Planning Thread: NA Beer Tasting (Scheduled for Jan 14-16)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by elNopalero, Jan 6, 2022.

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  1. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,367) Oct 14, 2009 California
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    Hi folks!

    I'm taking the reins as host of the upcoming non-alcoholic (< .5% ABV) beer tasting thread, scheduled for the weekend of January 14-16, 2022.

    @Harrison8 and @FBarber are helping me out/encouraging me in this endeavor.

    So we don't clog up the online tasting idea submission thread we've decided to launch this planning thread to get the ball rolling. We'll open the tasting thread closer to go-time.

    Whether you are attempting Dry January, or just drying out during lunchtime, you're invited to join the tasting and explore what's out there now.

    Some things to keep in mind:

    In the US, NA beers are anything <0.5% ABV or lower. Other countries may have more widely available NA options, so feel free to bring those in as well.

    NA beers are listed here under Low Alcohol Beer, a Beer Advocate style, but encompass (or emulate) many styles. And some styles, such as Kvass, have options that would fit as a NA beer.

    For this tasting, as you review the NA beers it might help to compare them to other NA options, versus a "regular" beer. But if you find something that is on par with any full-bodied ABV equivalent that's worth mentioning as well!

    Athletic comes highly recommended.

    You might find NA beers from some of the following as well:
    -WellBeing
    - BrewDog
    - Clausthaler
    - Heinekin 0.0
    -Lagunitas NAIPA
    - Untitled Art
    (Note--this is not an endorsement, just a list.)

    Other suggestions? Questions? Relevant discussion? Use this planning thread to kick around some ideas!

    Whatever the case, I hope you'll join us mid-January to taste, discuss, and evaluate the current state of NA beers!
     
    #1 elNopalero, Jan 6, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,383) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Bah. Gonna have my last Lakefront NA Stein Beer this afternoon and won't be in the neighborhood to get more before 1/14. :confused:

    Might have to look for that Lagunitas.
     
  3. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    Worth mentioning, Notch Brewing has a (or some?) NA options. Another local option for those in the Boston, MA area.

    Having not been able to try any Notch beers, I'm curious how their NA beers are in general.

    Thanks for opening this up, @elNopalero
     
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  4. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,094) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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  5. beer_beer

    beer_beer Zealot (597) Feb 13, 2018 Finland
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    I'm very much mentally with you here! Great timing with dry January and all.
     
  6. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I've had their Pils and New England IPA. I think anyone on here knows, I'm a HUGE Notch fanboy, it's my favorite brewery. Wasn't a huge fan of these, but loved their "Here Comes a Regular" Series (2-3% beers).

    This is one tasting that could actually happen during the week because no one will be hungover!
     
  7. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,861) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
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    Also worth mentioning, Two Roots and Barrel Brothers make some of the tastiest, most like leaded beer NA beers. If you are looking for low carb, NA try exploring Partake and One for the Road--both out of Canada. Thanks for getting this started.
     
  8. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,367) Oct 14, 2009 California
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    Just so happens I found some Barrel Brothers locally. I am looking forward to tasting and reviewing during the next weekend.
     
  9. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,359) Aug 17, 2013 California
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    I’m going to do some searching! Thanks to @elNopalero for leading this one!
     
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  10. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,348) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    I like to participate in these online tastings that are for beer styles/types that I generally do not buy. It is an opportunity for discovery.

    However, to be completely honest, I'm struggling with this one. IDK, maybe it is memories of O'Doul's and Sharp's plus badly-done "session" IPAs.

    If today's brewers are hit and miss to have a decent-tasting IPA in the 4.0-4.5% range, what can I expect in a sub 0.5% IPA? One of our MN brewers has a NA beer they actually name "Hop Water." Really. Doesn't sound inviting to me.

    I'll probably break down and buy one or two, but this is not a category I want to stock up on.

    My instinct says to stay away from hoppy "IPA" styles, but, honestly, IDK really.

    What do you all recommend as the top 2 NA beers? Not brands or breweries, but specific widely available beers?

    Do any MN breweries brew a decent NA beer?
     
  11. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,094) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

  12. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,094) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    @MNAle DM your address and I'll send you one of each of the cans in that UA mix pack. Should get to you before the tasting.
     
  13. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,348) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    I appreciate the offer, but I can buy UA beer locally.

    Out of that sample pack, have you tried any of them before? I can get the Italian Pils and the Juicy here in 6 packs (and also the sample pack).
     
