Seven Sober Nights
July 13, 2008 3:03 AM   Subscribe

Can I order non-alcoholic beer in Dublin pubs?

I'm going to Dublin in some weeks and I'd like to visit some typical Irish Pubs. I don't drink alcohol - at home in Germany I usually order "non-alcoholic beer" which is quite common here (*).

So, I have some questions for Irish Mefites or Mefites who have been to Ireland:

- Is non-alcoholic beer commonly offered in Ireland's pubs?

- If yes, can you recommend a brand that is good or even typically Irish ("NA Guinness", even?)

- Is it regarded as normal to ask for NA beer in irish pubs or would people think you're crazy/strange? I know some German pubs where this is the case and where ordering NA beer equals ordering chamomile tea or hot milk...I would like to avoid such a cultural faux pas. If NA beer is not common in Ireland, what are good non-alcoholic beverage alternatives in Irish pubs that are not as sweet as coke/lemonade and not as boring as water?

- Would you actually call it "non-alcoholic beer" or are there other expressions for that kind of drink in Ireland?

Thanks for Your help!

(*) I realize NA beer contains some alcohol, but anything under 0.5% ABV is o.k. with me.
posted by The Toad to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Non-alcoholic beer is usually stocked in Dublin pubs. It's mostly German beers, though! The most common brand is Beck's non-alcoholic, and I've seen a non-alcoholic Erdinger as well. I did hear of a NA-guinness, but I've never seen it.

Just ask for a Non-Alcoholic beer and you'll be fine. Tea and coffee can usually be had as well if you want to get something different.
posted by gds at 3:22 AM on July 13, 2008

Best answer: You should be grand - like gds I see Becks non-alcoholic around. According to this thread on there is also non-alcoholic Erdinger and Cobra about, and also something called Mark Clausthalle (which I haven't seen anywhere).

The Porterhouse is a specialised beer-pub which has its own micro-brews. I'd be surprised if they hadn't a fairly good selection of foreign alcohol free beers.
As far as I can make out, though, there's no such thing as an Irish alcohol-free beer (which is not that surprising, really).

You will get teased over ordering any non-alcoholic drinks I'm afraid (and there are some pretty good examples of the kinds of things people are going to say to you in the linked-to thread). A lot of people will make it their business to try and convince you to have a beer or a whiskey or something. Stick to your guns.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:22 AM on July 13, 2008

Oh and if you want to visit a traditional Irish pub, don't miss The Cobblestone - great live trad music, totally traditional, totally relaxed and good. And a decent range of beers too.

There are a fair few pubs in the city centre which are crap - if you don't like the place you're in, get out of there and try the next one up the street; there's no need to spend your evening in The Mercantile or (God forbid) Q Bar. Lots of old threads on this - and it's worth doing a little research.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:26 AM on July 13, 2008

You may face some gentle ribbing but you're not going to mortally offend anyone by ordering non alcoholic drinks. You shouldn't have any problems at all, have a good time.
posted by fire&wings at 4:31 AM on July 13, 2008

Best answer: Ex Dublin bartender here. It's not a faux pas, and yes just ordering a "non alcoholic beer" is grand. If there's a selection they'll ask which you want. Re teasing, the bartenders won't care (if you're going to tourist pubs, they'll just be glad you can order without having a twenty minute conversation about the tastes of different beers and the beauty of western Ireland) and random strangers will be very unlikely to comment unless they're really plastered. In which case, you mightn't want to be there anyway.

Lots of non-drinkers order ballygowan or other sparkling waters, or concoctions like soda water and lime. Bring your euros, non-booze drinking in Dublin is very expensive compared to other places I've worked.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:56 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Guinness Ltd. actually makes my fave non-alcoholic beer of all time, Kaliber. I've seen it in many Irish pubs.
posted by dabitch at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2008

Just don't let it go warm, because it smells alarmingly like vomit when tepid.

An aside: "Non-alcoholic" beers are more likely than not to be "(very) low alcohol beers". Almost none have zero alcohol. Some can be nearly 1%.
posted by genghis at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2008

Dabitch, I had completely forgotten about Kaliber! Haven't seen it anywhere in a long time though (although I suppose I wasn't looking).
posted by tiny crocodile at 7:34 AM on July 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all! That was very helpful!

So I'll get the usual German brands... "Clausthalle" is "Clausthaler" I guess, that's actually quite good, I'm not such a big fan of Beck's and Erdinger (better than drinking coke, though).
I'll try and find this "Kaliber" stuff, maybe I'm lucky!

genghis: I just looked it up, apparently, drinks marketed as "Non-Alcoholic" in Europe must not contain more than 0.5% alcohol, due to EU regulation. For example "Warsteiner Alkoholfrei", the stuff I usually drink at home, contains a tiny 0.01% (comparable to fruit juice). That kind of alcohol content is ok with me, I just don't want to get drunk.
posted by The Toad at 5:50 AM on July 15, 2008

« Older how can I prove authorship of my work?   |   India, Incense, and No Smoking Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.