What NA Beer are you drinking now? And what NA beers are you liking?

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mergs

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Similar to the other very popular thread here "What are you drinking now?" I wanted to do one for Non-Alcoholic (NA) Beers only (and hopefully there's not already a thread for this).

Why the hell would I drink NA beer??? See below**

Tonight I'm drinking Athletic Brewing's Free Wave Hazy IPA:

I really like this beer. I can drink these at the trail head after rides or after rock climbing with the fellas around me drinking the full strength beers and I'm totally cool with it. Frankly I think its the hops I have an addiction to.

This past week I've also had Sober Carpenter (great), Wellbeing Brewing (great), and Sam Adam's Just the Haze (very good), Kaliber (borderline garbage). Anyone else experimenting and drinking NA beers out there? Please also give a review.

**Disclaimer: I'm day 12 of a self imposed "dry December 2021" to give my liver a break and also prove that I was capable of it. So far so good, and due to the prevalence of pretty good NS beers now, its a lot easier. Are these beers as good as the real thing? No, but I was pretty surprised that I was able to drink these.
 

Elric

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@mergs if you like hops so mich have you tried hop water and if so what are your thoughts? I haven't tried one yet, but a number of my local breweries have started making them so I do want to try and see what they are like.
 

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I haven’t tried the Free Wave but I liked Athletic’s Run Wild. And there are a ton of great reasons to drink (good) NA beers. One particular benefit to me - after a long run, it’s an awesome recovery drink. It provides carbs and sugars but it’s not too sickly sweet like Gatorade or other sport drinks. NA beers were all the rage as a recovery drink in 2018 Winter Olympics.

I also go through some jags where my body doesn’t like the beers that I like, especially the morning after. In that case it’s nice to be able to have a beer at dinner and not get knocked down the next morning. I’ve even noticed some bars nearby that serve some of Athletic’s offerings.
 
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ThirstyPawsHB

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Two Roots has some nice IPAs. Athletic and Two Roots are my favorites so far. The only issue is they have the same carbs as any other beer so if one is on Keto they're no bueno.
 

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So I don't have much occasion that I'm interested in drinking them, but I was curious to try the recent wave. I had to drive across town to a party this past summer and it was a great opportunity to try. Here's what I tried:

1. Two Roots New West Hazy IPA. This one was great. Tasted like a beer, looked like a beer, smelled like a beer. Even had little bits of hop particles floating in it. If even say it tasted like a good beer.

2. Two Roots Enough Said Helles. This one was decent. Again tasted like a beer, but just like beer, there's some I don't really like. This just tasted like an average beer. Better than drinking Bud Light, but not one is get excited about.

3. Lagunitas IPNA. I thought this was gross and had an outdoor exactly like sweaty, unshowered body odor. Strangely, the flavor seemed decent, just couldn't get over the smell. Maybe if I drank it from the bottle instead of pouring it into a cup I wouldn't have got the odor. Tasted nothing like a beer or an IPA.

4. Hairless Dog Black Ale. Also tasted gross. Like a beer you left in a cup, out in the sun. Had an aroma kinda like vomit. After a few drinks, I decided the flavor was decent, but again couldn't get over the aroma. Probably meant to be drank straight from the can.
 
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My Dad had a stroke last year and now can only drink NA because of his meds. We have been trying different NA beers and, for him, O'Douls is his go to now. As a Coors light drinker, I think this one gets close to what he is used to. He also likes the Athletic stuff. I will have him try and find the Two Roots (if I can find it), I think he might like that one as well. Thanks for the thoughts on the subject! I have been trying to search through options for my Dad the past year. Cheers!
 

MMP126

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I went on a stint of NA beer over this past summer. Here are my experiences.

1. BrewDog. I had a bunch of NA from them. Nanny State, Punk AF, Hazy AF, Elvis AF, and an AF stout (cant remember the name). These are all decent, but low in body and just a bit "off". Probably the best "beer" of what I tried.

