Little Looks are the reviews of brews that may be new to me or to the market, a local beer I want to shout about, or simply a classic revisited.
Dry January may be over but there are plenty of people out there for which drinking no and low alcohol goes beyond just one month a year. I spent the majority of 2017 not drinking and finding a decent non-alcoholic substitute was difficult but things seem to be changing. Reports show that the sector for zero % beers is growing and is set to increase further in 2019, with a recent study showing that 30% of 24-year olds and under (within drinking age) are choosing to abstain from alcohol completely and 45% of 25-34-year olds are choosing no and low alcohol beverages more regularly than a few years ago. Drinks producers such as Peroni have spotted this emerging trend within the UK and are choosing to make tracks into it. This January saw Peroni release its 0.0% abv lager, Libera, to the UK market, launched nationwide via Tesco supermarkets it uses the same Nostrano dell’Isola Maize as the other beers in the Peroni portfolio, is triple hopped and has been brewed using a “dedicated yeast strain” to produce “a similar crisp and fresh taste experience as Peroni Nastro Azzurro.” The sector is now worth £51.8m, but is this beer any good?
Already par for the course in many European countries, it’s refreshing to see growth and confidence in the UK market for 0% beers and refreshing is perhaps the best way to describe Peroni Libera. Those of you who eschew non-alcoholic beers won’t be turned by this at all and to try and convince you otherwise would be foolish, but those of you who eschew alcohol will find this a welcome addition to the shelves, lining up against the likes of Beck’s Blue and Heineken 0.0%; it’s similar in its aesthetics. I’ll admit that Heineken has been a favoured go-to alcohol-free for me in the past, tasting very much like its 5% counterpart, so the bar has been set for Peroni Libera, in my mind at least, and honestly, it’s up there with it. Libera is just as clean and crisp as you’d want your lager to be; it’s refreshing with hints of citrus in the aroma and a soft peach and stone-fruit taste over the palate. There’s a hint of sweetness and wort-like flavours that are often found in zero alcohol beers but there’s also a familiar Peroni taste too which, along with the peach notes, cuts through to save the beer making it drinkable, unlike the other established competition of Becks Blue which I find thoroughly unpalatable. It works well when paired with food and if you’re looking for a new non-alcoholic option then I’d say that this should be on your radar, it’s no good comparing zero % beers to their alcohol containing cousins, because that’s like comparing pop music with classical, or trains with bicycles, but when compared to the other zero lagers on the market it’s fair to say that Libera stands up well to some and better than most.
Disclosure: This beer was sent free to me by a representative of the brand, however, I do not believe this to have affected my opinion.