Free Wave
Athletic Brewing Co.

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Athletic Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States
Low-Alcohol Beer
Ranked #1
Ranked #13,101
3.96 | pDev: 10.1%
May 09, 2022
Aug 19, 2019
Very Good
Free WaveFree Wave
Notes: Our Free Wave Hazy IPA is meant for the open road. Whether you’re cruising the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible or tracing your way up the coast on your bike, our Free Wave doesn’t cut corners. This mouth watering IPA is loaded with Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops.
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3.5 by njbusa from New Jersey on May 09, 2022
Photo of ATL6245
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by ATL6245 from Georgia

Appearance: Cloudy, orange yellow color. Frothy white head with good retention. No visible carbonation

Aroma: Hop forward citrus notes. Oranges, tangerines and some tropical fruit.

Flavor: Follow aroma. Hoppy with citrus and tropical fruit up front. Aggressive bitterness on the back end that is sticky and lingers.

Mouth Feel: Medium body. High astringency. Has as fairly short finish with lengthy trailing bitterness

Overall: Nice looking beer with a good frothy head exhibiting great retention. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very nice citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Starts out very tasty, but taste is quickly overcome by bitterness that is quit sticky and lingers. This is my fourth different beer by Athletic and have enjoyed the first three. This one was nothing like I expected from a Hazy IPA. It starts out great with the aroma and flavor but I did not enjoy the harshness of the bitterness and how it was sticky on the tongue, lingering well into the aftertaste. This would appeal to those that favor the WC IPA style over the NEIPA/Hazy IPA.

May 01, 2022
4.3 by danrust8 from Iowa on Apr 15, 2022
4.08 by meanmutt from Ohio on Apr 05, 2022
3.92 by TwoTrees from Washington on Apr 05, 2022
4 by ryancl from Minnesota on Apr 02, 2022
4.06 by mdshensky74 from Pennsylvania on Mar 26, 2022
Photo of Rug
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Rug from Massachusetts

Canned 2/24/22

Well, this may be the ultimate “getting a beer mostly just to tick” since this is the highest rated Low Alcohol Beer on BA. That being said, it didn’t stop me from actually ordering 2 different 6 packs from Athletic, just to see if they’re truly making NA beer that can compete with the real thing. Let’s find out

Pours a hazy orange gold with 3 fingers of frothy off white head that slowly fades to a thin cap and leaves nice lacing

This feels unique in the nose as it is very melon driven and sweet. I’m picking up on aromas of sweet cantaloupe, honeydew, bubblegum, doughy malt, orange juice & zest, and grassy hops

The absence of alcohol holds it back a bit in taste, but it really is still quite good. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting tangerine zest, overripe cantaloupe, orange juice, bready malt, and light peppery hops. The swallow brings notes of bready malt, orange zest, peppery hops, honeydew, and a slight metallic twang that lingers, really the only downside

A light medium body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a slick beer. Finishes neutral but not really what you expect for the style

So this definitely shows a divide between it and a full strength NEIPA, but all in all it’s quite good. I wish they found a way to beef up the body a bit more, as that would really elevate an already good beer

Mar 21, 2022
3.96 by D-Duvelicious from Illinois on Mar 12, 2022
4.12 by Wisconsin_IPA_Lover from Wisconsin on Feb 26, 2022
3.5 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Feb 21, 2022
3.94 by BrewsOverHoes from Georgia on Feb 12, 2022
3.36 by TinFang from California on Feb 05, 2022
3.84 by fehrminator from North Carolina on Jan 30, 2022
3.98 by mikerieder from South Dakota on Jan 30, 2022
Photo of Steve_Studnuts
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Steve_Studnuts from Pennsylvania

Canned 1/7/22, so hyper-fresh. She's got a mild haze to her; nothing off-putting. Head hangs out a bit longer than your typical near-beer. Smells of bright citrus, grapefruit in particular. Very nice in that regard. Taste follows, with the requisite doughy flavors. Has more bitterness than what is typically sold as "hazy". It lingers but doesn't burn or offend. I like this far more than most hazies and those have a leg up by virtue of having alcohol in them. *sigh* If only they brought something else to the table like this one does.

