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!