3 Non-Alcoholic Beers That Don’t Suck

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor

The question: When someone says non-alcoholic beer, what do you think?

The reactions, on this writer’s Facebook wall: “Not worth the calories.” “Puke.” “What’s the point??” “Pregnant!” “Alcoholic in recovery.”

That pretty much sums up the popular opinion on alcohol-free beer. It’s unfortunate the stuff has such a bad reputation.  

”Part of the fun of drinking alcohol is the communal aspect,” bartender and soon-to-be Tasting Table drinks editor Jim Meehan told us in January. “When someone is not drinking, you’re not in communion with them.” 

Meehan drinks one bottle of non-alcoholic beer almost every evening in the summer; it’s a way for him cap off the day with his wife without feeling weighed down by the alcohol. (Note: There are normally trace amounts of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer, but we’re talking the same trace amounts that are in apple and grape juice.) Whatever your reason for not drinking—you’re on a cleanse, you’re pregnant, you’re in recovery, or you just don’t want alcohol in your system right now, plain and simple—there are three actually tasty booze-free beers that still allow you to be in communion with the others at your weekend barbecue

They’re all German, and they’re all crisp and easy-drinking—perfect for those (healthy) summer days. 

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With an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 0.5%, Clausthaler Classic has range: It’s sweet on the front end and bitter on the finish. It also won the award for World's Best Alcohol-Free Lager in 2013.

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Einbecker Brauherren Alkoholfrei is Meehan’s favorite. “It reminds me of traditional German lagers like Becks: clean, crisp, malty,” he told us. It has an ABV of 0.45%.

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Warsteiner is truly alcohol-free: Its ABV is 0.0%. Meehan says this is another favorite among bartenders. It’s made with super-soft water from the Kaiser’s Spring in Germany's Arnsberg Forest.