Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer: Yea or Nay?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by NeroFiddled, Jun 12, 2019.


Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer?

  1. Yea

    124 vote(s)
  2. Nay

    101 vote(s)
  1. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,711) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Someone asked me about non-alcoholic craft beer this week and I had to look it up. There are at least 5 breweries producing them (WellBeing Brewing, Bravus Brewing Co., Athletic Brewing Co., Partake Brewing, and Surreal Brewing Co.) but I've only had a few samples and I don't even remember where they were from. I though they were OK but in the end I feel that I prefer plain NA - O'Doul's or something like that. What's your take?

    BTW, here's an article about Athletic just to share it...
  2. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,154) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Nay to the concept. I look to craft beer for more, not less.
  3. cser

    cser Initiate (51) Feb 12, 2015 Pennsylvania

  4. xKURTx

    xKURTx Initiate (27) Jun 3, 2019 Nebraska

    It's not for me, but I guess there must be a market for it?

    I'm an avid cyclist, and many long group rides and/or more casual races are celebrated with beers after, but the folks I know who don't drink have never expressed a desire to have an NA beer instead of standard soft drinks.
    DrOfGolf, Joe13, Corkykab and 2 others like this.
  5. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,551) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Must admit I have yet to try one of these of any kind, old school like O'Douls, nor any new attempts like Athletic in link above

    For those here who drink them: Do the brewers try to replace the taste of alcohol by using other flavors that taste similar? Do they try to cover up the lack of alcohol taste somehow? How close to actual beer taste do they achieve?
    BuffaloBill12 and dcotom like this.
  6. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,129) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Nay. Alcohol is an integral part of the process and the experience. That said, O'Doul's Amber is a pretty good medium for boiling bratwurst.
  7. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,592) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Yay. I actually like them. Not as a beer substitute, but as something else entirely. They're a bit like drinking a Grape Nuts soda with hops tossed in. Very sweet and the hops almost have a dry hopped note to them.
    They scratch a little bit of the beer itch (especially if I'm driving), though.
    Never actually had O'Doul's or one of the ones from Miller Coors, but I've enjoyed the German ones I've had.
  8. BrewmanCapote

    BrewmanCapote Aspirant (250) Feb 3, 2013 Illinois

  9. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,043) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    As a retailer, I say Yes! My NA sales overall have been trending up mostly due to older drinkers who are switching to NA for health reasons, but there are younger drinkers who are buying it as well. BTW @NeroFiddled , you can add Schmohz 120 to the list.
  10. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,636) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Hard pass for me. When I crave a beer I want a beer. I assume for some they would enjoy this so that is cool, if there is a market go for it. Just not my thing.
    WadeBridgman and dcotom like this.
  11. hopsputin

    hopsputin Poo-Bah (1,797) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    If the taste is the same then that’d be a yay for me. They could have a place for me....if I’m somewhere I had to drive far too, have to wake up early the next morning, etc
    Bitterbill likes this.
  12. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Champion (868) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Nay. When I got off the sauce for eight years to get my life in order, I tried O'Doul's out of curiosity and found it unsatisfying and irritating.
  13. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,566) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    Bitterbill, Ranbot and eppCOS like this.
  14. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (163) Oct 6, 2004 California

    If there's a market for it...go for it, I guess.

    Personally I have no interest. If I want beer, I'll have beer. If I want something w/o alcohol, I'll just have lemonade or fizzy water or something like that.

    edit - I do think the momentary boomlet in NA beers is nothing more than a momentary thing, and is being swept along by the hard-sparking water/hard kombucha trend. People are just looking for something different...which I think also spells impending concerns for beers-that-don't-taste-like-beers, but that's a discussion for another thread.
    DrOfGolf and Gary6R like this.
  15. eppCOS

    eppCOS Champion (895) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Just have a seltzer for Shiva's sake.
    But N/A beers taste like ass.
    It's a placebo, nothing else.
    DrumKid003 and Claude-Irishman like this.
  16. JediMasterLenin

    JediMasterLenin Initiate (60) Dec 25, 2018 District of Columbia

    I didn't care about NA beer, but then I got samples of Heineken 0.0 which does taste just like Heineken. I haven't bought any, but It's quite nice on a non-drinking day.

