Whether you are participating in Dry January or not (or don’t drink alcohol at all), the non-alcoholic (NA) space for beers has grown significantly, which is exciting to see. Many favorite beer styles like hazy IPAs are getting the NA treatment, meaning that if you are done drinking but still want to have a beer, you have an incredible array of choices. Breweries see the value of adding NA beers be it beer styles like dark beers or lagers or other NA options like hop water to allow more people to enjoy the beer experience without the alcohol.
I asked beer friends which NA beers they were sipping on and got a host of options so this Dry January, you have a lot of choice. Here are some recommendations.
Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn Golden Ale
To call Athletic the NA brewery that started it all in America is very astute. In business since 2017 and garnering 2022 investments from Keurig/Dr. Pepper, Athletic’s direct to consumer online market and national placement have made it one to emulate. They also make great beers, including their golden ale, which is my favorite of their offerings. They also make a whole host of NA styles including white ales, stouts, hazy IPAs and sours. Athletic is the gold standard of the NA world.
Guinness Stout 0.0%
In Europe, the NA beer market is vast, and most large breweries (and traditional breweries as well throughout Belgium and Germany) are making NA beer. Guinness stumbled slightly as one of their first releases of this beer was recalled due to infection concerns but they’ve dialed it in and the beer world collectively says if you are looking for a dupe of the original Irish stout, the Guinness 0.0% is the best of the best.
Samuel Adams Just The Haze
When I go to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play, I switch to Samuel Adams Just the Haze, a hazy NA IPA option in the fourth inning. There’s something about the illusion of NA that gives it its allure and I feel like I’m part of the beer and baseball conversation while saying sober so I can make the long drive home.
Untitled Art Italian Pilsner
When I polled the internet for options about who was making the best NA beers, Madison, Wisconsin based Untitled Art kept popping up. I have never had their offerings but now I just might have to after all the ringing endorsements from social media. Their Italian pilsner (a dry-hopped German pilsner) apparently is the top of the heap and uses traditional German hops but also American hop darling Strata for a more fruity feel.
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher
Okay this isn’t a NA beer but I really love hop waters which are sparkling NA seltzers that use hops as flavors. Hops can have flavors of berry, citrus and mango so their addition into seltzer makes a lot of sense. My favorite by far is Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher. Some hop waters can be rough and grassy as breweries want to put as much hops in as possible but when you don’t have yeast or malt to tamp down these flavors, the results can be a little unpleasant. Lagunitas is not aggressively hopped and is easy to find in liquor stores around the country. It’s also great to see tasting rooms around the country add hop water to their taplists as a great all-ages option.
Cheers to you this 2024. Even if you aren’t participating in Dry January, it’s always a good idea to examine your relationship with alcohol. Use moderation and common sense habits to enjoy beer responsibly.