We met up with Sascha Bruns, brewer and co-founder of Landgang Brauerei in Hamburg, to hear about their experience brewing alcohol-free beer. “It is definitely a growing market in Germany”, Sascha confirms. “Low alcoholic Radler beer has always been popular in Germany, but alcohol-free Weissbier and IPA are now also getting as popular as low- and non-alcoholic alternatives in the German craft beer scene”.
The secret behind great tasting non-alcoholic beer
When non-alcoholic beer first arrived in craft, it was quickly dismissed because of its assumed lack of taste and flavor. Over the past few years, new brewing methods for NA beers have emerged, resulting in better flavor and quality. Consumers’ tastes and craft breweries’ constant desire to innovate and create were both driving this change.
Landgang Brauerei is on top of the game, and they are constantly experimenting with different alcohol-free beers. They brew their low-alcoholic beers by carefully manipulating the fermentation process - Landgang uses yeasts that produce negligible amounts of ethanol. Sascha explains: ”We use yeast that is not made for fermenting all kinds of sugar. In this way, the fermentation process is somehow the same as with normal beer, but the alcohol level remains quite low without losing the flavor of beer.”
By manipulating the fermentation process, Landgang Brauerei can produce hoppy, flavorful beer with a very low ABV%. The regulations for non-alcoholic beers in Germany are stricter than the regulations for regular beers, which is a challenge. “The allowed deviation for non-alcoholic beer is very low and we have to be extra careful when releasing non-alcoholic beers,” Sascha says. “We bought a BeerFoss [BeerFoss™ FT Go] to check the alcohol level in our non-alcoholic beers and be sure that they never came above 0.5 percent of alcohol.”
Sascha explains: “Previously we would have to run sample checks at external labs. It was expensive and time-consuming, but the BeerFoss has made the process easy and super quick, and we are always sure that the beers are on-point in terms of alcohol legislation.” He concludes: “Non-alcoholic beer is a growing market. Our non-alcoholic IPA is our third best-selling beer, and we will continue to explore different processes to create flavors simulating regular alcoholic brews. Analyzing our beers helps us during the entire brewing process.”