Beer is great. We can pretty much all agree on that. But there are lots of cases where you might not be able to partake of this ancient and (sometimes) holy beverage. Perhaps your religion restricts your alcohol intake. Maybe you are pregnant, nursing, or trying to get pregnant. Maybe you are weaning yourself off of booze and towards sobriety. Perhaps you just don’t like the feeling of being drunk or tipsy (hey, we get it.)
If any of this is the case for you, why not consider non-alcoholic beer? Yes, NA beer can be expensive, and sometimes the flavors can be off. But we think with a little experimentation (and the help of this handy Buyer’s Guide), you might be able to find a non-alcoholic beer that meets your needs from both a taste bud and a wallet perspective.
So buckle up. We’re about to drive you through a wonderland of some of the top non-alcoholic beers on the market. We scoured the internet for the best deals, the best tastes, and the best brands. And we did the research to back it up. And if some of that research took the form of crisp lager on our desk next to the ol laptop…can you blame us?
The Best Non-Alcoholic Beer
Heineken Case Of 24 Cans Non-Alcoholic Beer (BEST CHOICE)
The best non-alcoholic beer in our Buyer’s Guide is a name that should be familiar to most people – Heineken. This completely alcohol-free brew comes in cases of 24, so there is plenty to go around at a party. But this is the best tasting non-alcoholic beer because of Heineken’s attention to detail. Heineken Non-Alcoholic Beer is made from A-Yeast and natural ingredients and has notes of fruit balanced by a malty body. It’s as close to real beer as you can get. Let the party begin.
- 24-can case
- 11.2 fluid oz cans
- Fruity notes, malty body
Non-Alcoholic Beer Variety Pack (Case Of 12)
Can’t decide which alcohol-free beer you’d like to try? Non-Alcoholic Beer Variety Pack (Case Of 12) is here to save the day. It features offerings from some of the best non-alcoholic beer brands around. Looking for a non-alcoholic dark beer? Crack open an Erdinger. Or cool off with a crisp, refreshing Clausthaler non-alcoholic beer after a hard day’s work. Other top non-alcoholic beer brands featured here include Beck’s, Bitburger, Buckler, Coors, St. Pauli Girl, Einbecker, Kaliber, and O’Douls.
- 12-pack of non-alcoholic beer varieties
- Features many of the beers in this buyer’s guide
Coors 6-Pack Low Cal & Carb Non-Alcoholic Beer
If you are training for a marathon, trying to shed some pounds, or simply trying to stay in fighting trim for bathing suit season, we might have a good non-alcoholic beer choice for you. Coors Edge has only 8G of carbs and 41 calories and comes in a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles. With Coors 6-Pack Low Cal & Carb Non-Alcoholic Beer, you might be well on your way towards your own six-pack, though that requires more crunches than the average human being is willing to endure.
Reviews of this top non-alcoholic beer call attention to its crisp finish and smooth, not-very-hoppy taste. That’s good news for folks who don’t like a hoppy beer.
- 12 oz bottles
- Crisp finish
Heineken 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
You’ve seen this beer before. That’s right – it’s our Best Choice for beer without alcohol, Heineken 0.0. The difference with this Heineken 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer is that the brew comes in six 11 oz glass bottles instead of cans. And we think that makes a difference. A nice cold bottle on a summer day just seems to make drinks taste better than a can. Don’t believe us? Spend a little time talking to Coke aficionados, a group of people known for going out of their way to buy their beverage of choice in glass bottles instead of aluminum cans.
- 11 oz glass bottles
- Fruity notes, malty body
Erdinger 24-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
There’s just something about a hefeweizen – lemony, grassy, and of course, that glorious golden pour. Erdinger 24-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer doesn’t disappoint in that department, offering plenty of citrus notes with slight undercurrents of banana. The result is, to quote Erdinger, “sweet, but a little tart and earthy.” Like most non-alcoholic beers, this brew is a good choice if you are counting carbs, calories, or both. Erdinger even goes so far as to bill this as a “recovery drink,” which, hey, if it works for you, why not? We wouldn’t recommend chugging a bottle in the middle of a pick-up basketball game, but afterward? Go for it.
- Hefeweizen style
- Notes of lemon and grass
- Tart and earthy
Clausthaler 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
What do you get when you combine world-famous Cascade Hops with Germanic brewing know-how and a dry-hop process? One of the best alcohol-free beers we can think of. Clausthaler Non-Alcoholic Beer is imported from Germany, which you can tell by its full-bodied complexion and amber color. The taste is malty with notes of caramel. Sounds good to us, but then again, we’ve never turned up our nose at a German beer. This beer comes in a six-pack of 12 oz bottles.
- 12 oz bottles
- Dry-hopped and full-bodied
Buckler 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
You know what’s magical about beer? Just about every country in the world has its own beer tradition. That’s why you can get sloshed fairly easily while touring Epcot. But you won’t get sloshed on Buckler 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer, because, well. You know.
Anyway, Buckler is brewed in Holland by the Heineken company. Like a lot of beer from Holland, Buckler is bright gold and medium-bodied. The foamy head is crisply white, and the taste starts off with biting hops and finishes dry. So if you are in the mood for something light and crisp, give Buckler a try.
- Brewed in Holland
- Hoppy with a dry finish
Bitburger Drive 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
Another offering from Germany, Bitburger Drive 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer has all the hallmarks of a classic German lager – crisp, refreshing, and best served ice-cold. Lagers take the longest of any beer to brew, and Bitburger is no exception. The mature taste shines through in this six-pack of glass bottles.
- Six-pack, glass bottles
- Crisp and refreshing
Busch 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
We’ve been on a bit of a world tour, but let’s bring it back home to the good old U.S. of A. Busch NA is the non-alcoholic version of Busch Beer, a brew that’s been around since 1955. Busch uses premium hops, cereal grains, and barley malt. Busch’s low-temperature alcohol removal process retains the crisp taste Busch is known for. Like all beers of this type, make sure you serve Busch Non-Alcoholic Beer cold!
- A classic American beer
- Premium hops and cereal grains
- Best served extremely cold
St Pauli 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
Here’s a fun fact for you – think of it as a reward for reading this far. You’d think that Americans would be more fond of British style beer because of our colonial roots. Not so. German-style beers are by far the most popular in the States. Why? Two reasons. In the early 1800s, Americans rejected British-style beer because they didn’t want to have anything to do with their former rulers. Being British just wasn’t in fashion. During the same time, America saw a huge influx of German immigrants. These newcomers brought their brewing traditions with them, and Americans hopped (ahem) on board.
All of which to say, you should give St Pauli Non-Alcoholic Beer a shot. It has a “strong taste of grains and corn with a perfect touch of sweetness.” Apparently, the finish tingles on the tongue, which, okay!
- Six-pack, glass bottles
- Strong grain taste
- Tingly finish
AfterShift IPA 6-Pack Non-Alcoholic Beer
Most of the brews on our list are lagers or other German-style beers. This limited-edition beer from Athletic Brewing Company is an IPA, and for that reason alone we feel it’s worth a try! Cascade hops give it that traditional IPA citrus flare. Athletic Brewing Company claims it has a “delicate malt profile made of Triticale and Organic Vienna.” If that sounds too fancy for you, don’t worry. We bet it drinks just fine. We love a crisp IPA to cool down after a long run, and AfterShift IPA Non-Alcoholic Beer sounds like the perfect choice for that use!
- Six-pack cans
- Fresh finish
- Limited release IPA
Non-Alcoholic Beer Buying Guide & FAQ
Features to Look for in Non-Alcoholic Beers
Flavor – There are lots of ways to describe beer. According to www.winning-homebrew.com, you should use most of your major senses to experience beer: smell, sight, taste, and touch. We suppose you could listen to beer as well. Why not?
As you may know, smell and taste are closely related. Close your eyes and inhale deeply before you ever take a sip (but hurry, because a beer’s aroma changes quickly, especially as its temperature drops!)
Got the aroma locked into your nostrils? Now take a sip.
Professional beer drinkers have a slate of descriptive vocabulary that rivals that of the finest sommeliers. The basic flavor notes in beer (again, according to winning-homebrew.com) include malty, grainy, sweet, caramelly, toasty, roasted, coffee, burnt, tobacco, leather, fresh-cut grass, and (our favorite) pine.
But that’s just the start. You might experience dark fruit aromas like figs, blueberry, and blackberry. Light fruits are often in there as well – pear, apple, banana. Citrus notes are not uncommon, especially in hefeweizens.
