The first non-alcoholic beer appeared in 1919 during Prohibition in the United States; and over the past 101 years, it’s picked up in popularity thanks to the growing sobriety movement of late.
Despite debates within the recovery community about whether or not non-alcoholic versions of typically alcoholic drinks are “safe” for sober folks — most non-alcoholic beers contain less than .05% alcohol. (For perspective, regular beer contains an average of 4.5%) and it’s a decision that every individual must make for themselves.
Of course, you don’t have to be sober in order to enjoy an NA beer, which is perhaps why you might want to bring some extra to the next party you go to since your friends who still drink might also enjoy these. Either way, the growing popularity of non-alcoholic drinks, mocktails, and store-bought non-alcoholic cocktails in general is helping to give us NA folks more delicious options like the ones below.
Here are some of the tastiest non-alcoholic beers on the market to try in 2020. Pick up a 6-pack before your next party or Friday night spent in the company of Netflix and pizza.
This crisp, bright beer feels like drinking a fresh spring day. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the fizzy carbonation hits your mouth with a wallop of good taste. With an IPA-like flavor and a smell that feels like the real deal, you won’t even notice the difference. The trendy, well-designed labels on this beer won’t have you feeling self-conscious, either (if that’s a concern for you).
Grab a six-pack of Upside Dawn (Whole Foods and other vendors sell them, or you can order direct from their website), and head to your next party or friend hang. You’ll feel confident knowing that you’ll be sipping on a delicious NA beer and still having a good time. At 50 calories per can, these are some of the most-low-calorie NA beers on the market.
Athletic Brewing Company exclusively brews organic, non-alcoholic beers, and Upside Dawn is one of several tasty options that they offer.
Germans know their beer. And, as it turns out, they know non-alcoholic beer, too. Straight outta Frankfurt comes Clausthaler – easily my favorite NA beer, and one on which I’ve heavily relied during “Dry January” in years past. Germany’s Oktoberfest has cemented the country’s global reputation of being associated with beers, but Clausthaler could lead to an association with NA beers as well.
Hearty, bitter, and robust Clausthaler is a dry-hopped German beer with unfiltered cascade hops. It’s brewed by the German pioneer of non-alcoholic malt beverages and boasts a well-deserved label of the most-awarded for taste for non-alcoholic beverages. The company began its quest to make a low-calorie, delicious non-alcoholic beer in 1972 and hasn’t slowed down since.
The origin story of this beer is an interesting one, too. In the late 60s and early 70s, Clausthaler was one of many breweries racing to produce a tasty NA beer. Many breweries gave up on the quest but Clausthaler persisted. The secret sauce of their beer was developing an innovative brewing process during which the beer’s fermentation was halted immediately before the alcohol began to develop. So, it really is as close to the real deal as you can get. Claustahler wisely patented the brewing process, and it is used worldwide by other brew companies.
With hints of malty caramel tastes, crisp and citrusy notes, and a dark golden color, Clausthaler is a crowd-pleaser in both taste and appearance. It’s a reliable standby for when you’re craving the real thing.
Clausthaler is available online and in stores.
Brooklyn Lager Special Effects
This non-alcoholic hoppy brew (with a chic and attractively designed can) is tasty to boot. It has a sharp, distinct taste that’s perfect for pairing with a burger or pizza or similar weekend-indulgent fair. Peeled grapefruit hops and zesty aromas with a clean, bitter edge give the tastebuds quite a trip.
As the name suggests, this beer – like Jay Z – hails from Brooklyn. The “special effects” found in this 12-ounce can are the sleek and funky design, the hits-your-tongue-with-a-delicious-punch taste, and that sneaking (yet false) feeling that this brew is too good to be true. Don’t let your senses deceive you – this is an NA beer through and through. As Brooklyn Brewery boasts, Special Effects “brings all the satisfaction with none of the buzz.”
Brooklyn Lager Special Effects is available online and in select stores.
This premium pilsner is another German NA beer, and it delivers a good, strong kick. Refreshing and fully-fermented, its crisp taste is very “beer-y” (in a good way). Germans, as discussed, know their brews. With 0.0% alcohol, rest assured you’re in the clear with this tasty beer. With a light and clean malt scent, and fragrant (but not overly so) Hallertau hops, this beer smells as good as it tastes. Slightly sour, its flavor lingers. You’ll feel full up and sated when sipping on a Bitburger pilsner. This thirst-quencher is perfect for days spent in the sun.
Bitburger Drive can be purchased online and in select stores.
And rounding out the German trio, we have Erdinger, a Bavarian malt beverage from German brewmasters in Erdgin, Germany. This non-alcoholic beer is made all-naturally, complete with natural ingredients, and it is free of preservatives. Its regal packaging of royal blue and shiny gold lettering will have you feeling like a queen or king as you sip this powerful brew. The taste of Erdinger is a bit milder than the other German beers on this list, so if you have any sensitivity to strong or bitter flavors, Erdinger is an excellent pick for you. The taste is still full-bodied and delicious, though. And, in an unusual twist – Erdinger is healthful, too. This NA beer contains vitamin B9, which supports a strong metabolism.
Erdinger is sold online and in select stores.
The one thing you might want to keep in mind when trying one of these delicious non-alcoholic beers is that you want to make sure that your sobriety is in a good place. Some people who are in recovery find it triggering to drink mocktails and other drinks that remind them of their pre-sober days. But if you’re in a good place and simply missing the taste of beer (and don’t think there is a chance you will slip or relapse), then go for it. These non-alcoholic beers might just be the best new addition to your mocktail bar!