Most of us will have at least one fond memory of a drunken St Patrick’s Day, downing pints of Guinness and donning a wonky cartoon-like top hat. Or perhaps you don’t remember any St Patrick’s Day parties because you just got too damn smashed (we’ve all been there). Either way, if you’re a fan of the festivities AND of the soft, creamy, flavoursome qualities of a good pint O’Guinness, but you’re cutting down on your alcohol consumption or have quit entirely…well we don’t see any reason for you to miss out just because you’re making healthier choices.
Guinness Zero has been available in Indonesia for quite some time and apparently holds all the characteristics of its full-strength original – but we wouldn’t know, unfortunately, because Guinness have never launched it elsewhere in the world and don’t seem to plan to. So – after the bad news can only come good news, leading us nicely to our top five alcohol-free or low-alcohol alternatives to Guinness, which will ensure you’re not pining for the strong stuff and nursing a heavy dose of FOMO.
Big Drop’s Stout was created when founder Rob Fink quit drinking for a bit and was disappointed that he couldn’t find any decent dark beers – so he just decided to get the job done himself. And what an outstanding job he did. At just 0.5% (what we consider to be alcohol-free) it contains all the depth and complexity of flavour that you’d expect from a full-strength beer. And you don’t have to just take our word for it: Big Drop won the silver award at the World Beer Awards – against full strength beers. It’s dark and rich, with coffee, cocoa and vanilla notes. Big Drop beers are available in plenty of online stores including Dry Drinker where you can use our discount code CLUBSODAVIP to receive 5% off your order. You’ll also find them in many bottle shops and pubs – check out their website or our online guide to the best pubs and bars for mindful drinkers.
Nirvana’s Kosmic Stout is dark and rich with a chocolatey aroma and hints of vanilla, the sweetness is balanced out by a smooth toasted malt base. If you’re looking for a super-healthy option, this one’s for you – only 100 calories per bottle and you can also pop along to their brewery in Leyton, East London, for a spot of yoga. You’ll also spot Nirvana in various pubs around London, or you can stock up online at Dry Drinker (use discount code: CLUBSODAVIP).
St Peter’s “Without” Original was the first alcohol-free beer in St Peter’s brewery’s range. It’s also available in Gold and Organic – but we’ve gone for the slightly heavier Original recipe for the purposes of this roundup. It has a creamy head with a coppery body when poured and a smooth, malty, rye bread flavour – with a refreshing bitterness. Available in bigger Tesco supermarkets, it’s easy to get hold of – and if you’re longing for a good alcohol-free beer on draught, you can head to their London pub, The Jerusalem Tavern.
This fab stout from Portugal’s Super Bock brewery is dark when poured, with a rich, creamy, malty flavour and a great balance of sour to sweet. Not widely available in the UK, but you can find it in specialist online shops such as Dry Drinker (don’t forget the discount code: CLUBSODAVIP), Light Drinks and The Alcohol Free Shop.
OK, so it’s not a stout but it IS an incredibly flavoursome chocolatey dark beer with hints of coffee and toast. We went out to visit Small Beer Brew Co’s Bermondsey-based brewery back in January and they’re a great team doing great things – specialising exclusively in the production of “small beer” – beers that sit between 0.5% and 2.8% ABV strength. They’re planning to open a bar in their brewery really soon too, which will be a great hangout spot for those who want to socialise more mindfully – so keep your ears to the ground (and we’ll let you know as soon as we know, too) – until then, grab some online at The Whisky Exchange or Light Drinks.