Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

What to drink when you’re not drinking

I have a problem, it’s not technically with alcohol it’s more that drinking alcohol *really* doesn’t agree with some medication I take for a very painful nerve problem so this isn’t an I’m getting sober post, it’s more I have to be sober, I like(d) drinking.. a lot. So, what do I do to make it suck less?

I generally work in London, a large historic and cosmopolitan city where driving to work is either really expensive, or takes way too long and despite our general genetic predisposition as English people to complain about it we generally have a pretty good public transport system. A side-effect of this is that social drinking after work is commonplace rather than a rarity.

Drinking soft-drinks all evening just isn’t pleasant for me, too much sugar or artificial sweetener, and given I like(d) beer… a lot I’ve tried to find something that still tastes like beer without the dizzy juice bit, you may ask what’s the point? well it still /feels/ like you’re out, being sociable – and if you like(d) the taste of beer that part is self-explanatory

Availability of low (0.5%)/no (0%) alcohol drinks in bars, pubs and clubs in London is very poor, maybe a dusty bottle in the fridge. it has got noticeably better in the last year but products available are generally at the awful end of the scale.

Since my unplanned diversion into sobriety I’ve experimented with many of the alcohol alternatives (in the name of science, obviously dear reader) and here is my top 8 (there are so few I couldn’t even make a top 10 and the last 3 are touch and go!) that you can purchase to drink at home (…or sneak into the pub and consume at your warm :/ leisure), sadly most of these are only available in shops rather than pubs (apart from the Brewdog ones – see the end of this page)

  1. Brewdog Punk AF
  2. Brewdog Nanny State
  3. Adnams Ghost Ship Alcohol free
  4. Infinite Session Ale
  5. Estrella FreeDAMM – I’ve only found this in Spain so far but understand Morrisons stock it
  6. Sin – I’ve only seen this in Lidl in Spain
  7. Heineken 0 if it’s the only choice
  8. Peroni Libera – this is where we start scraping the bottom of the barrel, literally
  9. Budweiser Prohibition – about my tolerable limit of drinkable, if I have to.

My Avoid at all costs list – e.g. drink if someone is holding a gun to your head and making you do it..

  • Becks Blue (very common, but disgusting)
  • Cobra Zero (zero taste, dishwater is tastier)
  • San Miguel 0 (to be fair the >with< alcohol version doesn’t taste much better

The only drinkable one I’ve found in pubs that is on my top 8 is Nanny State (v.nice, but not that common) or Heineken (more common, ok-ish) However, never fear.. Brewdog have their own chain of pubs and cafes in the UK – the one in Tower Hill usually has Nanny State on DRAFT… yes DRAFT, cold, cold in a proper pint glass DRAFT. and they do great food too – BrewDog I love you – highly recommended if you’re in the UK. Brewdog are clear innovators (and winners!) in the Low/No-Alcohol space – see their range here 

Overall the situation is getting better, but still has a way to go. Given the choice is so poor in post pubs I’ve generally taken to bringing my own, which isn’t really in the spirit of things, warm :/ and I’m sure the pub owner would not be happy with that. So, if you own a pub.. maybe time to widen your horizons for us, the leppers of London post-work society 🙂

If you’ve found something (or somewhere better).. feel free to post it in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

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