Water, malted barley and hops are the only ingredients in the standard San Miguel Especial premium lager bottled brewed in the UK by Carlsberg. Probably.

I have to admit it’s not my go-to brand for lager there’s something about its dry hoppy mouthfeel and the astringent aftertaste that means I only tend to drink it with food and if there’s no other draft lagers on tap wherever I may be. I think Forest &Brown in Oslo is perhaps the only place I’ve had it lately. Ooh get me.

Anyway I drank it today because there’s a zero alcohol version that I wanted to compare. The 0.0 version with its blue label (did all the brewing companies get together and agree that blue would be the indicator of zero alcohol?) has an even stranger taste than it’s 5% buddy.

Drinking 0.0 is akin to drinking cold slightly fizzy black coffee with sweetener in it, and is nothing like the 5% version of San Miguel. It’s not unpleasant but strange with an aftertaste that reminds me of snogging my old girlfriend after she’d smoked a couple of Marlboro Lights. I actually used the 5% version as a kind of mouthwash to take away the taste.

San Miguel 0.0 claims to contain the following ingredients – water, barley malt, carbon dioxide, hops and that mysterious catch-all ‘flavouring’, but note it doesn’t say ‘natural flavouring’ so lactose is not the sweetener in this case. The packaging says it’s vegetarian and vegan so milk is definitely not involved.

Unlike the 5% San Miguel the 0.0 version is brewed in its home country of Spain and only bottled in the UK. Is there a pipeline or does it come by tanker? In terms of calories the 0.0 San Miguel has 24kcal per 100ml, so just under 80kcal per bottle. In comparison the full fat version has 45kcal per 100ml, so just under 150kcal per bottle. Viva Espania!

But it won’t be my go-to alcohol-free lager of choice either. I think that will remain Corona Cero.