Review: ZERO+ Pale Ale

A running website reviewing a beer? Who would have thought! But in actual fact, it’s not that far a deviation from the norm. In the trail and ultra scene, craft beer is part of the culture. Many an event, or athlete for that matter, is supported by a local brewery. But what also makes this review a natural fit for The Long Run site, is that this beverage is essentially a recovery drink. Yep, you read that correctly. ZERO+ is has been carefully created to aid in post training revival. So there’s no need to feel guilty about cracking a cold one at 8am after a hard session.

I’m certainly no beer connoisseur, but over the years I’ve had enough of them to be able to distinguish the good from the bad. Although at the end of the day everyone has different tastes. Mine varies according to the time of day and weather. On a cold winter’s evening I like the heavy, dark beers. Nothing beats a nice stout or porter on a cold and moody night. In summer, if I’m having just one or two, I go for a crisp German hefeweizen or Little Creatures. On the days where I find myself drinking more than a couple while celebrating or at a barbecue, it’s the light flavours and low alcohol varieties that I opt for. So you could say my taste is fairly broad.

Recently I decided I had been consuming too much alcohol and needed to find an alternative that still tasted like the beverages I enjoyed, but wasn’t so bad for my health. Having tried a few other non-alcoholic alternatives in the weeks prior, I was starting to think my search would prove fruitless. The alcohol-free wine and ciders were horrid and the beers I tried were either plain or left a metallic taste in my mouth. So when I cracked my first tin of ZERO+ I was expecting to be underwhelmed. But to my surprise it was quite the opposite. I was immediately met with a fantastic bouquet that you’d expect from a full flavoured pale ale. The first mouth full revealed a light, malty flavour, with a refreshing finish. There was none of the strange aftertaste you sometimes get from cheap beers or non-alcoholic varieties, nor was it like drinking bitter water (Which I had encountered in another brand a day prior). This was like consuming a clean, crisp, malty ale.

The ZERO+ creators dubbed this a sports beer. Apart from the health benefits of being alcohol free, the naturally occurring polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties, and the added magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium combine to aid in muscle recovery. So it’s an electrolyte enhanced beer that’s low in sugar, low in carbs and low in calories. All of this equals a very healthy and great tasting alternative to the traditional afternoon beer I would consume. I’m now a convert and while I’m happy to admit that normal beer, wine, scotch, whisky and gin will remain in my life, this non-alcoholic delight is going to become a regular – I’ll be cracking one after most runs!