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Sugar-free beer?

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When it comes to eliminating sugar from a diet, most people these days just keep calm, carry on and dump a boatload of sugar substitutes into their drinks. So, I suppose it isn’t too much of a surprise that the beer above exists. Yep, that’s a Belgian sugar-free beer, lugged back from Belgium by a member of our tasting panel.

The fact that it’s contract brewed at De Proef is probably the most surprising. Belgian company Stepaja, which grows and manufactures the naturally sweet stevia plant, is the brains behind the concept. Here’s a bit about the line from the company’s website:

“The Stepaja company, which specializes in foods for diabetics, decided to brew a special beer without sugar. De Proefbrouwerij developed 2 magic beers: the STEPA triple (pale, 8% alc.v/v) and the STEPA amber (dark, 6 % v/v) both having less than 0.3% residual sugar. Special malts were selected to optimize taste and a controlled fermentation in the bottle was employed to reduce the sugar content to below 0.3%.” tweet

The bottle pictured above is the tripel, and I should note the label lists it as having 43 calories. It was, let’s say, interesting. Up front, the beer showcased some light bready malts and spice, but an intensely sweet, almost diet soda profile took over and lasted long into the finish. Honestly, it tasted like someone poured sugar substitute into the beer. Not surprisingly, it currently holds a Ratebeer score of 22.

After a quick Google search, I found that Stepa isn’t the only sugar-free beer brand. There’s another in Belgium called Caulier, which claims, “Tasting a Caulier beer is certainly part of a balanced nutrition,” and one over in Japan from Kirin called Koi Aji.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen gluten-free beer evolve into something quite tasty, but from my brief introduction into the world of sugar-free beer (or, rather, beer using sugar substitutes like stevia), I don’t see that happening.


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.


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  • rjc954 says:

    It’s to bad it won’t be, because I think there would be a huge market for something like this. Especially if it tasted good!

  • jamie says:

    Yeah sugar free beer i cant imagine it tasting good. i have heard of calorie free wine too but never had it.

  • Jesse Kiili says:

    Stevia is a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods. Researchers have also evaluated the effect of chemicals in stevia on blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, research results have been mixed.,`’,

    Our web page

  • Caulier says:

    All caulier beers are extra taste,very low carbs, and boost 40% less calories than any other equivalent beer. The cauliers have already won several international awards. They are distrbuted in some of the best beer bars in Europe, at Delhaize, Carrefour, delitraiteur. Have a try, you Will be astonished. http://Www.caulier.be
    No sweeteners, no colorant, no conservant.

    • Laura says:

      I absolutely agree. Had my first Caulier a few years ago, soon after moving to Belgium, and it’s now my favourite brand. It’s a has the usual deep flavour of an abbey beer without any of the cloying aftertaste you get with other, sugar-added beers. It makes you wonder why they bother adding sugar at all when beer can taste just as good without it.

  • Joe says:

    I can also back up what Laura says, Caulier is an excellent beer, well balanced and a full deep fruity flavour. Just for the books I’ve also had the Stepa beer talked about in the article. It’s not ‘that’ easy to find in Belgium, although there are many specialist outlets that stock it. If I remember correctly it is quite good, a dry beer with plenty of flavour – although its a while since I’ve had this one.

  • John Reyes says:

    I would love to learn more about what you do , Thanks John

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