The 12 Best Nonalcoholic Beers

From pregnancy and health conditions to religious reasons and sober months, there are plenty of reasons why people cut down on alcohol or stop drinking entirely. For a long time, not drinking alcohol almost felt like a punishment, if only because of the lack of decent non-alcoholic drink options. Thankfully, the days of O'Douls and Clausthaler are over. These days, more and more breweries are releasing 0.0% to 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) beers. Some, like Heineken and Sam Adams, are well-known and continue to produce alcoholic options alongside non-alcoholic offerings. Others, like Athletic Brewing, brew exclusively non-alcoholic beers.

Either way, one thing is clear — consumers have developed a taste for more sophisticated non-alcoholic offerings, and they want more. To help you navigate this ever-expanding industry, we've put together a list of the best non-alcoholic beers. From classic lagers and ales to complex stouts and hazy IPAs, this list covers just about every beer style you could hope for. In addition to choosing a winner in each category, we provide you with tasting notes and the alcohol percentage of each brew. Some contain 0% alcohol, while others have up to 0.5% ABV, the FDA's legal limit for labeling beers as non-alcoholic.

Best Lager: Al's Classic

With unique ingredients, complex flavor profiles, and fancy can art, a lot of non-alcoholic beer companies have gone the way of craft breweries. The opposite is true with Al's Classic. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more stereotypically mass-market American beer than this one. This non-alcoholic (less than 0.5% ABV) pilsner-style brew is exactly the kind of drink you'll want to crack open at an outdoor concert, dive bar, or picnic.

Like the alcoholic versions it imitates, Al's flavor profile features a mixture of bready malts, subtle herbs, and spicy noble hops. The mouthfeel hovers between light and medium. On the finish, it's crisp, clean, and sweet — exactly what we look for when selecting a lager. According to the company's founder, a Swiss man named Alban de Pury, Al's is a marriage between European and American lagers. Indeed, it combines the craftsmanship of the German pilsners de Pury grew up drinking, with the personality of an American lager. Al's is brewed in Windsor, California with help from Barrel Brothers Brewing Company.

Best Ale: Ceria Grainwave

Ceria Grainwave is a Belgian white ale in the style of Blue Moon. Making such a tasty near beer was an easy transition for Ceria's founder, Keith Villa. After all, Villa was the brewmaster for Blue Moon for more than 20 years. Following his retirement in January 2018, Villa started the Arvada, Colorado-based brewery and started churning out 0.0% ABV beers soon after.

Like the Belgian witbiers (white beers) that came before it, Grainwave is unfiltered, hazy, and pale yellow in color. The impressive off-white head sticks around until the last sip, a pretty amazing feat in the non-alcoholic beer world. It's brewed using blood orange peels, coriander seeds, and Hallertau Tradition hops. These aromas, plus wheat malt, are present on the nose. Grainwave is initially sweet on the palate but the citrus notes give the finish a pleasant tartness. All in all, this medium-bodied beer is ridiculously fresh and thirst-quenching. So, slice up some orange wedges and crack open a couple of cans, this one's an absolute winner.

Best Wheat: Rightside Brewing Citrus Wheat

Brewed in partnership with Big Kettle Brewing in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Rightside Brewing's Citrus Wheat is everything you'd expect from an alcoholic wheat beer, but with less than 0.5% ABV. This slightly hazy, deep golden-colored near beer has a tropical aroma bolstered by tangerine juice, banana, and just a touch of spice. Its medium body and crisp finish make it the perfect beverage to enjoy at the beach, on a picnic, or anytime you want to enjoy the flavor of beer without the buzz.

Despite its tropical scent, the flavor profile of Citrus Wheat is predominantly citrusy, with prominent lemon notes complemented by a touch of lime. Citrus Wheat also boasts a delicate grainy malt taste that balances out its natural sweetness. The flavor profile doesn't exactly scream wheat beer, but it's so delicious we're willing to overlook that fact. Even if you don't fancy yourself a wheat beer drinker, take Citrus Wheat for a spin. We're pretty sure it'll convert you.

