Food

What’s the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

Like a lot of people these days, we’re trying to cut back on alcohol in my house…

It’s been about five years since I decided to try limiting drinking to the weekends, a commitment I’ve been able to stick to largely because while I gave up the alcohol, I didn’t give up the ritual. Namely, I still make a point to pour myself something to drink every weeknight — it just isn’t a drink drink. I like things I can concoct, like a shrub cocktail, or a seltzer with a generous squeeze of fresh citrus, but occasionally, I’ll join my husband who has discovered an affinity for non-alcoholic beers.

We’re not alone, either. In 2020, even though the world at large was joking about getting tanked in quarantine, it turns out sales of non-alcoholic beers surged 38 percent. I think it also helped that supermarket shelves suddenly presented options beyond O’Doul’s — from both the commercial behemoths (Bud, Heineken, etc.) and the smaller, craft operations with the artsy cans (like Athletic Brewing Company).

Naturally, I felt it was crucial to our mission to figure out which NA beer was the best. So, I turned to Kate Bernot, certified beer judge (!), beer reporter and Good Beer Hunting contributor, and asked her to be the judge of an official, though decidedly uncertified, Cup of Jo taste test.

Because Kate resides in Missoula, Montana, and was doing this on her own, we’d relax the usual rigorous rules. The tasting wouldn’t be blind; I would not be scribbling notes and studying her expression as she sipped. She tested six brands in total, which, overall, represented a good spectrum of the current non-alcoholic beer market. In her words: “O’Doul’s is the old-school offering; Heineken is one of the best-selling NA beers in the country; Athletic Brewing Co. is the most popular craft NA brand; Samuel Adams is brand new and widely available; Brooklyn was one of the first craft breweries to release an NA beer; and Two Roots NA beer is a from a craft brand and has won medals at the Great American Beer Festival, so I figured it would be helpful to include an ‘award-winning’ example.”

While tasting, Kate focused on a few predictably scientific factors (color, aroma, texture, effervescence), as well as some less scientific ones (is it good for drinking while watching the game?). I had only one demand: As personal as the decision can be, pick a winner!

Here’s where she came down on each.

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

Special Effects (Brooklyn Brewery)
Price: $12.99/six-pack
Tasting notes: This “non-alcoholic hoppy brew” is the darkest of the bunch — caramel in color, like an amber ale. The aroma initially offers up a lot of nutty, brown bread-like scents, but those are quickly dominated by woody, earthy hops. Unfortunately, the flavor is less rich and malty than I’d hoped based on that nutty, bready aroma. There’s a bit of caramel sweetness to the sip but the most prominent flavor is those slightly piney hops. The texture is a bit thin for me — it’s closer to a light beer in body, but without the significant carbonation of, say, a Coors Light. Overall, it’s fine. It reminds me of a very old-school amber ale. It’s certainly drinkable but not something I’d be excited to drink over and over again.
Overall score: 3/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

Heineken 0.0
Price: $7.99/six-pack
Tasting notes: This looks like the version of Heineken you already know: brilliantly clear and straw-colored. It gives off a very malt-sweet aroma, kind of like Kix cereal with a red apple skin aroma — I’m surprised by how sweet-fruity it smells. This follows through in the sip; it’s the sweetest and fruitiest of all the beers I tried. Even though there is no fruit in it, it has a strong pear or apple note to it with only a small bit of bitterness at the end. If you’re used to drinking mass-market lagers or even light-colored Mexican imports, this beer would probably taste pretty familiar. The texture is very light, but with good effervescence and a snappy, crisp finish. This is one of the most “chuggable” of all the options — you could easily drink a few of these while watching football and not feel overly full.
Overall score: 2.5/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

O’Doul’s Golden Non-Alcoholic Brew
Price:
$6.79/six-pack
Tasting notes: This straw-colored, super-clear beer doesn’t smell like much at all. I have to really stick my nose far into the glass to find any aroma at all. Finally I pick out a light Cheerio scent, but not much else. Even though people like to make fun of O’Doul’s, this tastes better than I remember. It’s smooth, with a simple, Cheerio-like flavor. This is the least flavorful, easiest-to-drink of all the beers so far. It’s pretty unremarkable and inoffensive; it probably tastes like what most people would think of as ‘beer.’ I don’t dislike this; it’s extremely smooth and straight-forward.
Overall score: 3/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

FIRST RUNNER-UP
Upside Dawn (Athletic Brewing Co.)

Price: $12.99/six-pack
Tasting notes: This golden ale is, yep, light golden in color and quite clear. It has a pretty quiet aroma; a little bit of a lemony note, some soft bread crust under that. It’s subtle, but fresh and bready and inviting. Those bready malts definitely carry through in the flavor; the sip is really elegant and not too heavy. It tastes like a slightly richer blonde ale or a light wheat beer, with just a touch of lemony tartness at the end, soft and subtle. This beer is approachable and easy, with a smooth, medium-light texture. You could serve it to your friends who aren’t sure they like beer, and I bet they’d be happy.
Overall score: 4/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

SECOND RUNNER-UP
Enough Said Helles (Two Roots)
Price:
$11.99/six-pack
Tasting notes: When I pour this lightly hazy, golden lager, I can really smell the pilsner malt! To me, that smells like brioche or challah bread — soft and rich and elegant. There are barely any hops in the aroma, just a light earthiness. The pilsner malt carries through to the flavor, which tastes like straight-forward white bread or some kind of unflavored cracker. Woody-spicy hops arrive at the end and close the sip with firm bitterness. Best of all is the texture! It’s fuller than most non-alcoholic beers I’ve had, offering some actual substance to the sip, not just hop water. This is the beer to buy if your biggest complaint about non-alcoholic beer is that it’s too watery or thin. Overall, I like this a lot. I’d be happy drinking this at a backyard barbecue with burgers or tacos. I see why this won a Great American Beer Festival gold medal in the non-alcoholic beer category.
Overall score: 4/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

