NA (ABV < 0.5%) beers (2021)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by elNopalero, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,131) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    Hi folks and happy new year!

    There’s an ongoing thread discussing the merits of the 2% beer, and a number of NA selections have come up in that discussion—enough that I think it might be worth a thread of its own.

    My own experience with NA-branded beers is limited, but this year I plan on seeking out some of the more widely distributed craft (or craft-adjacent) selections.

    However, I am a big fan of kvass! And as a style those generally tend to be NA, or close to it.

    So for those of you going dry this month, or taking a break anytime, what are you pouring?
     
  2. beaulabauve

    beaulabauve Devotee (425) Aug 5, 2011 Louisiana

    I would like try some athletic brews. They seem to be highly rated.
     
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  3. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,929) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    My store carries the ipa. The DIPA a “copper” and a “golden” they do not sell well but that’s assuming because they are N/A
     
  4. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,131) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    I've seen more and more advertisements for this company, everywhere. I will say their ad campaign is effective--5/5 for name recognition.
     
  5. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,413) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut
    Society

    In 2019 (Before Times) my wife and I did a tour of many Connecticut breweries picking up donated beer for her charity event. Of course we had to have beer everywhere we went.
    One stop was Athletic. I was leery. I remember sips of old school NA beers (remember Buckler?, as a friend used to say "they named it that because it makes you buckle over").
    I was pleasantly surprised, Athletic does excellent beers. Fast forward and I heard they purchased an old Ballast Point facility in CA and have greatly increased their production. A relative of my wife's had a big health scare. He was craft brew fan #1. Now he only drinks Athletic and is really happy with it and his life.
    A footnote.... When I was at the bar at Athletic enjoying their IPA I could see into the office through a door that was ajar. There on a desk sat two Hill Farmstead bombers.
     
  6. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,220) Oct 11, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Society Trader

    I was pleased with the Lagunitas IPNA, body was thin as expected but the aroma and aftertaste were on point.
     
  7. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,599) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society

    I am a huge fan of Athletic. If you are a subscriber, you can get access to some of their rarer Pilot brews. These tend to be really interesting and tasty one off beers. I drink a great deal of their beer and will continue to do so at least till I get back into better shape. Their brewery in Stratford is very relaxing.

    Weihenstephaner makes an excellent non alcoholic beer that tastes similar to their hefe.

    Brew Dog also has a large spot in my fridge. They are more hit and miss than Athletic but I really enjoy their coffee beer and Elvis AF.

    Good luck to anyone else also doing Dry January.
     
  8. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,599) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society


    I agree 100%. I enjoyed this a lot. I definitely got light west coast ipa.
     
  9. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (573) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Zero Gravity just launched Rescue Club IPA. I haven’t had it but will seek it out. Conehead is my fridge beer, so excited to try their NA offering.
     
  10. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (452) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I was at a tasting "before times" and tried the Athletic stuff. Obviously I was a bit leery from previous experiences with NA beer, but I was leasantly surprised. It's no Tree House or Trillium, but the IPA had a good hop presence, the others I tried were good as well. ||Not on the level of the highest rated breweries, but definitely solid.
     
  11. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (58) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota

    Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis have an excellent helles and amber lager that they sell in six-packs. And because they're NA beers, selling six-pack 12-ounce cans to-go out of their tap room apparently doesn't run a foul of Minnesota's arcane alcohol laws.
     
  12. beer_beer

    beer_beer Devotee (460) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
    Society

    Glad for this thread. Looking forward to learning new and maybe sharing. My "dry January" has lasted three years and is here to stay! Right now I'm in the mood of trying all somewhat easily available NA beers, that is several hundreds, have rated 165.
     
