Today is day five of sober October, yeah I started a day late. I’m doing well, and haven’t had a sip of alcohol since Saturday. The first time I took a whole month off from drinking was in 2012 in McCarthy, Alaska. There is an event at the Golden Saloon that happens at the end of every season called Last Man Standing, which is a party the bar throws for the whole town to get rid of all perishables, such as food, beer, soft drinks, and NA beer. Everything is free! In 2012 the bar shut down later than usual, in mid-October, and so that was the first time I ever drank non-alcoholic beer. At the time, my options were St. Pauli Girl NA, and O’Doul’s. I tried both. The O’doul’s was alright, it had a bit of a sweet and sour, grainy flavor and not much hops, but I had a couple at the party. The St. Pauli Girl NA was definitely worse. The owner had a hard time getting people to drink the NA beer, so he gave me a 12-pack to take to my cabin. I drank one every night, until they were gone.
Today, I am in Anchorage, and I thought some NA beer might be kind of good. I wasn’t hankering for O’Doul’s, so instead I got a six-pack of Lagunitas IPNA. I have been drinking one per night for the last five days, and I have to say it is better than O’doul’s, or St. Pauli Girl. Today I went to La Bodega and bought a mix pack of other NA beers. Let me tell you, the NA beer market has really expanded since 2012! I had heard that Athletic Brewing Co. made a decent NA beer, so I picked up a few of those, as well as a couple German options and a Sam Adams Hazy NA IPA. I will review both the Lagunitas IPNA and Athletic Brewing Company’s Run Wild IPA today. Next time I will give you a rundown on the other five.
Lagunitas IPNA smells great, just like a regular IPA. It tastes like watered-down beer, but has a pleasant IPA and malt flavor. The beer is clear and light brown, and doesn’t retain any foam like a real IPA should. To me it tastes like the brewers took a bottle of the Waldo’s Special Ale, poured it into a gallon of water, added some caramel coloring, then carbonated, and bottled it into 12 bottles. Overall, I would consider buying it again. It is good, and possibly a decent alternative to real IPA when one is trying to stay away from alcohol.
Athletic Brewing Co’s Run Wild IPA has a copper color, and beautiful foam that stays around for a long time. The flavor is weird, not really like an IPA. It reminds me more of an O’Doul’s. It has a nice body to it, and the mouthfeel is spot on. The smell is grainy, and a bit like smelling malt extract straight from the barrel. It only has a hint of hops. There is a pronounced bitterness after the sour grainy flavor dissipates. As it warms up, the weird sour grain flavor gets stronger. But, if you want to look like you are drinking IPA, it fits the bill perfectly. And I would drink it again, especially during sober October.
Next week I will review a few more of these beers, and let you know which one is the best. So far Lagunitas IPNA is the best NA beer I have had. I know the Germans like to drink a bunch of NA beer, so maybe they make something decent. NA beer has got to be better for you than sugary sodas, and more tasty than drinking sparkling waters.
Cheers to sober October! I hope you are having a good time, whether participating, or not!