WINNER!!!
Just The Haze (Samuel Adams)
Price: $8.79/six-pack
Tasting Notes: This hazy IPA is mimosa-like in color and even in aroma. It has a big, citrusy, bright scent that I can smell as I’m pouring it. It reminds me of orange Creamsicles, more like a cocktail than a beer. It’s the same in the flavor — the IPA is orange juicy, lemony, a little bit tropical, and delicious. (Brunch vibes!) Soft malts underneath make for a really smooth, cohesive sip. The texture is smooth and velvety, with a good weight to it. This is a very well-made IPA! If a brewery served me this and didn’t tell me it was non-alcoholic, I’d have no idea.
Overall score: 5/5

What's the Best Non-Alcoholic Beer? A Taste Test

Thanks so much, Kate! Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic beer or other drink? Please tell us about it.

P.S. More taste tests, including dark chocolate bars. And “why I gave up drinking and how it changed my life.”

(Photo of Kate by Brandon McMahon.)

  1. Carrie says...

    I really like Athletic’s IPA. I started drinking it while pregnant and have continued. I like that I can have the beer taste without the drowsy effects I get from alcohol.

  2. Molly says...

    I’m entering year 8 of sobriety, and I love to end each day with a nice N/A beer. My favorite so far is the IPNA from Lagunitas. It’s the best beer dupe I’ve tried!

  3. This couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m pregnant and tried a NA sparkling rose that was… not great. In my non-preggo days I loooove craft beer so I’m definitely going to give the winner a try!

  4. Emilie says...

    During my pregnancy last year, I tried many NA beers. The best by far are from the Danish brewery Mikkeller in my opinion. The Weird Weather (similar to a New England IPA) is my favorite, but Drink’in The Sun (an American-style wheat ale) is really good too.

  5. Jennifer says...

    My husband and I decided to do a dry January, and we kept it rolling through February because we liked how we felt. We experimented with some NA beers during that time and I discovered that I love BrewDog’s AF IPAs -all of them! I also found Lyre’s Italian Orange NA Spirit, which I mix with good quality tonic for a refreshing Campari and soda substitute. We have recently started adding some alcoholic beverages back into the mix occasionally, but it is an intentional decision when we do rather than a habit. I like that!

  6. Annie says...

    For a non alcoholic drink, I love a Rock Shandy! Super popular, refreshing drink in South Africa. Soda water + lemonade + Angostura Bitters. So refreshing and nice in the summer.

  7. Erin says...

    Love this post! We have been trying to drink less for the last couple years… not quite only weekends, but at least 3-4 nights without booze a week. I’ve had fun tasting different NA beers. Somone else mentioned Untitled Art’s IPA, which is also my #1 choice. We’re in Chicago, so maybe it’s just local? I also agree the Athletic IPAs are better than the Golden… the double IPA is my first choice. I think more hops makes the beers less sweet tasting, which is the giveaway that’s it’s an NA beer. I’m going to keep an eye out for that Sam Adams one, and also the Lagunitas ones people have mentioned!

  8. anna says...

    I don’t drink save for like a few sips socially- and beer’s always grossed me out (the smell is SO STRONG!) but this post has me curious to try! Has anyone else been apprehensive to try beer but ended up loving it?

  9. alison says...

    Another vote for Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher! Though my husband and I call it Hop Water (we SWEAR at one point it was called that officially then switched? maybe?) which backfired in a loud bar once when the bartender looked at me super weird and brought me a mug of hot water instead! Whoops!

    It’s great because its really not trying to be *beer* per say… just really hits the spot when you want something bubbly and bright. And, just as belch-inducing…hahah.

    • Kim says...

      Yes, Allison, so good!

  10. Stacy says...

    I *love* this post! Thank you for such a well rounded variety of posts, CupOfJo! I can’t wait to try all the new beer recommendations that I’ve saved from it! I too have been exploring the world on non-alcoholic beers this year. It’s great to have an option that satisfies the beer flavor expectation with the happy hour vibe but without the alcohol. I’ve started to use an app called Untapped where people review and post pictures of their beer “checkins”. I use it to log which ones I’ve enjoyed (so that I remember the good ones and remember which ones not to buy again), but more crucially, I use it to decide whether or not to try a new NA brew! Seeing how people review it and what the comments are on the flavors/heft of the beer gives me good insight into whether I should buy or not.

    ***Untitled Art Juicy IPA*** is by far the BEST I’ve tried. Highly recommend! Has a fruit vibe and hazy feel but dang, you could’ve fooled me it was NA!

    Others I’ve enjoyed:
    WellBeing Intentional IPA
    Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn Golden Ale
    (Boulevard Brewing did a partnership with Athletic Brewing to do Flying Start as well- husband’s fave)

  11. Tessa says...

    My favorite non-alcoholic beer by far is Claushaler. They have a dry hopped brew IPA style brew and one that’s more of a lager, which I personally prefer. https://www.clausthaler.com/brew/

  12. Sharon in Scotland says...

    BrewDog is lovely, citrusy and fruity, very light. Only 49 cals for a small can, but I’m assuming lots of carbs, so for treats only due to health probs.

  13. Tina, NYC says...

    Hello,
    We use the NA drink subscription service Better Rhodes
    https://www.betterrhodes.com/
    And they have been awesome!! We started with their beer offering to try and be exposed to new brands we may not get locally.

    I also love Monday NA Gin. https://drinkmonday.co/
    I enjoy it with San Pellegrino’s Citrus Tonica.

    Fantastic post CoJ!

    And Jeny your own journey at moderation was actually the impetus to examine my own behavior. When you questioned what your children would take away from “bottle every night” it made me critically look at my own drinking.

  14. Tokyojeans says...

    I’ve been doing a lot of non alcoholic taste testing – only including my favourites;
    Sobercarpenter – best beer by far (better than Partake even!)
    Seedlip – best for cocktails (club soda, tonic, lime, lime cordial)
    Ariel Chardonnay – they say it won against real Chardonnay which seems like a stretch but it’s a good replacement.
    Gruvi – excellent prosseco
    Vin Zero – whites are pretty good, reds ok. Seems it’s hard to replica red wine.

  15. Lilian Fields says...

    The best I’ve found is Partake, especially if you’re into IPAs and stouts. It’s Canadian–don’t know how available it is in the US. But the Partake IPA is just stellar. It was such a relief and a pleasure to find as an IPA lover who quit drinking. Recommend!

    • Jodi says...

      Good to know Lilian! I tried the Stout and didn’t love it, I will check out the IPA.

    • Karen says...

      Their blonde is good too! I love Partake and the guy who started it is rad. I drink a few a week now. If you’re in Canada try Neal Brothers NA for a nice, super light, lager.

    • Robyn says...

      Couldn’t agree more. As a big fan of delicious IPAs, the Partake is a fantastic alternative. I haven’t had the stout, but the Pale and Blonde are quite good as well.

    • Shannon says...

      100% agree, Athletic Brewings IPAs are by far the best. Golden Ale is great and all but Run Wild, Free Wave and their single hop series are incredible. Literally cannot tell it’s NA and reminds me of my favorite brewery in Portland, OR.

    • Cicely says...

      AGREED!!!!

  16. Katie says...

    I enjoyed reading this taste test! Thanks for finding an expert in her field to comment on these beers. I work at a growing craft brewery and NA beers isn’t something we’ve looked into, but it’s interesting to see what’s out there!
    I do think it’s worth noting that from the beers selected, the winner has natural flavors added. We use them in certain styles too, so that’s not a big deal, but of course a beer will taste lemony if it has lemon flavor added to it, which could easily camouflage an otherwise mediocre taste.
    Thanks again for this round-up – I’ll keep an eye out for the Two Roots NA, as I love a good Helles.

    • Katie says...

      Additionally, this GA company makes dry-hopped sparkling waters, which are a cool herbal/fruity/spicy take on LaCroix, if you are looking for something even less like a beer: https://newcreationsoda.com/collections/all-products

  17. B says...

    Not beer, but my favorite NA drink is seltzer + bitters + twist of fruit. There are SO many seltzer flavors now and many different kinds of bitters, you can really customize what you want.

  18. Sara says...

    I am also several years into only drinking on the weekends, and I have not kept the after work drink ritual going. It’s not much of an issue for me, but my spouse has not been able to commit in the same way- he has to have a beer or two every evening. Thank you for doing this taste test, as I assumed all NA beer was garbage. Unfortunately, all the top picks are not available in my area or sold out online (Athletica looks very exciting!) bummer

  19. Danielle says...

    Love this content! Does anyone have any recommendations for nonalcoholic wines? Not a beer drinker but definitely trying to drink less! ❤️

  20. Sarah says...

    Loving kombucha as a sub for a glass of wine or cocktail! I drink so much water during the day that I need something fun and fizzy at night.

    • Molly says...

      Yes. I do this.

  21. K says...

    Oh my — timing is on point, as just yesterday my husband checked into rehab for alcohol. There’s still a long road ahead but seeing everyone’s comments on their alcohol-free lives and successful sobriety is giving me hope. Cheers to this beautiful community.

    • sending you and your husband love, K!

    • Tina, NYC says...

      K, sending so much love your way and your husband’s way!

    • anna says...

      sending you prayers and good thoughts! sobriety is a hard but hopeful road and your husband is fortunate to have such a supporting spouse.

    • C says...

      Hi K,

      I’ve been in your shoes. I feel for you and am sending you love. It’s tough for everyone involved, as they say, addiction is a family disease. I’m sure he’ll get through it.❤️

    • Katelyn says...

      So much love to you and your husband! I’m in recovery and it’s a journey but I’m so grateful to be sober.

  22. R says...

    YES let’s see the weeknight NA drink favorites!

  23. Anon says...

    A post about non alcoholic beer gets more of a reaction than a post about a mass killing of many AAPI.

    Yup.

  24. MC says...

    Read my mind!!! Have gotten really into athletic brewery lately (there was not room for alcohol and early wakeup times during the six week Sweat challenge and the habit has stuck. Like other readers, i love both the Golden and the IPA.

  25. Katherine says...

    Plugging Hop Tea from Hoplark as another alternative – they have different teas brewed with hops and are super refreshing and light.

    The really hoppy one is probably my favorite – a black tea with simcoe and citra hops.

    • Seconding this!!! I am a Hoptea woman. The Calm One (and a few others) has no caffeine. They all have no sugar and no alcohol. The flavor is amazing. My dad, who is a beer hobbyist (he used to write beer reviews for a local magazine and always enjoys exploring the nuances of superior beers), gives his stamp of approval for Hoptea. He actually orders it by the case. I drink it weekly. Huge fan.