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  13. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,042) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    Ha....was going to start just such a thread myself, and saw this one....cool!
    I did my first "dry January" last year and it went well - lost 16 lbs and kept it off all year....doing it again this year.....I too have been stocking up on the (almost) NA brews, as I do like the taste of beer, but not all the carbs and calories and abv%

    So far, I have the Athletic Run Wild IPA, (solid), Clausthaler original (also very good pils), the Weihenstephaner hefe (excellent), and BrewDog Wake Up Call coffee stout (bit thin, but still good)....I loved the Bitburger NA pils I had last January and will pick up a six of that most likely - also ordered the ABC Cerveza and Coffee stout online today (free shipping on 2 six packs)...I tried several other BrewDog NA beers last Jan and will probably pick up another one again.....looking forward to a healthier start to 2021!
    Cheers!
    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
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  14. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (2,649) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Society Trader

    I've been curious to try this, but apprehensive as I've never cared for regular Lagunitas IPA. Though I have enjoyed other hoppy offerings from them, Hop Stoopid, Sucks, Born Yesterday, etc. Does the flavor and aroma profile of IPNA mirror their flagship IPA?
     
  15. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,599) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society

    I am not usually a list type of guy, but I find this one to be a good jumping off point for someone wanting a variety of non alcoholic beers for a dry January. It came to my inbox the other day and while I might disagree with some of the beers chosen, the list does have several of the better brewers in this style.

    https://www.eatthis.com/best-non-alcoholic-beers/
     
  16. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,220) Oct 11, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Society Trader

    I’ve not had a Lagunitas IPA in a long time to compare. The hop bill for IPNA is Citra, Mosaic, and CTZ. I think the IPA recipe predates Mosaic’s availability (maybe Citra too?), so it’s a good bet IPA and IPNA have different profiles.
     
  17. cwxc818

    cwxc818 Aspirant (279) Mar 12, 2008 Ohio
    Trader

    I really enjoyed Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher. Super fragrant nose and nice taste. Not really a beer, but a good option to keep around.
     
  18. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I wanted to share this article of a tasting of all Athletic Brewing's beers, but specifically this excerpt underlines by me):

    "There’s a “wortiness” to the malt profile that becomes something of a consistent presence in all of these beers—to those who aren’t homebrewers, “wort” is the sugary liquid you have after steeping your grains, before the beer has been fermented. I can see this being a somewhat divisive flavor to drinkers, but if you can acclimate to it here it’s fairly pleasant."

    I highlight this because if someone reading this is new to NA beers and curious to try some, they should be ready to grapple with the worty flavor. It is a unique flavor that sets NA and low-ABV beers apart from other standard styles. It can be challenging at least initially, but no more challenging than flavors like bitter hops, lacto or spontaneous sour, brett, smoked malts, etc. that we accept in beer. How the brewer incorporates this worty flavor into the whole is the interesting part.

    Also, I personally don't think the IPA translates well to NA beer, and I would encourage people to try other NA beer styles before passing judgment on all NA beer. American obsession with IPAs won't serve them well here, IMO.


    Athletic Brewing is getting lots of attention here, which understandable, but I think Ceria Brewing deserves some attention too. https://ceriabrewing.com/ Their Grainwave is a really tasty Belgian wit inspired NA beer.
     
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  19. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,131) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    @Ranbot how would you describe the “wortiness” flavor?

    From my limited NA experience, I’ve noticed a taste akin to honeyed water in several of them—is this the same thing? When present, or dominant, I’ve found it off-putting, although I agree that it can be better incorporated and is no less challenging than other flavors I’ve come to enjoy. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve adjusted to the thin bodied characteristic of a session ipa, and in some cases really enjoyed it (Easy Jack IPA comes to mind here).

    Since these NA beers are force carbonated, what’s to prevent brewers from exploring alternative methods that don’t leave such a dominant flavor profile?
     
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  20. dele

    dele Initiate (93) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    With my wife pregnant, I've been buying a variety of NA beers to keep around the house. Here are some of my recollections:

    Athletic - we've tried the golden ale, IPA, and stout. Unfortunately we've found them disgusting. Maybe we're just having a hard time adjusting to the wort flavor a poster mentioned above, but neither of us has been able to get through an entire can of any of their beers. Each has a really off-putting sweetness that dominates the flavor profile.

    Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher - excellent. More like a hoppy seltzer than a beer, but a great option for a carbonated, tasty, non-alcoholic beverage that's not loaded with sugar.

    Heineken NA - surprisingly decent. We're not fans of regular Heineken, but their NA version is crisp and refreshing without any of the nasty flavors we get from the Athletic beers.

    Weihenstephaner NA - the best of the bunch. Nice flavor and surprisingly good body for an NA beer.

    Overall, though, our assessment has been that NA beers just aren't worth it. It's hard to just enjoy the beers for what they are, instead of thinking about what they're not. My wife would rather have a soda or a mocktail. She's very much looking forward to an Allagash White or two after our baby is born, and she'd rather hold out for that than drink these poor substitutes.

    For NYE we tried a NA sparkling wine called Fre. It was actually pretty good. It was much closer in flavor to a (low end, for sure) real wine than any of the NA beers are to a real beer.
     
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  21. beer_beer

    beer_beer Devotee (460) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
    Society

    I was that much into whisky before quitting I almost didn't remember how beer tastes. So NA beer is kind of the only beer I know. Probably helps :grin:. At least it is that good I have had NA beer as a hobby for three years. Maybe I just feel the "wort" taste is good? Good discussion.
     
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  22. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,410) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Athletic has a huge brand ambassador program as well. Great way to get the name out by people in, errm, athletic communities (cycling, running, hiking, triathlon, etc. etc.)
     
  23. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,410) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    The DIPA 'Freeway'?

    I am curious if this will be a regular on shelves or not. Just earlier last year, this beer would sell out within minutes of being posted online. I just noticed it hit our local shelves this past month. It leaves me wondering if this will be consistently available, or limited-runs. FWIW, their stouts are seasonal. You can't even order their All Out stout online outside of the winter months.

    I had Freeway earlier last year and really enjoyed it. Now that it's available locally, I may go pick up a pack or two.
     
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  24. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,929) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
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    Yea. I was missing a comma. A DIPA, a copper, a golden.
     
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  25. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Meyvn (1,330) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Trader

    I’ll add to the Athletic love-in. Best NA beers I’ve tried by a long mile. They have just begun distribution in Canada, so I expect I will be having there beer more often.
     
  26. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    In the other discussion, I described the wort flavor as: "...It's kind of a raw grain with earthy bitterness different from hops. In some cases it can also have a grape-like flavor, mainly [with] German NA weisse." I could add earthy spiciness to it too. It can vary a lot between beers though.

    Bell's Light-Hearted has a just a touch of this wort flavor, but you probably wouldn't notice unless you had experience with NA beers. In Light-Hearted it comes across like earthy hops and gives a unique flavor profile compared to similar beers. I only bring it up because folks who haven't had an NA beer yet may have had Light-Hearted and dipped their toe into that worty flavor, whether they realized it or not.


    If you're willing to try again Ceria Grainwave is worth a shot. https://na.ceriabrewing.com/ As I mentioned above it's a Belgian wit inspired NA. Grainwave is no a substitute for Allagash White, but it's certainly closer than any of the Athletic beers you tried. The wort flavor [or lack of] is more akin to good German weisse NA, like Weihenstephaner, but leaning to the Belgain wit, of course. I personally think it's good (I currently have some in my fridge even).

    Another interesting thing about Ceria is Keith Villa is one of the company's founders. Keith Villa created, Blue Moon, the most popular "craft" (:wink:) beer [by volume] of all time, so he knows something about making successful beer.
     
    #26 Ranbot, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  27. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,599) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society

    I suspect you will see Freeway more often. They just announced that it is an option for subscriptions.
     
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  28. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,410) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    No problem there. Just wasn't sure if there was another DIPA around.

