13 Non-Alcoholic Beers Ranked Worst To First

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The global non-alcoholic drinks market is reigning supreme, having been valued at over $11 billion in 2022. While wine and spirits alternatives undoubtedly contribute to this total, non-alcoholic beer is arguably one of the most exciting products thanks to exceptional growth over recent years. The development of non-alcoholic beer is directly linked to a change in the public's mentality surrounding the product. This change was explained by Athletic Brewing CEO Bill Shufelt to CNBC: ″[Non-alcoholic beer] has gone from something that was 0.3% of the beer category and a total afterthought and penalty box beverage to something that is really exciting, aspirational, and kind of reframing how modern adults think." 

Today, all types of breweries are trying to cash in on this blossoming market. Local producers, international mega-brands, and everyone in between are competing against one another, driving the standards of non-alcoholic beer up dramatically. All of this means there is no better time to give non-alcoholic beer another try.

13. Budweiser Zero

As one of the most ubiquitous beer brands, Budweiser has a huge fanbase in the United States. This brand is not too well known for producing particularly complex, intricate, or nuanced flavors of beer. Instead, the brand has won many people over by promising a consistent, inoffensive, and light drinking experience.

Unsurprisingly, Anheuser-Busch InBev — the producers of Budweiser — have attempted to achieve a similar profile with the brand's non-alcoholic offering, Budweiser Zero. One consumer on Beer Advocate described it as follows: "The nose is pretty neutral, mild cereal grains taking up pretty much all of the space. The taste follows suit, with a hint of hard water. The body is rather light, with a light moderate carbonation and a watery feel. Not truly bad, but nothing that I would ever have again."

Budweiser Zero was launched in 2020 as Anheuser-Busch InBev's first global non-alcoholic beer, setting itself up as the industry standard. So, while the beer itself may not set the world alight, the international importance of this brew cannot be understated.

12. Heineken 0.0

Another major brand building its presence in the non-alcoholic market is Heineken. Released in the United States in 2019, Heineken 0.0 has had huge success, accounting for around 27% of America's non-alcoholic beer retail sales in 2022. And it's not just people in the United States that like the beer — Heineken 0.0 was previously named the United Kingdom's favorite non-alcoholic beer too.

Heineken 0.0 tastes almost identical to the brand's regular lager. While this refreshing, dependable experience is surely a key factor in the non-alcoholic beer's success, the brand's commitment to marketing has also played a role. Bram Westenbrink, global Heineken brand director, highlighted this to Campaign: "We've worked extremely hard to make sure Heineken 0.0 has been at the forefront of that trend. Having launched Heineken 0.0 in 2017, November 2021 saw us reach a key milestone of distribution across 100 markets."

Heineken has also turned to innovative technologies to ensure the beer's popularity. Most impressively, this has seen the introduction of Heineken 0.0 on draft in the United Kingdom. A move that exemplifies the brand's dedicated and innovative approach to non-alcoholic beer.

11. Suntory, All-Free

The process of fermentation — wherein yeast converts sugar into alcohol – is responsible for many of beer's iconic characteristics, including flavors, aromas, and carbonation. Fermentation also results in the beer becoming alcoholic. As such, all producers of non-alcoholic beer are faced with a dilemma — what to do about fermentation?

There are many ways non-alcoholic beer brands can limit, remove, or reduce the alcohol produced during fermentation. These include halting the fermentation process part way, diluting the beer after fermentation, or removing the alcohol through heating. Each of these steps poses its own challenges, causing some brewers to bypass fermentation altogether and use alternative methods to create a beer-like drink.

One producer that has adopted this approach is Suntory. The brand's beer, known as All-Free, demonstrates the same characteristics of regular beer without any alcohol or calories – a significant feat that warrants a purchase for novelty, if nothing else. Yuichi Kato, Suntory's head of product development, reinforced the role innovation played in Suntory's success. On the Suntory website, Kato said the brand prides itself "on innovation" and exploring "more than 400 formulas before finding the perfect recipe for All-Free."

10. Erdinger Weissbier Non-Alcoholic Beer

While many American brands produce beer that directly replicates — or is inspired by — those from Germany, the country still imports a healthy number of German brands, even when it comes to low and no-alcohol products. Among these is Erdinger Weissbräu, a brand famed for its classic wheat beer. Erdinger Weissbräu has stuck to this classic style, creating a non-alcoholic wheat beer that displays many key characteristics. To emphasize the beer's healthy properties, Erdinger Weissbräu has marketed Weissbier Non-Alcoholic Beer as a post-workout beverage. The beer has even sponsored athletic events like marathons. 