  26. BC says...

    Punk AF makes my favorite near beer. Love their IPA.

    • Nikki says...

      YES! Someone else calls it “near” beer. Thats what my husband and I call it too.

  27. Cool to see this post! I’m normally a bit lazy about my non-fancy-cocktail drinks, but pregnancy changed things! I needed a little something to sip especially early on to chill the nausea.

    I moved to England while I was about eight weeks pregnant with my second kid, and somehow most of my usual options when going out were just not viable here. London “mocktails” are just gross; somehow everyone here just basically makes fancy apple juice? So you’re spending like £8 for a glass of super high sugar content that tastes like it’s meant for children. It wasn’t my jam.

    It’s harder to find things like Sprite here at bars and cafes, and there are weird rules about sugar that have made the UK basically force all mainstream sodas to include tons of sucralose and other non-sugar sweeteners which I just find gross and unsatisfying. (Even the Italian San Pellegrino “fancy” limonata etc. sold here is full of fake sweeteners!)

    So I started exploring non-sweet choices, which mostly meant non-alcoholic beer. While a lot of places in England seem to roll with Heineken Zero, which is tolerable, there’s an AMAZING London brewery called BrewDog that makes a super low alcohol beer called… wait for it… Nanny State.

    It’s amazing! It’s ambery and hoppy and just so much more flavourful than the aforementioned Heineken, and it’s starting to be available in lots more places. At least it was before Covid. And you can get it via most of the local online grocery vendors, and even find it in person in some of the shops.

    I doubt this will be relevant to most of the readers who are US based, but in case we’ve got anyone in or around the UK, give Nanny State a try!

    • Sara says...

      We have Brew Dog in the US! I’ve never seen Nanny State, but Hazy AF is a favorite. As a AF beer aficionado, I think Brew Dog and Lagunitas are at the top.

    • LG says...

      For those U.K. based, you should also try Lucky Saint. AF beer is their only product and they do it extremely well!

    • Emily says...

      Sara – I’ve found Nanny State in Vermont! Keep looking. They keep adding more.

  28. Bec says...

    Aussie Cup of Jo readers – Sobah is a great local NA beer option! https://sobah.com.au/

  29. Jax says...

    When I was pregnant, I found German non-alcoholic beers to be the tastiest: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei and Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Alkoholfrei are 2 great ones. They didn’t taste like water and they had flavor.

    • EmBed says...

      Czech ones are even better (just like our alcoholic beers :)) I like Birrel best for a straightforward pilsner and Bernard Svestka for something different –it’s plum flavored. I have no idea if either are available internationally tho.

  30. Laura says...

    I didn’t get the appeal of non alcoholic beer until I tried the Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher last summer and was totally hooked!

  31. S says...

    We don’t drink in my house. It is not an judgement against alcohol…my husband takes medication that doesn’t agree with his drinking. I may have half a cocktail at a wedding or similar affair once or twice a year, but prefer not to drink. I never cared for wine, and hated beer.

    Our family, on the other hand, seems to do nothing but drink…their lives revolve around wine. This includes someone who is dealing with two serious progressive health issues, takes many drugs to help with those conditions, and probably shouldn’t drink at all. The parents drink, belong to wine clubs, and buy wine by the case. All of the adult children are following in their parents’ footsteps, posting on social media about drinking all the time.

    Is it not socially acceptable to be with friends or family (hopefully again soon) and drink soda or water? If not, perhaps that is something that should change after the pandemic is over…

  32. cph says...

    I am so unbelievably grateful for this post. I was recently diagnosed with a liver autoimmune disease, and along with all of the other gut punches that come from a serious, incurable disease was the fun realization that I could basically never drink again. I’m not actually a huge drinker but I have a background in the food world and the drink pairing has always been part of special meals or specific situations for me. So even though beer is far from my top alcohol I will miss, it is so lovely to have someone else make me a nice list of reasonable substitutes for those situations which just really call for a cold beer. Now if only someone could come up with a convincing non-alcoholic version of a white burgundy . . .

    • Crystal says...

      I’m so sorry about your autoimmune disease! I have some too. Although it’s not a non-alcoholic version of anything, I picked up every flavor of olipop at the store today because I heard it was great for gut health and I wanted something fun to drink! Best wishes!

  33. Laura says...

    In Canada, there’s a brewery called Partake, which makes non-alcoholic beer. Their stuff is legit. So good.

  34. KW says...

    Thank you for featuring this! My husband has been sober for 7 years and has enjoyed drinking NA beer in recent years because there are so many great ones out there now. He really like Surreal Brewery’s roster of beers. I agree with others regarding Heineken. He loves the NA option so I’m surprised it rated low.

    There has been much dialogue this year about non-alcoholic drinks and we appreciate it. Previously, people would tease my husband for his NA options and it’s nice to see folks hop on the train. It’s strangely validating.

  35. Y says...

    Have you tried the Trader Joe’s brand made in Germany? So good!

  36. Miranda says...

    I’m pregnant right now and the Athletic IPA has completely revived my willingness to hang out with friends around the fire pit, just in time for spring :) It’s amazing how much more it makes me feel like part of the party to be drinking something more exciting than water (and not sweet.)

