11 ‘Near Beers’ That Taste Just as Refreshing as a Regular Brewski, Without the Alcohol
There's never been a better time to be sober or sober-curious. Seriously—the advent of mocktails has made abstaining from alcohol more accessible and honestly, cooler, than ever before. There's liqueurs and aperitifs that swap booze for adaptogens, alcohol-free natural wines and spirts, and ready-to-drink mocktails you can order straight to your door. There's also non-alcoholic beers (NA beers) which, while aren't a new thing, have made significant strides from the tasteless hop-waters we were stuck with only a few years ago.
Today's "near beers" are just that—near beers. From classic golden lagers and light pilsners, to more complex IPAs and creative sours, today's non-alcoholic beers look just like the real thing, and more importantly, taste like it, too. Brewed with .5 percent alcohol or less, they're perfect for those who want to crack a cold one open after a long day without the booze (and the hangover, at that). Some have other benefits, too, like having less sugar, or being crafted with natural, better-for-you ingredients. Ultimately, all of them prove that you can have fun and enjoy a brewski without having to consume alcohol, and we'll cheers to that.
Raise a glass to the 11 best non-alcoholic beers
Athletic Brewing Co. is a goldmine for NA brewskis that are a dead ringer for the real thing. Its lineup of craft beers has something for every palette—be it a bright, golden pilsner or a hoppy, hazy IPA—all of which are deliciously brewed with .5 percent alcohol or less. You can buy the line of classic brews in most places you can buy beer or on Amazon, but limited-edition releases, like Suped Up (an extra-dark stout with coffee) and Wit’s Peak (a light witbier), are only available on the brand’s website.
Similarly, Partake Brewing is another NA brewery that makes tasty, refreshing beverages in all different styles. Everything is brewed with all-natural, vegan ingredients that are better-for-you than traditional beer, with as low as 2 grams of sugar in every can. At .3 percent alcohol—akin to the alcohol content in a store-bought orange juice—Partake is bursting with flavor, minus the booze.
At first glance, a can of Brooklyn’s Special Effects beers looks like another trendy craft brew. Look closer, and you’ll realize it’s totally NA (hence the name, “special effects”). Currently, the popular Brooklyn brand sells three delicious NA beers: Hoppy Amber, which has notes of grapefruit and zesty hops, a bright, juicy IPA, and a timeless Pilsner. All poured in stunning cans that’ll make you and your friends do a double-take.
According to BrewDog, “Punk undergoes a micro fermentation process that feeds the yeast precisely to the point of alcohol creation, but no further.” This means no excess booze and no excess calories, in case you’re on the hunt for a lighter brew. And it’s not just the IPA, but the brand’s whole line, which includes a mix of classics and more complex styles.
If you’d rather stick with a tried-and-true brand, you can’t go wrong with a Sam Adams. Its Just the Haze NA beer is a a juicy, citrusy IPA packed with hops to give you, well, just the haze. And it’s good—so good that it won the 2022 gold medal for Best Non-Alcoholic Beer at the Great American Beer Festival. Fan of IPAs, this one is about as good as it gets.
Or, indulge in a classic West Coast brand—Lagunitas. Its IPNA is a must for fans of citrusy, hoppy beers who the taste, not the hangover. The other difference? It’s bottled opposed to canned. We think the Lagunitas’ website said it best—the IPNA is “all bark, no bite.”
The sister brand to Zero Gravity Craft Brewery in Burlington, Vermont, Rescue Club exclusively makes NA beers that’ll save your thirst (and your hangovers). Its current roster includes a full-bodied IPA and an even fuller-bodied double IPA, but we recommend going with the Pils, a crisp German pilsner. Bright and refreshing, all you have to do is chill and enjoy.
Hop Wtr is made with hops, which makes it a beer, right? Kinda. Flavor wise, it’s more of a seltzer, bubbles and all. Only each can is loaded with of hops to give it that that herbaceous, piney taste, plus a mega-blend of adaptogens and nootropics for a functional twist. It’s zero calories, completely gluten- and sugar-free, and keto, vegan, and paleo. Go with the classic pack or choose from flavors like blood orange, peach, and ginger limeade.
Big-name, legacy players have jumped on the NA-bandwagon, too, creating zero-(or zero-ish) proof alternatives to its cornerstone products. Enter, Heineken’s 0.0 lagers which taste—and look—almost exactly like the original. Poured in the brand’s signature green bottles, the only difference lies in its alcohol content, which is 0.0. At 69 calories, they’re a lighter option than most traditional beers with a more affordable price tag to boot.
Tart and fruity, Bravus’ Raspberry Gose (pronouced “gose-UH”) is a must for sour-sippers. Blended with notes of raspberry and lemon, it’s like summer in a can, perfect for cooling down on a warm, spring day. And if sours aren’t your thing, check out Bravus’s other NA styles, all of which make up for the lost booze with flavor. Think: A creamy, peanut butter stout, bold, blood orange IPA, and the limited-edition Red Ale.
And for all you Guinness lovers, there’s the Guinness 0 draught cans. Creamy, dark, and robust, they’ve got everything Guinness lovers love about the brand’s milkshake-like stout, only there’s no alcohol. Bonus: These cans are “tall boys,” aka, 14 oz. cans opposed to the typical 12 oz., so you get more bang for your buck. Slainté.
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