Dry January and Non-Alcoholic Beers

Ho Ho Ho! Yup, I’ve missed Christmas by a couple weeks.

But the holiday spirit lives on! Only for me, it live on spirits free.

If you can remember far enough back, you might recall that I’ve promoted the idea of Dry January in the past. For anyone curious, Dry January just means spending the calendar month of January alcohol-free.

So when I was sent several non-alcoholic beers to try out, I was faced with a dilemma: create a holiday post, or wait to provide Dry January inspiration?

I chose the latter.

Clausthaler: An Introduction To Non-Alcoholic Beers

I’ve seen non-alcoholic beers all over the shelves (especially outside of the USA), but never went out of my way to try them. 

Why? Well, I’ve always been a fan of the “real thing,” and worried that non-alcoholic beer would just make me miss the real thing too much.

It turns out that this isn’t really the case. Non-alcoholic beer is a beast of its own, and while it uses many of the same ingredients as alcoholic beer, it differs enough that I barely compare the two. 

I’d like to highlight several Clausthaler beers I tried to point out why:

Clausthaler Holiday Brew

Described on the bottle as a combination of non-alcoholic beer and cranberry/cinnamon drink, the Holiday Brew tastes like an alcohol-free beer version of a mulled wine. Not my personal favorite, but those who enjoy these types of drinks (as my taste partner does) would probably love to have a few of these on those snowy days that are bound to keep coming. 

Clausthaler Grapefruit

Calling this a beer seems sooooo far from the truth. Clausthaler Grapefruit is essentially a heavy grapefruit juice that surpasses actual grapefruit juice in nearly every way. 

Of course, being a fruity drink, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. To give it a better profile, I’d compare it to the Schofferhofer Grapefruit beer I tried a while back. 

The Downsides Of Non-Alcoholic Beers

I couldn’t write an honest post if I didn’t give a full opinion. In my mind, non-alcoholic beers fall short in two ways:

  1. Not actually non-alcoholic. Technically, pretty much every NA drink has about 0.5% ABV, including these beers, kombucha’s, and everything else that follows the process. In a similar sense, there’s no such thing as decaf tea or coffee — the caffeine is just so light that it may as well be negligible. Same goes for these beers.
  2. Calories. Yes, the biggest downside of alcohol for many is the calories. Unfortunately, non-alcoholic beers still carry calories, albeit fewer than the alcoholic versions. Still, tea or water remains a healthier option. 

More Non-Alcoholic Beer To Come?

I honestly don’t have a lot that I can say about non-alcoholic beer because I don’t have them very often…

However, I can confidently say that non-alcoholic beverages that resemble alcoholic beverages are only going to become more common. Outside of beer, I’ve tried herbal cocktails that resemble gin and tonics, along with the elusive “non-alcoholic” seltzer (hint: it’s just seltzer).

Rest assured, I’ll be posting about the good alcoholic beers once more come February.

Thomas Short
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