“Solo Pilsner” is a low-alcohol (0.5%) lager from West Berkshire Brewery. Get tasting notes plus info on stockists, calories, carbs, sugar and ingredients, in this review.
After years as my go-to drink at home and on a night out, lager became a dirty word when I discovered the joys of real ale and craft beer.
For years I avoided it. And it wasn’t until I started drinking non-alcoholic beer that I discovered there’s more to lager than the dull, fizzy and mass-produced varieties that dominate the on and off trade markets.
One of the reasons I avoided lager was my gravitation towards UK small and regional breweries for my beer needs, which tend to avoid adding lager and pilsner to their portfolios.
A few of these breweries do dabble in lager though. One of these is West Berkshire Brewery (WBB). Featuring two lagers among the stouts, IPAs and pale ales in its core range, the brewery also recently launched this “Solo Pilsner” non-alcoholic lager.
WBB existed well before the advent of craft beer in the 2000s. Founded in 1995, the brewery has steadily outgrown several sites and now runs a few pubs too.
Solo Pilsner is one of three non-alcoholic beers the brewery produces. Technically an ultra-low-alcohol beer, it comes in at 0.5% ABV.
There’s no nasties or unusual ingredients in Solo Pilsner.
The grains are malted barley and wheat. The other ingredients are simply water, hops and yeast.
Calories, carbs and sugar
Many of us who opt for non-alcoholic beer do so for health reasons and it’s disappointing there’s no info on the label about calories, carbohydrates and sugar for this one.
So you might want to give this one a miss if you’re monitoring how much sugar you consume.
(Update: Reader Jean-François Lappas managed to get some nutritional info direct from the brewery – there’s 15 calories and 3g of carbs per 100ml.)
Flavours, appearance and mouthfeel
Pouring crystal clear and amber, Solo Pilsner generates loads of foam before settling down to leave a decent white head.
The aroma is pretty vigorous, making your mouth water and setting you up nicely for each sip.
There’s lots of floral hoppy aromas and a clean grainy, biscuity maltiness with a touch of complementary corn-like charm.
There’s little hop spice, and definitely no sign of some of the US hops that some NA brewers have been tempted to use in their lagers.
The body is good – full but not too heavy – with a good level of carbonation generating tint bubbles that are gentle in your mouth.
The malts shine in the flavour, with a slight graininess that moves it up a notch from having a neutral character. There are no fruity esters, so it’s not too sweet and there’s minimal bitterness, resulting in a balanced brew.
The finish is medium dry and a smidge of paper in the aftertaste does little to diminish its simple but fine flavour.
Solo Pilsner definitely doesn’t belong on the dull and fizzy lager list.
A superb aroma, acceptable body and fine flavour means it will appeal to all beer lovers, not just those looking for a non-alcoholic replacement for their favourite lager.
Key info – WBB Solo Pilsner
- Name: Solo Pilsner
- Brewery: WBB
- Style: lager
- Alcohol content: 0.5%
- Calories: 49.5 (per 330ml can)
- Carbohydrates: 9.9g (per 330ml can)
- Sugar: unknown
- Ingredients: barley malt, wheat, water, yeast, hops
- Country: UK
- Dispense: can (330ml)
- Selected stockists (UK): Wise Bartender* West Berkshire Brewery
- Selected stockists (Australia): Craft Zero