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Blinded by Science: N/A Beer

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August 19, 2016 by fhsteinbart


N.A. beers

Here we see a cadre of N/A beers available at most bottle shops. The Bitburger tasted the best of all.

We’ve all had that dilemma where one person has to be the designated driver, and it’s now YOUR turn! Well, fear not as I have a solution to your situation! Why be stuck with drinking soda, or even worse those virgin cocktails? I did a double blind study where I had 12 beers, 6 were regular beers, and 6 were non-alcoholic (N/A) beers. What I did was get beers that were all of the same style and even the same brand to test whether or not anyone could parse the difference(s) between N/A beers and regular beers in a casual setting. We had the beers all blanked out so no one could see which beer was which, and enumerated the outside for later data collection and comparison/contrast. The servers didn’t know which beers were which, and the tasters only knew that they would be looking for differences and similarities between the beers that they would be tasting. The N/A beers I selected were the ones available in most standard bottle shops like Bitburger O.O (called Drive in Germany), Clausthaler, Beck’s N.A., Guinness Kaliber, O’Doul’s, and St. Pauli N.A. Then I procured the equivalent alcohol related beer from the same brewery for comparison to see if there were flavor and/or aroma differences. Distribution of the beers were random so that neither the servers nor the tasters were aware of which beers that were sampling; all they were asked to do was taste beer and rank the beers from most to least liked, and offer opinion on what they liked or disliked about these beers. When asked of their opinions, all the N/A beers with two exceptions came in dead last with comments like “insipid”, “boring”, “tasteless”, or my favorite “grossly mismanaged in trade conditions”. The two that faired well were O’Doul’s, and Bitburger O.O. Having said that, the O’Doul’s was pegged as being bland, and flavorless, yet faired as well as the alcohol laden counterparts did. Bitburger really shined at this tasting as it was considered the best beer of the lineup, yet was pegged as a beer that didn’t fair well under trade conditions. So if you want to drink a beer like substitute so you don’t feel left out when you are the wing man or designated driver for your group, either O’Doul’s, or Bitburger will get you there, and Bitburger will do it with flavor and aroma as well. Cheers!

 

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