  14. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,094) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    I haven't had any of them, but I preferred the format of 3 cans of 4 styles over a six pack of one style, so I went with that. The beer guy said these are their best sellers along with the Athletic beers, so they seem to at least be popular with the NA crowd.
     
  15. LarryV

    LarryV Poo-Bah (2,920) Jun 13, 2001 Massachusetts
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    I had the Special Effects IPA from Brooklyn and didn't like it - I ended up drain pouring 3 of the 6 cans. Athletic on the other hand was quite good and I've bought that several times. I won't buy the Brooklyn one again though, just tasted weird. So far the Athletic is the best NA beer I've found around here. The UA looks like it has some potential.
     
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  16. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Disciple (368) Apr 9, 2015 California
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    Laginitas' Hop Water is damned good...for water . Never had their N/A beer tho. Come to think of it I've never had any N/A beers. Cheers guys..or not idk
     
  17. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    If you can buy a single of fresh All Out ("Stout") by Athletic, that may be your best bet. Unfortunately, it may only be available in six packs in your area. Whole Foods does occasionally stock NA in the mix six / singles section, FYI.

    Edit: if you can buy Untitled Art, I'd go that route. I hear their NA stuff is popular and noteworthy. I, myself, have yet to try any from them.
     
  18. jonphisher

    jonphisher Meyvn (1,220) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
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    I feel the exact same way on this one but I plan to try and buy at least a single. Best part is it won’t dip into my alcohol limit each week/end, so I figure what could it hurt.

    This is actually the one I was hoping to find, I saw they made a stout and for some reason I figured it would be able to retain more beer aspect than other NA styles. No basis for my guess, just a hunch.
     
  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I was going to suggest the stout from Athletic for @MNAle . It's the best N/A beer in my opinion for the reasons @jonphisher states.

    I'll be totally honest, I've tried MANY others, and they mostly are very mediocre to flat out bad. The flat out bad one's taste like unfermented wort, and they're all thin (even the stout).

    Well, the one thing that "hurts" is they all still have calories, albeit much lower than regular beer.

    However, the caveat with the stout is that it is by far the most calorically dense out of Athletic's line, being 90 calories per can. That was a tough pill to swallow because I found myself thinking I could just have an Amstel Light at 95 calories (I actually don't mind this beer) and actually catch a buzz at 3.5% ABV.

    Also...

    Corona Premier is only 90 calories at 4%
    Miller Lite at 95 calories and 4.2%
    Mich Ultra 95 calories at 4.2%

    ...and so on and so forth.

    I've found these aren't bad because they taste like hops, but also tea, for you tea fans out there. Plus, with the exception of the Chamomile one, they all have caffeine too.

    https://hoplark.com/
     
  20. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    Perspective is funny, and I'm not trying to be combative, but someone in the '21 NA thread expressed the thought that All Out was too thick. Experiences with NA seem to range quite widely. Not sure why.
     
  21. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,861) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
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    As for two beers to set a bar high, my go to widely available NA IPA is Two Roots Straight Drank. It changed my mind about NA IPAs. Weihenstephaner NA is a near clone of their wheat beers. I also don't think you can go wrong with Wellbeing. I like their Victory Wheat as a post lawn work beer.

     
    #21 tigg924, Jan 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
  22. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,861) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
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    I have tried all of them. Of them the best is the Florida Weiss. Nice and juicy, semi-sour. It is the one I have ordered multiple times. All of the others are solid but I think other NA breweries make better versions of the styles. I think Untitled Art's best beer is their Chocolate Milk Stout.

     
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  23. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Really? Like, compared to a regular stout (even a non imperial one)?
     
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  24. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    I can't speak to that, but I don't think there was intent to compare it with the leaded version. They just thought it was too thick.
     
  25. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    Perhaps I need to find Weihenstephaner's NA. I have some Athletic lined up, but wouldn't mind tossing in an import to mix things up.
     
  26. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,861) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
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    I totally 100% agree as I still drink the leaded stuff. I have had that conversation in my head a lot, especially when it comes to carb counting, which has hit a higher importance with me lately. That is what has lead me to Canadian brewers and Brew Dog. They are the breweries that I feel best capture low calorie/carb and still add flavor. One for the Road's No Regrets Marzen is a game changer for me. Tastes like a solid leaded marzen but 27 calories I believe--I think this is about half of what Athletic's--really tasty Octoberfest.

