In my last blog post I explained why I’m currently drinking NA beers, and reviewed three that I had tried so far. So, today I’ll be reviewing the rest.
We are in week 3 of sober October, and I have to say that we’ve been pretty good. I didn’t have any beer at the Alaska Craft Brew Festival, but I did have some at the Great Northern Brewers Club meeting. Why would I go to a beer festival when I’m not drinking? I had a booth at the event to sell my beer art. Anyway, I am back on track and have just over a week left, and intend to finish strong. It’s been great — I feel good, physically, and about myself too. I always tell people if they slip up on a detox from drinking to take heart and get back on the wagon. Your body won’t even notice the day you cheated on your discipline, but going back to old, bad habits is definitely going to hit you in the liver.
So, I left off last time talking about Non-Alcoholic, or NA beer options. I went into La Bodega and bought some beers to review: Athletic Light, Bitburger 0.0, Weihenstephaner Non-Alcoholic, Athletic Upside Dawn Golden, and Samuel Adams Just the Haze Non-Alcoholic Hazy IPA.
I can’t recommend the Athletic brand, all three I’ve tried have that bad flavor of cooked alcohol in the beer. And same with the Bitburger 0.0. I was surprised, as Germans love their NA beers, and I would have thought Bitburger would have come through for me. I wanted something crisp and clean, but the beer Bitburger offered can’t hold up to the alcohol removal process. I wonder why more breweries even try to make a beer and then remove the alcohol. Why not just make a malt and hop flavored soda? It seems to me that a beer-flavored drink would be easier to make than removing the alcohol. The Russians have been enjoying Kvas for hundreds of years, and it has very little alcohol to begin with. I actually like drinking carbonated fruit juice beverages like IZZE and Blue Monkey more than an NA beer. I normally cut them with sparkling water to extend the goodness, and to tone down the super sweet flavor of straight juice.
The NA beers I can recommend are the Weihenstephaner, and the Sam Adams Just the Haze. Germany comes through with the Weihenstephaner, it is a hefeweizen style of brew and has that estery quality that a good German weissbier should have. Hazy and golden yellow with an aroma of cloves and banana. The mouthfeel is full bodied like a hefe, and the flavor is just like the aroma. If you love German wheat beers and can’t drink alcohol, this NA beer is a good choice for you.
The Sam Adams not only won Gold at GABF for NA beer this year, it is actually really good! Also hazy and yellow, this NA beer provides a nice aroma of clean aroma hops. The mouthfeel is slightly more watery than I would have liked, but the flavor makes up for it. They must have an expensive machine for taking the alcohol out of the beer, because if I didn’t know any better, I would call it a session IPA. And session you can, since it has less than .05% alcohol content. You would have to drink 100 of them to have the same alcohol that is in a regular beer.
Cheers to your health, your mind and your body!