2. St. Pauly Girl NA. Terrible. Dont even bother getting any. Cloyingly sweet, no bitterness, just terrible.

3. Laugunitas Hoppy Refresher. Super good. Better than any beer honestly. I loved this.

4. Hop Lark Hop Water. Citra was good. Mosaic was good. Decent.

5. Hop Lark Hop Tea. These were pretty good. 2nd best on the list. The Citra bomb one was great. The really hoppy one was great. The others were ok. But, definitely worth a try.
 

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I recently had a Galactic Extra Dark from Big Drop Brewing Co. It was a pretty decent drinking beer.


Oddly, the ingredient list on my can is different than what is on the site. The site says:
WATER, BARLEY, OATS, RYE, HOPS, YEAST, LACTOSE (MILK), COCOA NIBS.

Where my can does not use the term Lactose, but just lists Milk in the second ingredient spot...it makes me wonder if it was actually made with straight up milk:
WATER, MILK, BARLEY MALT, OATS, RYE, HOPS, YEAST, COCOA NIBS.

I am not sure how I feel about the 99 Calories and 21g Carbs in this beer. If you are wanting to drink NA beers more for the low Calorie and carb levels, this one is not going to do it for you.
 

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image.jpg

NA sours are interesting. Many sours are thinner to begin, so in my opinion do well as NAs.
 

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Iv tried the Sam Adam's just the haze, it pretty decent, and this one from athletic,its a little thin for a stout but still very drinkable. never thought I'd say that about na beers.
 

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Hoppy2bmerry

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I haven’t tasted many NA beers, though hubby bought a 6 of Weihenstephaner hefe NA. I poured a half glass and there was an unexpected bite to it not like an enjoyable hefe. Well, it was a carbonic bite, poured the rest hard got a big fluffy head and found it to be rather enjoyable and very close to the brand.
 

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Had a gift card for one of my somewhat local breweries (about 1 1/2 hours away) so decided to order some of their hop water as well as a couple cans of beer. Figured if I like it enough I will dedicate a tap to making some of my own. If I don't like it I will aim to try a n/a kombucha instead.
 

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It's odd seeing everyone having access to Athletic. I have met the owner a few times at the bar I worked at. He used to bring us samples. The brown ale was really good. Almost no one had heard of them the next town over a few years back. Good on 'em.
I find the Lagunitas Hop Water and Hop Lark Hop Tea to be my favorite stuff so far. I like tea and seltzer when not drinking beer. I've been saying for years, "Why isn't there a hoppy seltzer?" I even made some years ago. Just threw hop pellets into a lemon seltzer bottle.
 

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I was at a pub recently and they had a Athletic rep there giving out samples. I have had their Upside Dawn before and I thought it was okay, but just a bit plain for my tastes in beers. I was quite impressed by their Run Wild IPA. It is hard to really call it an IPA, but it was one of the only NA beers I have ever had with some actual hop flavors. The Free Wave Hazy IPA was okay, but a bit too much of that unfermented wort character and not as much hop character as I would like (similar to the Sam Adams Just the Haze). The other one was the All Out Extra Dark. I could easily have been told I was drinking a 3.5% Dark Mild.

I suspect these samples were from pretty fresh and well handled cans. Based on my limited experience, NA beers do not seem to age well and are best when very fresh.
 

Elric

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My order with the hopwater came in today. Have to say I am a fan. Nice hop flavor in a seltzer water with no hop bitterness. 0 calories, 0 abv, but some nice hop tastes to make me feel like I am having a treat instead of the gallons of water I drink each day.
 

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I had some of Athletic's Upside Dawn yesterday. Was just odd...not a fan.

I was tossing around the idea of making some hop water based off of Clawhammer Supply's vid, but I got lazy and picked up a 6 pack of Athletic's stuff. Now I've got 4 cans of it left....maybe beer can chicken candidates.
 

ThirstyPawsHB

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These are a step up.... Untitled Art does NAs now. The Weisse and Stout were over the top, NA speaking! 😉

 

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I’m happy to be educated (and honestly have never thought about this before, so if my question is cliche by now just ignore me) - should NA beer be called beer? As far as I know, throughout history beer has been a fermented beverage. Isn’t this a bit like calling grape juice non-alcoholic wine?
 