Whether enjoying post-exercise or not, Erdinger Weissbräu's product is a delightful representation of non-alcoholic wheat beer in the traditional German style. A happy reviewer on the Tesco website said they "have bought and tasted several AFR brands but at best most were weak in body and insipid in [flavor]. That is until I tasted Erdinger Alkoholfrei." They went on to say the "[flavor] and zing lasts throughout the drinking experience as does the head."

9. BrewDog Nanny State

BrewDog has seen astronomical growth since launching in 2008, sweeping up an array of international beer awards for its range of products. The brand has also been in the spotlight numerous times thanks to a number of controversial issues that have arisen from the company's business and marketing strategies. One issue saw the company export beer to the United States with ingredients that had not been legally approved. Despite these setbacks, BrewDog remains popular in the United States, and many smaller breweries welcome the brand's presence in their states and cities.

The appeal of BrewDog boils down to the quality of its beers. These are exceptional — a fact that even the brand's biggest detractor cannot deny. With a portfolio stacked with great beer, it makes sense that BrewDog's non-alcoholic range is extremely diverse, ranging from citrusy IPAs to fruity sours.

Nanny State was the brand's original non-alcoholic beer, and it is still widely enjoyed today. A happy Tesco reviewer commented that this was their "drink of choice through the week" and that "of all the non alcohol beers I've tried this is the very best." As the best of a good bunch, Nanny State is a must-try for every no and low-beer enthusiast. 

8. Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Non-Alcoholic

Located in Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is a craft beer brand that has gained great acclaim for its brews. The first and most enduring of these award-winning non-alcoholic beers is Black Butte Porter, one of the most popular porters in the United States. Brian Faivre, brewmaster for Deschutes Brewery, described the beer to Gear Patrol: "I think of chocolate, some roast and smoky — but not too much. Low-to-medium bitterness. Some notes of coffee, burnt — however, not too overpowering. Approachable. Not too alcoholic or sweet. Medium bodied, versus full."

Black Butte has been a successful porter for quite some time now. So, it makes sense that Deschutes Brewery has tried to make an almost exact replica of the brand's non-alcoholic offering. Thankfully, they've come extremely close as many positive reviews attest to. BrewVo, a patented technology, is to thank for the uncanny similarities between its beers. In contrast to the other alcohol-limiting processes, BrewVo curtails alcohol production without impacting aroma or taste while also allowing the entire process of fermentation to take place. This makes Deschutes Brewery's Black Butte non-alcoholic beer an exceptional product that outperforms many other non-alcoholic beers on the market.

7. Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects Hoppy Lager

An iconic name in craft brewing, Brooklyn Brewery has built a reputation by serving quality beers from its base in New York. According to the main site, the brewery got its start in the 1980s with Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver discovering and developing their own homebrews. Hindy lived in the Middle East and Oliver in London — yet, they were both inclined to bring brewing back to Brooklyn. 

Fast forwarding a bit, Tom Potter was introduced to the mix when he and Hindy delivered "their first batch of Brooklyn Lager to Teddy's in Williamsburg." Today, Brooklyn Brewery beer has grown tremendously and "is available in more than 30 countries on five continents." Considering how much it's grown, this brand knows what it's doing, which is why it ranks a bit higher on our list.

Special Effects Hoppy Lager, the brand's flagship non-alcoholic beer, continues this tradition with bright citrus notes being prominent alongside a bitter finish. A true crowd-pleaser, the Special Effects Hoppy Lager has allowed Brooklyn Brewery to further experiment with non-alcoholic beer flavors. In a press release shared by Business Wire, Samantha Itzkovitz, vice president of marketing at the company, stated, "Our previous Special Effects releases, Hoppy Amber and IPA have out-performed our expectations, and year-to-date the brand family constitutes over 10% of our total sales for the Brewery."

6. Guinness 0

While it might not be the most popular beer in the world, Guinness still sits among the most iconic brands. The brew's celebrated characteristics — a foamy head, luxurious body, and malty sweetness — are so well known that any attempt at replication is a task mired in difficulty. Yet, this is exactly what the brewers at St. James's Gate in Dublin, Ireland, have done.

It took four years for Guinness 0 to be perfected, but all this hard work was nearly undone in an instant. Guinness had to recall all of its non-alcoholic beer only two weeks after launching in 2020 amid contamination fears. Since that hiccup, the beer has forged on, impressing consumers with its likeness to the original stout.

Cold filtration is the method through which the alcohol is removed. Apparently, all other brewing steps remain identical — and consumers on Tesco can tell, with one reviewer saying, they went "straight online and ordered another 40 cans" after trying it. Most are impressed as the brew poured, smelled, and "looked like a Guinness." The only criticism often made is that Guinness, whether alcoholic or not, simply isn't as good from a can as it is on draught. Unfortunately, this may put off many prospective U.S. customers until 0 is widely available on draught.

5. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei

A solid German beer option you might want to try comes from Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei. This brand's Non-alcoholic Wheat Beer option has received numerous awards, including a gold medal from The World Beer Awards. This is due to the wheat beer's distinct yeasty notes, a characteristic that is due to the fermentation process being allowed to run its entire course. In order to dealcoholize the beer, this brew undergoes a process called falling film evaporation. The Weihenstephaner site claims this technique leads to a "truly enjoyable beer" without as many calories or carbs as normal alcoholic beers have.

The beer will be very familiar for those that drink regular wheat beer, as one consumer on Rate Beer described it as "a nice hazy sunny yellow with a perfect fluffy white head and good lacing on the glass." Reviewers also loved this brew for the aroma being "so much like the original that it's honestly hard to decipher." Overall, many felt it was "very drinkable" and that it "tastes like its boozy equivalent."

4. Untitled Art Italian Pilsner

Italian pilsners are a hoppier form of the iconic Czech beer. This flavor is achieved via the inclusion of a dry hopping process. A notoriously difficult beer to make well, Untitled Art has gone one step further by making a high-quality Italian pilsner that boasts non-alcoholic status. By all accounts, the final product is an extremely good one.

A reviewer on Beer Advocate loved it and went on to say it had an "incredibly active carbonation" as well as a "beautiful aroma; citrus and gentle spices; mild biscuit scent." Phrases like "well-balanced multitude of flavors" and "fine hop bitterness" were also thrown around when describing this beer. Not only that, but the positive reviews were backed up by the professionals, with Wine Enthusiast giving the beer a very respectable score of 86 points.

The beer is all about the hops and is flavored with two types: Hallertau Mittelfruh and Strata. As one of the noble hops, the impact of Hallertau Mittelfruh is a given. Yet, the beer owes plenty of its positive characteristics, including exceptional balance, to the inclusion of Strata hops. These provide the flavors used by Untitled Art to create an exciting new take on the Italian pilsner, the latest in a chain of innovation that has seen the beer style gain popularity.

3. Partake Red

Partake, a non-alcoholic beer company brewing out of Toronto, produces a wide range of beers in the hope of appealing to drinkers with differing preferences. Among these is Partake's red ale which was the first non-alcoholic red ale to be made commercially available in the United States. The beer is robust, demonstrating the assertive flavors readily associated with darker beers, as one consumer highlighted via Beer Advocate: "The best thing about this beer is the biscuity malt taste. I have not tasted that in any other na until now." With reviewers saying things like they would "buy this again," it makes placing this option higher on our list easy.

As vital as it is, the flavor is not the only attraction of Partake's red ale. As with the entirety of Partake's product range, this beer is notoriously low in calories, containing less than 30, an incredible feat for such a well-rounded beer. Such a dearth of calories makes Red the ideal beverage for those following diets, watching their caloric intake, or keen to avoid the uncomfortable fullness that is usually associated with knocking back a handful of brews.

2. Mikkeller Limbo Raspberry

Founded by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, Danish beer company Mikkeller has a reputation for its range of beautifully designed, incredibly innovative beers. As a brand known for cutting-edge brews, it is little surprise that Mikkeller has become a leader in the low and no-beer market. One of the fantastic beers responsible for this is Limbo Raspberry, a sour beer packed with flavors of the named fruit. 

This beer is brewed at De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium, Mikkeller's main collaborating brewery. Together, De Proef Brouwerij and Mikkeller have created a new strain of yeast to be used when brewing non-alcoholic beers. This gives products like Limbo Raspberry a unique, distinctly fruity taste, ensuring Mikkeller's non-alcoholic beers cannot be beaten when it comes to flavor.

One happy customer on Beer 52 described the Limbo Raspberry as follows: "What a fantastic 0.3% ABV beer this is! Solid malt base, with an absolute ton of raspberries, giving a mix of fresh & jammy fruit leading to a soft tartness." The "complex, yet delicately soft sourness" makes this one of the best options on our list.

1. Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild IPA

For those who drink non-alcoholic beers regularly, the fact that an Athletic Brewing Company beer tops our list will come as no shock. This brewery has become synonymous with brilliant non-alcoholic beers, as is attested to by the plethora of awards it has won. These include being named International Beer Challenge's 2020 Brewer of the Year North America. Clearly, Athletic Brewing Company takes non-alcoholic beer very seriously.

The company made the United State's first non-alcoholic dedicated brewery and has since used this facility to produce a range of award-winning brews. Perhaps the most enduring of these is Run Wild, a non-alcoholic IPA that has won a gold medal award from the World Beer Awards, U.S. Open Beer Championship, and European Beer Challenge. The public's opinion echoes that of the critics, with one Amazon reviewer stating: "This is what an IPA should taste like. I can't even tell that it's not alcoholic. It blows my mind every time it has me talking to myself when I take a sip," and that "if you like IPA you will absolutely love it."