Potent Belgian brew takes historic non-alcoholic turn

The original Leffe range will soon be joined by a zero alcohol version
The original Leffe range will soon be joined by a zero alcohol version

A Belgian brewer will make history when it produces the first non-alcoholic version of one of the country’s celebrated and powerful abbey beers.

Known for complex flavours and high alcohol content, the ales are brewed by monks or on licence and have long been praised as a central part of Belgium’s cultural heritage.

Now, AB InBev, the world’s largest brewing company, is to launch a zero alcohol version of its Leffe beer, which has a history dating back to 1240 and normally packs a 6.6% punch.

The brewer said its decision was a sign of changing attitudes towards beer in Belgium, where 62% of adults thought they drank too much.

Non-alcoholic lagers and wheat beers have been growing in popularity in the country, with a 30% growth in the market in 2018. AB InBev will use a de-alcoholisation technique that allows the beer to go through the usual brewing process. Eoghan Walsh, an award-winning beer writer based in Belgium, said brewing mythology was an “almost foundational part” of Belgian identity.

“The popularity of these beers is founded on their strength and the fuller flavour that goes with it,” he said.

“A 0% abbey beer is a big departure from a brewing tradition you can trace back hundreds of years.”

AB InBev said 20% of beer would be low in alcohol by 2025. – The Telegraph