Fargot Password? / Help

Tag: Weekly Beer Reviews

Thirsty Thursday - Non-Alcoholic Beer Review

This weeks Thirsty Thursday will review Bitburger Drive Alcoholfrei, Buckler, and Kaliber non-alcoholics- all available in most beer stores.

Why the heck are we doing non-alcoholic beer reviews? Well… let me tell you.

There are a number of reasons why it is important to have a look at the non-alcoholic class of beers. First and most importantly our father made the choice some 20 odd years ago to give up drinking and is always on the look out to find good “Near Beers” (He’s probably spilled more beer in his earlier days than I’ve had to drink).

In honor of him, we’ve decided to help with his quest to find the best non-alcoholic cold one.

Secondly, I came across a great non-alcoholic malt beverage at the bar this week and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Who knows, maybe there are more out there…

The Setting

After a long drive into Montreal to celebrate a friends new job- I was thirsty for a beer. We went to support his move to manage a relatively new drinking establishment called the Royal Phoenix Bar in the hip mile-end region of the city.

After quenching my thirst with a pint of Sleeman’s Honey Brown (the happy hour special) I was ready for another. With a long drive home I pondered my alternatives and being the responsible man I am I asked the bartender if he had any non-alcoholic beers available.

To which the barkeep shockingly replied, “As a matter of fact we do. Bitburger Drive. We just got it in last week and I didn’t even know it was non-alcoholic. I actually served it to some of our patrons when they asked for an import.”

From the outside these Non-Alcoholic beers look like regular beers… Lets find out if they taste similar on the inside.

Bitburger Drive Alcoholfrei
Imported from Germany
0.0 ABV

Bitburger Non Alcoholic Beer ReviewI haven’t had a non-alcoholic beer in sometime and was shocked (in a good way) after tipping this bad boy into the pint.

It poured a golden straw color with a slight froth that hung around a little. The aroma wasn’t all that powerful and smelled a bit off, which from memory is like most “near beers” I’ve sampled.

It was crisp, clean and nicely carbonated, reminding me of its father (traditional Bitburger). Often, non alcoholic beers tend to be on the sweet and sugary side but not so in the Drive’s case.

All in all, I rather enjoyed the Bitburger Alcoholfrei and barely noticed I wasn’t drinking something a little more potent.

Would I order another? Absolutely and had the barkeep thrown one my way before he realized it was alcohol free, I probably wouldn’t have noticed either.

Not to be outdone… Jon wanted to get in on the action and gave a couple near beers a try (for my father’s sake of course).

Here is what he found:

BUCKLER Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage
Imported from Holland
0.5% ABV

The Buckler malt beverage is brewed by Heineken and imported from Amsterdam so it carries similar traits to other European brews minus the alcohol and calories. How many calories? There are just 65 calories in a bottle of Buckler.

The appearance of Buckler in a pint glass resembled much of the lighter style beers found in most bars. The shimmering honey color was topped with a thick layer of foam. The beer released minimal carbonation.

The aroma was over powered with heavy European hops.

The taste was light and sweet with very little crisp.

The Verdict:

This particular brew was on the watery side but if someone handed it to me in a bar I wouldn’t have been able to taste the difference between it and some of the light domestics most drink.

Imported from the brewers of Guinness
Less than 0.5% ABV

kaliber non alcoholic beer reviewThe label described this Malt Beverage by its rich amber color and full body, delivering all the taste of a premium import with less alcohol than beer.

The appearance of the Kaliber in a pint glass was light amber with very little to no head.

The aroma was strong homemade bread with heavy yeast characteristics.

The flavor was deep and the malts tasted of burnt caramel. On a side note; Guinness is also made from burnt malts.

How many calories in Kaliber Non Alcoholic beer? This darker malt beverage has a whopping 71 calories (hint of sarcasm). Again a favorable alternative to those really counting calories or those who chose not to consume alcohol.

The Verdict:

I think most would be fooled as to what they were drinking when trying to compare this reasonably good non-alcoholic to a domestic. I did notice a slight difference but it was very minor and was pleased with the result.

One versus the other

Between the two I tried, Buckler won this battle.

And a word for the wise… make sure the Non-Alcoholic beers are served ICE COLD. Makes all the difference.

A little Near Beer Info:


How is non-alcoholic beer made?

In the early days brewers would shorten the fermentation process and although it reduced the alcohol content it also altered the taste of the beer.

Nowadays malt brews are made the exact same way as their full-bodied (alcohol) counterparts and allowed to ferment to full term.

It is only before the very last step that the alcohol is then removed, either through reverse osmosis, heating or by vacuum evaporation. The basic premise is this; alcohol and water have different boiling points and therefor one can be evaporated at a lower temperature than the other (yay for science).

Once the alcohol is removed the beer is filtered and carbonated. Real beer avoids the previous step and goes straight to filtration and carbonation.

How many calories in Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Being that the majority of calories in beer come from the alcohol, Non Alcoholic beer is much lower and in some cases even has half as many as its alcohol filled counterparts.

Typically a non-alcoholic beer contains between 60-80 calories and is a perfect option for someone looking to pinch a few calories anyway they can.

When was non alcoholic beer first made?

“Near beer” dates back to the early days of Prohibition. Initially President Wilson tried to reduce the alcohol content to 2.5% but the Temperance Society wouldn’t have it.

The next time you’re out and about and happen to be behind the wheel don’t be afraid to try a couple of these Non-Alcoholic brews and let’s eliminate the stigma that comes with ordering one at a bar. There isn’t any shame in drinking one of these vacuum evaporated cold ones, especially when you’re the DD.


