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30 Jul 2020 By Ben Chin

Carlsberg is Making a Strong Case For Alcohol-Free Beer With The Launch of Two New Brews

Free beers? Hell yeah. Alcohol-free beers, on the other hand, are a much trickier proposition. At best, they’re meh, a bit lifeless, weaker-tasting, not much pizzazz. You know that joke about Budweisers and sex in tents right? At worst, a rubbish LNA (low/no alcohol) beer can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. A weirdly sweet, that’s-not-beer one. The good news is, Carlsberg’s two new flavours—Carlsberg Alcohol Free Pilsner and Carlsberg Alcohol Free Wheat—sit comfortably in the better-tasting section of its category.


First off, the blue looks great, quite elegant. I really like that Carlsberg has gone with a distinctly different colour for its packaging, so there’s no mistake what you’re getting. How effing annoying is it when you’re already at the counter before you realise you’ve grabbed the wrong beer because both the alcohol-free and alcoholic versions look so damn similar?


There’s not much to say about the Pilsner, except it lacks the bite of the orginal Danish Pilsner, but that’s the name of the game when it comes to alc-frees, so no surprise there. Refreshing though; a decent enough substitute for its alcoholic brother. The Wheat, on the other hand, was a bit of a revelation, especially coming from Carlsberg. Surprisingly flavourful, citrusy with a mild sweetness that isn’t cloying. I can see drinking this on a hot day in place of a soda. Probably more quenching too.


Carlsberg’s working the health angle with this release; our virtual Zoom media tasting with Kristoffer Lundgren, Carlsberg’s Brewmaster (Global Alcohol Free Lead), was preceded by 20 minutes of workout where I glimpsed quite a few familiar fitness influencer faces in the mix. Calorie-conscious drinkers will also be glad to know that the new beers clock in at a relatively low 66 (pilsner) and 102 (wheat) calories per can.


The beers’ greatest strength is possibly their food pair-ability, versatile enough to go with anything from Nordic cuisine to local hawker favourites. “I like to pair Carlsberg Alcohol-Free Pilsner with open-faced rye-bread sandwiches (smørrebrød) that come with a variety of toppings as the Pilsner has great versatility with foods,” said Kristoffer. “(It would also) pair well with chicken rice—the lager complements rather than takes over the food experience. In particular, the malty notes complement the soy sauce and ginger flavours. (It) also pairs well with roasted or grilled flavours like BBQ stingray.”

“Carlsberg Alcohol-Free Wheat pairs well with any kind of seafood, as the citrusy notes go well with seafood and fish. You can also try pairing it with fresh fruits or fruity desserts!”

 A healthy salmon lunch by Miele’s chef Lennard Yeong