It’s a Sin – Drinking in Spain Without Falling Over

sin alcohol - alcohol free beer

On a recent visit to Madrid my sister was amazed to see me order, drink, and actually ENJOY, a non-alcoholic beer – un sin alcohol.

“Does it actually taste nice?” she asked, adding, “I don’t think that even exists in the UK!”

I pointed out that it certainly exists, but that it’s unlikely many people would be seen dead drinking it. We ordered her one too, and her reaction went something like:

“Oh my God, it actually tastes like beer! And… it’s… really quite drinkable!” followed 5 minutes later by: “… you know, it actually feels like this beer is still going to my head a little…”

Such is the power of years of association. Beer taste = tipsy/drunk etc. On a hot day, non-alcoholic beer can still leave you feeling light-headed, but it is all, and only, in the mind.

Some sin-alcohol beers do have a trace of alcohol left (“less that 1%”), but it really is minimal. And the thing is, here in Spain, people drink it all the time without the slightest hint of shame, without for a minute thinking it might dent their macho image, or cool quota.

Personally I prefer Laiker, made by Mahou – I think it’s actually the best tasting beer in Spain!

How about you? Would you drink a ‘sin’, or would you sooner be seen dancing naked in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor?

10 thoughts on “It’s a Sin – Drinking in Spain Without Falling Over

  1. xoanwahn

    I love non-alcoholic beer! It’s light and refreshing with no real after effects. It’s perfect for a really hot summer day because it won’t dehydrate you as much!

  2. Parubin

    I love the bitter taste of beer and the refreshing effect of a cold one in a hot sunny day. I love beer also as an appetizer in a restaurant, having one before looking at the menu and ordering the wine. I love it too as a way of socializing with friends, and I enjoy too the tipsy feeling in my head.
    As for non-alcohol beer, I remember only having it once in my life : it was aboard an airplane heading to Havana, Cuba. Somehow the crew had just run out of real beer (there was quite a party going on at the rear end of the plane) so the flight attendant offered me an alcohol-free beer so suddenly and unexpectedly that I had no time to refuse it. I had another one afterwards, and yes, I also thought the taste was allright and I thought it got a bit to my head too.
    Normally if I want to refresh myself in a non-alcoholic manner I choose a cold tomato juice or gazpacho, or even Seven Up or some or the like if the previous is not available.
    Having said this, I don´t associate beer with ‘coolness’, or ‘cerveza-sin’ with uncoolness. It’s just the way I learnt things, beer is beer and soda pop is not.

  3. Juanjo

    I have experimented with many non-alcoholic beers when it is my turn to drive! :-((

    Here are my findings:

    Kaliber- sweet and sickly crap to be avoided at all costs!

    Clausthaler (non- alcoholic)- a reasonable beer.

    Becks (non-alcoholic)- very good!

    [Mind you, if you are in the US most of the beers from national combines taste like non-acoholic ice-lollies!]

  4. ang

    i don’t drink alcohol at all (5 years and counting!) and i would love it if we had this in the uk. sometimes i want something that isn’t pop or water when i’m out! i had a non-alcoholic organic beer in barcelona and loved it. kaliber, on the other hand, is just awful :(

  5. lachula

    Pues a ver si haces publicidad del “invento” en tu país, que por aquí tus compatriotas se cogen unas melopeas de antología. Lo peor es que a algunos los ves borrachos con sus hijos.

    Hace unos años presencié en Ibiza como una borracha inglesa pegaba a su hija, que debía tener unos siete u ocho años. Todo porque la niña intentaba sostenerla mientras ella avanzaba torpemente hacia el hotel; y la niña lo hacía como si no fuera la primera vez. Por descontado, llamé a la policía. Me dio mucha pena la pobre cría.

    Es frecuente que el personal de los hoteles o la policía tenga que llamar a los servicios sociales por negligencias graves de los padres (turistas)… dejan a bebés solos en el hotel mientras se van horas y horas a la playa, por dejarlos en el coche durante largos períodos y al sol, o por estar más borrachos que una cuba. Muchos menores acaban tutelados temporalmente por los servicios sociales de la comunidad en la que resido. Curiosamente, suelen ser británicos. Algunos alemanes también, pero menos. Los escandinavos, en cambio, suelen tener más sentido común.

  6. Bill (Legazpi)

    I tried non-alcoholic beer back in the UK many years ago, hated it and stayed well away for nearly 20 years. I eventually tried Laiker (made by Mahou in Madrid) because of “doctor’s orders” and now drink it the whole time – it doesn’t have that chemical taste you get with most non-alcoholic beers (including the Buckler Sin in the photo) – it really tastes like regular beer.

  7. Ken

    I drink non-alcoholic beer here in Spain very often too. It not only comes in bottles but many bars have it on tap as well which honestly is very difficult to tell the difference from an alcoholic beer. Like Ben I like Laiker very much but the KING of non-alcoholic beer is by the German weiss beer company, Erdinger. They do a non-alcoholic wheat beer which is DELICIOUS. In Spain I have only been able to get it in Carrefour but they stock it regularly. Well worth trying.

  8. Gary

    Same as Legazpi – tried in years ago in the UK and not tried it since. Thing was that it still gave me a blinding hangover… reckon that came along with the aforementioned chemical taste, but times have moved on so I will give the Laiker a try next time I’m in MAD

  9. Maria S.

    Reading this post made me get up to fetch a beer :)

    Non-alcoholic beer is great, but best during the hot summer months. There is nothing better than coming home from work and drinking it down in one “Schluck”. In the summer months I always keep a case of Clausthaler Alkoholfrei handy.
    Have not tried the “Erdinger” version yet, like Ken recommended.
    All other times I stick to the regular beer.

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