The Top Non-Alcoholic Beers To Try For Hangover-Free Mornings

While non-alcoholic beers aren't a new creation, the first being invented in the 1970s, you've likely noticed an uptick in their range and availability. A study done by Morning Consult in 2022, shows that campaigns such as Dry January resulted in 30% of Americans reducing their alcohol intake over a month. And also in 2022, consumption of lower-alcohol beverages jumped 20%, according to a study by IRi Worldwide. There are several reasons for the increase in sobriety, including a focus on better mental and physical health, particularly by younger people who drink much less on average than the older generations, as research by Berenberg suggests (via Insider). The industry is only expected to grow, and beer is the drink predicted to experience the biggest boom.

Key industry players like Guinness and Heineken have wasted no time in ramping up the production and quality of their non-alcoholic beer offerings, but the craft brewers have also made sure to get a piece of the pie. The industry as a whole is adapting to the new trend in a big way, with some start-ups opting to solely produce non-alcoholic beers.

Additionally, the brewing processes for creating these beers are becoming more advanced. Once, brewers had to dilute their beer, boil off the alcohol, or arrest fermentation to make non-alcoholic beer, methods that had a noticeable impact on the end product. New methods, however, are resulting in non-alcoholic beers that only those with the most sensitive palates can distinguish from regular beer.  

Athletic - Closer By The Mile 0.5%

First up, we have a delicious New England-style IPA from Athletic Brewing, a beer producer that's been making huge waves in the beer industry since its inception in 2017. Athletic is the first brewer on this list — but not the last — that is dedicated solely to non-alcoholic beers. The company started as the brainchild of ultramarathon runner, Bill Shufelt, who after giving up alcohol in 2013, was tired of being let down by non-alcoholic drink offerings. After seeking out an award-winning brewer, John Walker, the two created their first brewery together in Stratford, Connecticut, to make healthy non-alcoholic beers that taste just like the "real" thing. They claim you can even enjoy one after a hard workout.

To date, Athletic's non-alcoholic beers have won a plethora of awards across a range of styles, and one of their most highly acclaimed is a creation called Closer By The Mile. First brewed specifically for the Pan-Mass Challenge – a charity bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer treatment and research — Closer By The Mile has shown just how much flavor it's possible to retain in a non-alcoholic beer. As a hop-forward New England-style IPA, it has citrus notes including peach and apricot, that results in a clean, crisp finish. Closer By The Mile is a beer that's high on haze, so you get a juicy, full-bodied mouthfeel with just the right amount of bitterness.

Industrial Arts Brewing - Safety Glasses Pils 0.5%

Located in New York's Hudson Valley, Industrial Arts Brewing is an outfit typically associated with big juicy hop bombs, many of which are on the higher end of the ABV scale. However, their Safety Glasses series proves that they're more than capable of brewing superb beers with lower alcohol content. What's more, the Safety Glasses Pils demonstrates that the IPA experts can also produce a fantastic European-style lager.

Utilizing classic European noble hops, such as Saaz, Mittelfrüh, and Hallertau for their famous earthy, floral notes with a hint of spice, the Safety Glasses Pils is almost indistinguishable from a full-strength lager you might find in the beer gardens of Germany or the Czech Republic. It has a touch of extra malt sweetness as a result of the non-alcoholic brewing process where some sugars in the wort remain unfermented by the yeast, but it's not overpowering as is the case with some alternative NA lagers.

The Safety Glasses Pils has a dry and crisp mouthfeel as is expected from a proper pilsner, and there are hints of citrusy lemon on the nose and palate. Ultimately, there are few better NA lagers on the market than this one, especially if you're looking to buy your beer from an authentic craft brewer that focuses on quality and sustainability throughout their entire brewing process.

Samuel Adams - Just The Haze 0.5%

The flagship brand of the Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams is a name that's been synonymous with American craft beer since they started producing their famous Boston Lager all the way back in 1984. In fact, despite not being America's oldest craft brewer, many would argue that Sam Adams is the founding father of the craft beer scene in the United States, introducing millions of Americans to a different — and tastier — way of drinking beer.