Best German: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei

When you think of German beer, your mind probably goes to a massive stein filled with a Märzen or Helles. But despite the country's strong beer brewing — and, let's be honest, drinking — culture, Germany is a world leader when it comes to non-alcoholic beer production and consumption. In addition to promoting a culture of moderation, non-alcoholic beers dominate in Germany for one simple reason. They're downright delicious. Thankfully, many of the country's superstar non-alcoholic brews are available around the world.

One of our favorites is Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei, a non-alcoholic (less than 0.5% ABV) wheat beer brewed in Freising, Germany. It pours a seductive golden-yellow color with a bit of haze. The bright white head sticks around until the last sip. On the nose, there are notes of bready malts, cloves, and bananas. The cloves and bananas come through on the palate, but they're more subtle than the aroma would indicate. A pleasant layer of bready yeast comes through after the fruit flavors die out.

Best IPA: Athletic Brewing Run Wild IPA

Unless you've been living under a rock, there's a good chance you've heard about Athletic Brewing. Founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt, a former hedge fund trader, and John Walker, a prominent brewer, this Connecticut-based brewery is on a mission to create non-alcoholic beers people actually look forward to drinking. Although every single Athletic Brewing beer is crushable, the brewery's IPA, Run Wild, stands out as a clear champion in one of the most fiercely competitive beer categories out there.

As a testament to its drinkability, Run Wild has won multiple awards, including a gold medal at the 2021 U.S. Open of Beer. This non-alcoholic (less than 0.5% ABV) India Pale Ale is brewed using five different kinds of hops, notably Citra and Mosaic. On the nose, there are notes of bready malt, pine, and citrus. Tasting notes include roasted barley, grapefruit, and the slightest hint of pine on the finish. It's slightly bitter, but still accessible if you don't consider yourself a hophead.

Best Light: Athletic Brewing Lite

For those who are reducing their alcohol intake and care about caloric intake, Athletic Brewing's Lite beer is the perfect option. True to its name, this brew is light in every sense of the word. Namely, it features a crisp, straightforward flavor profile that is reminiscent of classic low-calorie beers like Miller Lite and Coors Light. In fact, a 12-ounce can of 0.5% ABV Lite contains just 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Pouring a clear golden hue and boasting an impressive amount of carbonation, Lite entices the senses right from the start. While it may not produce a significant head, this brew delivers a decent aroma that stars milled grains and spicy hops. For the discerning nose, there are subtle hints of floral and citrus that add depth to the drinking experience. In terms of flavor, Lite evokes the crisp, refreshing taste of a pilsner or continental lager, thanks to its use of a Noble hop blend – a collection of classic European varieties like Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Tettnang, Spalt, and Saaz.

Best Mass-Market: Heineken 0.0

Launched in 2017, Heineken 0.0 is an O.G. of the non-alcoholic beer world. It captured the public's attention for a couple of reasons. One, because the Amsterdam-based brewery was one of the first globally-known brands to release a non-alcoholic version of its signature product. The other reason is that this 0% ABV near beer tastes just like its 5.4% ABV older sibling.

Both are full-bodied lager-style beers that pour a beautiful golden color and have thick white heads. The aroma is also freakishly similar — malty with subtle notes of fruit. Although the profile isn't complex, it's exactly what you'd expect from a mass-market lager. There's some initial hop bitterness, but the fruity notes help keep the flavors balanced. While Heineken 0.0 certainly isn't anything to write home about, the crisp and clean drinking experience it offers is sure to hit the spot whether you crack one open during a barbecue or a baseball game.

Best Craft: Rescue Club IPA

Most non-alcoholic breweries are small operations. More often than not, they're founded by ex-drinkers eager to provide like-minded consumers with non-alcoholic beers that actually taste good. Given the number of craft breweries producing these tasty substitutes, choosing a winner for the best craft category was a challenge. Still, one brew stood out from the rest — Burlington, Vermont's Rescue Club IPA.