  37. K says...

    I’m at a month without alcohol today! It was a very deliberate choice. I needed a reset after this past year’s indulgences and stress, and I hope to be able to have a healthy relationship again in a bit. It was hard the first week until I started actually trying to substitute the ritual (after work drinks) with NA beer (I wasn’t even a beer drinker before). NA beer has been so great. I haven’t tried all of these, but I would add I like the NA St. Pauli and Becks. I’ve also had recommendations to make NA beers into Radlers with lemonade if you like a sweeter substitute. Thank you so much for this — excited to try the SA!

  38. Julia Wilson says...

    I gave up alcohol at the start of the pandemic and only just recently started dabbling in non alcoholic beer-I figured they wouldn’t come close so what was the point? Then almost a year in we were scheduled to have a pizza party and I started freaking out. Why would I do a pizza party without beer if I technically didnt have a problem? But did I really want to “break” such a long streak for a pizza party? So I tried some and was so suprised! I was nervous to go to the store for some reason and when I picked up the option I ended up going with, a lovely person behind me told me that was her favorite and the closest she’s found to tasting like real IPA. Another non drinker out in the wild-caught my first time out! Anyways, non alcoholic beer is kind of awesome and is now giving me renewed hope that I can stick with this habit even after things go back to normal.

    My favorite, which is not on your list but a partner to your runner up, it the Athletic Brewery IPA in the blue can. I liked it so much I sent it to my dad who has always struggled with his drinking and he loved it too and vowed to get more. It’s also so much less calories!

  39. marybeth says...

    yes! so exited about this! i love the ritual of a drink at the end of the day, but a lot of days don’t want to actually drink. this is wonderful alternative. also, this is also fun to share with my pregnant friends. thank you!!

  40. Katelyn says...

    I’m in recovery for alcohol and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate posts like these. I have no problem with others drinking alcohol but it’s nice for those like me to have more options. Thanks for seeing us. :)

    • Jane says...

      I’ve been a reader of this blog since the earliest days but never chime in. Yes, it’s good to recognize yourself in something you read for entertainment every day. And everyone else seems happy to go along with learning about all kinds of folks. I’d love to see more of the Cup of Jo take on addiction recovery, but there’s a wide swath of people to represent and they do a good job. Plus that topic is an ugly one, and we come here for a break from the day, so I’d hate to see it looking pretty. Anyway, yes, I appreciated being acknowledged too. Good luck to both of us.

  41. Sarah says...

    Anyone have AF red/rose wine suggestions? I’d really like to cut back on my nightly 2-3.5ish glasses (kinda sucks to write that out). I think a big part (along with pandemic toddler parenting) is how much I love the taste – with food, on its own, etc.

    • Lucy says...

      Jukes is the best one I’ve found! Also trying to kick that 3-glass a night habit…

    • Julia Wilson says...

      I havent tried it yet but my research says Fre is good for Rose. They have plain and sparkling in cans it looks like. Next on my list.

    • Lisa Z says...

      I have tried the Fre red blend and merlot and they are pretty “meh” but I would drink the merlot occasionally. My liquor store has a Sauvignon blanc by Giesen that I actually like a lot though, if you ever drink whites. I’m hoping more and more nonalcoholic wines will come out, and be improved upon, for the many of us who can’t tolerate alcohol well for whatever reason. (For me it seems to be related to menopause but I’ve never done great with alcohol anyway, I just like the taste and the ritual of a glass once in a while,)

    • Lacey says...

      You aren’t alone! I love the ritual of a glass of wine (or two) to end my day. Sometimes I abstain just to check myself, but it’s something I love just to signal it’s time to unwind. I’d love to try some of these other options.

    • Kate says...

      I just ordered the Wine Proxies from Acid League after reading so much about them! They change the recipes every month, like a subscription box.

    • Sarah says...

      I find kombucha (poured in a wine glass) is a good sub for rosé!

    • Dana says...

      Thanks for all these suggestions! I stopped drinking on Jan 1 because my nightly wine was getting too out of control (also parenting two toddlers – solidarity!). For the first few weeks, I felt good. But after a month, I started feeling AMAZING. My husband and I had initially said we’d take a break for 6 months, but I don’t know if I’ll start drinking again. Not drinking feels like a superpower – I feel like a light, expansive, exuberant version of myself, and realize that alcohol has been numbing me to life for far too long. I appreciate this post and all the comments!

  42. Claire says...

    My husband is from rural western Nebraska, and that man can put down 6-8 beers a night no problem (and he mainly drinks IPAs). He tells me this is because he’s of German descent, I say he’s a very high-functioning alcoholic. I think we’re both right.

    At the end of this past year both of us were drinking more than usual, and it really started to bother me. I basically quit drinking, aside from a couple on the weekends. He didn’t, though he has started working NA beers into the mix, so now maybe about a generous third of his nightly ration is NA. I figure it’s a start anyway.

    We’ve tried Athletic, and it’s pretty good. As far as I’m concerned it tastes like beer, and that’s good enough for me. One that he really likes though, is Lagunitas IPNA. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s relatively easy to find here, but I’m not sure if it could be found in other areas.

    I’m so happy that more breweries are starting to brew NA beers that can more or less pass for their alcoholic counterparts. Here’s hoping I can get the old curmudgeon to bring his NA consumption up and A consumption down. He’s a slow learner, but his heart’s in the right place. Baby steps.

  43. Christen says...

    Oh I love this! My husband is big into NA beer right now and I recently found a NA liquor that is delicious for cocktails. It’s called Ritual and it tastes like the real thing! Drinking a delicious cocktail without the alcohol feels like having my cake and eating it too. Highly recommend http://www.ritualzeroproof.com

  44. Carla says...

    Do gluten free beers next! I was diagnosed celiac last year, and I’m missing my beer! Summer radlers were my fav!

