Tweet The other day my Spanish friend Delirium published a very interesting post (Sp) on the different processes used to make non-alcoholic beers.
Besides enlightening me on something I didn't know too well, the post made me realise how little we speak about this kind of beers. No surprise, really. After all, we are all pissheads who love to drink and talk about the "realy stuff". And also, there quite a few out there who refuse to consider these products as beers.
I think they are, but since I don't like having arguments over semantics I've decided to make up a name for them: Beer Flavoured Soft Drinks, BFSD's for friends.
Much of the animosity many people have towards BFSD's comes from comparing them with "real" beers, which is, in my opinion, a mistake. Nobody will compare Budvar with, say, Westvleteren (well, some people do, but they don't understand the first thing about beer), they are two different things, with a different purpose. The only thing they have in common as a product is that they are called "beer", and the same applies to non-alcoholic beers.
The right way to evaluate BFSD's is from the perspective of someone who can't drink alcohol, for whatever reason, and is really glad to have a decent substitute of their favourite drink. Then you start appreciating them differently.
I don't drive, nor I have any health problems that won't allow me to drink alcohol, but I've still have drunk quite a few BFSD's from Germany and the Czech Rep, some of them I liked. (In fact, I should confess that I would more gladly drink many of those than much of the cheap alcoholic swill sold as beer in many supermarkets around the world). And even though they aren't something I would drink voluntarily, they were quite fine drinks.
The thing is that, in both these countries, many brewers have noticed to business potential of this kind of product, which, in turn, has generated a lot of competition, and that competition isn't only among the BFSD's themselves! In most Czech pubs you will have only two or three beers to choose from, likely from the same brewer/group and that's it. If you can't drink beer, though, the options become a lot more. That's why there are brewers that put and extra bit of effort, they count on their average consumer to be someone who is used to, and expects, certain characteristics and if the substitute beer won't satisfy them, they will end up buying Pepsi, or something like that.
I think we should give a bit more credit to the BFSD's when they are brewed with quality ingredients and processes and, above all, respect for the consumer.
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