Remember when skipping the booze meant settling for a soda or water? Not anymore! The non-alcoholic beer industry has exploded. What was once a limited choice of ho-hum options has blossomed into dozens and dozens of flavors and styles. From IPAs to robust stouts, there’s something for everyone. Which buzz-free brews taste as good as the real thing? StudyFinds has combed the web to find the best non-alcoholic beers that taste just like your favorite cold ones.
There are many reasons why you may opt for an alcohol-free hop. Some want a healthier lifestyle. Non-alcoholic beers typically have fewer calories and carbs, while others may be practicing sobriety or dubbed the designated driver. Whatever the reason, you can still indulge in the taste without the tipsy.
While we’ve discovered many non-alcoholic beers that the experts say taste as good as the real thing, scientists in Copenhagen believe they have created a way to produce alcohol-free beer that doesn’t lack taste. They do so by producing small molecules called monoterpenoids, giving the NA drink back the hoppy flavor. This way, the healthier option tastes just as good as the real thing!
While the idea is still in its infancy stages, we will have to rely on the budding brews currently on the market. We have curated a list of the top five best non-alcoholic beers, according to sober enthusiasts. As always, if you love a brew not on the list, let us know in the comments below.
The List: Best Non-Alcoholic Beers, Per Flavor Experts
1. Heineken 0.0
First sip reaction from Esquire: “Holy s***, it actually tastes like Heineken!” To some, that’s not a good thing. “There will be Heineken haters just like there are haters of all the macro brews. (Heineken doesn’t care if you actually like Heineken–it’s one of the world’s best-selling beers.) So I consider this a triumph in the NA space, because, well it tastes like real Heineken! As far as lighter-style beers go, this is a strong one to have in the rotation. I’d grab it over an NA Becks (ooof) or an NA Stella (why so weirdly sweet?)”
The popular Dutch brand joined the nonalcoholic beer game with 0.0. “Diehard fans of the original might not mistake this bottle for classic Heineken, as the flavor is a bit on the thin side,” states Liquor.com. “But it does have that characteristic skunkiness and mouthfeel. And some writers claim they haven’t been able to tell the difference in a side-by-side blind taste test.”
Insider’s taste tester Anna Madaris loves this beer because it is pretty readily available. “I’ve enjoyed Heineken 0.0 at an airport bar, a Skee-Ball bar, and a comedy club. I’ve also grabbed 6-packs from my local bodega, making it the most easily accessible non-alcoholic beer on this list. The no-frills sister of Heineken gets points for solidly replicating the OG import, and mostly for its wide-spread availability.”
Started by a former Hedge Fund trader and a prominent brewer, experts say this Connecticut-based brewery is on a mission to “create non-alcoholic beers people look forward to drinking.” Tasting Table calls every single Athletic Brewing Beer “crushable”, but is partial to the brewery’s IPA, Run Wild. “It stands out as a clear champion in one of the most fiercely competitive beer categories out there.”
“Connecticut’s Athletic Brewing does one thing and one thing only: a nonalcoholic beer made with a craft-brewery mentality,” says Liquor.com. “That means you’ll find many different types of beer in its lineup, including this IPA. The heavy malt in this brew is awesome because it actually tastes like a West Coast American IPA,” says Kevin Bradford, a partner of Harlem Hops. “It’s the best nonalcoholic beer I have ever tasted.”
Vice adds, “We’re huge fans of both its regular brews and its weirder, more experimental beers (like this, uh, dark brew with hella coffee and protein in it). Ever since the brewery sprung onto the scene in 2017, the team at Athletic has been cranking out some of the most delicious N/A beers on the market, with a mission of letting drinkers enjoy the taste and experience of refreshing craft beer without sacrificing their performance, passions, health, or good taste. They’re brewing for folks who wanna drink great beer, but still be able to get up and take care of business in the morning.”
Lagunitas has been brewing in California for decades, but this non-alcoholic IPA (IPNA) is a newer entry into its lineup of beers. “The flavor is pretty close to the regular Lagunitas IPA,” notes Liquor.com. “With notes of pine and citrus and a dose of bitterness. Fans of IPAs won’t miss the alcohol when drinking this beer.”
“While many alcohol-free beers are cans, Lagunitas’ bottles look and feel like the real thing,” touts Insider. “And, unlike the Wellbeing IPA, this one delivers an ample hit of hoppy bitterness that IPA fans love and expect.”
“Full-flavored and hop-forward, the most impressive aspect I got from this was a surprisingly strong and sharp hop bitterness, which I like in an IPA,” according to Vice. “[I’m] cutting back on alcohol,” one reviewer writes, “and this is delicious!”
This full-flavored foray into the N/A space is completely alcohol-free and naturally brewed following German Beer Purity laws of 1516 (or Reinheitsgebot for my fellow beer nerds out there) and has a deliciously subtle bitterness, a malty backbone, and just a whiff of noble hop aroma,” according to Vice.
According to Beer Thrillers, “this German Beer ranks #4 on the list of top-selling non-alcoholic beers for 2023.”
Brooklyn Brewery is a favorite of many craft beer drinkers around the country and rounds out our top five. Special Effects is made using a special fermentation method,” according to the brewery, which allows it to retain flavor without the alcohol. The result says Liquor.com is a citrus-forward brew with just the right amount of bitterness from the hops.
“Brooklyn Brewery’s first NA beer is a crisp citrusy well-rounded lager that is dry hopped for just the right amount of bitterness,” Esquire reports. “Delightfully versatile–drink it on its own, or with some wings. For something even cleaner, go for their NA Pils.”
You may also be interested in:
- The Holderness Family
- The Tasting Table
- The Beer Thrillers
- Inside Hook
- Women’s Health Magazine
- Very Well Fit
- The Good Trade
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article contains affiliate links.