    • Allison says...

      I second this! That would be amazing. Carla, you might want to see if you can find Ghostfish Brewing Company near you – they’re based in Seattle and happen to ship to where I live (DC) but they have pretty narrow distribution. I’ve tried a lot of their beers and they’re seriously good. There are a few other GF breweries in Portland, Seattle, and Denver that are worth googling. I was diagnosed with celiac in late 2019 and definitely went through a mourning period with beer!

    • Mary says...

      Carla! I second your request. I really like Omission Lager, but would love to know more about the other options.

    • Alexandra says...

      Yes!! I came to the comments section to say the same thing. I was a big citrus IPA fan before I figured out my gluten intolerancy. Would love recommendations on gf beers to try.

    • Em says...

      I second Omission! I also really like Glutenberg. It looks like Glutenberg has a GF NA beer, win-win!

    • Sydni Jackson says...

      Omission is great, Glutenberg is good but a little sour, Daura Damm is the best (very balanced and flavorful)

  45. Suzanne says...

    Love it! Will be referring back to this post :) I’d be very curious to see a nonalcoholic wine taste test as well… I’ve found one or two before that were good and not at all grape juice-y, but can’t recall the name of them now.

  46. Audrey says...

    I’d love to see a taste test between all the different trendy non alcoholic beverages! I often consider ordering Seedlip, Ghia, or Kin Euphorics but hard to know what they’ll taste like and they’re definitely a treat, price tag wise.

    • allison says...

      Seedlip is delicious! I have the garden and spice varieties, and they’re so good mixed with ginger ale or ginger beer. I actually crave it more than cocktail some nights.

    • L says...

      Yes please!! I’ve been considering Seedlip or Ritual and I would love an objective review of each.

    • Julia says...

      I like seedlip! The herbal one is a good replacement for gin in gin drinks but *it doesn’t taste like gin*— it’s herby and cucumbery and wet (it reminds me of how the air smells when the snow melts and the soil just starts thawing). It is not sweet, salty, or tart. It’s great with tonic and a squeeze of lime or lemon.

      I’m really curious about the others, too, but you’re right, it’s intimidating to buy a $40 bottle when you’re not sure if it’ll taste good.

    • Alexandra says...

      I second Seedlip! My roomie did Dry January and made us “cocktails” with Seedlip. The Garden 108 tasted like (super delicious) spa water, we found it delicious and refreshing.

    • Rahelma says...

      I love seedlip! Ordered the orange flavored seedlip and it was such a luxury to have a delicately flavored “cocktail” on weekdays. I wish it was less expensive and easier to purchase. But definitely recommend.

    • Rahelma says...

      Also we love spindrift as a substitute for cocktails! Taste amazing — my favorite is the grapefruit topped w pink Himalayan salt.

    • Carly says...

      Big fan of Ghia! I ordered when they had a free shipping promo and have already ordered two more bottles. I actually prefer it over actual alcohol now :)

    • Kate says...

      Omg I want to try Kin but they don’t ship to Canada! They are all very different, Seedlip seems like it’s just a liquor substitute whereas Kin has health benefits. For me not drinking is a wellness choice, so I would love my substitutes to have health benefits.

    • Jess says...

      I didn’t love Seedlip — something about the viscosity and the lack of the alcohol “bite” made it hard for me to adjust to. But Ghia I LOVE. I’ve ordered it twice now. It’s satisfyingly bitter, not remotely sweet — if you like campari, it would be up your alley!

  47. Christina says...

    I LOVE THIS!!!! my fiance is a recovering alcoholic, and the surge in NA beer availability has honestly been a sobriety-saver. I love them too. I like Heineken the best, with a squeeze of lime. I highly recommend anyone who doesn’t like the Heineken NA (and maybe happens to have a few extra in their fridge from doing a blind taste test) to squeeze a lime in it next time! SUMMER IN A GLASS. My fiance has fallen hard for the Lagunitas options – first “Hoppy Refresher” which is like an IPA meets a seltzer, 0 calories to boot and even better, the Lagunitas INPA. It tastes like a real beer, y’all. We’ll be giving the Sam Adams option a try next!

    For wine, we’ve also done a ton of taste-tests and I’ve come away from it with Surely rose as the best of the best! It’s a sparkling rose, not too sweet, and actually tastes REAL.

    Cheers, COJ!

    • Christina says...

      *IPNA — gosh, it sounds like a Meyers Briggs type :)

    • Katelyn says...

      I’m also in recovery and I love the hoppy water!

  48. Kate says...

    Oh man I just wouldn’t lol.

    When I’m not wanting to drink alcohol, I drink a seltzer or sparkling water. Mango is a close taste to a lot of the dry, fruity beers I’ve enjoyed.

  49. RC says...

    Unrelated, I LOVE Kate’s beautiful burgundy sweater! Can we find out where it’s from?

  50. Audrey says...

    love this post! I’m a big fan of Gruvi NA beers and they also have a NA prosecco! I’ve also been into NA spirits, like Seedlip, for making a fun mocktail.

  51. Nicole says...

    Pro tip: add a squeeze of lime (like you would with a Corona). Makes any N/A beer taste better. I did this during my three sober, scorching hot, pregnancy summers when I was really craving a beer.

  52. Sage says...

    Just hit 4 years sobriety. :) I don’t really look for “nonalcoholic beverages” at this point – I like water fine, even when we’d go out pre-pandemic – but I think TJ’s strawberry & rhubarb soda is sooo good, and I love raspberry Bubly.