     
  27. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (1,953) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
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    As you might guess, I'm in.
    Need to push out beyond my usual safety zone (Untitled Art) and try a few others again.
    Was not impressed by Wellbeing or Athletic stuff the first few tries, but I'm here, and I'll give it another shot.
    Cheers to all of you on the Dryuary train or at least... trying. :confused:
    Haven't totally cut it all out, but doing better.
     
  28. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,479) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    The best that ive found so far is one that @SFACRKnight put me onto. Intentional IPA from Wellbeing is well balanced and compares with any 'average' IPA. I've had a 4-pack of them that is about 6 months old, so it isn't a one-and-done opinion. My last one was drunk over a period of about an hour or so and I noticed some sourness in the last few sips, so drinking it cold is probably the way to go. It should be easy to find.
    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/50986/457971/
     
  29. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,479) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    Your comment here about All Out makes me wonder if there might be consistency issues with that one. That's the one that is called Extra Dark and is not stout-like at all to me. I thought it felt and tasted like roasted barley water. Inconsistency in brewing, or different taste perspectives? I don't know.
     
  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,054) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Should we not be using the term heavy vs leaded? My stomach turns at the thought of leaded beer. :wink:
     
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,383) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I just found the nutritional info I was looking for on Lakefront's Riverwest Stein NA:
    60 Calories & 12 grams carbs per 12 ounces. Total sugars zero.

    Since this one tastes so good, I was afraid it was going to be carb & sugar heavy*.

    (*leaden? :grin:)
     
  32. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,348) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    @tigg924's comment about the Weihenstephaner NA Hefe got me thinking about perhaps maybe I might consider possibly (wishy-washy enough?) doing a side-by-side of the same / similar style beers NA vs regular from the same brewer (e.g. Untitled Art NA Chocolate Milk Stout & UA Mexican Chocolate Pot De Creme Imperial Stout).

    Bad idea? Unfair to the NA versions?
     
  33. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (6,861) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts
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    I think it is fair. I have done that with Barrel Brothers before. They make NA and leaded versions of several of their beers, Dark Sarcasm and State Sponsored Juicing amongst them. As long as you don't expect the body to be the same, I found it fun to compare and find some of the flavor differences. I think I came out with a split on preferring the alcohol and sans alcohol versions. Dessert stouts in particular can be done really well by NA brewers--Untitled Art excels at this. My experiment certainly gave me an appreciation for the quality of some really well done NA beers.

     
    #33 tigg924, Jan 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
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  34. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,094) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    I think its a great idea - but I also trust you to properly compare the NA v the alcoholic versions of the beer
     
  35. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,479) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    I think it's fair, especially if the NA version comes out tasting pretty similar to its alcoholic partner. We need to know about NA beers like that.
     
  36. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,367) Oct 14, 2009 California
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    I’m not a big fan of dessert stouts but that’s the only NA Untitled Art I’ve seen. I was looking forward to Alvarado Street’s NA Mai Tai IPA drop this week, but it’s a no-show in todays release. I think a side-by-side would make for a fun experiment.
     
  37. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,383) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I'm planning to do this (on my own, not for the tasting) with the Lakefront Riverwest Stein NA -- the story is that it's the same recipe as their standard Riverwest, only with the alcohol removed (I haven't learned their process).

    Based on drinking thru a six of the NA, I think they've come very close to the original.

    @PapaGoose03
     
  38. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,479) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    I don't normally participate in these various tasting threads because I don't analyze tastes very precisely, but I've been getting more involved in trying NA beers so I'll be here for this one. I hope by posting here with my notes from the beers that I'm going to try it will help everyone discover good ones and consider bypassing ones that I don't like. It will be interesting to get different taste perspectives on the same beers, so just because I'm going to try certain ones doesn't mean that no one else should. I've already had multiple cans of 4 of these, so I've already decided which ones that I like and my notes will reflect that.

    Here are the ones that I've accumulated for the tasting (5 IPAs and an Extra Dark):
    [​IMG]
     
  39. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,367) Oct 14, 2009 California
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    @PapaGoose03 nice haul! A question for you & others in the GL/MI forum area--are there any Michigan-based breweries distributing NA beers? Or hoppy NA seltzers, even?
     
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  40. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Champion (854) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
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    Good on your @elNopalero for hosting this. Thank you @FBarber and @Harrison8 for helping to set this up.

    Wish everyone the best. I may check in, but cave season starts on the 13th, which means from the 13th to the 22nd or so I will be underground for ~12 hours a day, and only getting a few hours of sleep each night. May not be on BA at all physically, but I will be here in spirit! Afterward, I intend to read through the thread as I normally do.

    Goodluck everyone!
     
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