The 10 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers

Whether you are pregnant, sober curious, the designated driver, or simply don’t feel like drinking alcohol for an evening, there are now many non-alcoholic alternatives to beer.

Non-alcoholic beer has long carried with it a stigma that is slowly changing all around the world.

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Drinking a non-alcoholic beer is no longer provides the experience of sipping on malty hop water; through careful engineering and scientific techniques, it is almost exactly like drinking a normal beer, just without the alcohol.

Their popularity is also rising due to them being a healthier alternative to beer.

How Non-Alcoholic Beers Are Made

Brewing solid non-alcoholic beer is a challenging process. While some non-alcoholic beer is made with recipes that don’t have any or negligible amounts of alcohol, most large breweries make non-alcoholic beer by dealcoholization.

Dealcoholization is a process whereby the alcohol is removed from beer that is made in the traditional way.

This can be achieved through processes like steam distillation (alcohol has a lower boiling point than water so can be removed by heating the beer up), water vapor, or gas stripping (this is when there is an inert gas such as nitrogen passed through the beer to remove the alcohol) or reverse osmosis where the alcohol is removed by passing the beer through a membrane.

Other methods of removing alcohol include limiting the fermentation process by using grains such as rice or maize to lower the alcohol or what some breweries do is go fermentation-free when making non-alcoholic beer.

Other breweries use dilution where beer is made in the same way and after it is fermented, water is added to dilute it and lower the ABV (alcohol by beverage) percentage. The beer is then re-carbonated to restore its beer-like properties and flavor.

Key Features Of Non-Alcoholic Beer

There are several factors to consider when buying a non-alcoholic beer. There is the level of alcohol of the non-alcoholic beer to consider. For a beer to be labeled “Non-Alcoholic” according to legislation, the beverage needs to have an ABV of 0.5% or less.

Yes, you read right, there is still some alcohol in non-alcoholic beer despite all of the removal techniques. However, to have an alcohol-free beverage is quite unrealistic (i.e. 0% alcohol) as even products like fruit juice and even bread have a percentage of alcohol in them.

This is because alcohol is a by-product of fermentation so any fermented product will have some (albeit negligible) alcohol in it.

Another factor to consider is the ingredients used to make the beer, generally, this should not differ between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers. They both should contain the four essential ingredients to beer-making: water, grain, yeast, hops.

Other things that may sway your decision are the process of making and the country of origin of the beer- do you prefer a lager to an ale? Do you like IPAs or a traditional German-style beer?

These factors can make the choice overwhelming and you may be pushed to buy only well-known brands instead of trying products from other breweries. That is why we put this list together of our top 10 non-alcoholic beers.

OUR TOP PICK

Region: Connecticut | ABV: Less than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Hops, Fruit, Malt

Known as America’s most essential (and perhaps most popular) non-alcoholic brewery since its launch in 2018 has been making waves in the non-alcoholic beer industry.

They make several types of non-alcoholic beer with their proprietary brewing methods like their All Out Stout and their Upside Down Golden Ale. However, our favorite has to be their Run Wild IPA which is brewed with a blend of five Norwest hops.

When testing this product we found it to have a bitterness that balances the malt body that still maintains a freshness fruity flavor.

When testing out this product we loved: Its perfect balance of rich and malty flavors with the bitterness of a regular IPA.

They sell out fast online but can be found here.

EDITORS CHOICE

Region: New York City | ABV: Less than .5% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Bread, Hops

With their unique approach to fermentation, the development of the flavor and fragrance of an Amber lager is achieved without the alcohol after effects.

They have a wide range of non-alcoholic beers like their citrusy IPA which is basically like limeade without all the sugar.

The Special Effects Hoppy Amber is a clean lager that gives off notes of pine, toast, and black tea. It is light enough to be the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

When testing out this product we loved: The citrus notes in between familiar flavors of toast and pine.

This beer can be purchased here.

BEST VALUE

Region: St. Louis | ABV: Less than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Corn, Bread, Hops

Anheuser-Busch collectively has been making beer for over 160 years and has been one of the forerunners in the production of non-alcoholic beer in the United States, having first introduced their Busch NA in 1994 with the slogan “Mountains of Real Beer Taste”.

Although this beer is not complex in terms of different flavor notes and is quite easy on the palate- it tastes like beer and is a good alternative if you are looking for something with the same taste as beer. However, it is very refreshing, smooth, and crisp.

When testing out this product we loved: The fact that it is easy to drink all day, every day, no matter the occasion.

This beer can be purchased here and here.

RUNNER UP

Region: Germany | ABV: Less than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Malt, Hops

Probably one of America’s greatest imports- Clausthaler is one of the original non-alcoholic breweries. Their beers have been created since the 1970’s using a patented brewing process that only develops a minimal amount of alcohol in the end product.

They focused on producing a German-style beer that would adhere to the German Purity Law for beers that give a standard that only water, barley, and hops may be used to make any beer.

The original flavor is very hoppy and has a few citrus notes. If you are after something different, they brought out a grapefruit flavor in 2020 which is just as good and even more refreshing- These flavored non-alcoholic beers are made with Cascade hops which are very specific cultivar native to the USA, funnily enough!

When testing out this product we loved: Its homage to traditional German-style beers.

This beer can be purchased here and here.