Beer tasters also talk about intensity. Is a beer robust? Is it mild? Is it hearty? Maybe it’s assertive.
The final tasting note to be aware of us finish. The finish is the last note of flavor you experience as a sip of beer high-tails it for your esophagus. A finish could be dry, fruity, warming, buttery, lingering, and so on!
Type of Beer – As we mention later in this article, one of the wonderful things about beer is how varied it is. It seems like if you’ve been around for more than three minutes as a culture, you’ve figured out how to domesticate hops and turn them into beer. As a result, there are tons of beer styles – pale ales, lagers, brown ales, IPAs, wheat beers, stouts, porters, pilsners, lagers, sours, and so on!
Because it would take us more page space than we have to describe each type, in this explainer, we will focus primarily on the three types of beer found in the Buyer’s Guide.
- Lager – Lager might very well be the first type of beer most people try. Pale lager is, according to Wikipedia, the “most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer.” It ferments and matures at cold temperatures and is crisp, clean, and highly carbonated.
- Pilsner – A pilsner is a type of lager that hails from Germany but is now available the world over due to its accessibility and drinkability. It’s a well-balanced beer with a short finish, very low hop bitterness, and a malty aroma and flavor.
- Hefeweizen – You have to hand it to the Germans – they can brew beer. Hefeweizen is a cloudy, refreshing, crisp beer with yeast-driven flavors that lean into the citrus.
Non-Alcoholic vs. Alcohol-Free – This can be a bit of a tricky distinction, but it matters, particularly if you are obtaining alcoholic beer for reasons of sobriety or religion. It’s also important to note that what follows applies to the United States only. Different countries have different regulations and ways of measuring these things.
If you want a truly alcohol free experience, look for a label that says non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholic beverages have anywhere from 0.0% to .05% alcohol. Even this latter is not enough to chemically affect you in any way.
Alcohol-free products, on the other hand, often have 0.5% alcohol content. You’d have to drink eight alcohol-free products to get the equivalent of a shot of vodka.
Non-Alcoholic Beer FAQ
What is non-alcoholic beer made of?
Non-alcoholic beer is made of the same thing normal beer is made of: water, yeast, hops, and various flavorings. Once the beer is fermented and matured, it undergoes a process to remove the alcohol. Some companies use a high-heat process to remove alcohol, but as you might imagine, that has some serious effects on the flavor. A secondary method is to strain the beer using ultra-fine filters so that only water and alcohol pass through. The result is a kind of beer sludge. Brewers add water and other ingredients back into the sludge, re-carbonate it, and hey-presto – non-alcoholic beer.
Are non-alcoholic beers bad for you?
Not any worse for you than regular beer, and in some cases, they are better for you. Because the alcohol is removed, there are generally fewer calories and fewer carbs in non-alcoholic beer. We wouldn’t recommend drinking a whole case at a time, but that goes for anything.
Is there a completely alcohol-free beer?
Yes. See our section “Alcohol-free vs. Non-alcoholic” in the “Features To Look For In Non-Alcoholic Beers” section.
Can non-alcoholic beer be sold to minors?
It depends on the state and region, but mostly – no. This is because bars, restaurants, and grocery stores go out of their way not to sell alcohol to minors. And even though non-alcoholic beer is technically legal for a minor to drink, nobody wants to be accused of being a gateway product or service for abuse of alcohol by minors.
Will non-alcoholic beer show up on a breathalyzer?
Remember how we said some non-alcoholic beers are actually alcohol-free beers, meaning they might contain up to 0.5% alcohol? And remember how at that level of alcohol, if you drink eight of these beverages, you might get about the same amount of booze as a shot of vodka? Given these stipulations, you can imagine that there might be scenarios where you could drink enough alcohol-free beers to trigger a breathalyzer. But it would have to be quite a bit – maybe as much as a case. So you should be fine.
Does non-alcoholic beer dehydrate you?
Here’s some good news – the non-alcoholic beer will not dehydrate you! It is, after all, mostly water and flavoring. There’s simply nothing going on at a chemical level that will cause dehydration. So drink up!
Does non-alcoholic beer have yeast?
It does indeed. As we mentioned earlier, non-alcoholic beer IS beer, just with the alcohol removed. That means it is brewed with yeast, just like every other beer on the planet.