The “full-flavored, non-alcoholic lager” took years to develop.
guinness 200th anniversary
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While many small craft breweries continue to focus on making bigger, boozier beers, many of the largest brewers in the world have had their eye on a completely different crowd: the growing non-alcoholic beer market. Last year, we saw Heineken roll out Heineken 0.0 and Budweiser bring an N/A version of its flagship brand to the United Kingdom. Now, another huge name is trying out another non-alcoholic brew: Guinness has just released Open Gate Pure Brew Non-Alcoholic Lager.

As is always the case with non-alcoholic beers, the biggest issue – and often the biggest selling point – is flavor. Like it or not, alcohol adds to a beer’s taste, so breweries are always trying to figure out how to overcome this problem and then tout their supposed success. Guinness is no different. “After two years of experimentation, we’ve developed a way to brew a fully fermented non-alcoholic lager that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our other great tasting beers,” the brewery states. It then describes the finished product as “a full-flavored, crisp golden lager with a fruity, hoppy taste… for all occasions!” Except, of course, for an occasion when you’re trying to get drunk!

Guinness’ lead brewer John Casey explained the method to their madness. “Whether you’re seeking alcohol or not, we think great-tasting beer is the goal,” he was quoted as saying. “Many non-alcoholic beers are made by taking a conventional beer and boiling away the alcohol which can impact the taste…. From the start, we were determined to brew a non-alcoholic beer with the same process we’ve perfected over the last 259 years. It has taken two years of experimentation, but we’ve come up with a way to fully brew beer using a special yeast strain that only produces a very limited amount of alcohol.”

For now, the beer is only available at the brewery and at 250 pubs in Dublin. Guinness says from there, Open Gate Pure Brew will go to the rest of Ireland in March.