RUNNER UP

Region: The Netherlands | ABV: 0.03% | Tasting Notes: Malt, Bitter Hops, Lemon

Back in 2019, the famous Dutch brand Heineken launched their 0.0 non-alcoholic beer. This beer is so close to the original in taste, blind taste testers have often not been able to tell the difference.

Although the flavor of the 0.0 non-alcoholic beer is a bit thin and not as rich as some of the other non-alcoholic beer options out there, it still has the skunkiness and mouthfeel expected from a Heineken beer.

It is a wholly satisfying drink with bright and mellow finish that makes a lager go down so well.

When testing out this product we loved: It’s balance and closeness to the classic Heineken lager.

This beer can be purchased here and here.

RUNNER UP

Region: Spain | ABV: 0.0% | Tasting Notes: Floral, Sweet Hops

Hailing from the family-owned Hijos de Rivera Brewery in Galicia in northwestern Spain, this golden and light Pilsner-style beer alternative is perfect for a hot, sunny day at the beach or a barbeque.

It is brewed through an interrupted fermentation which means that the yeast is only exposed to the wort (the liquid produced by grain in the process of making the beer) for just 12 hours meaning that the flavor associated with fermentation is achieved but it is not a long enough time for the alcohol to develop in the beer.

Although it has sweet and floral notes, it also has a sharp bitterness on the palate adding a dry mouthfeel to the beer and is the perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood dishes.

When testing out this product we loved: It’s hit of bitterness and its lightness. It is also really refreshing.

This beer can be purchased here.

RUNNER UP

Region: UK | ABV: Less Than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Tropical fruits, Pine, Grass

BrewDog is one of the UK’s most popular breweries and their Hazy AF IPA is quite the showstopper with its juicy, tropical fruit notes. It is bold and assertive and you can drink a few of these without slowing down.

Although founded in Scotland, BrewDog is slowly taking over the world with outposts in places like Ohio, Berlin, and are in some locations in Australia.

Is juicy and grassy- “All the attitude, all the flavor but none of the alcohol”. It is also made out of oats and wheat which makes for a smooth mouthfeel.

When testing out this product we loved: The juicy mouthfeel and flavor makes you feel like you are on an island somewhere!

This beer can be purchased here.

RUNNER UP

Region: California | ABV: Less Than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Caramel, Coffee

Known as the pioneer of craft non-alcoholic beer in North America, Bravus was started in 2015 by Philip Brandes.

Bravus’ ethos focuses on authenticity, inclusivity and celebrating passion and life- celebrating life’s accomplishments and making the small moments count with a Bravus non-alcoholic beer in your hand… quite the picture. 

Our favorite beer from them is their Oatmeal Stout, which if you are a fan of Guinness, this is the beer for you. Packed full of flavor from all of the good stuff- chocolate, coffee and caramel this stout is sure to become a favorite of yours quickly.

It is also extremely smooth and refreshing to drink so is suitable for any time of day or year.

When testing out this product we loved: Rich, dark and smooth… all you could ever want in a stout!

This beer can be purchased here.

RUNNER UP

Region: California | ABV: Less Than 0.3% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Spicy, Hoppy

WellBeing Brewery was founded in 2018 by Jeff Stevens who gave up alcohol in his early 20s and who knows firsthand how challending it is to find a non-alcohilc alternative to beer that does not compromise on taste, flavor and mouthfeel.

Their Heavenly Body Golden Wheat is no exception to this. Based on a Great American Beer Festival award-winning recipe, this beer kicks a punch using a hint of Cascade and German hops together to create a citrus note that balances out the lighter malt.

It is dry, crisp and has a smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel.

It is the perfect non-alcoholic craft beer for after sports and as a bonus only has 68 calories so you do not have to worry about feeling guilty about putting back a couple of Wellbeing Brewing Company’s Heavenly Body Golden Wheat beer.

When testing out this product we loved: A healthy alternative without the compromise on flavor and mouthfeel- a winner in our books!

This beer can be purchased here and here.

RUNNER UP

Two Roots Brewing Co. Enough Said NA Lager

Region: California | ABV: Less than 0.5% | Tasting Notes: Hops, Banana, Citrus

While cannabis-infused beverages are not legal in every state, they are gaining massive popularity where they are legal.

Two Roots Brewing Co. are the forerunners in this category of non-alcoholic beer where alcohol is removed from their beer and the beer is then infused with cannabis.

This German-inspired golden non-alcholic helles beer is made with Plisner malt and Hallertau Hops and creates a refreshing beer that is great for any occasion.

It comes in the normal variety and cannabis-infused version so no matter where you are, you will still be able to access this premium non-alcoholic beer.

According to critics, it “Captures the clean cracked barely and fresh bread aroma”. The beer also has notes of banana and citrus.

When testing out this product we loved: Its clean taste and nod to the pilsner and helles styles of beer making.

This beer can be purchased here and here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The 10 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers

How Many Calories Are In A Nonalcoholic Beer?

Non-alcoholic beers typically usually don’t contain more than 100 calories per bottle.

Why Is Nonalcoholic Beer Getting More Popular?

In general, people are looking to cut down on their alcohol consumption in the United States especially since the stigma around not drinking is dissipating.

Why Is Nonalcoholic Beer So Expensive?

As mentioned before, creating non-alcoholic beer can be a very complicated process and may require extra time, processing steps or ingredients to create.

The ingredients used may also have to be of a premium quality as there is less fermentation that happens to cover up any usage of mediocre ingredients.

Mandy Winters