The best non-alcoholic beer shouldn’t taste like you’re giving something up. It should taste like beer—not cooked beer. Not beer-flavored hard seltzer. Actual, real, beer. So, we sat down to find the best-tasting non-alcoholic beer out there. And, guess what? Ten whole beers made the cut.
Non-alcoholic beer used to be a requirement and nothing more. Bars would stash a six-pack in a cupboard or under a sink on the off chance a non-drinker came in to hang with friends or watch a game. The bottles would get dusty, they’d taste a little off, but it was fizzy and it was in a beer bottle. And, for years, that was the most you could ask of a non-alcoholic beverage brewed with grain, yeast, and water. But a few years ago, something changed. The NA lifestyle started to become trendy—even if only for Dry January. Suddenly, there was a demand for good non-alcoholic beer.
But what’s the best non-alcoholic beer?
When tasting non-alcoholic beers, we’re looking for NA beer that best resembles its counterpart. So, if a non-alcoholic beer says it’s a hoppy IPA, it should taste like a good, alcoholic, hoppy IPA. If it’s an NA party beer, it should be guzzleable. We emerged from our tasting reeking of beer and feeling none of the effects. But we did find some of the best non-alcoholic beers out there.
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- O’Doul’s Premium Golden Non-Alcoholic Brew
The original non-alcoholic beer is still the best non-alcoholic beer. It’s not trying to be fancy. It’s not trying to be nuanced. It is trying to taste like your basic domestic lager and it does so with great success. “This one tastes like beer,” one taster commented. And it does. Specifically, it tastes like what I believe the beer tastes like at Cheers or Moe’s Tavern or another fictional TV bar. It’s light. It has little to no aftertaste. It’s refreshing. It’s crushable. If you want “a beer,” then this is the best non-alcoholic beer for you. I am only docking it one spork because I just can’t bring myself to give a non-alcoholic beer a perfect score. Beer should be alcoholic.
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- Guinness 0
This non-alcoholic stout tastes almost exactly like its alcoholic counterpart. It has that touch of umami—that hint of soy sauce that many stouts have. It also includes a widget (that thing that makes noise when you shake an empty can of Guinness around), which helps give it that frothy, creamy head for which Guinness is known. There was thought and care put into this non-alcoholic brew, and it shows. It’s definitely one of the best tasting non-alcoholic beers out there.
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- Bravus Blood Orange IPA
While the Mango Cart tastes almost like a soda, this fruited non-alcoholic IPA is definitely a beer. It smells like a ripe blood orange—but the flavor is a zesty mix of bright and bitter citrus zest and hops, with a rounded finish reminiscent of an orange phosphate (something that was popular in the late 1800s, so I’m sure you’re all very familiar). If you like a citrusy beer—but not a sweet beer—this is the best non-alcoholic beer for you.
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- Golden Road Brewing Mango Cart Wheat Beer
I have enjoyed multiple cans of this fruity non-alcoholic beer in my home, off the clock. That’s how good it is. Confusingly enough, it’s the best non-alcoholic beer for people who don’t really like beer in the first place. “It tastes like a soda,” Sporked contributor and non-beer-drinker Naajia Shukri said. “It tastes like a very mild mango juice,” said her fellow beer skeptic, Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick. “I love this.” It still has that beer essence, though. It hits the nose with a mango-y wallop, but then you sip it and get just enough of a hint of beer to confirm that you aren’t drinking a mango seltzer. You’re drinking fake beer.
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- Sam Adams Just the Haze
Listen up, all you New England IPA fans. If you insist that your beer be opaque and practically chewy, this is the best non-alcoholic beer you can buy. It almost tastes like a beer and a cream soda mixed together. It’s a little sweet in the way a hazy IPA can be but does go much easier on the hops than traditional hazy IPAs. It’s extremely easy-drinking—not too bubbly—so you can drink more than one can.
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- Hairless Dog Non Alcoholic Citra Lager
If you know your hops by name (citra, cascade, saaz, etc.) and like a chewy, unfiltered brew, then this is the best non-alcoholic beer for your particular palate. It smells malty and sweet—almost like a homebrew—then slaps you with a bitter, hop-forward flavor. It’s complex. It’s a thinker. It’s a good-with-food beer. You won’t go through a six-pack of these in an afternoon but you’ll happily sip one on a sunny day with your lobster roll or succotash. “I could see myself drinking this next to a pool,” said Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo. And after he was done drinking it, he would actually be able to swim a few laps. Thanks, non-alcoholic beer!