Jan 25, 2022
Photo of Rockasaurus
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Rockasaurus

Drank this side by side with a good session hazy and I had great difficulty discerning much difference between the two. This beer isn't just "good for a NA beer", it's flat out good. And now I get to drink a decent beer whenever I damn well feel like it. Breakfast, anyone?

Jan 22, 2022
Photo of Cyclebikes
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3
by Cyclebikes from New Hampshire

Probably one of the more offensive NA beers I've tried. It certainly looks Hazy, not much going on with the smell - but it hints at the offensive aftertaste that tanks the beer. Sort of like boiled sweet onions and cabbage on the finish of both the smell and the taste. Up front, it tastes and feels like it's going to be on the mark for a hazy IPA - but somewhere in the middle it goes south and gives way to this foul flavor. Overall, I guess I would give it a 3 - but it's one of the worse options out there for NA. Right now, Sam Adams "Just the Haze" gets my vote for the most passable NA hazy IPA - and if you're an Athletic Brewing fan (or wanting to give them a try), just stick with their Run Wild IPA and you'll be happier IMHO.

Jan 22, 2022
3.18 by Dave2234 from Minnesota on Jan 22, 2022
Photo of elNopalero
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by elNopalero from California

This pours clear, despite its name. A NA hazy IPA, yet strikingly similar to their NA WC IPA. The hops are present in the bitterness, with a general “hoppy” character that’s lost in the worty-ness that dominates. I'll update this down the road with my review from the NA Tasting weekend.


Can from an October purchase. Revisited through January.

More west coast than hazy. There’s enough lacing to make me think about taking a photo for that thread.

There’s still a bit of a zesty lemony hop note on the nose. It’s bright, if not so fresh. There’s more of a malt backing than I expected, especially for a NA beer. Hoppy presence too. Drying finish. Rollicking carbonation. This could go toe to toe with a number of IPAs I’ve had.

Jan 21, 2022
Photo of ANIMOUL
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by ANIMOUL from Vermont

Poured from a 12 oz can purchased at Shaws. Pours light amber with decent foam head. Retains the foam and lacing reasonably well. Minus the alcohol this is pretty good.

Jan 16, 2022
Photo of tmutzel
4.66/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
by tmutzel from New York

I will now try anything they brew

Jan 14, 2022
Photo of GlenFarclas
4.69/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by GlenFarclas from Connecticut

Honestly, this is probably the pick of the NAs I've had. I just ordered some more as well, happy I did. I mean, I don't know what might be an issue here for anyone. There are no off flavors. The body is excellent. It's hoppy, bitter, and there's a really nice west coasty character on one end, citra I presume does that. And on the other, there's a nice pithy juicy feel. But really, just the body. Oh, I just saw it's ranked one, I thought it was run wild that was rank 1, but alas. This deserves it. Excellent. If you're doing DJ or evening out a Friday night session, or want something malty but still have to head out to get groceries, have some of these on hand. It's excellent.

Jan 08, 2022
Photo of jka_3
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
by jka_3 from Georgia

Really a very drinkable IPA that tastes a lot like its alcoholic counterparts. I was very impressed with it. Definitely better in a glass than straight from the can.

Jan 03, 2022
Photo of RedStickPhil
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by RedStickPhil from New Mexico

I opened this before I saw the na bit. Smells like a beer, looks like a beer, except maybe little feeble with the head. Tastes like a beer, with a finish that would be acceptable for an actual beer.

Dec 21, 2021
3.94 by edthehead from New York on Nov 28, 2021
3.65 by heymikew from California on Nov 25, 2021
Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by dbrauneis from North Carolina

A: Pours a hazy bright medium to dark golden apricot in color with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate bright orange + pale orange + peach + honey colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy white head that quickly reduces to a couple of small to medium sized patches of medium thick film surrounded by a large patch of slightly mottled thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit + citrus/grapefruit pith + citrus/orange zest + tropical/papaya + spicy + slightly dank hops over the top of light to moderate aromas of cracker + grainy malts with a light amount of grainy sweetness.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of cracker + grainy malts with a light amount of grainy sweetness. That is followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit + citrus/grapefruit pith + citrus/orange zest + tropical/papaya + spicy + slightly dank hops which impart a light amount of bitterness which slowly fades away leaving lingering light citrus hop flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp initially with a hint of thin/watery feelings in the finish.

O: Easy to drink with a better than average mouthfeel for an NA beer - not nearly as thin/watery as some of the offerings. Very nice hop presence with a combination of flavors and aromas that work well together. Quite flavorful and aromatic though with obviously less of a malt presence than one normally finds.

Nov 24, 2021
3.5 by atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire on Nov 21, 2021
Photo of Every1sgrudge
3.16/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
by Every1sgrudge from New Jersey

After drinking more of this I edited my initial thoughts. The beer was probably not cool enough to be enjoyable. Looks decently hazy orange, hazy taste, decent mouth feel, nice head and retention. So far tastes the least like an NA beer and I'd buy it again.

Nov 18, 2021
4 by AustinRT from Texas on Nov 16, 2021
3.25 by -Andrew- from Michigan on Nov 09, 2021
Photo of Tucquan
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Tucquan from Pennsylvania

Had this on 2021-11-05 near Pittsburgh, PA from a 12oz canned on 2021-10-05

A - Pretty hazy gold with a 2-finger white head and light lace

S - Mango, peach, citrus, light malt

T - Characteristic sorghum cereal malt that I find in many of the Athletic beers, which I find unique. Peach, pine, mango and respectable/tempered grapefruit bitterness.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. Pleasant and thirst quenching.

O - Very nice. I like it even better than their Run Wild IPA. Worth seeking out.

Nov 05, 2021
4 by Patches826 from Massachusetts on Oct 31, 2021
Photo of illpass78
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by illpass78 from Maine

12 oz can into a sort of kolsh-type glass at Slab in Portland.

Appearance: Hazy orange with a frothy bone-white head that disappears fairly swiftly. Looks like an IPA.

Aroma: Tropical fruit, lemon, maybe wheat, grapefruit.

Taste: Follows nose. Little bite of honey. Lemon and grapefruit. Maybe a touch of mango or some other tropical fruit. Kiwi maybe? Really good.

Mouthfeel: Drinkable. Not overpoweringly bitter. Bitter enough for IPA fans, mild enough for IPA non-fans.

Overall: This is a great effort from this brewery. Really holds up against almost any IPA, booze or nay. Paired this with pizza and it was excellent. Try this!!

Oct 29, 2021
Photo of jlindros
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by jlindros from Massachusetts

Canned 2021/07/10
Pours a frothy 1 finger head with med retention, fair lacing, hazy med orange color

Nose lots of hops, citrus up front, orange zest and pithy, with some spicy and dank musty hop, little Grapefruit and tropical musty papaya like, light cracker malt

Taste more hops, fresh hop with light citrus zest, Grapefruit and pith, little tropical again, a bit spicy and dank late, light bitterness, light cracker malt, big citrus rind late, fair bitterness on dry finish

Mouth is med bod, med to a bit higher frothy carb

Overall petty good, great hop character, light on the malt but enough

Oct 20, 2021
Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
by flagmantho from Washington

Poured from 12oz can into a dimpled mug. Canned 9/9/21, less than a month ago.

Appearance: hazy golden hue with a thick head of frothy ivory foam. Looks like a damn convincing hazy IPA.

Smell: a burst of grapefruit and tropical hop character atop a slightly sweet malty base. The aroma is like no other NA beer I've had.

Taste: tons of grapefruit in the flavor, with a decent, if rather light, malt character. Judged solely as a hazy IPA, it could use some more body and malt backbone; by the standards of NA it's amazing.

Mouthfeel: light body with a good level of carbonation and a decent creaminess. Although not perfect, Athletic seems to do body the best among the NA brands out there.

Overall: an excellent brew. This would be a great go-to for any NA occasion -- or really just any occasion.

Oct 06, 2021
Photo of BBThunderbolt
3.02/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

12oz can (dated 8/18/21) poured into 16oz tulip. Poured a very cloudy orange-yellow color with a half-inch of white head that had moderate retention and light lacing.

The aroma was the typical frooty hop forward of the style with no real malt profile.

Same on the tongue, just frooty hops.

The body was the typical medium-full of the style, smooth, and had a semi-sweet finish.

Drinkability was OK, but nothing exciting.

Overall, just another average murkbomb.

Sep 30, 2021
4.25 by Meddwol from Michigan on Sep 24, 2021
Free Wave from Athletic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 87 ratings