As you'd expect from an IPA, Rescue Clubs' 0.5% ABV version goes heavy on the hops. It contains a blend of Citra, Idaho 7, Cryopop Mango, and Nelson hops. Together, they create a citrus and tropical fruit (pineapple, to be exact) aroma that smacks you in the face as soon as you open the can. Besides the hops, there's a complex malt blend featuring pilsner, carafoam, and malted oat varieties. There is a delicate sweetness to the flavor profile bursting with lemon and tropical fruits. The finish is dry and slightly spicy, something that provides the perfect invitation for the next sip.

Best Sour: Woodland Farms Ruby Sour Ale

When it comes to writing, the experts say to write what you know. The same seems to be true when it comes to brewing beer. Like a lot of breweries, Kittery, Maine-based Woodland Farms looked at its selection of alcoholic beers to find inspiration for its non-alcoholic alternatives. Ruby Slippers, the brewery's 4% ABV Berliner Weisse served as the model for Ruby, a non-alcoholic (less than 0.5% ABV) sour ale.

Ruby is made using wheat beer and fresh raspberries. The wheat provides a smooth, light-bodied drinking experience, while the berries give Ruby a sweet aroma and tart finish that's just enough to make your lips pucker without going overboard. There aren't many non-alcoholic sour ales out there, so Ruby is already a cut above the rest, just by virtue of existing. But this isn't a brew to rest on its laurels. A 16-ounce can of Ruby is an easy-to-grab option whenever you're craving something different.

Best Stout: Bravus Oatmeal Stout

Move aside, Guinness, Bravus Oatmeal Stout is in town. Featuring notes of chocolate, caramel, and roasted coffee, this dark beer is a perennial favorite amongst non-alcoholic stout drinkers. In fact, this 0.5% ABV Anaheim, California stout even won a silver medal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. Visually, its creamy texture, black-colored body, and fluffy head are enough to win over even the most skeptical drinkers. But the real magic happens on the palate.

The initial bitter sweetness fades into a malt-heavy, chocolatey flavor mid-palate. Coffee and 99% dark chocolate round out the flavor symphony and almost make you forget the initial sweetness. Likewise, the finish is dry and leaves you with lingering notes of malt, coffee, and chocolate. While the complex flavor profile and full body are more than enough to make Bravus Oatmeal Stout a winner, the fact that it's vegan-friendly and gluten-reduced is astonishing.

Best Blonde: Partake Brewing Blonde

With resounding 5-star reviews, Calgary, Alberta-based Partake Brewing's Blonde is a clear winner in this category. Pouring a clear golden yellow that deviates slightly from the norm for this style of beer, this blonde ale is a classic in every other sense. On the nose, subtle notes of bread-like malts, earthy hops, cereal grains, and a hint of citrus set the stage for a satisfying drinking experience.

These ingredients come through on the palate, as well, with bready malt leading the way. Although Partake describes Blonde as having a medium body, many drinkers seem to agree that the body is light, bordering on watery. Still, the carbonation makes up for the lack of heft. In addition to being so crushable, Partake's Blonde also has 15 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates in a 12-ounce can. And let's not forget the alcohol content. This near-beer has less than 0.5% ABV. This is one beer you need to keep around.

Best Overall: Athletic Brewing Free Wave Hazy IPA

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we're big fans of pretty much every beer Athletic Brewing comes up with. Its hazy IPA, Free Wave, is no exception. In fact, we've already crowned Free Wave the winner in our ranking of best low-alcohol beers. And we're not the only ones enamored with this brew. Free Wave won a gold medal at the 2022 International Beer Challenge and a silver at the 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

So, what makes this 0.5% ABV West Coast-style IPA so crushable? For one thing, the ingredients. Free Wave is loaded with Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops. This blend gives off an unbelievably delicious citrus-forward aroma. On the palate, Free Wave is bursting with hoppy bitterness, although the grapefruit notes help provide some balance. Besides the flavor, Free Wave has a body so thick, you'll forget there's no alcohol. Even if you don't consider yourself an IPA lover, we beg you to withhold judgment until you try Free Wave. In fact, we're willing to bet that you'll fall in love with it just as much as we have.

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.