CascadesBrewer

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I’m happy to be educated (and honestly have never thought about this before, so if my question is cliche by now just ignore me) - should NA beer be called beer? As far as I know, throughout history beer has been a fermented beverage. Isn’t this a bit like calling grape juice non-alcoholic wine?

N/A beer is made with a variety of methods. Some do not use any yeast or fermentation but others use yeast and fermentation. Either just a small amount of fermentation to keep the ABV below regional limits (in the US an NA beer needs to be less than 0.5% ABV), or sometimes the alcohol is removed through filtration or "boiling" (at a low temp at partial vacuum). Some times a combo of methods.

I am actually not 100% sure if and where the term "Beer" is legally used. Looking at labels I see the terms "NA Brew", "NA Lager", "NA Malt Beverage", "NA IPA", or just "NA" used. A Partake label is the only one where I saw "NA Beer" used.
 

oakbarn

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I went on a stint of NA beer over this past summer. Here are my experiences.

1. BrewDog. I had a bunch of NA from them. Nanny State, Punk AF, Hazy AF, Elvis AF, and an AF stout (cant remember the name). These are all decent, but low in body and just a bit "off". Probably the best "beer" of what I tried.

2. St. Pauly Girl NA. Terrible. Dont even bother getting any. Cloyingly sweet, no bitterness, just terrible.

3. Laugunitas Hoppy Refresher. Super good. Better than any beer honestly. I loved this.

4. Hop Lark Hop Water. Citra was good. Mosaic was good. Decent.

5. Hop Lark Hop Tea. These were pretty good. 2nd best on the list. The Citra bomb one was great. The really hoppy one was great. The others were ok. But, definitely worth a try.
I actually like St. Pauly Girl NA if I have to drink NA for any reason. I generally only drink lagers and British style bitters or mild. Funny, I was in Switzerland in the 1960s and so a sign for Free Beer. I said OK!!!c I had no idea it meant Alcohol Free beer.
 
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@mergs if you like hops so mich have you tried hop water and if so what are your thoughts? I haven't tried one yet, but a number of my local breweries have started making them so I do want to try and see what they are like.
Hi Elric,
I like hop water in a pinch but its a little bland. I've actually made some, been OK with it and actually started making my own Hop Tea (attempted clones of Hoplark). I tend to like it better because rather than seltzer with a splash of hop flavor its actually tea (black, green, whatever) with hops steeped in as well. I have 2 kegs of it I've been sipping on for months.
 
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Two Roots has some nice IPAs. Athletic and Two Roots are my favorites so far. The only issue is they have the same carbs as any other beer so if one is on Keto they're no bueno.
The carb issue is my main gripe too. Sam Adams Just the Haze has a metric f-ton: 22g!. I think they're probably sweetening it. I stopped buying it due to that.
 
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mergs

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So I don't have much occasion that I'm interested in drinking them, but I was curious to try the recent wave. I had to drive across town to a party this past summer and it was a great opportunity to try. Here's what I tried:

1. Two Roots New West Hazy IPA. This one was great. Tasted like a beer, looked like a beer, smelled like a beer. Even had little bits of hop particles floating in it. If even say it tasted like a good beer.

2. Two Roots Enough Said Helles. This one was decent. Again tasted like a beer, but just like beer, there's some I don't really like. This just tasted like an average beer. Better than drinking Bud Light, but not one is get excited about.

3. Lagunitas IPNA. I thought this was gross and had an outdoor exactly like sweaty, unshowered body odor. Strangely, the flavor seemed decent, just couldn't get over the smell. Maybe if I drank it from the bottle instead of pouring it into a cup I wouldn't have got the odor. Tasted nothing like a beer or an IPA.

4. Hairless Dog Black Ale. Also tasted gross. Like a beer you left in a cup, out in the sun. Had an aroma kinda like vomit. After a few drinks, I decided the flavor was decent, but again couldn't get over the aroma. Probably meant to be drank straight from the can.
I tried Lagunitas too. Full disappointment.
 