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- Clausthaler Original Non-Alcoholic
I’ll be honest, I never really got into German beers. I know Germans are the keepers of the sacred beer purity rules and they have the big beer party, but their brews were just never my bag. That being said, I do know what a German beer is supposed to taste like, and this non-alcoholic brew does a great job of approximating those bright, lightly bitter flavors. Pour it into a great big frosted stein, grab a pretzel the size of your head, don your best pair of lederhosen, and enjoy the best non-alcoholic beer—German style.
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- Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects Hazy IPA
We broke one of our own rules here, because this brew does not taste like a hazy IPA. It tastes, as one taster put it, “like if you carbonated mandarin oranges.” But it was so good, we couldn’t leave it out of the ranking. It smells like a Sunkist soda and tastes like fresh mandarin zest—yet there’s no mention of orange anywhere on the can. It’s so crisp and delicious, though, that it really doesn’t matter what’s on the can as long as I’m allowed to drink what’s in it. I should note that this beer is primarily available as part of the brewery’s Special Effects mixed pack. The other beers in the pack are also good—this one just happens to be the best non-alcoholic beer in the mix.
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- Heineken 0.0
There’s not much to say about this non-alcoholic beer except that it tastes like a Heineken. So if you’re a Heineken drinker taking a break from booze, you’ll find this to be the best tasting non-alcoholic beer. It’s also good if you’re hoping to feel like a “big, bad boy,” according to Jordan. It’s extremely effervescent, very quaffable, and quite good (as long as you like the taste of Heineken, which, it turns out, I do).
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- Lagunitas Brewing Non Alcoholic IPA
I’ve been a big Lagunitas fan for a while, so I was excited to try their non-alcoholic offering. It did indeed taste like a classic Lagunitas IPA—but like a classic Lagunitas IPA you were tasting from far away. It was malty and crisp, just like the original, but somehow it was a shadow of its boozy fraternal twin. It did scratch that Lagunitas itch, though, so it made it onto the list of best non-alcoholic beers. Also, because it is fairly light, you can drink more than one of these without blowing out your palate, making it a good game day or cookout beer. The design also cannot be denied. “It’s not just a beer, it’s a cool beer,” Jordan noted. Who doesn’t want a cool beer?
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Best of the Best
Best Flavored IPA
Best Game Day
Other non-alcoholic beers we tried: Athletic Brewing Co Beer Free Wave, Athletic Brewing Co Run Wild, Estrella Galicia 0.0, Budweiser Zero Non-Alcoholic Beer, Becks Non Alcoholic, Gruvi Non Alcoholic Stout, Surreal Brewing Non Alcoholic Juicy Mavs Hazy IPA, Coors Edge
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Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!
Wait! But what about Non Alcoholic Spirits! I know Rhett and Link did a tasting during a More and I was literally going to go back to the episode to rewatch and find the best one as I’m doing a non alcoholic year!
We’ll get to it! Don’t worry!
Lagunitas Hoppy is also fantastic!
FYI, there are two kinds of Golden Road Brewing Mango Cart Wheat Beer, the regular one and the non-alcoholic version. You guys used the name and picture of the regular/alcoholic one here (the box even says 4% ABV), rather than specifying non-alcoholic. You may want to clear that up, since they look fairly similar and someone could easily be tricked into thinking the regular one is non alcoholic after reading this!
Fixing, thanks for flagging!
My absolute favorite is Athletic Brewing Company. The Extra Dark Stout with Coffee is currently my favorite of this brand. A must must try!
Where in the world is Athletic Brewing, or even BrewDog? There is absolutely zero chance O’Douls should be top choice here, especially with the recent drive for much, much better NA bevs. Get it together Sporked!
Still love ya but cmon!
Agreed, Athletic’s Run Wild is great, and their entire line up is pretty good.
Or Bravus Oatmeal or PB Stout, or their Blood Orange IPA.
I wouldn’t even bother witn O’Douls rather have a n OJ
Do you have Sober Carpenter there or is that only a Canadian one? They make a cider but also several beers that are very good.
SHARPS Miller Non Alcoholic Beer has a great taste to me. Thank You.
Howdy! I’m sober and have been in recovery for about 5 months now, and NA beer and wine is great harm reduction for me. So…I wanna say that Stella 0.0 should definitely have a place on the best NA beer list, I think it’s a place above Heineken 0.0. I was also curious if in the future you could do a further ranking on other NA wines? I watched the episode with Rhett and Link, but there’s other flavors and brands of NA wine out there. I’m sipping on Fre Chardonnay as we speak, and it’s pretty good. I tastes like wine. But, there’s also a brand I like called Tost Rose, which is made with white tea and it’s really yummy.
Thanks if you consider my input 🙂