Jon and Sean

Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

Thirsty Thursday - A Ten Penny Ale Beer Review

Thirsty Thursday Ten Penny Ale Beer ReviewTEN PENNY ALE
Session Ale 5.6% ABV
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company

Today’s Thirsty Thursday Beer Review will take on The Olde Burnside Brewing Company’s micro-brew “Ten Penny Ale” and cover a little history behind Scottish Ale.

While the New York Knicks’ modest JEREMY “LIN-SANITY” is jumping off the couch (literally) and taking the NBA by storm, a small micro brewery just up the road in Hartford, Connecticut has been getting its fair share of fame by producing some high quality brews.

Any micro brewery that can hack it in an industry of major corporations and million dollar ad budgets is in my mind, like Jeremy Lin, a true unsung hero. If you don’t know who Jeremy Lin is I suggest you get off your couch and find out for yourself because it’s truly a heroic story, reminding us when we put our minds to it- anything is possible.

The Olde Burnside Brewing Company’s Micro-brew

Ten Penny Ale was awarded “Hartford’s Best Micro-brew” in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, earning it some modest hardware (Connecticut).

The story behind the name is unique. The brewers grandfather used to say, “You can get a good beer for a nickel, but a really good beer will cost you ten pennies!”

The name may also have some relation to its Scottish Ancestry. Scottish Ales were originally given their names based upon the taxes that were levied upon them.

The lower the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of a beer the less it was taxed. For example: A 3% ABV beer was taxed 60 schilling (the currency at the time) and higher ABVs were taxed at 70, 80 and 90 schilling. The Scotts used these taxes to refer to beer.

Another example of this throw back to the old Scottish Brewing tax is seen with Odell brewery based in Colorado which calls one of its micro-brews- 90 Schilling.

What is Scottish Ale?

Scotland has a long pedigree of brewing beer even though traditionally the beer was made using various roots and herbs, and not hops. The reason for this was hops were very expensive to import and the main supply had to be purchased from England. This did not please the Scotts to say the least.

Scotland eventually started to add hops to beer however being that barley was grown in massive quantities for production of Whisky the focus became all about malt brews.

The Ten Penny Ale Experience

I guess subconsciously one of the reasons I like this beer so much is because their motto coincides well with ours. We here at adopt the “EARN YOUR BEER” mentality while their motto is “WORK HARD, DRINK WELL…Ten Penny Ale!” (Hey, maybe they’ll sponsor us one day)

According to master brewer Joe Lushing, the Ten Penny Ale is a mellower version of a Scottish style ale that is second to none.

This beer is available year round at local bars and beer stores. Upon request they even offer draught beer options- smaller kegs are perfect for the weekend BBQ in your backyard.

Ten Penny Ale is copper-brown and lively with rich malt flavors. The ale gives off a heavy caramel tone while the head remains white and frothy.

I highly recommend this beer for the casual beer drinker looking to explore the craft beer scene as there is very little hop bitterness.

People are quick to assume that drinking craft beer is going to leave an extremely bitter taste in their mouth and stick to mass produce lighter beers. This assumption usually comes hand in hand from a first experience drinking IPA’s or darker burnt hop beers, however the Ten Penny Ale is highly drinkable and without any strong bitterness.

This beer is a mild Scottish ale and is worth checking out. Even more so if you are into supporting an ongoing family small business tradition.

Work Hard, Drink Well… and Lose the Beer Belly, not the Beer.


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

Thirsty Thursdays: A Beer Review.

Bet I can guess what you are thinking- these guys are going to start writing beer reviews so that they can drink them. You know what? You’re right!

With the recent surge of craft beer and microbreweries across North America we want to share with you our passion and personal opinion on the many beers out there. The weekly review will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Hopefully you’ll be more adventurous when it comes to making beer choices. The “winos” can’t have all the fun.

Last night Sean and I hit up a local restaurant walking distance from his apartment. The resto of choice was made thanks to Sean’s Entertainment book which gave us $16 off the bill (highly recommend grabbing one of these booklets if you don’t have it already).

Before sitting down we were scoping out what beers they had on tap. As the waitress guided us through the list of the usual Canadian suspects she finished with the special of the night- “Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde”. It was a very reasonable $4.50 for a pint of beer. A steal of a deal in terms of Vancouver’s inflated beer prices. We had to give it a try.

Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde is brewed by Alexander Keith’s. The brewery was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1820. It has been producing beer in Canada for over two centuries and only recently made the jump across the border into the United States. Operated by Labatt, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch-Inbev, Keith’s brand is produced throughout Canada. It is best known for it’s India Pale Ale but also has dark, light, amber and premium white varieties.

The Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde is one of the their seasonal brews. The brew-master refers to the beer as a deep gold and medium body brew which delivers captivating aroma, a distinct flavorful taste, slightly hoppy and hint of caramel, aged longer for a crisp finish that is perfect for warmer days. The Ambrosia Blonde taps out at 5.2% alcohol by vol.

Our initial reaction of this all malt brew was that it was much darker than your typical blonde. The beer had a full head which tried to hang around for a little while but eventually ran out of steam and faded away. There was no visible carbonation, but as Sean postulated, it might have been because they were serving us the bottom of the keg and the very reason behind the beer being on special. As I stared at Sean’s ugly mug through the pint I noted the clarity and golden color with a slight reddish tinge, which can most likely be attributed to the hint of caramel.

The verdict:

The Ambrosia attempted to keep a microbrew feel and taste. I was reminded of the Scottish beer Tennant’s I used to drink while playing hockey over there, which wouldn’t be too far off as the company’s roots come from Scotland. Keeping with the Keith’s novelty the Ambrosia Blonde offered a hint of hops without any bitterness. It was a crisp and dry finish.

As a rookie beer connoisseur this beer was tasty but easily forgotten.

If you have access to this brew-masters special in your home town, don’t just take my word for it- give it a try and see for yourself.

Stay thirsty,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube