Back in my alcohol-free beer review last April, I said I thought spinach would be better for a broken foot than alcohol (I know, I obviously have untapped potential as a doctor and should have gone to medical school) and so I was currently living an alcohol-free life. Well, guess what? I still am – almost six months later – and, according to my drinking app, that’s 120 bottles of wine I haven’t had, £755 saved and 73,100 calories not consumed in alcohol. Although a broken foot, coupled with being fed up with drinking anyway was the catalyst for my new-found sobriety, it’s also been massively helped by drinking alcohol-free or low-alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV) wine, beer and cider. As evidenced by mutterings on Facebook groups, a lot of people don’t agree with those who want to cut down on their alcohol intake by drinking alcohol-free beers, ciders and spirits instead but, frankly, they can piss off.
Unlike the 15-year-old me, the 48-year-old me wasn’t much of a cider drinker. It is, however, a universal truth that sunny days and beer gardens were invented purely for cider to be consumed in. Therefore, because it’s summer, I needed my cider fix. You may be like my cider-purist friend Gary and frown upon cider that isn’t purely apple-flavour and demand all these new-fangled flavours such as lychee, vanilla and mince pie should be consigned to history and never mentioned again. If you are one of these joyless purists then, purely out of the goodness of my heart, I’m putting the two apple-flavoured ciders at the top of the list so, after you’ve read those, you can bugger off to your folk meeting or whatever it is cider purists do in their spare time.
Why alcohol-free cider?
Upon completion of my extensive research of scientific facts (i.e. I just made this up), findings showed that cider is mostly consumed by:
a) people in sunny beer gardens;
c) teenagers in sunny beer gardens; and
d) The Wurzels.
Bearing that in mind and considering we all know over-consumption of cider:
a) in sunny beer gardens;
b) by teenagers;
c) by teenagers in sunny beer gardens; and
d) The Wurzels
is not a good mix, often resulting in hospital admissions and bad novelty records, considering the lychee, vanilla and mince pie flavour ciders don’t taste of alcohol anyway, you might as well drink a non-alcoholic version, eh? (I am aware that your average cider-drinking teenager is not going to choose a non-alcoholic cider over an alcoholic one, even if it is sold in Wetherspoons, but bear with). And if you’re one of these people who can drink moderately and just ‘have the one’, you might as well save your money and calories and have a non-alcoholic one. Oh, and, by the way – if you are one of these people who can drink moderately, I hate you.
5 Alcohol-Free and Low-Alcohol Ciders
Below, you’ll find 5 alcohol-free and low-alcohol ciders that can be enjoyed by everyone – not just teenage Wurzels in sunny beer gardens. You probably won’t be surprised that the lychee, vanilla and mince pie flavour is not an actual flavour and therefore doesn’t feature in this list but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns up in some organic, artisan, craft cider hipster place run by lederhosen-attired unicorns in the future though.
1. Westons Stowford Press Low Alcohol Cider – 0.5% ABV, Gluten-Free, Vegan, 330ml, 89 cals
This cider tasted of apples – I know that should be a given but some ciders are more appley than others; it was light, refreshing and not too sweet but the taste didn’t last long which would knock off a couple of stars if I was giving stars out in this review, which I’m not.
2. Sheppy’s Low Alcohol Classic Cider – 0.5% ABV, Gluten-Free, Vegan, 500ml, 140 cals
This full-flavoured cider had a strong apple taste and if I knew anything about ‘real cider’, I’d guess this had a ‘real cider’ taste. As I don’t know anything about ‘real cider’ though, I’m going to stick with the technical term of ‘appley’. It’s definitely a real ‘sunny beer garden’ cider though and if The Wurzels re-formed with a tee-total side-project, this is what they’d be singing about.
3. Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime Alcohol-Free Cider – 0.05% ABV, Gluten-Free, Vegan, 500ml, 205 cals
This tastes like boiled sweets and yes, it has more calories than the ciders that don’t taste like boiled sweets but there’s about 275 calories in the alcoholic version of this. Plus – admittedly, apropos of nothing – you can get it in Wetherspoons and, if you have the Wetherspoons’ app, you don’t even have to go to the bar and take it back to your table yourself (although, if you’re drinking alcohol-free cider, you’ll be perfectly capable of walking to the bar and back yourself).
4. Kopparberg Pear Alcohol-Free Cider – 0.05% ABV, Gluten-Free, Vegan, 500ml, 240 cals
I tried this pear flavour cider for the first time on a hot day a few weeks ago. I’d gone into the garden to skive off work, read my Kindle and top up my tan and, after pondering whether a glass of water or a glass of cider better suited this scene, I opened a bottle of cider. On my first sip, I thought OH MY GOD THIS TASTES JUST LIKE PEAR DROPS. A non-alcoholic cider that tastes just like pear drops may, of course, not be your thing but it is mine, so thank you Kopparberg for inventing this.
5. Old Mout Berries & Cherries Alcohol-Free Cider – 0% ABV, Gluten-Free, Vegan, 500ml, 190 cals
I thought I was going to have to confess I hadn’t tried this one at the time of writing but, after looking it up on the Wise Bartender website and reading it contains elderberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry, I got the sweets-flavoured-cider-munchies and, given it’s alcohol-free, 3pm is a perfectly respectable time to drink it without the risk of getting drunk mid-afternoon, falling asleep and missing Emmerdale. (I would just like to point out that I have never done this and, even if I did, my TiVo would have recorded Emmerdale anyway.) I give this cider the technical term of ‘yum’.
Where to buy alcohol-free and low-alcohol cider?
Unfortunately for cider drinkers who want to drink cider but not the alcohol, in my experience (which is extensive as I haven’t given up going to pubs) – apart from Wetherspoons, as already mentioned – pubs don’t cater for them (they barely cater for lager drinkers, usually only offering the ubiquitous Becks Fucking Blue). Fortunately, non-alcoholic cider is widely available in supermarkets and, even more widely available – not to mention conveniently – online from websites such as Wise Bartender, who kindly sent me the ones reviewed above. Wise Bartender don’t just sell cider though – they stock over 90 alcohol-free drinks including cider, lager, beer, wine, sparkling wine, spirits and craft soda – so check them out and try a variety of alcohol-free drinks and get not-pissed to your hearts content.