First Draught: Weihanstephaner, proof that de-alcoholized beer isn’t undrinkable


Published:

Image: David Ort

Beer is more than just its buzz. So, it follows that it must be possible, at least in a vague, theoretical way, to create a de-alcoholized beer that is worth drinking. Supermarket-brand near beer proves that theory does not always translate to practice. The stuff is awful; hopped up on artificial flavour and sweeteners.

There is a better option, though, for those want—or need—to avoid alcohol but would miss beer. Ted Fleming, and his company PremiumNearBeer.com, is the bearer of that good news. After he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, Fleming didn’t like either option between no beer and the offerings that were available so he founded a company to bring some of the high-quality, European options to Canada. These include bottles from Erdinger, Krombacher, Clausthaler and Portugal’s well-known Super Bock that all fall under the legal limit of 0.5% abv for non-alcoholic beer in Canada. Today’s beer, the Weihenstephaner Original Alkoholfrei lager, is one of the best of the bunch.

As I poured the Weihanstephaner into a weizen glass I was honestly transfixed by its clarity and bright, wheaten gold colour. Drawing deeply on the aroma, I’m treated to fermenting bread dough and a hint of fallen apples. The generally pleasant flavour is lively, crisp, and slightly acidic. There’s just a touch of astringent, chemical residue near the end but it fades to give way to a pleasantly malty and grassy-hop finish.

PremiumNearBeer.com will ship cases from their catalogue of (nearly) alcohol-free beer across Canada. They will also allow you to create customized mix packs to help settle on a favourite near beer. Bars and restaurants – where parties will hopefully include designated drivers – are prime stomping grounds for near beer and Bier Markt and the new Louis Cifer Brew Works are two examples of establishments with a decent selection.

Weihenstephaner Original Alkoholfrei Lager, $65 for 20 x 500 ml bottles, PremiumNearBeer.com

In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David Ort writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including his own site. He is the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook; now in stores and available for ordering online. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter or get in touch at info@foodwithlegs.com.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Then there’s Ardo, the super-popular newish Sicilian restaurant in Corktown. It’s friendly and pleasant-looking, done in pale colours with warm lighting, Sicilian tchotchkes and a great buzz. Lots of people, lots of noise. And a few ringside bar seats overlooking the fast-moving and superbly fragrant open kitchen.
Posted 4 days ago
What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

A menu of the available flavours sits next to the cash at Craque de Crème. Sweet-toothed patrons can order iterations of the dessert in everything from white chocolate rose to lychee vodka to, of course, a classic vanilla bean.
Posted 6 days ago
Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Now, the museum at Beth Tzedec Synagogue is hosting an exhibition called From Latkes to Laffas, celebrating the humble deli, which opened last month and continues until March 30, 2018.
Posted 7 days ago
Taste Test: Chef Mark McEwan helps us taste Toronto's best tandoori chicken

Taste Test: Chef Mark McEwan helps us taste Toronto's best tandoori chicken

McEwan’s menu at Diwan restaurant in the Aga Khan Museum features South Asian, Middle Eastern and north African cuisines.
Posted 7 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module