With that in mind, it stands to reason that Sam Adams would not only produce a non-alcoholic beer to take advantage of drinking trends but they wouldn't release a product they didn't consider perfect. Just The Haze, a classic IPA, is the result of two years of meticulous research and development that's produced a hazy and juicy NA beer that only the most discerning beer drinker could tell isn't regular strength. It's full-bodied with a U.S. hop profile consisting of Citra, Mosaic, Sabro, and Cascade  that gives an upfront aroma of lime, tangerine, and grapefruit, followed by tropical notes of pineapple, passion fruit, and guava, with a low bitterness. It has a thinner body that's pretty consistent with non-alcoholic beers, but the big flavors go a long way toward making up for it, as do the wheat and oats in the malt bill.

Deschutes - Black Butte Non-Alcoholic 0.5%

Like Samuel Adams, Deschutes has been putting out excellent beers since the 1980s and is now one of the country's biggest craft brewers. Based in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes has gone from strength to strength over the years, developing an impressive beer range that covers everything from IPAs and stouts to pilsners and sour beers. However, one of their most beloved beverages is the Black Butte Porter, a delicious black beer that gets its name from Oregon's famous extinct volcano situated in the center of the state.

Given Black Butte Porter's popularity, it makes sense that Deschutes would attempt to create a non-alcoholic version, especially considering dark beers are often overlooked in favor of IPAs and lagers. The resulting beer is a masterclass in non-alcoholic brewing, and Black Butte Non-Alcoholic retains all of the deep, bold flavors one comes to expect from a great dark beer. The rich coffee and chocolate notes are still there with hints of toffee and bread crust, along with a balanced, creamy mouthfeel and a roasty finish.

Brewdog - Nanny State 0.5%

Founded in 2007 by James Watt and Martin Dickie in a garage in Aberdeen, Scotland, Brewdog was arguably the first brewery to start producing West Coast American-style craft beers on a large scale in the United Kingdom. However, like many innovators, Brewdog found themselves butting heads with traditional brewers and beer drinkers when they began subverting a centuries-old industry. When they first launched their limited edition 18.2% Tokyo* — a whopper of an American-style Imperial Stout — the mass media lost their collective minds over the U.K'.s strongest-ever beer, claiming it was irresponsible to sell such a high-strength product.

For those familiar with Brewdog, you'll know they're not ones to shy away from controversy, usually deciding to face it head-on, so they created Nanny State, a non-alcoholic beer with a name that poked fun at those who feared high-ABV beers were the downfall of society. Nanny State — an American-style IPA, has been tweaked over the years, starting out in 2009 with an ABV of 1.1% and a bitterness that many would describe as overkill, before being brought down to 0.5% in 2010 with a more balanced recipe. A huge amount of American hops do the heavy lifting here, with pine and citrus taking center stage, letting just a hint of toasty malt through.

Beavertown - Lazer Crush 0.3%

Based out of Tottenham in London, U.K., Beavertown was started in 2011 as the brainchild of Logan Plant, the son of Led Zeppelin's famous frontman, Robert Plant. The brewery's popularity was kicked off thanks to their easily quaffable Neck Oil Session IPA and Gamma Ray American Pale, and it wasn't long before industry giants, Heineken bought a sizable stake in the company. In 2022, Heineken bought the controlling stake in Beavertown and Plant left them with full oversight of the brewery's operations. Some craft beer purists weren't too happy about one of the monolithic breweries snatching up yet another independent brewer, but so far there's been no discernible drop in quality.

While Beavertown's range is tighter than some of its competitors, tending to stick solely to producing IPAs, this specialization has resulted in them creating a low-alcohol IPA that can go toe to toe with plenty of alcoholic ales thanks to a unique brewing process. Instead of limiting the amount of malt in the recipe or removing alcohol from the beer after fermentation, Lazer Crush Beavertown uses a special yeast strain that fully ferments all of the malt without producing alcohol as a byproduct. After adding big American hops like Citra, Azacca, and Amarillo to the mix, the result is truly classic IPA with grapefruit bitterness, citrus and tropical aromas, and a touch of fresh pine.

Southern Grist Brewing Company - Parallel: Passion Fruit & Raspberry 0.5%

When most folks think of traditional American craft brewing, they usually associate it with the north of the country, with states like Vermont, Massachusetts, and Oregon. Historically, southern states have been more strongly linked to spirits like whiskey; however, it would be a mistake to overlook some of the genius brewing happening further south in the country. In this case, we're talking specifically about the mad brewing scientists of Southern Grist down in Nashville, Tennessee.

