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. 


Unknown said...

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!

Unknown said...

To my taste Bud Zero is definitely not for me and I am very upset that Prohibition is no longer available. It was the best non-alcoholic beer that I had found. I doubt complaining to Labatt's will make a difference so now I have no clue what I'm going to find that will comparable.

Tit Elingtin said...

I never had Prohibition. I enjoy O'Douls green label and Labatt's NA. Labatt's NA has a sweet taste that I like. I normally like Coors Light and like Coors edge as well. The older I get the more alcohol makes me feel sluggish, but I still enjoy a 6 pack a day. Bud Zero is crisp and refreshing. I think it will be a daily beer for me. The convenience of the 12 pack of cans works for me too. The other brands are too often just stocked in bottles and caring 6-6 packs of bottles to the house and out to the trash seems like a waste.

Shifty said...

I just bought a 24 pack from Costco. I had my doubts originally but gave it a shot. I'd say it's a winner. It's highly drinkable, low calorie and zero sugar. I consider it more of a soft drink replacement than a beer replacement. It's just too bad it's so expensive, almost 3 x what Coke is.

Unknown said...

Really impressed with the Bud Zero.I need all beer super chilled and ice cold I found this to be my facorite. The closest to regular light

Unknown said...

What a huge disappointment they just ruined their reputation in my mind. This zero tastes like crap "Bring Back" the old flavor it was amazing.

aroy said...

Love the beer but prefer bottles

Unknown said...

Personally, I'm content with Zero. I found Prohibition way too sweet for my tastes. This is something that satisfies my taste for something other than a coke or equivalent soft drink. I'd also drink it when I wanted to go out with friends by needed to drive afterwards.

I look forward to more options in the future too!

Unknown said...

I really miss the prohibition brew it was the closest taste to real beer. The new Zero is a 0 it does not have the full bodied taste of
prohibition. I'm so sad!

Jeff in BC said...

Jeff in BC: I was so excited when I discovered Prohibition, it has been my go to for the last four years. I have tried Zero, but I do not like it at all. It just tastes like all the other non-alcoholic beers to me, it has a bitter aftertaste. So disappointing :(

Unknown said...

I've been a beer drinker for almost 40 years. I had a concussion 3 years ago and since then I've had really bad headaches after drinking less than a can or bottle of any beer or other alcoholic drink. Bud Zero to the rescue!! I thought I would have to give up drinking beer altogether until I took a desperate chance and tried a non-alcoholic beer for the first time ever. I was surprised by the taste and happy I didn't get a headache. Even better it doesn't have all the sugar and other ingredients that most soft drinks contain. Plus my wife can't complain that all I do is drink beer and relax when I'm at home... And like someone else wrote, I don't have to worry about drinking and driving!

Unknown said...

My first—and best—beer was Budweiser back in the day. But then through the years wine replaced beer-less calories and then I just quit altogether to be healthier. Twenty years later I read about Zero with 50 calories and no sugar so felt I should try and my first sip took me way back to that first distinct Budweiser taste! Love it ice cold — that Bud flavor, low calories plus 0 sugar and absolutely O% alcohol makes it the best on the market hands down!!!

Unknown said...

Zero sugar,Zero Alcohol and Zero Flavour
It is Bud so I was not really expecting much.

Don said...

Like making love in a canoe!

Unknown said...

Bud 0 is the answer to a lot of folks, myself included who enjoys having a few beers with the guys now and then, but can't handle the calories of regular beer
Great taste, satisfies my yearning for a ice cold beer,
And proves to myself I Don't need alcohol to enjoy life