Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The 5 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers for Athletes and Non-Athletes

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.

mMan running on a track with beer in his hand.

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 Brewing Company

Athletic brewing company non-alcoholic beer.

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.


Clausthaler Non-Alcoholic beer.

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.

Surreal Brewing Company

Surreal Brewing Company non-alcoholic beer.

In terms of IPA options, Surreal pretty much takes the cake, with everything from a Milkshake version to a Red IPA. This is great because the hop-forward beer style tends to be the most aromatic and action-packed in terms of flavor. Those qualities can be great especially for people not immediately drawn to non-alcoholic beer as they can distract from that fact. The Bay Area brand has become the go-to for surfers especially, those who want something refreshing to drink in between wave sets that won’t interfere with the ability to focus and function fully.

Deschutes Brewing Company

Deschutes Non-Alcoholic Irish Dark Beer.

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.

Buy at Deschutes Brewery


Hoplark Sparkling Water can trio.

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.

buy at hoplark

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
These are the best sparkling waters on the market
With all of the fizz and none of the fat, these refreshing bubbles are a great way to hydrate
best sparkling water cocktails fresh spring
Read more
The best non-alcoholic drinks to get you through Dry January
All of the flavor, none of the booze. These are the best non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy throughout January.
Flower Power Mocktail
Read more
New Year’s Eve deserves these pours, some of the best drinks of the year
Need a fine drink for NYE? Look for something from this esteemed list
Grasshopper 2.0 cocktail.

Another year is coming to a close and that's cause for celebration. In a lot of ways, 2022 was a step in the right direction, as we re-embraced a lot of those things we perhaps took for granted pre-pandemic. Regardless, we've made another trip around the sun and our glasses should both be full and raised.

Maybe you're toasting a great year, perhaps just good company. Or, you're getting the last little bit of thirst out of your system before a Dry January. Whatever you're celebrating, you won't be alone. And if we're all saluting 2022, let's do so in style with drinks that match the magnitude of the occasion.

Read more