Revealed: The top 5 non-alcoholic beers probably you’ve never heard of!
Alcohol is a huge part of Australian culture, so it’s no surprise we were found to be the drunkest country in the world in 2020 (by the Global Drug Survey). But the pandemic has also revealed a growing number of Aussies - many of them Millennials and Gen Z - who are revolutionising social drinking by saying no to the booze.
These mindful drinkers are tapping into the rich world of adult non-alcoholic drinks when they’re out at a bar or restaurant. Who wants to pair a diet coke with their sea urchin ceviche?
If beer is your choice, you’re in luck: non-alcoholic beers are exceptional these days. There are as many craft, delicious non-alcoholic beers as there are alcoholic ones – you just need to know what to look for!
How to choose your favourite non-alcoholic beer
Is your favourite alcoholic beer a Heineken? If so – good for you! But if not, why drink the 0.0 version if you’re going alcohol-free? You don’t have to sell yourself short if your tastebuds yearn for something a bit craftier.
For me, what I want to drink depends on the weather, my mood, the time of the day or night and my environment. The range is huge, so while Heineken 0.0 has its place, you might prefer a juicy IPA, a spicy amber ale or a smooth wheat beer. You might have heard of Heaps Normal, Upflow and Big Drop, but we’ve found 5 of the best non-alcoholic beers that you haven’t heard of (but should have!).
Wellbeing Brewing is the first US brewery to focus solely on brewing non-alcoholic craft beer. The Heavenly Bodies wheat beer is their flagship brew. Heavenly Bodies is based on an American-style wheat recipe, with a hint of Cascade and traditional German hops that add citrus notes and depth of flavour. This full-bodied wheat is a solid choice for Autumn drinking.
BRULO beers are brewed at the famous De Proefbrouwerij in Belgium, the cradle of (beer) civilisation. BRULO have experimented with a world-first single hop series, of which the Centennial IPA is a standout. With balanced pine and citrus aromas, and a soft bitter finish to round out the flavour, this is a traditional IPA made to perfection. Their double dry hopped (and therefore more boisterous) Lust for Life IPA is also a head-turner.
With the mouthfeel and orange pour of Vandestreek’s original Playground IPA, the Grapefruit IPA adds even more grapefruit and tropical fruits to the flavour profile. Vandestreek won another Dutch beer prize for this one in the innovation category (and the competition is stiff – the Dutch know how to brew). If you love big, juicy brews, this one is for you.
As we move into the cooler months (from a pretty wet and miserable summer!), darker beers come to the fore. Wellbeing’s dark amber ale brings spice and malt to the nose and palate, and a balanced mouthfeel. Amber ales are famously difficult to replicate in no/low alcohol form, and Wellbeing gets double points for doing such an amazing job with their Hellraiser!
Craft Dutch brewery, Vandestreek, launched their first non-alcoholic beer, Playground, back in 2017 to great fanfare. Playground is the godfather of non-alcoholic beers – it is often touted as the best non-alcoholic beer in the world and has won a stack of awards. Brewed with five types of American hops, including Mosaic, Citra and Cascade, Playground has huge hoppy aromas with a tropical fruit palate, and a punchy bitter finish. It’s perfect if you like your craft beer to taste like craft beer.
With such a diverse range of non-alcoholic craft beers available these days, there’s no need to compromise on taste when you’re not on the grog.
I’ll drink to that!
About the Author: Kirsten Storey, co-founder of Storeywood Distributors, a distributor of high quality craft non alcoholic beer.