Attempts at zero-alcohol porters have been extremely rare, but the style makes a lot of sense for a booze-free brew.
There’s no reason to beat around the bush: Most alcoholic beers don’t taste good. The reasons are simple: To make a beer non-alcoholic, fermentation is often changed and/or alcohol has to be removed, and both these processes will change the flavor of your brew. One problem is that N/A beers can be on the sweet and malty side; yet, the majority of N/A beers are meant to replicate crisp pale lagers—from O’Doul’s to Heineken 0.0. Sure, pale lager is the most popular beer style on the planet, but wouldn’t a style that’s already on the sweet side make more sense as a non-alcoholic brew?
A new brand in the Netherlands called Braxzz is taking that idea to heart, releasing what it’s calling the ‘world’s first’ non-alcoholic porter beer. It’s unlikely one has ever sold a non-alcoholic porter before. First, Yuengling appears to have produced one during Prohibition. (Everything was tried in non-alcoholic form during Prohibition!) Second, non-alcoholic stouts exist, and the difference between these two styles can be pretty slim.
However, at the very least, porter is an extremely underrepresented style when it comes to N/A beers, and yet, at the same time, porter seems like an extremely sensible choice to get the N/A treatment. Porters are malt-forward yet reasonably light-bodied typically showing notes of chocolate and malty sweetness that seem like they could be potent enough to overcome, or blend in with, a typical non-alcoholic beer’s shortcomings.
In Braxzz’s case, the brand says its porter—which contains absolutely no alcohol whatsoever—features chocolate and espresso notes with flourishes of date and fig. Whether the unique brew lives up to that bill is yet to be seen; the beer has only just been released. However, it is a bit surprising that non-alcoholic porters haven’t been significantly embraced before.
“Our journey started with two simple passions: The belief that the non-alcoholic beers on the market today are a huge compromise on taste and that the non-alcoholic category lacks variety for its consumers,” Mirko Schnitzler and Cinte Welsing of Braxzz said in a joint statement. Apparently, they had no problem achieving their second goal.