A few years after they began to trend, non-alcoholic recovery beers continue to thrive. More and more people are looking for healthier lifestyles and for many, that begins with drinking a bit less. Zero proof continues to be popular, not just among mindful people looking ahead to Dry January, but athletes looking to stay fit, enjoy a beverage, and not pack on as many calories. The movement extends beyond beer into wine and spirits too, but we’re focused on the former, as an abundance of new options means it’s the best time ever to try a non-alcoholic beer.
The are many merits to the non-alcoholic beer, and we’re not just talking about the doctored-up ones Olympians like to drink (full of electrolytes and such). These beers can be enjoyed any time of the day, whether you’re out on a stroll or even operating heavy machinery. You get the beer without the buzz, meaning you can sip as you work on your deck or have one with lunch without needing a subsequent nap.
Better still, with non-alcoholic beer, you retain the protein, which can offer some recovery aspects especially after a long run or a 90-minute soccer match. You get some caloric energy, but a more moderate amount, meaning you’re less likely to feel weighed down after a couple of pints. And obviously, there’s practically zero chance of a hangover (although we guess you could throw back several dozen and maybe feel something as many do contain trace amounts of alcohol).
So, as you navigate a healthier approach and look to still enjoy beer, look out for the choicest brands on the market right now.
Athletic manages to do something that few zero-proof brands can: Make an IPA that tastes like an IPA. The Run Wild is quite good, with a sturdy, hoppy backbone and plenty of flavor. It’s made like a beer, actually fermenting to a faint 0.5% ABV, instead of disturbing the beer’s flavor by forcefully removing the alcohol after the fact. The result is a beer that actually tastes crafty.
Operating out of beer-loving Frankfurt, Germany, Clausthaler makes a whole family of rather tasty booze-free ale. The lineup includes some fruited options, along with unfiltered and dry-hopped brews. You get the crispness we’ve come to love and expect from a good European pilsner without the boozy side effects. It even makes a standout holiday beer, if you’re still in the mood.
In terms of IPA options, Surreal pretty much takes the cake, with everything from a Milkshake version to a Red
Oregon’s esteemed Deschutes just has a single non-alcoholic option at the moment but it’s well worth your time, especially if you like a darker beer. Most comparable to an Irish Stout, this beer is full of dark chocolate and espresso notes, which are especially welcome during the colder months of the year. It’s a great one to crack after a chilly evening jog.
This option is a bit of a curveball in that it’s not fully a beer but it sure tastes like one. The options are hop-centric, focusing on specific types in what is more like sparkling water. They’re refreshing, clean, and even a little reminiscent of dried tea leaves. If you love your bubbly water but also appreciate the taste and nuance of fresh hops — perhaps without the weight of a full-on beer — Hoplark is right up your alley.
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