Let’s cut to the chase here: non-alcoholic (NA) beer interests me in the same way the latest successful network TV sitcom interests me. While it’s raging in popularity and becoming more of a topic of discussion, it’s just not my thing. Bland, distilled for the masses, appealing to the widest possible population of eyeballs / thirsty mouths.
During my wife’s pregnancy, we bought and tried ~10 NA “craft” beer options. While some were tolerable, they had a general execution of highly watered down versions of real beers. Take Popular Hazy IPA, add water and other NA ingredients to lower the ABV to <0.5%, and there’s your NA beer you can sell to the masses. That may work for some people, but I’m not wasting my time drinking very slightly alcoholic and lightly flavored water.
Preconceptions be damned as I came upon Untitled Art Non-Alcoholic Juicy IPA. NA but not Non-Flavorful, this beer surprised the hell out of me. It’s better than the average Hazy IPA on the market owing to its balance. Many hazies are overly reliant on tropical fruit juice leaving a one-dimensional OJ experience – NA Juicy IPA brings balance to the equation, having a surprisingly robust malt presence along with its juicy bona fides. Unless I’m solely looking to get my buzz on, I would choose this at a bar over many of its 6-7% ABV cousins. If / when the time comes for a booze detox, I will be seeking this out to hold me over in the dark sober times.
Is this something I will drink regularly? No. When I drink beer, feeling the effects of alcohol is part of the experience. Sure I enjoy the flavor of it, but I also enjoy a good (responsible) buzz. However, there are times when getting drunk is not preferred / advisable / legal, and that’s where a killer NA beer like this comes in. All of the flavor without any of the other potential baggage. Put on your sober party pants and do the abstinence dance all the way to Dry Town.