Tag Archives: NA beer

Drinking and Reviewing NA Beer during Sober October, Part 2

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! 

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Drinking and Reviewing NA Beer during Sober October

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!