    Oh, and I get lovingly razzed from my family for really enjoying sparkling apple juice too. I’ll put it in a tumbler, mutter, “It was a hard day!” and shoot it back. Gotta have fun, haha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ooh that soda sounds so good! And congratulations on four years!

    • Kate says...

      I also love sparkling apple juice! Growing up we always drank it at Christmas and New Year’s and this year, stuck at home with my housemates, I had to pick up a bottle! They made fun of me but guess who wasn’t hungover on Christmas day! And it was the perfect brunch accompaniment when you want something special in the crystal wine glasses but also don’t want a ‘drink’ drink at 10AM. Congrats to you on your recovery :)

  53. Morgan says...

    This might be a dumb question, but are NA beers also gluten-free? I’m not much of a beer drinker mainly because I have a gluten sensitivity, but enjoy the occasional Corona with lime. Being pregnant this summer, I’m definitely curious about non-alcoholic options, but can’t do higher-gluten beers. Anyone know more info about this?

    • Kate says...

      From what I’ve seen, they are not. They’re generally still made with barley and hops.

  54. cali says...

    Any idea if non-alcohol are less fattening than regular beer? I love an occasional craft beer but lately wine seems healthier.

    Also, the local gourmet market here has an entire craft beer wall with hundreds of obscure and gorgeous maker beers but the closer local grocery where I usually go almost exclusively carries ultra extreme hop blends or super citrus – neither of which are my favorite. I like a gentle IPA best but good ones that aren’t insipid are surprisingly hard to find. And least favorite of all are caramel notes. I guess I prefer rich but balanced yeasty bready flavors but a straight wheat beer gives me headaches. Can you do Gluten-Free beers for your next test?! I am weird in that I can handle a little bit of gluten but even one wheat beer guarantees a sinus headache so I avoid wheat beer.

    I’ll look for the Two Roots – the Samuel Adams is going to have too much citrus for me

    • Nina says...

      The NA beer I get here in Germany has 2/3 the calories of regular beer.

  55. Leah says...

    As someone who’s sober , thanks for highlighting this! I like Brooklyn Brewery and Athletic Brewery a lot. But my favorite is Lagunita’s Hoppy Refresher which is a hops flavored seltzer. I like that it has that flavor but isn’t trying to be just like a beer, it’s really refreshing and has zero calories. Enjoy!

  56. SL says...

    After doing Dry January for the last few years, I’ve really cut back on my alcohol consumption. I love Athletic Brewing Co.’s “Run Wild” and Well Being’s Intentional IPA. If I could only find a NA wine that I enjoyed I might never drink alcohol again!

    • Kate says...

      I’ve ordered the Wine Proxies from Acid League! Excited to try them! Pricey though.

    • Stacy says...

      I’ve tried both of these as well! Liked them both too!

  57. Stephanie R says...

    This is AWESOME, thank you! My spouse and I don’t drink and we thought Atlantic Brewing had cornered the market – but now it’s clear we need to do a better job seeking out these other options. Thank you!

  58. Claire says...

    Thank you for featuring this post! Would love more posts talking about substance use and have appreciated your openness about this topic (reading Lit and read the book Blackout because of your blog!)

    • Brooke says...

      Claire, I would highly recommend reading ‘Quit Like a Woman’ by Holly Whitaker. Totally changed the way I think about my own drinking, and the drinking culture around women!

  59. DC says...

    So happy to see this, after getting into NA beers this past (dry) September & January! We’ve also been keeping them around for mid-week moments when we’re craving a beer. For what it’s worth, I do think Athletic’s IPAs are better than the reviews this one got—that seems to be where they really shine—and now I’m excited to try the Sam Adams!

  60. Sarah Jane says...

    Thanks. This is great. I’m loving Lagunitas Hoppy Refesher. Light and springy.

    • Debby says...

      Came here to say the same thing! It’s more like a beer flavored sparkling water than a non-alcoholic beer. It’s too hard to explain it, but it’s very good and if anyone reading is slightly intrigued, definitely pick some up at Bevmo, Total Wine, Trader Joes…. https://www.lagunitas.com/story/hoppy-refresher 10/10 would recommend

    • Katelyn says...

      Oh it’s so good!

    • Lindsay says...

      Yes, was going to suggest the same! It’s my fave!

  61. anne says...

    I rarely drink beer (I like an occasional hefeweizen or Harp/Guinness) but when I was newly pregnant with my first, I craved it?! Not a fan of the regular O’doul NA offering but came across and loved Bucklers! I believe it’s made by Heineken. 🤰🍻 The NA beer selections at US restaurants are slim and I spent a lot of time at Comet Ping Pong in DC because I knew that they’d have it. (They also have amazing pizza and staff that I miss 😢 🍕)

    • SL says...

      Yes! I just found these and enjoy them along with Athletic’s Run Wild IPA.

    • Kendall says...

      I love Wellbeing “Hellraiser” which is kind of an amber ale!

    • Lindsey says...

      I’ve really enjoyed the Wellbeing beers – the wheats and amber ale are my faves (I’m not an IPA girl). And shipping is reasonable!

  62. Kate says...

    Sad to see Heineken score so low. While I haven’t actually tried the other brands, I have really been enjoying NA Heineken (in a bottle, have not seen the cans) and I could swear it tastes just like ‘real’ Heineken, which I love.

