The longstanding knock on nonalcoholic beers has been that nobody buys them for their flavor. Of late, however, forward-thinking breweries have begun to produce offerings just as delicious and innovative as standard craft beer.
“If you’re not drinking alcohol or want a hiatus, you don’t just want another lager,” says Tammer Zein-El-Abedein. “You can have flavor and complexity without alcohol.”
In 2018, he and his wife, Donna Hockey, both longtime nondrinkers, founded Surreal Brewing Company in Campbell, California. They focused on nonalcoholic versions of beloved craft-beer styles like a roasty porter and a citrus-tinged IPA, now sold nationwide and also online from the brewery. Because they contain zero alcohol (or less than 0.5% alcohol by volume), cans can be shipped across state lines.
There’s no limit to the variety of alcohol-free beers available, from hazy IPAs to chocolaty stouts and even sour ales. Each offers a refreshing break from holiday excess or a tasty accompaniment for lunchtime or, well, anytime.
Five Alcohol-Free Beers to Try
Upside Dawn Golden Ale, Athletic Brewing Company
Upside Dawn Golden Ale, a floral, refreshing golden ale from Connecticut’s Athletic Brewing Company ticks several key boxes: It contains organic grains and is crafted to reduce gluten to create a crowd-pleaser that’s just 50 calories.
Oatmeal Stout, Bravus Brewing Company
Since 2015, Southern California’s Bravus has made boldly flavored NA beers like this silky smooth and slightly smoky Oatmeal Stout. The robust, chocolaty stout is a great swap for Guinness.
Grüvi Sour Weisse, Grüvi
Denver’s Grüvi specializes in booze-free wines and beers, including Prosecco and what may be America’s first nonalcoholic sour brew. The invigorating, 26-calorie Grüvi Sour Weisse is brewed with fresh lemon peels for a sunny citrus pop.
Juicy Mavs Hazy IPA, Surreal Brewing Company
Named after Northern California’s surfer-fave Mavericks Beach, Surreal’s Juicy Mavs Hazy IPA swells with massive aromas of tropical fruit and a squeaky-clean finish, with just 25 calories per 12-ounce can.
Special Effects, Brooklyn Brewery
Set to release nationwide in early 2020, Brooklyn Brewery’s canned amber lager, Special Effects, packs piney aromatics and a gently stinging bitterness. It goes well with Dry January and grilled chicken alike.