Over the last few years, the alcohol free drinks market has grown massively with research showing an annual increase of 28% to February 2019 alone. This growth has been driven by the popularity of events such as Dry January (4 million people took part in 2020) and alcohol free beer being the healthiest alternative to drink in pubs.
Who Makes The Best Alcohol Free Beer?
Choosing which to go for can be hard and it’s getting harder as many of the large breweries have released alcohol free versions of their big brand beers. These have flooded into supermarkets making it easier to go alcohol free. However, in our opinion these beers aren’t anywhere near the same standard as the specialist breweries and the alcohol free beers they produce.
Our Favourite Alcohol Free Beers
To make life easier for you to find the best, we’ve reviewed four of our favourite alcohol free beers from specialist brewers. Each offers something unique and packs more flavour than you can shake a stick at!
Launched in 2019 with a manifesto to bring the craft beer revolution to the alcohol free market and remove “the tasteless, mass produced and downright nasty alcohol free beers of yesteryear”, Scottish company Coast Beer Co have certainly delivered on their promise. Their two beers (Hazy IPA and Farmhouse Ale) both provide a unique and flavourful drinking experience.
When poured, the Farmhouse Ale has a hazy appearance with a rich pale amber colour and creamy head that keeps for a long time through drinking.
There’s a strong aroma that’s sharp with a selection of fruits including hints of tangerine and grapefruit. Throughout, there’s an underlying sweetness that accompanies the malts that builds the anticipation before drinking.
You expect a full bodied beer from the beers strong amber colour and the Farmhouse Ale doesn’t disappoint. Drinking the beer delivers a smooth luxurious feel as the beer settles on the tongue and delivers a tangy taste that’s both refreshing and leaves you wanting more.
Once the initial tanginess has passed, you can appreciate the range of flavours within the Farmhouse Ale. There’s an underlying sweetness that accompanies the bitterness. From the aroma, you expect tangerine and grapefruit and they’re both there along with a rich maltiness.
This is a refreshing beer that delivers a full bodied drinking experience. It’s rich and velvety to drink, leaving you coming back for more.
Drop Bear Beer Co is another new company in 2019 that initially launched with two new beers (Yuzu Pale Ale and Tropical IPA). Founded by partners Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, the Welsh company’s rise has been rapid during 2019. A third beer (Bonfire Stout) has already been added to their range and a fourth is on the way. They topped a highly successful launch year with a crowd funding that doubled their target and the winning the Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at the Wales Start Up Awards.
For a unique flavour in the alcohol free beer market, their pale ale uses the yuzu fruit. If like me you’d never heard of the yuzu before, it’s a citrus fruit from central China.
With a clear medium amber colour, it’s a lighter bodied beer that’s slightly watery with a refreshing fizz making it an easy beer to drink. There’s a good head to the beer which slowly fades as it’s drunk.
It’s aroma combines the citrus of the yuzu with a rich malty caramel scent to give a full bodied aroma that reminds me of a classic fruit cake. The flavours from the caramel malts come through followed by a citrusy hit that I can only assume is the yuzu (never having eaten a yuzu before).
Each sip leaves me wanting to go back for another and I think the light and refreshing body of the beer would make a great accompaniment to a heavy meal.
Lucky Saint was born from a mission by it’s founder Luke Boase to brew brewing a “non-alcoholic beer worth drinking”. After trying and failing to brew to right beer with the first four brewers he worked with, he moved to Germany and dedicated over a year working towards his goal.
Drinking non-alcoholic beer became his homework and eventually he found a brewer that shared his vision. Together they worked for over a year until they developed the high quality alcohol free beer he’d been working towards.
All of that effort is reflected in the first sip of Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager. You can literally see and taste the dedication and effort within this fine beer.
Pouring the beer into a glass, it develops a good strong head that lasts for long time after settling upon the unfiltered hazy straw-coloured beer.
The aroma is unmistakably from a high quality lager with a strong scent of hops complemented with a slightly floral edge whilst you can sense and anticipate the edge of bitterness to the flavour.
It lacks the traditional carbonation of the majority of lagers adding to its luxurious feel delivering a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. The flavours are equally rich with a hoppy bitterness that’s edged with a soft fruity sweetness with a slightly bitter after taste. It’s a beer full of complex flavours that are a pleasure to be savoured.
Lowlander are the only brewery on this list that don’t brew exclusively alcohol free beers. Instead, the Netherlands based company specialise in combining the curiosity for botanicals with forgotten brewing heritage to brew truly unique beers.
They’ve certainly delivered something unlike no other with their alcohol free 0.00% Wit beer. For this, they’ve partnered with PeelPioneers who collect discarded citrus peel from bars and put it to good use making this an environmentally friendly alcohol free beer.
After pouring the beer into a glass, you can appreciated the hazy pale straw coloured beer and the generous foamy head that rests on top. The aroma is noticeably citrus with both the orange and lemon very prominent.
The expectation from the aroma is of a refreshing beer and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a full bodied beer, but the citrus gives the uplifting feel of a much lighter beer. The hops add a bitter edge that builds a layer of complexity to the taste that gives reason to pause and appreciate the flavours throughout the beer.
Exciting Times For Alcohol Free Beer
It’s great to see the huge growth in alcohol free drinks being brewed across Europe. It’s just a shame the large supermarkets stick with the big brand breweries and don’t put these great beers in front of more people.
After tasting any of these alcohol free beers, it’s clear a huge amount of work and dedicated has gone into making something people will truly enjoy and stop to appreciate.
The days of saying “it’s a good alcohol free beer” are long gone. These beers are good beers no matter whether there’s alcohol in them or not. There’s never been a better time to be an alcohol free beer drinker
Try Them Yourself
If you’d like to try any of these drinks, you can buy them either:
Or you can buy the COAST Farmhouse Ale and Drop Bear Beer Yuzu Pale Ale with other beers from the same brewery: