Apple Beer - Gastro Obscura


Apple Beer

Utah's favorite nonalcoholic beer got its start more than a century ago as a German brew.

More than 100 years ago, a Bavarian chemist concocted the first batch of “apple beer” as a nonalcoholic alternative to boozy brews. Originally dubbed fassbrause, the refreshing beverage was treated like a beer. Brewed in barrels and distributed by horse-drawn carriage, it soon became popular on draught.

But Germany’s delicious apple-flavored secret didn’t stay bottled up for long. When Larry Stillman, an American living abroad, got a taste of fassbrause, he wanted more. He secured the rights to the recipe and started selling it, rebranded as Apple Beer, in his home state of Utah in the 1960s. Caffeine and alcohol-free, the soft drink took off among teetotalers, kids, and those seeking a decent mixer. Now sold in 12-ounce cans and long-necked bottles, the all-natural “beer” tastes of refreshing green apple and spices and, unlike many other soft drinks, isn’t overwhelmingly sweet.

Though Apple Beer is now enjoyed across a smattering of Western states, as well as in Curacao, Guyana, and Bermuda, it is—at its core—a distinctly German and Utahan drink.

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