Lager / Heineken NA / <0.03%
Our master brewers started from zero and spent years exploring, brewing, and tasting before they finally created a recipe defined by its refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body - perfectly balanced. One that deserves the Heineken mark.
As more and more people put a focus on their personal health and well-being, non-alcoholic beer is garnering more attention. Whether you are trying to reduce your calorie intake, looking to wake up earlier without a pesky hangover, or laying off alcohol for any other reason, it’s perfectly natural to still enjoy the taste of a refreshing beer. These days there are plenty of options offered by craft breweries, from IPAs to stouts. But there is still something to be said in terms of price and drinkability by going with a lighter offering that you are more familiar with.
Full disclosure, I have always enjoyed a cold Heineken. Back in college, it was one of the first brews that I latched onto as I moved out of the realm of domestic light beer, even though aside from a crisp maltiness it wasn’t that drastic of an upgrade. Of course, since then the world of beer has come a long way, and I haven’t kept up my Heineken habit. So I treated this experience as an opportunity to get back to my roots.
I decided to pick up a six-pack of Heineken’s non-alcoholic version, which they have dubbed Heineken 0.0, to see if it could give me what I was looking for. Keep reading my Heineken 0.0 review to find out how it stands up to the original.
Is Heineken 0.0 Good?
Based on packaging alone, it would be easy to mistake this beer for the alcoholic version, as it comes in the trademark green bottle with a fairly similar label. The only difference being the 0.0 printed in multiple places. After a little research, I found that, strictly speaking, Heineken 0.0 contains 0.05 percent alcohol by volume, the tiniest of trace amounts. This is compared to many other non-alcoholic brews that can legally contain up to 0.5 percent. Like most of those other options, Heineken 0.0 comes in with a relatively low calorie count, tallying just 69.
As expected, Heineken 0.0 in the glass looks much like a traditional Heineken. It pours a quite clear golden color with a significant foamy head that disappears rather quickly.
The aroma, as well, is reminiscent of the alcoholic version of Heineken. You may be noticing a trend in this review. While, as I’ve said, it has been a bit of time since I sampled a Heineken, trying this non-alcoholic offering brought back a lot of memories.
If you’ve enjoyed this brand in the past, you have also surely suffered through a skunked bottle or two. There is a distinct scent that comes with these green glass bottles and some people find off-putting. It has never bothered me, but it does come with the territory. In addition to that familiar aroma, Heineken 0.0 gives off a hint of sweet fruitiness, as well as the moderately strong smell of malt. Nothing is overpowering or complex, but you can definitely identify these beers with your nose. But none of this fully answers the all important question, “Is Heineken 0.0 good?”
Heineken 0.0 Review
Upon tasting it is more of the same. I am actually surprised by how much this tastes like I remember a regular Heineken tasting. Maybe that is simply because they both give off the same baseline flavor compared to the variety of sours, pale ales, and whatnot that I find myself trying these days. Surely there would be some discernible difference were I to do a side-by-side taste test.
If you aren’t personally familiar with the taste of Heineken, I would describe this 0.0 version as a hint of sourness up front. It can be a little puckering initially but settles down nicely once your mouth gets used to it. The two predominant flavors continue to be malt and fruit. There is always a considerable amount of lingering carbonation that gives your insides a bit of a bubbly feeling.
The body is on the lighter side of medium. The mouthfeel is one thing that brings me back to my Heineken drinking days. Following the initial kick, it settles on my tongue in an almost silky way. The finish is clean and crisp. There is a little hoppiness present that can hang around in the form of an aftertaste that is faintly reminiscent of cardboard, but it is nothing too powerful in my opinion.
Formulating a Heineken 0.0 review without consistently referencing the alcoholic version of the beer is nearly impossible. The two have so many similar characteristics, and nothing in particular stands out with either. That said, I think they are both fine sipping beers that go down easy and are just what you need in certain situations. They are unlikely to offend if you show up with a cooler-full to a cookout, and you could do a lot worse sitting on the porch watching the sun go down.
Heineken 0.0 Rating
What you ultimately think of Heineken 0.0 will depend a lot on how you feel about its alcoholic brother. Many people who have developed their taste for craft beer may be diametrically opposed to drinking anything that comes in a green bottle for the rest of their lives. If that is your attitude, then your Heineken 0.0 rating would surely differ from mine. I believe that these types of drinkable brews have a real place in our lives, if for no other reason than nostalgia.
Heineken has always been a beer that I’ve enjoyed for its simplicity, and the company has created a non-alcoholic version that stands up very similarly. While it will absolutely not blow anybody away, I’m going to give Heineken 0.0 a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. Perfectly fine for what it is, while I understand it will not be for everybody. If you aren’t a fan of traditional Heineken or other similar European lagers, then you are perfectly fine to skip this non-alcoholic iteration. If you find them clean and refreshing, as I do, then this will give you exactly what you expect.