A while ago, I wrote a blog on 2020 beer trends, and I mentioned low ABV/NA-beers as one of those trends. Now I have to say, I feel like I was right about the non-alcoholic beer trend. I see more and more low ABV and non-alcoholic beers popping up on social media and a lot of breweries have NA options now.
Non-alcoholic and alcoholfree
First off, there is a difference between non-alcoholic and alcoholfree beer. According to the FDA, alcoholfree beer can’t contain alcohol at all, so they are 0,0%. Non-alcoholic beer, however, can contain up to 0,5% ABV. Low ABV beers are usually ‘session’ beers, which means you can drink more of them in one session without getting drunk. They are usually under 5% ABV.
Low alcoholic brews date back to the Medieval times in Europe, because beer was ‘healthier’ than water. Later, in 1919, the American president approved the Volstead Act, which meant that all alcoholic malt beverages had to be less than 0,5%. They called those ‘tonics’. In 1933 this law went away, but the NA-beers were here to stay. In the 1980’s there was a revival of NA-beers when people became concerned about alcoholism and got into exercising more, another revival was around 2010, when breweries began to focus on producing more NA-beers. In 2020 Brewdog even opened up a pub completely for low alcohol and non-alcoholic beer.
The benefits of NA-beer
First of all, you can drink a lot more non-alcoholic beer without getting drunk and you can also drink them if you’re the designated driver. Also, NA-beers contain less calories than regular beer, so if you want to keep a close eye on your weight, these might be more for you. And of course the biggest pro: No hangover!
There are a lot of great non-alcholic brews out there. Personally, I love NA-IPA’s and sours. In the Netherlands, we have the VandeStreek Playground IPA, which is a really good one. BrewDog has the Nanny State, which is super popular. And of course Mikkeller has a lot of good NA-beers. Their most famous NA-beer is probably the Enerjibajer that you can get in a lot of liquor stores all around the world, but they also have a non-alcoholic (0,3%) version of their famous Beer Geek stout, the Henry and his Science microbiologically flavoured ale with tropical aromas (loved it!) and the Limbo series, which are Flemish Primitive beers full of fruit. They have a raspberry, yuzu, lime and blueberry flavoured one and they are all soooo good. If you love sours, this is for you.