In common with sour beers, porters have many of the characteristics work well in alcohol-free beers.
For starters, they’re often quite sweet. And they usually have a lower ABV and thinner body than stouts (though some would say there’s little difference between the styles).
Yet, search out an alcohol-free beer and you’ll probably only come across Braxzz’s non-alcoholic “Porter”, which the company says is a world first.
Braxzz is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Specialising in only alcohol-free drinks, it launched this beer in April alongside an IPA. Now its portfolio also includes several more non-alcoholic beers and an alcohol-free cider.
According to the ingredients list, Porter uses barley malt extract and hop extract, which both usually come as a concentrated liquid, rather than malted grain and dried hops. It’s not clear with Braxzz brew an alcohol-free beer from the off or remove the alcohol after fermentation. I suppose there’s a possibility it’s not fermented at all.
Porter’s colour doesn’t disappoint. It’s deep and velvety; black with a reddish glow. There’s little to no head on pouring, which makes it look a little flat. There’s a little lacing as the liquid grasps the side of the glass as you drink.
Initially, the aroma is amazing with lots of coffee backed with dark chocolate hitting the nostrils. With a deep whiff comes a weak medicinal smell, reminiscent of some root beers (think Deep Heat if you’re not familiar with the aroma of root beer). It’s not bad, but it did take some of the charm away from that initial aroma as it didn’t really slot in well with the coffee and malt.
The medium body mimics a standard porter well. As indicated by the lack of a head, there was only a little carbonation, which made it feel a bit lifeless.
Coffee flavours play a big part in the taste. There’s also a fleeting sweet wortiness that is soon overpowered by the bitterness. There’s a touch of fruitiness in there too – maybe fig or date, as proclaimed by the tasting notes.
The bitterness lasts until well after the last sip and gets in the way of the other flavours a bit.
With a cracking initial aroma, superb body and gorgeous demeanour, Braxzz’s Porter has many of the attributes of a decent alcohol-free beer.
However, I found it far too bitter for my palate, which is a pity as there were some good flavours hiding in there despite the wortiness. The lack of carbonation was also disappointing – a few more bubbles to tingle the tongue would have suited me fine.
- Name: Porter
- Brewery: Braxzz
- Style: porter
- Alcohol content: 0%
- Calories: 81 (per 330ml)
- Carbohydrates: 17.4g (per 330ml)
- Sugar: 8.4g (per 330ml)
- Ingredients: water, barley malt extract, hop extract, natural flavouring, citric acid
- Country: Netherlands
- Dispense: bottle (330ml)
- Available in the UK from: Amazon*, Delicious Drinks Shop, Dry Drinker