    I guess that's a yae.
  17. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,283) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I've had an IPA from one of the producers in @NeroFiddled 's post. Just going with initial impressions, I would easily pick a Heineken 0.0 or the Lagunitas hop seltzer over it... and I'd easily pick a regular Heineken or cheaper seltzer respectively over those two. So NA "craft" is really low in the hierarchy so far.
  18. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,636) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Exactly, if I cannot drink or don't want to drink I am not reaching for a beer product I will just have a coffee or water, etc.
    DrOfGolf, Rocktire and jimmyfishkin like this.
  19. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Even though I don't see myself getting them too often, I can see them serving a purpose. If the flavors improve, I can see going for one about as often as I would a Sanbitter (like if I had to drive or something. )
  20. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,636) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    One thing that jumped at me with this thread is the discussion that was held in another thread about do people drink beer for the taste or for the effect. I argued in that thread that I drink for the taste and was bombarded with "that is just not accurate since its the effect we subconsciously seek".
    With that said then how on earth is there a market for a product that tastes like beer but no effect? Seems like maybe people do drink for the taste otherwise would NA beer exist? Anyway just interesting since that thread was pretty heated and now this popped, seems like maybe that article/study sort of missed something after all.:thinking_face:
    DrOfGolf, beertunes and beer_beer like this.
  21. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,415) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Question: For states that have a "sin" tax at the cash register on alcoholic beverages, is NA beer exempt from that tax?
  22. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (202) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I don't drink many beers over 6% ABV at all. I enjoy an IPA or stout or barleywine over that occasionally but when I do I don't really enjoy them any more.

    In my home brewing I've been working on brewing lower and lower ABV beers and still getting good flavor and body off of them. I've almost exclusively brewed ~3% English style ales for the past 2 years or so.

    In the last few weeks I've bought a number of the new NA options now that I found out that our Specs and Total Wine carry them.

    I first tried the Wellbeing Amber and it was surprisingly enjoyable.

    Then I bought the Bravus IPA and a Surreal Porter. I did not like either of those beers. The porter initially wasn't all that bad but it has a balance problem. The issue was that I then drank it with food which gutted any pleasant flavor in the beer and just left a utterly foul tasting liquid.

    But then I bought the Athletic Upside Dawn golden ale and I like it more than any of the options I've listed so far. It tastes generally like normal beer.

    I also got a tasting cup of the Heineken 0.0 at TW and I agree that it tasted just like Heineken but more watery.

    There are more German NA beers than there were when I was looking into them a few years ago so I may need to try those as well.

    I like drinking beer for the flavor. I don't like alcohol so I'd welcome adding NA beers to my routine.
    LuskusDelph, TongoRad, JimKal and 2 others like this.
  23. hoagzzz

    hoagzzz Initiate (184) Feb 28, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Back in the day my two buddies were doing a dry February together and they went halfsies on a case of Buckler which was not cheap! After a couple pops they finally said WTF are we doing spending money on this shit if we are not drinking??? PS they lasted about two weeks and mutually agreed to end the madness.
  24. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,445) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    A Minnesota take on the topic:

    The Brewer’s Dilemma: Are hard seltzer and NA a trend or the future of the industry?

    From the article:
    NeroFiddled and jasonmason like this.
  25. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (858) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I'm a yes in the poll.

    Regarding Heineken 0.0, I kinda like it, for what it is, and I've bought it several times over the last year. Last year on vacation in Germany I got a Paulaner Alkoholfrei Hefeweizen and I was pleasantly surprised. It's comparable to the regular version and far better than drinking water or seltzer; or risking a DUI in a foreign country for that matter (I had to drive afterward).

    FYI, we have discussed NA beer before:
    It's been a while though, and the poll here is a nice touch. There were two articles in that thread that I'll link again here in case they are relevant to anyone.
    NPR on the rise of NA beer in the US and Europe:
    ^ I am curious if there is any indication today that the industry predictions in 2017 of NA beer growth are correct.

    Beer Advocate wrote about NA beer here: here:

  26. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (202) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    So you take a hard pass on the concept of NA beers because you when you crave beers then you want a beer but then you get offended when someone says that you are drinking beer for something other than it's flavor.

    It seems to be contradictory to me.

    I can say that I drink beer for the flavor because I am actively open to enjoying beverages that have the same flavor as beer without the alcohol effects.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  27. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,357) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I've been rather outspoken against this in the past, but my opinion has changed - for this next marathon training cycle, I plan to replace beer with its NA equivalent for a time. I plan to order the various styles from Athletic.

