A review of NEAR Beer.
I am a beer lover. All kinds of beer. I enjoy to try the micro brews found at various locals throughout my travels. I've tasted raspberry beer and pumpkin beer. I've bought beer based on their funny names like; Maudite out of Quebec, Red Devil Pale Ale on the West coast of Canada, Yuenling from Pennsylvania, Mothership organic ale from Belgium, Steam Whistle in Toronto, Hart out of Carleton Place, Granville Island and various other micro breweries. I have a brand of beer I always drink at the pig roast and I have a Christmas beer, a summer beer ...well you get the point.
For as long as I can remember a beer marks the end of a work day. My dad would arrive home from work, change his clothes, and join us in kitchen to sip a beer and read the news paper. I can clearly hear the pop and sigh as the cap came off a beer. He always offered my mother half of his beer. He'd say; "Do you want the top half or the bottom half?" If she said the top, she got it in a glass, if she said the bottom she got the bottle. When I became of age it was fun to join my dad in his after work beer. It was a right of passage for dad to offer me a beer. He always asked if I was driving or going out first. If I was in for the night the beer was mine.
When I found out I was pregnant I immediately ended my nightly pre-dinner beer and snack. I mean it was more than habit it was part of my after work wind down RITUAL. A ritual ingrained in me. It was as much who I was as the skin on my back. To quit cold turkey was hard!
My sweet hubs came home with a case of NON-alcoholic beer for me. As a Canadian I am used to a tasty full bodied beer. The American brews are little watery the Near Beer was well ... pretty darn close to a light American beer if it was served up really, really cold. You know what, it hit the spot. I could still partake in my wind down to evening ritual and not worry about the little baby in my belly.
The new North American guidelines state that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy and then there is the European school of thought where by a glass of beer or wine here and there is fine. I was councelled to use my discretion, it was my choice to make. I thought I would wait out the first trimester and then indulged in a beer periodically ,but, I never did. I went to near beer and never went back. Why risk it I thought. We have since been trying out all kinds of non alcoholic beer and much like the fully loaded brother there are differences in taste colour, name and bottle.
You might ask: What's the point? Well, I don't drink to get drunk, I actually enjoy the taste of beer and while I won't partake in the purchase of knock-off designer goods, I will partake in the purchase and consumption of knock-off beer.
Beer, beer Smurfin beer you don't get drunk cuz it isn't beer!
(A lyric from a song on my Smurf album - a favorite as a child.)
Here are a few we have tried:
St. Pauli NA. Love the fancy bottle and the NON - Lager is pretty good.
O'Doudle's Amber and Lager taste the same but are just different colours. A funny thing is that my teen aged developmentally disabled nephew who loves to STEAL sips of beer - grimaced and handed the Odoule's beer back to me. He could not be fooled into thinking this was a beer! But I let it fool me. It's a staple around here or at least it WAS until....
Bush NA is by far the best NON- Alcoholic beer we've come across. It actually tastes like beer! This is the new staple beer in my fridge!
I am pretty sure that once I am no longer breast feeding I will keep a case of the near beer at close range. It might, by then, become my new ritual/habitual beverage of choice. Drinking responsibly is always a safe way to go, especially, now that we are setting the examples for our baby girl.