The 7 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers for Every Type of Beer Drinker (and Non-Beer Drinker)

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? The Sporked team pulled up their stools office chairs and bellied up to the bar conference table to taste some of the top brands. Joined by Good Mythical Morning writer (and non-alcoholic beer newbie) Kalyn French, we were looking for NA beer that best resembles its A counterpart. So, if a non-alcoholic beer said it was a hoppy IPA, it should taste like a good, alcoholic, hoppy IPA. If it was an NA party beer, it should taste like water that gets you buzzed. We emerged from our tasting reeking of beer and feeling none of the effects. But we did find some of the best non-alcoholic brewskies out there.

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O'Doul's Premium Golden Non-Alcoholic Brew

Best of the Best

O’Doul’s Premium Golden Non-Alcoholic Brew

The original non-alcoholic beer still rules the roost. 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,” Kalyn said. 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 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.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Golden Road Brewing Mango Cart Wheat Beer

Best Fruity

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 perfect non-alcoholic beer for people who don’t really like beer in the first place. “It tastes like a soda,” Sporked editorial assistant 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.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Hairless Dog Non Alcoholic Citra Lager

Best Hoppy

Hairless Dog Non Alcoholic Citra Lager

If you know your hops by name and like a chewy, unfiltered brew, then this is your Dry January savior. 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 staff writer Danny Palumbo. And after he was done drinking it, he would actually be able to swim a few laps. Thanks, non-alcoholic beer!

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Clausthaler Original Non-Alcoholic

Best German

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.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects Hazy IPA

Best Citrusy

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 Kalyn 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.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Heineken 0.0

Best Game Day

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, this is your ideal 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).

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Lagunitas Brewing Non Alcoholic IPA

Best IPA

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. 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?

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

6/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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  • 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!

    Reply
    • We’ll get to it! Don’t worry!

      Reply
  • Lagunitas Hoppy is also fantastic!

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
    • Fixing, thanks for flagging!

      Reply
  • My absolute favorite is Athletic Brewing Company. The Extra Dark Stout with Coffee is currently my favorite of this brand. A must must try!

    Reply