    I switched to O'Doul's for a time on this last training cycle and saw improvements in sleep pattern. Being as this cycle will include hot weather, hydration will be crucial, meaning drinking craft beer will have a double negative impact - sleep pattern changes and dehydration - both of which reduce recovery time and ability and impact day-to-day performance.

    Beyond my serious months of training, I don't see myself ordering much, if any, NA craft beer.
  28. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,636) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    No I pass on NA beer because I don't drink daily, when I do drink I reach for a regular beer. For my needs it does not fit. Like I indicated above, for others it may.

    I mentioned the other thread because I stood firm on why I drink. Its because I love the taste. For me drinking is for enjoyment now, not to get drunk. I am past my days of hard partying, I did that for a long long time. I now drink for fun, for the exploration of new flavors, etc.

    I don't get offended at all, if I said I was offended please link my words so you can correct me and tell me what I said. My words are above and they are pretty clear and non-offensive?

    If you actually understood my post then you would realize that I actually support NA beer. Why you ask, because like I said in another thread I drink for the taste. Since NA beer only has taste going for it then I probably would support its existence right? I mentioned the other thread because of what people said. The entire NA beer market and the massive sums of money spent on research actually indicates that people drink this stuff for the flavor, right? Weather or not I consume it is irrelevant because like many things in life that others like I actually don't have a need for this product, not because I hate the idea because I have zero need for it.
    #28 AZBeerDude72, Jun 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Rastersoft likes this.
  29. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,050) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    For health reasons, I imagine that non-alcoholic “Craft Beer” styles will begin to increase in number, along with growing that market segment overall.

    I’m all for it!
  30. beer_beer

    beer_beer Aspirant (227) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

  31. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Zealot (579) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    Fine by me. I drink beer because it tastes good, not to get drunk (that's just a happy accident/side effect). So if and when a NA beer comes around that doesn't taste like garbage truck water I'm all for it.
  32. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (887) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Non-alcoholic beer = washing your hands wearing rubber gloves!
    DrumKid003 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  33. beer_beer

    beer_beer Aspirant (227) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    Must crack one now, not exactly craft though, but Krombacher Weizen.
    Chaz likes this.
  34. muck1979

    muck1979 Initiate (63) Jul 3, 2005 Minnesota

    I think Clausthaler was pretty good for what it's worth. If there were flavorful NA craft beer options I would certainly welcome them for workday lunches or anytime I wanted put back quite a few beers but still be able to drive or otherwise function afterward.
    LuskusDelph and NeroFiddled like this.
  35. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,314) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    No interest in it. Unlike those who say they drink beer because off its flavors, and I do too, I also like the effects of alcohol. I drink a beer, relax, and enjoy my buzz. Sue me.
    DrumKid003, Vitacca, Roguer and 2 others like this.
  36. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,636) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I drink for the taste but I am not mad about the buzz as a side bonus I just don't seek it a lot these days. At this point in life with work, kids and non-stop running around town the buzz limits me a lot, hard to do things or drive after a few tall boys. When on vacation or such all in, but most days a good tasting beer without being cranked is just fine with me.
  37. jcos

    jcos Devotee (476) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    I have no interest. If others are interested and want to buy it, more power to them!
  38. tjhuot

    tjhuot Initiate (110) Jul 27, 2007 Maryland

    I have never had a non alcoholic beer that tasted anything like a beer I would like.
  39. doublebarreledB

    doublebarreledB Initiate (67) Mar 25, 2013 Kentucky

    Personally, no interest...

    but voting yes because my pregnant wife has requested it more than a few times.

    the NA "wine" was just juice.
    Chaz likes this.
  40. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,445) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Let me put it this way, I drink beer because I like the taste of beer vs wine, whiskey, rum, various cocktails, et al. Sometimes, I choose one of those other choices, but most of the time, it will be beer.

    If I want a NA beverage, and I don't want the sugar-sweet of soft drinks, I'll likely choose tea, but if there was a good-tasting NA beer available, I may choose that as well.

    But, I'm unlikely to choose NA beer over "normal" beer unless I am looking for NA specifically.

    IDK if that rambling makes any sense...
    Roguer, pat61, Ranbot and 3 others like this.