Beer over Gatorade? Germany’s Erdinger Weissbrau says yes |

Beer over Gatorade? Germany’s Erdinger Weissbrau says yes

Sebastian Foltz
German brewer Erdinger Weissbrau has been introducing Erdinger Non-Alcoholic to participants and spectators at endurance sports events throughout California during 2015, touting its popularity in Europe as an all-natural isotonic sports beverage.
Courtesy photo |

For many mountain bikers and runners an after-activity beer is almost a necessity. But considering beer as a recovery sports drink over another energy drink isn’t exactly the norm. It is, however, an idea that German brewery Erdinger Weissbrau is hoping to capitalize on by promoting their non-alcoholic wheat beer as a post-activity sports drink. The company has begun an active marketing campaign at a number of California events, including the Lake Tahoe Marathon.

“Erdinger Weissbrau is proud to expand its involvement in endurance sports to the U.S. market,” Waltraud Kaiser, export director for Erdinger, said in an email. “For years now athletes in Germany and many parts of Europe have been enjoying a cold Erdinger Non-Alcoholic beer as a full-bodied refreshment after training and competitions. The beer’s isotonic properties replenish the body immediately with valuable nutrients, quenching thirst even faster.”

The brew has 89 calories per serving (12 ounces) as well as nearly a gram of protein and 18.9 grams of carbohydrates. The company’s marketing department is selling the beverage as an all-natural means of recovery, claiming B vitamins in the brew will reduce fatigue, aid in recovery and support the immune system. With less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, the company also considers it a means of rehydration.


How justified those claims are is tough to say — we’re not doctors. But as for the big question with any non-alcoholic beer: does it taste like beer? We do feel competent enough to judge and the verdict is a resounding yes.

We tested Erdinger’s Non-Alcoholic wheat beer up against their traditional wheat beer and they were surprisingly similar, with the alcoholic version having a slightly more fermented taste. Both have the full-bodied flavor of a traditional German wheat beer. The non-alcoholic version had a slightly more citrus-like taste, which one of our tasters described as somewhat apple-juice like. Another tester said he’d absolutely drink it regularly — if it had alcohol in it. We tested the beverage after a bike ride and did find it to be a refreshing alternative to an actual beer or an energy drink. Whether it catches on is yet to be seen. We might not see Gatorade filing for chapter 11 just yet, but it is an interesting option. Check your local distributors and see for yourself. South Lake Tahoe’s BevMo and King’s Beverage are among area distributors. The Himmel Haus and Getaway Cafe also feature Erdinger.

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