Freestar: Alcohol Free Beer (England: Low alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Clear light body, a slightly browned yellow colour to it. Small bubbled carbonation in the body and medium off white head.

Nose: Whisky distillery smell – wort mash. Fresh dough. Light strawberry. Light sulphur.

Body: Slight chalk. Slight strawberry. Slightly chemically. Dough. Brown bread. Peppery.

Finish:Medicinal air. Slight juniper berries. Peppery. Gherkin touch.

Conclusion: Ok, as mentioned in the background this won the UK beer award. This? THIS?! How? Why? I mean it isn’t Tesco value lager but I think they stopped making that so it wouldn’t have been entered recently. Did someone sneak in a can of that which they had been holding in their fridge for a few years? Is that what happened?

So, you may have guessed already I am not a fan of this.

Everything from first impressions onwards say that this feels like a beer that isn’t quite ready to be poured yet. Ok, saying feels like a “beer” is an exaggeration, but roll with me on this one. The aroma is like the wort smell that fills a distillery and some breweries – the smell of an alcoholic product being made, not one that is finished and ready to drink.

The flavour is a mix of juniper berries and other light tart flavours that reminds me of attempts at unhopped old traditional beers – yet also quite chemically and artificial feeling. Slightly chalky and rough over what should be a clean lager like mouthfeel, but is far from that.

There is a peppery grounding, but again without anything to work against it it feels rough and unfinished.

A terrible alcohol free beer, rough edges, off flavours and very unfinished. Unacceptable in this time of a renaissance of low alcohol bers.

Avoid.

Background: Clear bottle. Has hops. Hopefully not lightstruck. Anyway, saw this, an alcohol free, and I mean genuinely free 0.0% beer in Sainsbury’s. Gluten Free as well – not a big deal for me, but does affect some people. Looked into it a bit more and it is kind of not a beer in that it has never been fermented. At all. Ingredients are listed as Water, Malted Barley. Perle hops … and other natural ingredients. Well that last one is no help at fucking all. Thanks. Anyway, had apparently been United Kingdom winner for World Beer Awards. Having drunk the beer now I do wonder if the other entry was fermented spunk. Only explanation I can find. Marginally better than fermented spunk. Put that in your ads Freestar, I dare you. Anyway, went with Lamb Of God: Ashes Of The Wake again for music while drinking. Another gig lost this year to Covid19. Ah well.