Review: Budweiser Zero Non Alcoholic Beer

Budweiser Prohibition Brew. I wrote about non-alcoholic beer before then but Budweiser Prohibition was different, it actually was reminiscent of the real deal. I'm not a fan of Labatt/AB-InBev's offerings but something about Prohibition popped out at me. Fast forward to July 2020, I was looking on the Manitoba Liquor Mart website a week ago and came across Budweiser Zero with a "coming soon!" tag next to each of their SKUs. I searched for Prohibition and the product was delisted on the website. I recall going to a local Safeway a couple weeks back and seeing a large display for Prohibition with a price tag of $9.99 for a 12-pack of the beer, I didn't think anything of it.
Back in June 2016 I wrote my most important review I've ever done, a review of Labatt's non-alcoholic

Budweiser Zero is the newest non-alcoholic product by Labatt (AB-InBev), replacing Prohibition. I can't seem to find any reviews of Bud Zero yet but from I found that they created a recipe with zero sugar and fewer calories than Prohibition. My closest Liquor Mart still has a couple cans of Prohibition left so I picked one up to compare with this beer at the end. Bud Zero is rated at 0.0% ABV

Budweiser Zero Nutrition Facts (per 355mL can): 
50 calories
Fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 12g
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 0g
Sodium: 10mg (1%)
Potassium: 50mg (1%)
Calcium: 10mg (1%)
Ingredients: De-alcoholized beer, Natural flavour. Contains barley

Appearance: Pours a crisp light straw yellow body, pretty much what you would expect from a lager from Labatt. The beer has a lot of carbonation in the body, while the head is pretty thick and frothy with a snow white hue to it.

Aroma: I guess it smells reminiscent of Bud Light. It's a bit sweet with a mild grain presence to it, a hint of corn and a grassy hop finish. It's light and a bit metallic, pretty standard lager so far. There's a bit of a weird icing sugar aroma that pops up once in a while, not something I think I've ever smelled in a beer before. 

Taste: This is the second time I've tried this beer since last night and last night I drank it straight out of the can and it tasted like metallic water. This time around I poured it in a glass and it tastes a bit like Bud Light but it has a bit of a taste that reminds me a bit of a grain or ingredient that they wouldn't typically put in the beer.. a bit of a buckwheat-like bitterness in the grain. Zero is a bit sweet with a bit of a toasted rice taste that reminds me a bit of of Rice Krispies cereal. There's a hint of lemon popping out which I don't mind, but overall the beer is quite light but it's no surprise at 0.0% ABV. No real noticeable aftertaste except maybe a bit of rice. Very easy to drink, even as a vocal beer snob.

Overall Thoughts: It's definitely drinkable and if you're a fan of Bud Light, you will probably enjoy this. It's quite light in taste and smooth, so easy to drink on a hot summer afternoon, but perhaps too light for many people? My local Safeway charges $10.99 CDN (approx $8.20 USD) per 355mL (12oz) six-pack, so it's not cheap when Bud Light is available at the liquor store for only a dollar or two more in my neck of the woods. Non-alcoholic beer has come a long way since the days of O'Doul's, and this one tastes the closest to the real deal I've had yet, even more so than Coors Edge, though I'm not a fan of Bud/Bud Light products to begin with. Do I recommend this? If you're dieting and still crave a bit of a barley beverage, or if you are wanting to cut down on the consumption of alcohol, for sure. Products like Prohibition/Zero are creating a segment in the beer industry that has been ignored and I'm intrigued to see what the competitors come out with in coming months and years.

Availability: It appears that this is going to be a global offering so I'd say expect this beer in countries where Budweiser and Bud Light are easy to find. In Canada, expect to see this at liquor/beer stores as well as at major grocery chains. 

Compared to Prohibition: Prohibition has been tweaked a bit since I first reviewed the beer back in 2016, a 473mL can originally had 200 calories compared to 160 when the brand was discontinued, so even if this was in a 355mL can, it would still have a lot more calories than Zero.  Prohibition contains de-alcoholized beer, malt extract, hop extract and natural flavour, while Zero contains simply de-alcoholized beer and natural flavour. Prohibition's aroma is a lot stronger with a very strong barley and corn aroma to it, which I actually kind of prefer, but many will like Zero's lighter aroma instead. Prohibition is also surprisingly quite a bit more aggressive in taste with it having a strong taste that's a combination of barley water and apple juice. The apple juice taste is off putting for me so Zero is better there. Appearance-wise, almost completely identical but Zero has a bit more carbonation than Prohibition. It's a bit of a toss-up for me, I want a bit more aroma in my beer so Prohibition wins there for me, but for taste.. Zero for sure. 

1 comment:

  1. Having not tried the new zero, (Not a fan of light beer) I do enjoy the flavor of the Prohibition. I have had other 0 beer and prohibition was much better than the Coors. I do not drink beer for the alcoholic effect, rather for the taste and thirst quenching! For us Canadians who pay an arm and a leg for alcoholic beer, the Prohibition beer was a half price alternative. RIP Prohibition!