"I used to think all non-alcoholic beers were barely tolerable, like bad industrial macro beer gone wrong. But that's changed. These days, many NA beers are not just good but 'buy them by the case' good. I'd enjoy them on alcohol-free days, but realized I genuinely enjoyed them even on regular drinking nights. Instead of an negroni before a meal or a whiskey to close off the evening, I'd opt for an NA beer. It's become my choice, not just when I'm staying sober, but whenever I'm in the mood for something refreshing." ~ Dave O, Perth
To this, we say, Non-Alcoholic beers aren’t just for those who have chosen to be sober. They're enjoyable no matter what kind of drinker you are.
Whether you're a designated driver, a fitness enthusiast, or simply want a cold brew without the alcohol, non-alcoholic beer has something special in store. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of non-alcoholic beer, exploring its origins, benefits, and flavors, and we'll share our top picks for 2023.
Understanding Non-Alcoholic Beer
Non-alcoholic beer, often referred to as "NA beer," is exactly what it sounds like: a beer with little to no alcohol content. It's brewed using similar ingredients as regular beer, such as malt, hops, water, and yeast, but it undergoes a unique process to remove or reduce the alcohol content significantly.
How is Non-Alcoholic Beer Made?
Non-alcoholic beer is typically brewed in one of two ways:
Reduced Alcohol Content: In this method, regular beer is brewed, and then the alcohol is carefully removed, leaving behind the flavors and aroma. This process allows the beer to maintain its authentic taste.
Limited Fermentation: Some non-alcoholic beers are brewed by halting the fermentation process before it can produce significant alcohol levels. This results in a beer with lower alcohol content from the start.
Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Beer
When carefully crafted, non-alcoholic beer can have all the rich, full-bodied flavors and velvety mouthfeel of the real thing. As well as being delicious, non alcoholic, or low-alcoholic beer, it also packs some pretty impressive health benefits.
Non-alcoholic beer contains a keg-load of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants - including trace amounts of B vitamins, calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and iron. So, what are the benefits of drinking a non-alcoholic brew (or two)?
Health Consciousness: One of the primary reasons people opt for non-alcoholic beer is its very low or zero quantity of alcohol, its low calorie and sugar content. To break that down: non-alcoholic beers and most certainly all the beers stocked at Shift Lanes Drinks are 0.5% ABV (Alcohol by volume) or lower. This is nowhere near to get you drunk. In fact, this can be compared to the amount of alcohol in some ripe fruit.
Generally alcohol contains approximately 56 calories a unit. These are “empty” calories, because they provide no nutritional value. Swap a can of 4.5% ABV beer for an equivalent 0.5% beer and you’ll be saving yourself up to 145 calories from alcohol alone. That’s about the same amount of calories as what you get in six teaspoons of sugar.
Non-alcoholic beers are a guilt-free way to enjoy a cold beverage without compromising on your health goals.
Helps You 'Fit In': Undeniably, we live in a culture where drinking – rather than not drinking – is the norm. There are many social settings where not drinking alcohol can make you feel like an outsider, especially when you’re nursing yet another lime and soda or a juice from the kids menu.
This is where non-alcoholic beer can help. It looks like beer. It smells like beer. It tastes like beer. (Hint: it is beer.) Many venues have limited selections of beer, but thankfully menus are becoming more diverse. Here in WA we find Heaps Normal XPA and Lightning Minds Pale Ale
Hydration: Athletes rejoice because swigging a can of non-alcoholic beer before training might actually be the best thing for your performance. A recent study on male soccer players showed that non-alcoholic beer is a practical, electrolyte sports drink. Drinking around two cans (330ml) of non-alcoholic beer before exercise maintained hydration better than water. We suggest the Molly Rose Strawberry Gose which is light, crisp, and super-refreshing.
Unlike alcoholic beer, which can lead to dehydration, non-alcoholic beer can contribute to your daily fluid intake, making it a suitable choice for active individuals.
We are sharing our top 5 Picks for 2023:
Shelter - Big Splash Pale Ale: With tropical notes and citrus characteristics, this Pale Ale is crushable. Easy-drinking and refreshing.
Garage Project TINY Hazy IPA: One of our most popular beers - specially fermented to give you all the big, juicy hop character you’ve come to expect from a Hazy IPA - just without the alcohol.
Stars Align Non-Alcoholic Stout: If you like the roasted notes of coffee, caramel, dried fruit you're going to like it year-round and appreciate it year-round.
Beneficial Beer Stone Cold Lager: Stone Cold Lager is all about balance, with a crisp and clean taste. It's a crowd-pleaser, making it suitable for gatherings with friends and family.
HOPR The Citra One: OK, so hop water isn't a beer. It's seltzer with hop extracts and other flavors. That doesn't sound appetizing on paper, but it's downright delicious. The hint of beer together with floral notes is just enough to make it more fun than water, or a poorly crafted non-alcoholic beer.
The world of non-alcoholic beer is evolving rapidly, offering a wide array of options to cater to different tastes and preferences. Whether you're looking for a healthier alternative, a designated driver's choice, or simply a refreshing beverage, non-alcoholic beer has something for everyone. Cheers to making your beer-drinking experience all the more enjoyable and inclusive!