Heineken is best labeled as a European pale lager. These are generally mass-produced and made in a way that they will appeal to the largest group as possible. As a result, it is actually relatively easy to find a beer similar to Heineken.
Below, you’ll find 10 similar beers, some with the same flavors,j and some with some added or different flavor notes, for if you’re ready to experiment a little. Apart from the flavor, we’ll also have a look at the ABV, IBUs, calories and more.
What Does Heineken Taste Like?
Heineken is a European pale lager, which are generally dry and crisp in taste. They’re easy to drink and don’t really have any dominating flavors. It’s bottom-fermented and has a clear appearance.
If you’re curious about what makes Heineken a European pale lager, you’ll find the post we wrote on this here: What Type Of Beer Is Heineken Exactly? (Detailed Explanation)
Heineken is a beer that you’ve likely heard of, if not drunk. It is sold in 192 countries, making it super accessible.
This beer is made from just water, hops, barley, and yeast. Their A-yeast is partially what gives Heineken its flavor.
Heineken has a mildly bitter taste, which is balanced by a slight sweetness. Apart from barley and hops, there are also hints of green apple, and sweet corn to this beer. It is golden in color and has a biscuity smell. Because of the hops, Heineken is generally more bitter than the standard American lager.
Overall it is a crisp beer with a good balance of bitterness and sweetness.
This lager has an ABV of 5%, along with 19 IBUs and 149 calories per 12 fl. oz.
1. Stella Artois
Stella Artois is the best-selling Belgian beer across the world. It is also a European pale lager, just like Heineken.
Apart from the style, both beers have a similar aroma of biscuit, yeast and citrus. Stella Artois, however, also has some more floral notes. In terms of flavor, Stella Artois tastes a little lighter and sweeter. This is the result of the added maize, that Heineken does not have. By adding maize, Stella Artois omits some of the barley and hops, leaving you with a lighter taste. Still, this is a well-balanced beer with a hoppy flavor and a crisp finish.
Overall, it’s a relatively inoffensive beer that is easy to drink.
In terms of numbers, Stella Artois has 4.6% ABV, 24 IBUs and 137 calories per 12 fl. oz, which are all relatively similar to Heineken, too.
Although Stella Artois is the best-selling Belgian beer internationally, Jupiler is the most popular in Belgium. In fact, Jupiler holds a staggering 40% of Belgium’s market share, compared to Stella Artois’ 8%. The reason for the brand’s popularity is partly because it is low in price, but also because it is easily drinkable.
This blond beer has an ABV of 5.2%, 25 IBUs, and 160 calories per 12 fl. oz, all slightly higher than Heineken.
The ingredients used to make Jupiler are malt, maize, water, hops, and yeast, which means they, too, add have a slightly lighter flavor than Heineken. As a result, the latter has a more bitter taste with a stronger aftertaste. Jupiler has more of a sweetness, which isn’t overpowering. Overall, this is another easy-to-drink beer. However, if Heineken’s bitterness appeals to you have a look at the next beer on our list.
3. Grolsch Pilsner
Whereas the previous two on our list were a little milder on our list, this beer is your Heineken alternative if you’re a fan of dry lagers, with only a slight sweetness.
The beer is named after the town the brewery was first started in; Groenlo. Nowadays, Grolsch is the second largest distributor in the Netherlands, known for its strong bitterness and more complex taste. They use Emerald and Magnum hops, which result in a hoppy aroma with a crisp finish.
This pilsner has an ABV of 5%, along with 28 IBUs and 140 calories per 12 fl. oz, all about the same as Heineken.
4. Harp Lager
Next on our list, is a beer created by the brewers of Guinness, in Dublin, Ireland. Harp lager also uses maize in their ingredients, making it lighter than Heineken. In terms of aroma, harp lager is mostly malty and hoppy, just like Heineken. There aren’t any added fruity or floral aromas, although it is slightly citrussy as a result of the hops.
Overall, Harp lager is a smooth, inoffensive beer that is perfect to drink if you plan on having more than one.
Harp Lager has an ABV of 4.5%, 21 IBUs, 121 calories per 12 fl. oz
5. Peroni Nastro Azzuro
Number 8 on our list is another European Lager, this time from Italy. Peroni Nastro Azzuro is a smooth, easy to drink beer with a slight bitterness. It is made with malted barley and maize, giving it a hint of sweetness and a toasty aroma. There are also citrus notes, as the result of the hops.
Overall, this beer is pale golden in color, as is expected from the style, and has a crisp finish.
There are 145 calories per 12 fl. oz, along with an ABV of 5.1% and 24 IBUs.
6. Maes Pils
Although this brand is owned by Heineken, a Dutch company, it is the third best-selling beer in Belgium. Right after Jupiler and Stella Artois, also on this list.
Maes Pils (5.2 % ABV) is another pilsner with a distinct bitterness and a dry finish. It uses Saaz hops that gives this beer the same citrussy aroma as Heineken. This a relatively inoffensive beer, perfect for if you’re having a party. It is rather inexpensvie, after all.
7. Carslberg Danish Pilsner
Lastly, we have another European pale lager; Carlsberg Danish Pilsner. This beer is lighter and crisper than Stella Artois but still full in flavor, with a strong hoppy aroma. It has tasting notes of apple and florals.
Per 12 fl. oz, there are 157 calories, 18 IBUs and 5% ABV.
Carslberg changed its ingredients in 2019, as they found their slogan of ‘probably the best beer in the world’ wasn’t true. The company has since shifted its aim from quantity to quality, and it appears this change was well received; whereas other pilsners are often criticized for their lack in complexity, Carlsberg is actually pretty well reviewed across the internet. It appears this beer is one that will be liked by most people.