In a normal year, anyone who decides to remain sober (for a whole range of very legitimate reasons) might be faced with a Holiday-season conundrum: What to drink while others are tying one on? But due to COVID, the social calendar is light this year. So that’s a non-issue.
You can drink tea on Zoom, no one will notice.
That said, plenty of sober folks love the taste of beer without wanting the effects of the alcohol. And good news for them, the non-alcoholic beer industry is booming. And while yellow, fizzy NA beers from giant macro brewers still abound, craft beer has begun to embrace alcohol-free brews over the past few years.
To help you navigate the exciting world of non-alcoholic brews, we decided to list eight of our favorites as we head into the holidays (and the traditional beers they most resemble).
Non-alcoholic stout is a tall order. Partake tackled the task and while the warming alcohol flavor of many stouts is missing, the flavors aren’t. It’s full of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and sweet caramel flavors that are so pronounced you might continue drinking this beer well into spring.
Most Resembles: Beamish Stout
Brooklyn Special Effects
Brooklyn Brewing is one of the OG’s in the world of craft brewing so it’s no surprise the iconic brewery decided to try its hand at a NA beer. Special Effects definitely doesn’t disappoint with its dry-hopped, fresh, resinous, and crisp flavors.
It’s light, clean, and perfect for a sunny-yet-chilly late-fall day.
Most Resembles: Harpoon Rec League
BrewDog Nanny State
We know the lads at Scotland’s BrewDog like to make jokes with their beer names, but this NA bottle speaks for itself (and despite the name). This is a beer for pale ale fans hoping to take a month or two off from high octane hop bombs. Though it’s devoid of alcohol, it’s filled with bitter, spicy, citrusy hops.
Most Resembles: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Athletic Smooth Ascent
With a name like Athletic, you can probably guess that this beer is designed for athletes who aren’t trying to run a 5K or play slow-pitch softball with a mid-day buzz. While it’s well known for its lighter beers, you’d be remiss if you didn’t try Smooth Ascent, the brewery’s chocolate and coffee-filled stout that actually contains about half the caffeine of a cup of joe.
Most Resembles: Narragansett Coffee Milk Stout
If you enjoy the taste of Heineken, but you’re not trying to fall asleep after a few beers at lunch, Heineken 0.0 is for you. While many larger brands have launched beers that barely resemble their alcohol-filled counterparts, Heineken 0.0 tastes identical to regular Heineken with none of the booze.
Most Resembles: Heineken
Hairless Dog Black Ale
Hairless Dog’s “darkest ale” is its Black Ale. While it doesn’t contain any alcohol, it’s high in flavor with roasted malt and subtle bitter coffee flavors along with velvety chocolate richness to finish. To add to that, it has a nice hop presence that ties everything together in a neat, little bow.
Most Resembles: Schlafly Black Lager
Surreal 17 Mile Porter
November is a great month for porters. If you’re staying sober but want to try one, opt for a 17 Mile Porter from Surreal instead. While it contains no alcohol, it’s full of bitter espresso, rich dark chocolate, and resinous hop flavors.
Most Resembles: Anchor Porter