Alcohol-Free Augustiner: The Tasting

A few weeks ago, I wrote about alcohol-free Augustiner and why it’s a big deal. At the time, I hadn’t tasted it and was purely relying on other people’s verdicts and information.

Well, yesterday was the day. I’m currently in Munich for my job (it’s a hard life, eh), and so I tried to get some bottles of it. My wife had sent me to a bottle shop that may have it, but alas, no chance (“nobody has it right now”, as the guy behind the counter said).

So after dinner, I went to Augustinerkeller with a work colleague (a second one joined us later), to have some fresh Helles from wooden cask and to try the alcohol-free Helles because if one place just has to have it, it’s one of Augustiner’s top spots in Munich, right?

So, yes, they did have it.

A glass of Augustiner Alkoholfrei Hell on a beer coaster on a bar counter, with a second glass of it in the background, and a number of waiters further in the background

So let’s just get to the point: it’s very good, but it still tastes like an alcohol-free beer. I would happily order it again, and I would also happily use it to blend it with regular bottled Augustiner at home.

Last time I wrote about it, I said that with the traditional methods of brewing alcohol-free beer, you either end up with a full-bodied but sweet beer, or a very thin and slightly sour tasting beer. This beer balances this out: it’s full-bodied with a very mouthfeel compared to virtually all other alcohol-free beers I’ve had, it’s not sweet, and that sour taste is a lot less than in other beers. It’s more bitter than their regular Helles. It does not have that Augustiner house flavour (that bit of pleasant sulphur), though, but still all the other properties of a good Bavarian Helles.

My work colleagues also both liked it, one of them compared it favourably to Jever Fun. All of us ultimately still preferred Helles from wooden cask, which is understandable because at Augustinerkeller, it’s about the best Augustiner beer you can possibly get.

After that very unscientific sensory evaluation of this new alcohol-free beer, I stand by my prediction that this could be a game-changer. I think the fact alone that it’s impossible to get even in Munich and that Augustiner seemed to be slightly overwhelmed by the success of this new beer shows that they’ve created a bit of a hype.

Fun fact: while we were at Augustinerkeller, we witnessed 3 big wooden casks getting tapped, in a very consistent 40 minute interval. I asked what size they were. One-hundred litres, they waiter said. 100 litres, in just 40 minutes, at least 3 times over. Absolutely massive. But then, football was on, with Bayern playing Arsenal, and Augustinerkeller were showing it on big screens.

Two empty glasses of Augustiner Alkoholfrei Hell

5 thoughts on “Alcohol-Free Augustiner: The Tasting”

  1. So not a complete game changer, but a better, and very competent, attempt at alcohol free by Augustiner. Sort of what I’d expect.

    1. You‘re welcome, and good luck with that. It‘s even rare in Munich, and all the Augustiner places in Berlin told me that “it‘s only available in Bavaria right now”. Everything looks like they‘ve vastly underestimated the popularity of an alcohol-free Augustiner, and are now struggling to meet demand.

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