    Partake also makes really drinkable, really convincing NA beers. Hill Street Lager is good as well. I do not recommend Neal Brothers. It doesn’t have that satisfying bite of bitterness. Just tastes like beer-coloured water. Very happy to see this taste test and that the non-alcoholic beer lineup has really expanded recently!!

    • Emily says...

      We are big Heineken 0 fans in this house. I actually think it tastes a lot like the original. I also love Lagunitas Hop Water (not an NA beer, but a delight nonetheless)

  63. AMK says...

    Wow this is amazing! I am obsessed with hazy IPAs! I can’t wait to try the Sam Adams one! I definitely want to cut down my alcohol intake. This is such a great choice.

    • JCH says...

      Definitely also try Athletic’s Free Wave if you like hazy IPAs. Probably my favorite of their widely available beers.

  64. Jessica says...

    I’m pregnant and really like beer so I’ve been drinking the NA variety. I’ve had really good luck with the German brands. Becks seems to be pretty widely available. If you like the alcoholic version, you’ll probably like the NA. It’s very flavourful, and I feel like I’m actually drinking a beer, not an imitation. I’ve also really enjoyed the NA version from the German brand Erdinger. I’m not sure how widely available this one would be, but it’s quite delicious.

    • cali says...

      I think they have this at Trader Joe’s

    • Faith says...

      I also love Erdinger! Great AF option.

    • Jax says...

      Yes, Erdinger was another one I drank too, while pregnant!

  65. Yay! As a non-drinker, I love this post! My favourite is Partake Stout!

  66. AEM says...

    I’m a fan of NA beer, and Clausthauler is my fav. If you like a good pilsner, you’ll like it. For dark beer lovers, Kaliber (made by Guinness) is very good.

    • Wesley says...

      Clausthauler is my fave too. I tried it while I was pregnant and now I year later I still buy it because I just like it best

  67. Stef says...

    Lagunitas IPNA which recently came out! I recommend it. Finally a darker beer that is non-alcoholic. Athletic Brewing Company’s Run Wild IPA is also a good non-alcoholic beer. So glad new options are available that aren’t O’Doul’s and Heineken which personally taste bland.

  68. I started drinking some NA beer during Dry January, and its still a part of my rotation. If you like IPAs, definitely try the Athletic IPA – it tastes like the real deal!

  69. Lindsey says...

    Check out Well Being Brewery in Missouri! I’m pregnant, and have now ordered from them 3 times. They have 5 different ones – 2 wheats, an amber, stout, and IPA. They’re really good. I’m not sure if on a side by side comparison, you’d be able to pick the NA beer. I’ve been very impressed with their beers!

  70. Anna says...

    I think I might need to wait until my children are out of the toddler stage to stop my one a night drink. As you say in Dinner, a Love Story…it’s medicine. Those last 2 hours before their bedtime just call out for a drink!

    • Kristina says...

      I am here with and for you! Two 4yos at home full time…

  71. Connie says...

    I’m thrilled to follow the replies to this one. My husband and I also do alcohol only on weekends, and supplement by doing a Fancy Drink in the time slot after work but before we’re making dinner-mostly it’s Kombuchas with garnishes. Otherwise we do non-alcoholic ginger beer with a splash of unfiltered Cranberry or cherry juice with an herb garnish.

    Really, it’s all about the garnishes and putting the Fancy drink in a Fancy glass. It’s the experience of unwinding with something bright and fizzy and shared with someone. It also makes me appreciate the alcohol we choose to drink on the weekends. We sip slower and more thoughtfully when we’re doing the ‘real’ stuff because we appreciate it more.

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      I agree with all of this, yes. Fancy glasses are important!

    • Susannah says...

      We also started a “drinks and chips” nightly happy hour during the last year with any type of fancy drink (often ginger beer mixes for me too!) We keep our chip bowls small and really look forward to the ritual of it and its punctuation as the end of the work day. Kids welcome too!

    • laura says...

      I’d love to see a roundup of Fancy Drink accessories & ingredients. :)

      I’ve seen some of the recipes on this site, but I also love glassware!

    • Sam says...

      I do something similar, but I cut my kombucha with la croix! Makes for a lighter drink, stretches the kombucha, and opens the door to tons of flavor combinations! Another good one is plain sparkling water with bitters (maybe add an orange slice too)

  72. LaReesa says...

    Our favorite is Heineken!! I was surprised by the low rating, but I am decidedly not a beer snob and I don’t generally like IPAs. I like a simple, bubbly, light-tasting beer and Heineken fits the bill. The Sam Adams one is also good but a little too heavy for me. We also tried Hairless Dog, which tasted like an IPA that sat in a hot trunk for a week and turned all sour, it was awful. I might give the two runners up a try, this was a fun one to read and helpful for this pregnant lady 😅 thanks!

    • DC says...

      Lareesa, agreed about Heineken and Hairless Dog! Heineken tastes like real beer (albeit a mediocre brand of real beer, but hey, it tastes legitimate!) and we tried two of the Hairless Dog stouts, which… tasted like liquified baked beans. Gross.

    • Nina says...

      Interesting! I actually love Hairless Dog, both the IPA and the Citra Lager. I’m currently pregnant as well, and they’ve been helping me get that festive end-of-the-day feeling that I miss from the occasional wine or beer. I’m enjoying them so much that I think I’ll keep drinking them even after pregnancy!

  73. MICHELLE SCHNEIDER says...

    Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher is a alcohol free, gluten free, calorie free sparkling water drink. (Think beer flavored sparkling water) It tastes hoppy and citrusy, with none of the downsides of beer. I save it for when I would normally have a beer so it seems special, but isn’t bad for me.