High water quality can only get you so far with nolo beer. Budweiser Budvar prides itself on their artisan water quality and I can taste it. However, there’s not much else going on with this beer which is why I gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars. Budvar Nealko smells slightly malty and has a nice and smooth mouthfeel that satisfyingly quenches the thirst. The initial aftertaste is decent and you can taste the classic Czech lager bitterness, although it is very slight.
The marks against Budvar Nealko are that the overall flavour is bland with what I imagine are unintended stale and sour notes. It certainly wouldn’t fall in the realms of craft nolo beer. It tastes like it was mass-produced and is a bit on the sweet side so I would opt for it in the pub as a solid nolo alternative over Heineken 0.0 and Beck’s Blue.
Pivo, Jedno Pivo (yed-no pee-vo) and Dva Piva (di-va pee-va) will get you far when you visit the Czech Republic. Pivo means beer, Jedno means 1 and Dva means 2. When you get to 3 and beyond, you’re on your own. These are the core building blocks of the Czech language, or at the very least, they’ll get you feeling a bit more loose and comfortable when you’re visiting the beautiful, bohemian and beer-filled country.
I spent a year and a half living in Prague and drank plenty of Budvar – Budweiser so I was excited to try Budvar Nealko. Budvar Nealko was introduced to the market in 2015, however, I rarely found it in pubs in Prague who more often had Birell as the default nolo offering, possibly because it has been around since 1992!
Budvar Nealko is brewed by Budweiser Budvar Brewery, just a 1.5 hour train ride outside of Prague, and has been brewed since 1895. It is distinctly different to the US based Budweiser and that is an important distinction.
Most breweries have a trait or 2 that makes them bad-ass. Budweiser Budvar, claiming its ‘shareholders and quality assurers are 10 million strong’, is particularly badass because it was founded and is still owned by the nation, by the Czech people. The Budweiser Budvar team prides itself on its pure, local ingredients and its ability to capture the Czech spirit of independence, nature and fun. I’m keen to see how they captured all of that in a glass bottle of Budvar Nealko.
Budvar Nealko Initial Review
The best things in life aren’t always simple. Or free – but that’s a whole other conversation.
I’m generally a champion of ‘the fewer the ingredients, the better’ when it comes to baked goods like bread, pies and scones. I like being able to taste each ingredient and comment on them. I’m pretty annoying to eat with, no doubt. However, I can’t say I champion the same mantra when it comes to ingredients in nolo beer.
Budvar Nealko only has three ingredients. And it tastes like it only has three ingredients. The water quality is high – it’s artisan water from an Ice Age Aquifer. The hops are pure and local. The barley malt is…malty. But that’s it…And those alone, at least in this combination, don’t make for an impressive nolo beer.
Budvar Nealko doesn’t smell like anything particularly strong apart from some malty notes. Upon the first taste, it is good and smooth. It has a unique nolo quality of being smooth and quenching without tasting too watery. This immediately puts it above other mass produced nolo beers. However, it doesn’t distinguish itself entirely from this group. This is because it has the underlying sweet and sugariness that you find in your Heineken 0.0s and your San Miguel 0.0s.
Whilst, Budvar Nealko has a pleasant initial aftertaste with a lingering slight bitterness, characteristic of a classic Czech lager, its overall flavour is a bit stale and its aftertaste overdoes it on the maltiness. I didn’t clock any of the spiced, fresh or citrusy aromas that Budweiser Budvar claims the beer has. Instead, I clocked a decent pub nolo beer that isn’t particularly memorable but will suit you well for a three to four hour session.
Where Can I Buy Budvar Nealko?
You can also buy bottles of Budvar Nealko online easily from one of the following sources:
- The Alcohol Free Co
- Drink Supermarket
- Booze Free
- The Belgian Beer Company
- Light Drinks
The Budvar Nealko price varies depending on where you buy it from and how many bottles you buy. I bought 2 bottles from Wisebartender for £1.69 per bottle.
Budvar Nealko Ingredients, Nutritional Information and Calories
The ingredients for Budvar Nealko are:
Water, Barley Malt, Hops. Interestingly there is no yeast. Budvar Nealko Calories are less than half of its alcohol counterpart.
|Nutritional Information||Per 100 mL|
|Energy (KJ / KCal)||65 / 15.5|
|Of Which Saturates (g)||0.0|
|Of Which Sugars (g)||1.6|
TLDR: Budvar Nealko is the only nolo offering from Czech based brewery Budweiser Budvar. The brewery itself is badass because it is owned by the Czech people and has been since it was founded in 1895. This structure has led Budweiser Budvar to try to capture the spirit of the Czech people in their beers including their love of nature and their fierce sense of independence.
Budvar Nealko, itself, is a smooth, malty and decent Czech lager. It’s not watery. However, it does have the underlying sweet/sugariness of a mass-produced nolo beer. It also has a lingering malty aftertaste that is much less satisfying than the slight and playful bitterness that I would expect from a Czech Lager. It has an ABV of 0.5%.
I gave it 2.5 stars out of 5 because it definitely isn’t a nolo craft beer and it’s not exactly a good nolo lager either. It is, however, a decent nolo pub offering that I would welcome over other mass produced nolo beers. Outside of the Czech Republic and some of your local pubs, you can purchase Budvar Nealko online for £1.69 a bottle. Enjoy one or two or five on your next night out.
- Smooth mouthfeel
- Pleasant initial aftertaste with a lingering slight bitterness
- Sessionable and thirst-quenching
- Overall flavour is a bit stale
- Malty long term aftertaste
- Sweet/sugariness of mass produced nolo beers