While Southern Grist can and does produce stellar versions of more familiar beer styles like IPAs and lagers, their true talent lies in creating what could best be described as dessert beers, loaded with adjuncts and inspired by cakes, candy, pastries, and even breakfast cereals. With an ever-changing product line-up, it's not uncommon to find beers with names like Mango Upside Down Cake IPA and Key Lime Pie Gose.

When it comes to its non-alcoholic offerings, Southern Grist has truly flexed their experimental powers, resulting in beers like Parallel: Passion Fruit & Raspberry. Using a sour ale as a base, they've added heaps of real fruit puree and a touch of lactose to create an unbelievably refreshing tropical and tart beverage that will satisfy a sweet tooth without being cloying or sickly.

Mash Gang - Rad 0.5%

Like Athletic Brewing Company, Mash Gang is a brewery that solely makes low and non-alcoholic beers; however, this time on the other side of the Atlantic in London, U.K. The idea to start a dry brewery came to a group of friends during the U.K.'s first COVID-19 lockdown, and in the few years since Mash Gang has managed to spread up and down the country.

Mash Gang has a truly impressive range of beers on tap, including stouts, various styles of IPA, and lagers. They've even partnered with the Edinburgh-based sour beer superstars, Vault City, to develop non-alcoholic versions of VC classics. It's hard to pick the best Mash Gang beer as the quality is objectively excellent across the board; however, the Rad might just claim the title.

Rad came about when Mash Gang decided to create their own version of a Radler, a traditional German version of a shandy, consisting of a fifty-fifty mix of beer and lemonade. In German, the word radler translates to "cyclist," as it was first adopted by thirsty bike riders who still liked a beer while they exercised. Ever the ones to change things up, Mash Gang's twist involves a hazy IPA made from U.S. and Australian hops, with added mango and passion fruit juice, and a hint of chili. While Rad might be a far cry from a traditional Radler, it certainly hits the thirst-quenching spot of its ancestor.

WellBeing Brewery - Heavenly Body Golden Wheat 0.5%

WellBeing Brewery is another producer that specializes solely in non-alcoholic beers. When non-drinker Jeff Stevens saw the craft beer industry booming, he felt left out thanks to his limited range of options. In 2017, Stevens and his wife set out to change this by not only creating excellent non-alcoholic beers but also to try and remove the stigma that's associated with people deciding to remain sober.

WellBeing's beer range isn't massive, but they do have a handful of interesting styles, like a dark amber or a vanilla cream ale. Interestingly, one of WellBeing's best beers also happens to be the first they ever produced. Heavenly Body Golden Wheat — an American-style wheat beer – came from a recipe that won WellBeing accolades at the Great American Beer Festival and has been praised by non-alcoholics ever since.

The wheat notes are clean, with American and German hops used to balance out the lighter malt notes citrus — notably, pithy grapefruit that gives it a flavor profile not unlike Blue Moon. While the malt character is clearly that of a traditional wheat beer, like a hefeweizen, it lacks the yeast character of banana and clove which wheat beer purists may miss. There's moderate carbonation, and while you can tell Heavenly Body is on the thin side, it's still nice and crisp without much residual sweetness sneaking through. Overall, it's definitely a brew that can be consumed for refreshment as well as for taste.

Varvar Brew - Zero Stress 0.5%

Varvar Brew was founded back in 2015 and has been turning out a huge range of beer styles ever since, including big imperial stouts, creamy milkshake IPAs, and super crisp lagers. However, while it's still possible to get your hands on Varvar beers, they're becoming increasingly hard to come by. The reason is, Varvar is based in Kyiv, Ukraine, a city that –  at the time of writing — is in the midst of a brutal war. For the time being, Varvar's brewing has ceased; however, the company was fortunate enough to rescue around 45,000 pints of beer that they were able to export via a U.K,-based distributor, Euroboozer. In return, not only did Euroboozer donate £22,000 ($28,229) of their own profits to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, but many of the end-retailers did the same, with the proceeds going towards things like food and medicine.

As for the beer itself, Zero Stress is a non-alcoholic pale ale full of grapefruit and pine notes with a subtle, flowery nose. While light-bodied, there's still plenty of malt that shines though, and the carbonation isn't overpowering. What's more, if you purchase Varvar Brew's beer, there's a high likelihood that you'll also be contributing to much-needed civilian relief efforts in a country that's struggling to keep its population safe from harm.