10 Reasons You Should Give Non-Alcoholic Beer A Crack
Non-alcoholic beer has been gaining traction at a rapid rate of knots both here in Australia and around the world. Gone are the days of tasteless, watery beer imitations. The best non-alcoholic beers are now indistinguishable from their alcoholic counterparts and are ticking all the boxes, from flavour to health benefits. We might be biased at Craft Zero, but we have a solid list of reasons in support of the alcohol free bevs.
So, why should you be cracking into a non-alcoholic beer and giving it a go? And is non-alcoholic beer healthy?
1. It tastes good
Non-alcoholic beer has come a long way in the last couple of years. What was once a wasteland of flavourless, watery beer with the alcohol stripped out, is now a wonderland of flavour and taste experience, particularly in the non-alcoholic craft beer space.
But how is non-alcoholic beer made? What we are now seeing, especially with the crafty’s, is a lot of innovation and serious R&D going into creating beer that tastes like the real deal, minus the booze. Many of your favourite producers are using a controlled fermentation process that uses specific yeast strains that mean no alcohol is generated in the first place. This results in you getting all the flavour, body and experience of drinking your favourite beer without the downsides.
Sobah were the pioneers of using this method to make non-alcoholic beers in Australia and as OG’s of the scene, they are still pushing the envelope with their native ingredient flavour profiles and development of Australia’s only gluten free non-alcoholic beer.
2. It can help cut down drinking
Ever heard of a wedge? Back in the day, this used to refer to the extra beer you had when your drinking buddies were falling behind. Now many of us are using quality non-alcoholic brews and putting a new spin on the term wedge. One of the many benefits of non-alcoholic beer is that it can be used in place of plain boring water if you are wanting to space out those alcoholic beers.
If you are settling in for a session but don’t want to go over your daily limit, you can alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers, reducing your alcohol consumption considerably. Others, like Tyler Tucker of Athletic Brewing are incorporating alcohol free beers into their weekly rotation during the week and saving the heavies for special occasions or weekends. Call it flex sober or sober curious, we just call it a bloody good idea!
3. You know what you’re drinking
Unlike alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic drinks producers are under strict rules and regulations, especially here in Australia. With alcohol, there is no requirement to list ingredients or nutritional information. That means that when you are smashing down those alcoholic beers, you really have no idea what additives, preservatives and calories you are ingesting.
But the next time you are smashing a super refreshing can of Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA, take a look on the side. You’ll see that it contains five simple ingredients; water, malted barley, wheat, hops and yeast. It will also tell you just how many calories and sugar it contains. A huge benefit when we all know how those calories can quickly add up during a standard Saturday arvo session. Let alone during a test match!
Which brings us to our next point…
4. It contains less calories
Without the empty calories that are held in the alcohol, non-alcoholic beer is clearly the better option, especially if you’re spending time smashing out reps at the gym and not seeing the results. Whilst an alcoholic crafty will cost you as many as 200 calories per serve, just how many calories are in non-alcoholic beer?
Big Drop Brewing’s health conscious range begins with just 44 cals per can with their Uptown Craft Lager through to 88 calories per can in their Poolside DDH IPA. That’s still well under half the load. So, even after a decent gym sesh, you won’t be undoing all the good work you did on the weights!
5. It promotes post exercise recovery
Not only are you taking in less calories, but there are non-alcoholic beers created specifically with athletic recovery in mind. One of the great benefits of drinking non-alcoholic beer is that you are not becoming dehydrated by the diuretic effects of the alcohol. Not only that, there are some incredible tasting non-alcoholic craft beers that actually aid in post exercise recovery.
Next time you are running a half marathon (or just having a kick to kick with the kids), consider adding an Upflow Pale Lager into your recovery session. This non-alcoholic beer features Hypotonic Hydration to help you recover faster after a sweaty session with added magnesium to reduce cramps. You also have Wilde Isotonic’s Non-Alcoholic Beer. With electrolytes, Vitamins B1, B3 and B9, it can practically be considered a health drink!
6. It won’t cause hangovers
Seems pretty logical right? But of course we had to include saying good-bye to hangovers as it’s a pretty solid benefit of non-alcoholic beer. With great, sessionable non-alcoholic beers, you can enjoy everything you love about beer - the taste, ritual, and social aspects of drinking, without any of the dreaded dehydration, headaches and regret that alcohol can cause. Imagine waking up Sunday morning after giving it a decent nudge watching the footy fresh as a daisy!
By enjoying quality, craft brewed non-alcoholic beers during the game, you’ll wake up next morning feeling like a million bucks and ready to take on whatever the day brings you, whether that’s spending time with the kids or tackling some DIY.
7. It’s more affordable
Sort of. While many might question why non-alcoholic beer is on par with the alcoholic counterparts price-wise with a slab of Australian non-alcoholic craft beers setting you back around the same as an alcoholic pack of beers, there is a strong case to argue that you will save money in the long run.
The nature of the beast with alcohol is that once you have one, one can quickly turn into one dozen. Without that reward centre being in constant demand, most of us find that after enjoying a few cold crisp non-alcoholic beers, our beer thirst is quenched and there is not much need for continuing to drink. So that $60 slab may last you four times as long!
8. It helps you socialise
Inclusivity is the name of the game here. If you are choosing to have a break from alcohol or to cut back, you are going to be feeling a lot less socially inclined if you are stuck on the waters or soft drinks with the kids.
Being able to turn up to a social occasion and still enjoy a cool crisp glass of pale ale will make or break your socialising, we can guarantee it. You’ll fit in, not get the FOMO and not miss out on the taste you know and love. Whatever your reason for saying no to booze, alcohol free beer is all inclusive for anyone wanting to enjoy a crisp, refreshing beverage and be social with mates.
9. It promotes better sleep
Have you ever woken up at 3am, your mouth dry and your mind racing with thoughts of ‘what did I say that for’? Without the cycle of sedation and stimulation that alcohol brings, you will sleep longer and better. With as few as two drinks, alcohol can prevent REM sleep which is critical for memory consolidation, emotional processing and healthy brain development.
Moreover, alcohol can interrupt your body's circadian rhythm by contributing to sleep apnea. Substituting alcohol for a non-alcoholic option can go a long way to improving your sleep.
10. It can reduce anxiety and stress
Better sleep not only means you’re less cranky in the morning, as how you sleep can have a massive impact on both your physical and mental health. Alcohol literally changes the composition of your brain and reduces the release of serotonin, meaning it can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Plus, drinking alcohol can often become a vicious cycle of trying to escape your problems while making them worse. Not ideal. Hangxiety is real for many, so substituting in some great tasting non-alcoholic beers is a great way to minimise that and focus on living your best life!