Alcohol-free series: on the hunt for the best brews

Even if you have been planning to start a family, finding out that you’re pregnant can be a huge shock to the system. From making decisions about maternity leave and future work to shopping for a nursery and just dealing with the huge changes taking place in your body, life as you knew it has pretty much changed forever.

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Pregnant women are immediately told to cut out the biggest risks to their baby as soon as possible – alcohol, coffee and cigarettes. I’ve never had a problem with the third, but the first two have been particularly challenging. Trying to go cold turkey on coffee led some colleagues to question my mental health status (after several weeks of looking sad and tired), and alcohol just seemed to be completely pervasive in my day-to-day life.

As someone who works in the beer industry, it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I was acutely aware of the fact that the majority of my day is spent talking, thinking and writing about beer and pubs. While other mums recount how they “didn’t even think about alcohol when pregnant” I’m gritting my teeth because there is simply no way that I can “not think” about beer. Not only is it a job for me, but it is my favourite way to unwind after a working day and a huge part of my life, socially and professionally.

It is a bit of a shock to the system when something that is a massive part of your life suddenly become “off limits” – even if you were expecting it! But luckily the beer industry is actually keeping pace with the changing needs of its dedicated consumers. No sooner had I decried the lack of beers in my life another door opened – that of non-alcoholic brews.

Yes, before I became pregnant I would have rolled my eyes at the idea of drinking a non-alcoholic beer and questioned the point in its very existence. But as a mum-to-be not even halfway through my pregnancy yet, the ability to drink something guilt-free that isn’t water or juice has actually been a godsend.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any of the non-alcoholic beers I’ve tried to date would satisfy a “drinking session”. The days of properly boozing are over, and I’ve had to cut out any drinks with friends that extend beyond one for fear of falling asleep on their shoulders halfway through. But if you’re looking for something to satisfy that “beer-o-clock” craving, or to toast at a party or event, they certainly will see you through.

These days, the range and styles of non-alcoholic beers available is pretty mind-boggling. You might not find more than your traditional Becks Blue in the supermarket aisles, but if you know the places to look a whole world of flavours open up to you – from the hoppiest of IPAs to the creamiest of stouts.

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As a result, I will be launching a new blog series dedicated to reviewing the best of each brand over the coming weeks – and possibly months – until baby Wiles joins the family. And who knows – perhaps even longer than that.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please feel free to send them on through. In the meantime, make sure to keep an eye out for my first review of Big Drop Brewing Co., to be published imminently!

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