Take the Milwaukee challenge: Sharp's vs. O'Doul's
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A couple years ago during bar month, we put two local non-alcoholic brews to the test and Miller's Sharp's beat Pabst NA, 4-2.
This time, we took that local winner and stood it side by side with O'Doul's, manufactured by Miller's top national competition, Anheuser-Busch. Once again, Sharp's sliced through the competition.
Here's what we had to say...
Let me be clear: Neither of these non-beer beers technically "wins" in my opinion. In a competition with actual beers, they wouldn't even be good enough to win one of those "You participated!" ribbons they hand out at kids' sporting events. They perfectly live up to the reputation of beer-flavored water.
If you forced me to drink another one, however, I guess I'd go with Sharp's. It's a bit smoother, and though I don't like to use the word "drinkability" ... it has a decent, easy drinkability. It was the one I enjoyed drinking the most (in a really loose interpretation of the word enjoy). Sharp's wins this particular battle, but real beer wins the war.
This was interesting for me, as my distaste for beer has been well-documented, but I went into the tasting with an open mind.
But, since I'm not a beer fan, it made me partial to Sharp's because it didn't taste like beer at all. Both products were watery, and O'Doul's definitely tasted like watered down beer, but Sharp's was just sort of ... there. It looked like beer, and if I had to take one or the other, it would be that.
Although Sharp's had more flavor, I did not care for the flavor of the flavor, and so, by default, I pick O'Doul's because it actually had less flavor, tasted more like water and therefor I can at least say it's "refreshing." I would not choose to drink either of these, however, if I wanted to refrain from alcohol. I would likely pick a root beer instead.
Both of these pale brews have similar body and head, which is to say not a lot of either, but one had considerably more flavor. While Sharp's was the paler of the two in color (O'Doul's boasts a more straw yellow hue), it is heavy on maltiness. Though I wouldn't likely order either of these – if I was eschewing alcohol, I'd have a soda – I prefer the Sharp's because the O'Doul's simply didn't taste like anything.
Sharp's is a lighter beer without a distinct flavor. I suppose I'd compare it to something along the lines of Coors Light, a beer that's bland but tolerable if there aren't any other choices. O'Doul's is more bitter and it's definitely not a beer that I'd drink often, if ever again.
Sharp's was eminiscent of water. Not much to note about this one by way of flavor. Although I could distinguish some sort of flavor in the O'Doul's, the flavor fell flat. If I had to choose one over the other, surely I would chose this one, but I would be left unsatisfied, to say the least.
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