Clausthaler Amber: No Alcohol And No Taste

Mar 18, 2004

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The Bottom Line If, like me, you're looking for a decent dark beer without alcohol keep looking. Someday our beer will come.

Beer, especially dark beer, is my absolute favorite alcoholic drink. Even though I often drink high proof (7% ABV and up) beers it is the flavor of the beer that concerns me more than the alcoholic strength.

Sometimes I really want a good dark beer when it's just not convenient or safe to have one (for instance if I know I'm going to be driving within an hour I forgo the beer). A few weeks ago I posted a review on Clausthaler Classic Pilsner beer. This non-alcoholic beer is made in Germany and thus has to follow the rather strict German beer purity laws. It is a refreshing tasty beer. However it is a pilsner and pilsner beers are not my favorite unless I'm simply looking to quench my thirst.

Why oh why, I thought, doesn't Clausthaler make a dark beer?

Oh but they do. It's called Clausthaler Amber. When I found this out I rushed right out and bought some.

Clausthaler Amber is a light brown beer with a tiny head that fades away fairly quickly. There is minimal to zero carbonation. In the glass it looks exactly like flat Sam Adams Boston Lager. (Not that Sam Adams Boston Lager is ever flat but if it ever was it would look like Clausthaler Amber.)

Now in my book an amber beer doesn't equal a dark beer in terms of taste. However an amber is more than tolerable. And a non-alcoholic amber is like a gift from the beer gods.

I could hardly wait to smell and taste it.

Hhmm, not much of a nose. I get some caramel malt aroma as well as the faintest hint of hops. I also get another smell which I can't quite identify. It reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what.

On to the tasting.

I take a swallow and try to hold it in my mouth for a moment before swallowing in order to detect the various subtle flavors and nuances. I needn't have bothered. This beer doesn't really have a lot of flavor The smell that I couldn't identify before reveals itself strongly in the taste. It is tea. I can taste some caramel malt as well but no hops to speak of. I take another sip and get the same results.

I had really looked forward to trying this beer once I knew it existed. The Clausthaler Classic Pilsner was an excellent example of a pilsner. The fact that it was non-alcoholic was just a bonus. I really thought (hoped) that the Clausthaler Amber would be just as good.

I'm disappointed to say the least.

Clausthaler Amber is not without some merit. While it doesn't taste like beer it does taste clean and it goes down smooth, making it a decent thirst quencher, if nothing else.

My quest for the a good non-alcoholic dark beer continues.

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