What do you think? I write a blog on wine and travel, OF COURSE I miss alcohol. I miss drinking a nice gin and tonic on a Friday night or having a glass of wine with a meal. I miss Pimms in the sunshine, frankly, I miss it and haven't really found any soft drinks that have quite filled that place in my life where booze used to live.
So, I found myself trying some alcohol free lagers and ciders. I never thought I'd bother with these as I've always been of the opinion of you're not "drinking" then, what's the point? In the past few months, I've tried quite a few, if only as an attempt to fill the sad, pathetic gap booze has left in my life.
A glass of Bitburger Drive. Nearly like the real thing
The tipple I've most commonly found in pubs and bars is Becks Blue. By all accounts, it is brewed in the same way as Becks (and to the same high German standards) but the alcohol is removed at the end of the fermentation process. This means that it is supposed to taste the same as its alcoholic counterpart. Even though it is apparently the UK's number one alcohol free lager, it's certainly not my favourite. It has quite a metallic taste and is so fizzy that it's hard to stomach more than one bottle of the stuff.
I also found Cobra Zero pretty disappointing. There's nothing like a glass of Cobra with a hot curry, but the alcohol free version is much sweeter and has a strong, buttery taste to it. I couldn't even finish the bottle.
Bitburger Drive has got to be one of my favourites. Again, the alcohol is removed at the end of the fermentation process which is designed to preserve the taste. It has less of a metallic taste that some of the reduced alcohol lagers have and it has only 26 calories per 100ml. Unfortunately, I've never found it in a pub or bar and have only purchased it in Tescos, which I think is a real shame.
Kopparberg cider - a bit too sweet for me
To be honest, I'm not a massive fan of cider, so I'm not sure why I thought I'd like alchohol free cider. However, I thought I would try the Kopparberg ones as I thought they would be refreshing in the summer. They make an alcohol free pear cider and an alcohol free mixed fruit cider. Well, sweet is not the word! It is like drinking a melted ice lolly! For me, it's not like experiencing alcohol and so doesn't fill the gap that I'm looking for. But if you like sweet drinks, then knock yourself out.
So I found a couple of German beers that pretty much hit the spot. And I also found this great UK-based website which promotes alchohol free drinks called www.alcoholfree.co.uk and you can also purchase online from there. They even have some wines and spirits which I might give a go.
I still look forward to opening a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir and drinking two or five glasses with a plate of nibbles. Sigh, aren't I pathetic?