8 Best Nonalcoholic Beers to Drink This Summer

Beer without the buzz is better than ever. Here are some of our favorites.

<p>Food & Wine / Sabrina Tan</p>

Food & Wine / Sabrina Tan

Not long ago, nonalcoholic beer was a punchline. Now, it’s part of the mainstream.

One NielsenIQ report measured a nearly 20% increase in sales between 2021 and 2022, and Statista forecasts even more growth in the future. That’s impressive, considering a 6-pack of the N/A stuff often costs around the same amount as their alcohol-containing counterparts.

But nonalcoholic beer drinkers aren’t always teetotalers. That same NielsenIQ report shows that 82% of people who pick up a pint or pack of nonalcoholic beer (which is legally defined as containing 0.5% alcohol by volume or less) still drink alcohol. They’re simply alternating between beverages.

Despite nonalcoholic beers occupying only a small slice of the overall beer industry (hovering at about 1%), one thing is for certain: they’re here to stay and the quality is only getting better. If you’re taking a break from drinking — for any reason, for any amount of time — here are a few of the best nonalcoholic beers out there.

<p>Food & Wine / Athletic Brewing</p>

Food & Wine / Athletic Brewing

Athletic Brewing is by far the largest and most influential producer of nonalcoholic craft beer today. While their portfolio ranges from a Belgian-style white to radlers, light beers, and beyond, it’s their hoppy concoctions that really shine.

Free Wave, Athletic’s hugely aromatic hazy IPA, manages to capture the citrusy juiciness of Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops with a round, full mouthfeel that can please even the most dedicated hophead.

Price: $13.99 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Deschutes Brewery</p>

Food & Wine / Deschutes Brewery

This Bend, Oregon-based legacy brewery has been reinventing itself in recent years, first with a complete brand refresh in 2019, followed by the introduction of its first nonalcoholic beer, Irish Dark, in 2020. Black Butte Non-Alcoholic was released in 2022 as the N/A version of the brewer’s popular Black Butte Porter, using the patented BrewVo dealcoholization method from Sustainable Beverage Technologies to retain the beer’s medium body, roasty creaminess, and dry, smooth finish. It won gold at the 2024 World Beer Cup in the Non-Alcohol Beer category — a worthy homage to the original.

Price: $14 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Best Day Brewing</p>

Food & Wine / Best Day Brewing

Best Day Brewing is only two years old, but through rapid expansion and a growing portfolio, they’re quickly making their mark in the nonalcoholic beer world. Year-round offerings include a classic Kolsch and West Coast IPA, but the Northern California brewery launched its first seasonal release last summer with Electro-Lime. It’s their spin on a light-bodied Mexican-style lager that’s slightly salty with a hint of lime. The taste mimics a poolside Margarita and contains some natural electrolytes to help you stay refreshed.

Price: $13.99 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Montauk Brewing Company</p>

Food & Wine / Montauk Brewing Company

With orange and blue cans giving a hat tip to the New York Mets, Montauk Brewing Company’s sole nonalcoholic beer is a home run. Using Citra, Mosaic, and a blend of Cryo hops, this aromatic IPA is light, bright, and chock full of fruit aromas like navel orange and fresh grapefruit.

It’s not aggressively hoppy, but contains just enough of that familiar bitter sensation to satisfy your thirst. (One note: Montauk’s brews are currently only distributed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, so if you find yourself in New England, keep an eye out.)

Price: $18 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Sierra Nevada Brewing Company</p>

Food & Wine / Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada is best known for their groundbreaking Pale Ale (and keg catapulting), but they haven’t slowed down since Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi launched the brewery in 1980. Trail Pass Golden is one of six nonalcoholic options produced by the brewery (including Trail Pass IPA, Hazy IPA, and two sparkling hop-infused waters), and after five years of experimentation to get their process right, they know what they’re doing.

Trail Pass Golden balances malts, hops, and yeast for a complex, medium-bodied finish with lots of bright flavors.

Price: $11.99 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Brooklyn Brewery</p>

Food & Wine / Brooklyn Brewery

If they’re brewing it in Brooklyn, then it must be cool. Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn’s longtime brewmaster, said brewing a nonalcoholic version of a typical West Coast IPA provided an “alluring technical challenge.”

His efforts paid off, because as of 2021, Special Effects IPA is available worldwide. The beer is big, bold, and balanced with that classic West Coast IPA bitterness, but without any of the buzz.

Price: $13.99 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / RationAle Brewing</p>

Food & Wine / RationAle Brewing

Fast-growing RationAle jumped on the N/A beer train early, and has already claimed the title as the fifth largest nonalcoholic craft beer company in the U.S. Their Mexican Cerveza is a fan favorite, occasionally selling out so quickly that only pre-orders are accepted. It’s a little on the sweet side in the finish, but remains a refreshing brew formulated using the patented BrewVo brewing process and NexDraft tap system.

Price: $12.59 (6-pack)

<p>Food & Wine / Bravus Brewing Company</p>

Food & Wine / Bravus Brewing Company

While hoppy and light beers tend to dominate the non-alcoholic beer market, Bravus’ Peanut Butter Dark is a a welcome alternative for anyone who prefers a maltier brew. Peanut Butter Dark is full of rich, chocolatey, and nutty flavors, with a smooth and velvety mouthfeel that’s as decadent as any full-strength stout out there. This one is for dessert lovers.

Price: $15.99 (6-pack)

For more Food & Wine news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Food & Wine.