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mergs

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My Dad had a stroke last year and now can only drink NA because of his meds. We have been trying different NA beers and, for him, O'Douls is his go to now. As a Coors light drinker, I think this one gets close to what he is used to. He also likes the Athletic stuff. I will have him try and find the Two Roots (if I can find it), I think he might like that one as well. Thanks for the thoughts on the subject! I have been trying to search through options for my Dad the past year. Cheers!
Great post, thanks for sharing. As a long time BP med taker (I'm 56, and I've been on meds since my late 30's!) I've always struggled with it and I'm active (cyclist, former runner, climber, snow sports, etc) but my BP has barely been under control. To date my streak is 6 months no booze and my BP is now low with my meds. I've always been in the borderline high BP range WITH meds and now my reading are consistently low: typically below 120/80. I haven't seen my BP that low basically ever. My change was dropping the booze and instead an NA beer or two (from 3-5 per night during covid). When I started this post I was still considering going back to full alchohol beer one day but my current plan is due to my BP readings now as low as they are to surf the NA wave for the foreseeable future in order to avoid the stroke I was probably on path for. Thanks for your post.
 
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Iv tried the Sam Adam's just the haze, it pretty decent, and this one from athletic,its a little thin for a stout but still very drinkable. never thought I'd say that about na beers.
Yep, its pretty good times for beer loving sober folk. :)
 
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mergs

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I haven’t tasted many NA beers, though hubby bought a 6 of Weihenstephaner hefe NA. I poured a half glass and there was an unexpected bite to it not like an enjoyable hefe. Well, it was a carbonic bite, poured the rest hard got a big fluffy head and found it to be rather enjoyable and very close to the brand.
I've had this in Germany in the past (on business). In Europe NA beer is a serious thing. You drunk drive there, you are seriously in trouble. So, there's a real market for NA beers. I have had Weihen- Hefe NA and I think I could easily make it a go to dinner sipper. I was in Portugal in April and the national beer Super Bock (kind of the Sam Adams of PT) has 3 NA offerings and I would grab a 6 pack of the dark offering and have 1 with dinner back in the AirBnB and I was stoked to have it as an option. They're not as good as Athletic but very solid. My main issue is that they seem to be sweeter than I'd like.
 
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I went on a stint of NA beer over this past summer. Here are my experiences.

1. BrewDog. I had a bunch of NA from them. Nanny State, Punk AF, Hazy AF, Elvis AF, and an AF stout (cant remember the name). These are all decent, but low in body and just a bit "off". Probably the best "beer" of what I tried.

2. St. Pauly Girl NA. Terrible. Dont even bother getting any. Cloyingly sweet, no bitterness, just terrible.

3. Laugunitas Hoppy Refresher. Super good. Better than any beer honestly. I loved this.

4. Hop Lark Hop Water. Citra was good. Mosaic was good. Decent.

5. Hop Lark Hop Tea. These were pretty good. 2nd best on the list. The Citra bomb one was great. The really hoppy one was great. The others were ok. But, definitely worth a try.
Agree. The Hop Tea is the best of the bunch! Also simple to make at home with the plethora of HB equipment I own that I have not been using in 6 months.
 
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I've liked all of the brewdog AF beers.
Heineken 0.0 is good for a "regular" beer.
My favorite NA of all time is Erdinger Hefeweizen
Hey Jersey, I will look for the Erdinger! I have some Heineken 0. I can drink in a pinch in the summer and I add limes, Corona/Michelada style.

p.s. my avatar was taken up in Wawayanda in West Milford. I lived in NJ for 45 years. Property taxes drove me out. I know Boonton well.
 
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If I'm going to do the insane amount of carbs....
good point. trade off is: lose the alcohol but they add/don't ferment the sugars. that said I drink a lot less of these and I found a very low carb brand that isn't bad if you tell yourself its a really "good Hop Water".
 
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Got no NA beers but I have some Miller 64. 2.8% and 64 calories. Close enough?
for me personally, no. but I have my own personal reasons for limiting the booze. I'm not an evangelist and I don't judge so whatever works for others, I'm fine with. I go to social settings where I'm sipping on an Athletic (for example) and people are doing whiskey and cans of beautiful IPAs that I would normally drink.
 