    That's good to hear. That's been one of my favorite two beers I've had from them.
     
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  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,147) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I honestly haven't gotten the typical NA character in the newer low alcohol beers (Light-Hearted included).

    Seems that not removing the alcohol, just brewing it lower, keeps the "wortiness" in check. At least to my palate.

    I had another Athletic this afternoon and the hop-to-grainy character is really what makes me think of that post-boil/pre-fermentation wort, but the carbonation helps make it drinkable -- unlike the wort! :wink:
     
  30. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I don't have anything to support the conclusion that Light-Hearted has some unfermented wort flavor besides what I think I tasted, and my tastes and thinking could be flawed... it wouldn't be the first time.
     
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  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,147) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Or maybe it's just so light that I'm not perceiving it -- which is good, 'cause I really like Light-Hearted! :slight_smile:
     
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  32. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Meyvn (1,275) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Going dry? Heresy! You can have my beer when you can pry it from my cold dead hands!
    Seriously, I respect anyone who feels a need to quit drinking. Taking a break, health issues, assessing where you are in the whole drinking thing I respect.
    But, just because it's January? That doesn't seem like a good enough reason.
    NA beer? If tastes like real beer, I'd be willing to drink it.
    Cheers
     
    #32 Singlefinpin, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  33. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,147) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Speaking of that carbonation -- someone mentioned that these NA beers are force-carbonated, yet the Athletic Upside Dawn has a very nice, non-artificial looking head that lasts long and leaves great lacing.

    Anyone know for sure if Athletic force-carbs?
     
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  34. Electros

    Electros Poo-Bah (2,382) Feb 20, 2007 Canada (ON)
    Moderator Society Trader

    Last year around this time I did a dry January/February in a bid to give my body a reset and to loose some weight. Over the course of the year I lost 70 lbs. :relieved:

    A new year is upon us and I doing it again... Most N/A beers on the market werent enjoyable at all but then I found Partake Brewing from Toronto, ON, Canada. It was featured on Dragon''s Den (Canada' Sharktank) and decided to give it a try and I was impressed. The IPA/Pale ale very much satisfies a hop lovers craving. Surprisingly the stout nearly tastes like the real deal. Calories/carbs/sugars are all low so for those like myself trying to loose the final pounds to reach my goal Partakes lineup does the trick. They also have a red, blonde, raddlers and fruit flavoured goses. I actually brought cans of the IPA and stout down to my local brewery getting the staff to do a blind taste test which fooled all of them. The brewery own as well as the brewers were very surprised. Partake ships North American wide.

    Cheers all.
     
  35. Electros

    Electros Poo-Bah (2,382) Feb 20, 2007 Canada (ON)
    Moderator Society Trader

    Do you know anywhere in Ontario that sell's it?
     
  36. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Meyvn (1,330) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Trader

    I think it is through online orders directly at the moment.
     
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  37. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Disciple (361) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Another vote for Athletic Run Wild here. However, I am definitely on the hunt for other good NAs, but the retailers I shop typically don't sell singles of NA and I will need to see a decent number of good BA scores before I invest in a 6 pk of something that could turn out to be inferior. I just tried a 6 pk of a low ABV yesterday and it was a fail. I learn slowly, but I do learn.
     
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  38. beer_beer

    beer_beer Devotee (460) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
    Society

    Sorry to hear, not getting singles is a major setback. For me already two of one kind is "many"
     
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  39. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    What beer failed you?

    FWIW, Athletic All Out stout is my favorite NA, followed by Ceria Grainwave.
     
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  40. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Disciple (361) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Firestone Fly Jack. 4%ABV, so not exactly low ABV, but low relative to most IPAs. It was no better than Run Wild NA IPA and had more calories and 4% instead of 0% alcohol. OK, maybe it was about $1-2 cheaper per 6 pack, but not worth the savings. I should have read the BA reviews before buying.