of appreciation (your portrait is quite suggestive) before tasting it.

      Personally, I think this is closest you can come to tasting White beer without consuming alcohol (if thats what someone prefers).

      For those reading this.. please taste and make your own call. If you like it, great; if you don’t, well, it is perfectly ok.. move on but dont spit venom.

  2. Quentin king says:

    Jamie your not wrong. This Hoegaarden is dreadful, very very sweet, little to no nose and did I mention too sweet? I love wheat beers, and quite fond of Hoegaarden, but this is definitely not in the same class. It resembles a cheap lemonade. There are indeed some excellent alcohol free beers, one of my personal likes is Ghost ship.

    • Antoine says:

      The problem with ghost ship is that it still contains alcohol at 0,5%, which for people like me who need to avoid alcohol for medical reasons is still problematic and dangerous.

      Perhaps, it is the lack of alcohol 0,0% in hoegaarden that gives you the impression that it tastes « like lemonade »
      And it could very well be that since the alcohol is not present, especially if you are used to drinking alcohol, that it does not stimulate the receptors in your brain, thereby making you not like it. But yeah, if you think about it, without the alcohol, it is like a soft drink, but definitely less sweet. I would love to try a non sweet 0,0% beer, like a dark beer, but I haven’t found any.

      For me, who used to love hoegaarden, for its summer sweetness, in fact, and since I have not had alcohol for over a decade (so no receptors) , the 0,0% tastes very close to the original hoegaarden. And I prefer it to other 0,0% that tend immitate golden beers.

      Perhaps, my memory is flawed, because I can’t compare to the alcoholic version, but this brings up an important issue with regards to people expressing opinions about products like non alcoholic beers on the Internet. Who must drink 0,0% non alcoholic beer? Alcoholics perhaps, but for most alcoholics it is a gateway, and people who just don’t want to ge drunk (like at a work function for example, or to cut down, or many other reasons) but most of those people tend to drink the 0,5% ones (because it still won’t get the
      drunk but they will still get a very mild buzz but also because THEY CAN)

      But you see I CAN’T!

      So most people who will drink 0,0% non-alcoholic beer are people who still want the benefits of hops, the mouth feel, taste and social feel of drinking a beer but who can not for health reasons, because, like me they are suffering from a crippling disease and on horrible medications.

      And then some regular person who can drink alcoholic beer without any problems comes around and decides to give his opinions. Sure. Okay, you are entitled to it.

      But you get that for you drinking non alcoholic beer is a novel thing, that you do for trivial reasons, for me it is a sense of normalcy in an otherwise horrible existence. And then arrogantly, you recommend a 0,5% beer, proving that it is not at all a health concern for you, and not helping at all.

      And that was my issue with Jamie’s original review. Not helpful and very arrogant as well as a bit disrespectful to people who have no choice but to drink 0,0% non alcoholic for health reasons, when he can not only drink 0,5% but fully alcoholic beer, wine and spirits as well.

      If you can recommend a better truly non alcoholic (0,0%) white beer if you feel that hoegaarden is not good enough, that would be helpful. Otherwise, it really is like comparing apples and oranges (or rather apples and poisoned apples!)

      Also, if you know of a nice dark beer, stout or even a bitter that is 0,0% I would appreciate it because I still haven’t found any of those.

      Ottherwise, why review or express an opinion on a 0,0% beer?

  3. Qk says:

    ‘You’re‘ sorry for the typo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.