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I’m happy to be educated (and honestly have never thought about this before, so if my question is cliche by now just ignore me) - should NA beer be called beer? As far as I know, throughout history beer has been a fermented beverage. Isn’t this a bit like calling grape juice non-alcoholic wine?
Good question.

There are a few ways to make NA beer. One way is to due a full ferment like we all do at home or commercially and use methods to remove the alcohol. To me, that's still a beer.

Grape juice isn't fermented. Wine is fermented grape juice. you can also remove the alcohol from wine (I do it at home, chill and then add fruit, e.g. sangria) but its still wine.

that said, there are some NA beer techniques where there's a special yeast used that doesn't ferment the beverage fully so the ABV < 0.05. I believe there are other techniques where no ferment is done. lots of companies are experimenting with it because the market in NA beer is growing. Here's a good run down on current ways its done: How Is Non Alcoholic Beer Made?

Hope that helps answer the question.
 
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Brew dog Nanny State is really good, but there is no local retailer.
I am happily drinking a Partake Pale Ale now. 10 Calories, tasty and supposedly zero carbs.
Agreed. Partake is now my goto. Hard to beat the nutrition details! Its better than Hop Water but its not going to satisfy your typical beer drinker unless you really want to embrace the NA and low carbs. Its not as tasty as Athletic, etc but its got 1/6 to 1/10th carbs but its tastier than Hop Water (but its clearly in that "direction" as far as flavor and body). Lately I've been using Partake's Pale to make black and tans with Guinness 0.0. Pretty tasty.
 

bracconiere

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I've started making it as well. Starting to scale up as I get the hang of it.


for some reason reading through the update....what about kombucha with using wheat germ for the tea, and maybe a dry hop? it'd have a lot of good vitamins that way too!


maybe like 1lb of raw wheat germ for a 5 gallon batch? but strain the actual flakes out? then maybe a dry hop with an ounce of hops?
 
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I was just re-reading my original post and it deserves an update. I just reached my 6 month mark of no alcohol on 30 May and it seems weird re-reading my post back on 13 Dec 2021. At that time I was just starting this experiment and at that time I had planned on going back to drinking. Today, my plan is to never go back. I don't want to evangelize, this is my own path and yours should be different. I was fully capable of drinking and brewing good beers, staying reasonably healthy,, holding down a career but at age 56 I am now going to try sobriety as a long term health choice.

During covid my drinking went from "hitting a pub or brewery a few times a week" to doing 3-4 homebrews every night. My BP was not under control and neither was my blood sugar. I don't really know why I felt I needed that 4th beer at night but I did and eventually realizing this is not normal, nor healthy, on Nov 30 2021 I realized I needed to test myself and snap out of this. So I did a "sober December" as a test. I passed and kept going in Jan, then Feb and we're now in May 2022. My brain is much clearer and my BP has been low for a couple of months. Considering I'm on BP meds and its finally under control, that's my main reason for stopping and switching to NA.

I know that its odd to be talking about this subject on a home brew forum (I've been brewing up until last year for 15+ years) but with the prevalence of really quite good NA beers, clearly there's a market for it and its a trend, and there must be others like me that want to drink less or not at all. Apologies if this topic rubs the wrong way. Believe me... I LOVE a good beer. Its part of my soul. I literally remember the first time an unknown brewpub owner handed me his new beer called Heady Topper and it changed things forever for me. Now, the prevalence of drinkable NA beers has changed things again.

with that, I'll add to my original list.

Guinness Stout 0.0. This is probably the best NA offering I have seen out there for any style. Its 85% of what I remember the original being. I think I could pick it out of a lineup against normal Guinness but its really nicely done. Its got a major flaw though: they add a little fructose, apparently (giving it 13g of carbs per 12 oz). So, rather than having a second Guinness 0, I thin it out with a Partake Pale (10 cals, 0 carbs) and make a black and tan. Its pretty delicious

Anyway, cheers to all who have added their replies. I've enjoyed hearing about the NA beers you all have tried and will add them to my list.
 
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