Last year, I wrote two separate blogs for Best Alcohol-free Ale and Best Alcohol-Free Lager in 2021. I thought it’d make it easier for those that preferred one or the other, but instead it made it harder for alcohol-free beer lovers to see all the reviews in one place.
With the new alcohol-free beers released in 2022, I thought it’d be good to combine and refresh those blogs into one place giving the best alcohol-free beers for 2022. Some of the old greats are still there, but a few new alcohol-free beers for 2022 have been added.
From all these beers, is there a winner of Best Alcohol-Free Beer for 2022? Not exactly. All these alcohol-free beers are just too good and my favourite changes too frequently to give a definitive best alcohol-free beer. Instead, I’ve added a Top 10 Alcohol-Free Beers for 2022 summary at the end showing which beers I will reach for again and again.
Best Alcohol-Free Ales
Let’s start off by looking at the best ales to try. There’s a selection of Pale Ales and IPAs with everything from tropical fruitiness to sharp hops. There are some cracking alcohol-free beers with every flavour preference catered for.
Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale 0.5%
Big Drop are one of the biggest alcohol free breweries since launching in 2016. They’ve since grown to offer a wide range of non-alcoholic beers from which I’ve chosen their Pine Trail Pale Ale to review.
It pours well with a good head on the beer that hold for a moment before settling down to a thin layer head. Unlike the other beers tested here, this has a hazy finish to its deep gold colour.
On smelling the beer I can instantly see where they got the inspiration for the Pine Trail name. The aroma has an almost earthy quality with a strong pine scent coming through and a floral hint.
With so much going on in the aroma, I anticipate a lot from the flavour too and the Big Drop doesn’t disappoint. There’s an initial bitterness that comes from the hops with a citrus edge which smoothly blends into a caramel malty finish that pleasantly stays in the after tastes
All this flavour is packed into a beer with good body making it a very enjoyable drink to savour.
Drop Bear Beer Yuzu Pale Ale 0.5%
Drop Bear Beer burst onto the alcohol free beer scene in 2019 with their Tropical IPA and Yuzu Pale Ale, both promising unique flavours in the alcohol free market. They’ve since followed that up with not one, but two more beers – the Bonfire Stout and New World Lager.
If like me, you’d never heard of a yuzu before trying this beer, it’s a citrus fruit thought to originate from central China (thank you Wikipedia).
It pours with a good head that sits atop a pale gold beer. Never having smelled a yuzu before, I’ll have to assume this is what gives the beer its citrusy aroma along with hops. There’s also a subtle sweetness to accompany the yuzu and hops
As I drink the beer, there’s an initial sharpness as the hops deliver a floral bitterness, but the flavours quickly evolve, first delivering a refreshing citrus followed by a smooth caramel maltiness. It’s this caramel ending that must be giving the subtle sweetness in the aroma.
It’s a slightly lighter bodied beer, but with so much flavour going on, it’s barely noticeable. This is a beer that I enjoy regularly and sitting taking time to savour the aromas and flavours has reminded me why I keep coming back.
Nirvana Classic IPA 0.5%
Now for the first of three beers from alcohol free specialists Nirvana Brewery. Established in 2017, they’ve grown from strength to strength with a range of six different beers ensuring there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.
To begin with I’ll start with their Classic IPA. Opening the bottle shows the beer to be quite lively with a quick head forming in the bottle and threatening to bubble over. I’m only saved by having a glass to hand and quickly pouring.
With a mini disaster averted, I can appreciate its deeper gold colour and enjoy the strong aroma. Hidden in those scents, there’s the hops you’d expect from and IPA along with a rich fruit, that combine to make me think of spiced fruits.
The initial flavour that hits me is the floral hops, but that quickly moves onto the fruity edge the aroma. I struggled to identify the fruits from the aroma, but they come through stronger in the taste as stoned fruits like peach and mango.
It’s a lighter bodied beer which combined with the hoppy sharpness and fruits from the malts, makes it a very light, enjoyable and refreshing beer.
Drop Bear Beer Tropical IPA 0.5%
We move from one IPA to another and this time it’s the Tropical IPA offering from Drop Bear Beer, with another of their launch beers. Just like their Yuzu Pale Ale, they made sure the flavours in their IPA were unique, this time relying on some tropical fruits.
Pouring this beer into the glass delivers the largest head on any of the beers tested here which then fades reasonably quickly. With the pale amber colour of the beer, it a looks fantastic and draws you in to enjoy it.
From the fruity aroma instantly I can instantly see why they’ve called it Tropical. It’s very appealing and I can’t help take a moment to enjoy the stoned fruit and citrus flavours.
There’s great body to the beer and the flavours come through thick and fast. I’m expecting fruits and I’m not disappointed. The first flavour that hits is grapefruit in an initial sharpness and refreshment, but this quickly moves onto the stone fruit. All this is followed by the malty body of the beer that’s rich with a dark chocolate flavour giving it a wonderful aftertaste.
It had been a while since I’d had a Tropical IPA, but I’d remembered it stuck in my mind the first time I drank it. Drinking it today has reminded me why I enjoyed, so I’ve grabbed a few to put in the fridge.
Nirvana Brewery Traditional Pale Ale 0.0%
Now back to alcohol free beer specialists Nirvana Brewery, this time with the Traditional Pale Ale, the first of two of their Pale Ales. Unlike many of the others tested here, this has an abv of 0.0%, although it’s worth remembering there is a small margin in the abv for alcohol free drinks.
This beer pours with a thin head that quickly faded. Malt was the over powering aroma coming from the beer, although there was a hint of hops somewhere in there.
Unsurprisingly, the maltiness was the predominant flavour coming through and carried with it an underlying caramelly smoothness. There’s a bitterness that marries the flavours together nicely making it a pleasant beer to drink. The flavours don’t hit me like a train as they can in some beers, rather building slowly in the mouth as I enjoy the beer.
For such a malty beer, I was surprised that was lighter bodied. I normally associate maltiness with a fuller body. Whilst this was different, it didn’t distract from the flavours making the drinking experience very rewarding.
Nirvana Hoppy Pale Ale 0.5%
To finish off I’ve gone for the Nirvana Brewery’s best-selling Hoppy Pale Ale to see why it proves so popular.
Pouring the crisp straw coloured beer into the glass, I can start to enjoy the aromas and instantly tell why they’ve called it their Hoppy Pale Ale. The Mosaic hops used give off a floral and fruity aroma, that again makes me think of tropical fruits.
From the strong hoppy aroma, I was surprised by the flavour experience when I took my first sip. I expected a bitter kick from the hops up front followed by the fruitiness, but I was wrong. Instead, the tropical fruits arrive first with the hoppy bitterness coming through strong at the end giving a dry, bitter finish and just a hint of citrus to round it off.
Whilst it initially caught me off guard, it makes for a very refreshing beer that leaves a good aftertaste and keeps me going back for more. It’d make for a great session beer and is definitely recommended for anyone that enjoy hoppy, bitter beers.
Days Brewing Pale Ale (0.0%)
There are many ways of brewing alcohol-free beer and most will produce some alcohol. Some methods in small enough volumes to be called alcohol-free straight away, whilst higher abv’s will require the excessive alcohol to be removed. Days Brewing have taken a different approach by developing a process with their master brewer to ensure alcohol is never produced during brewing to ensure their beers are always 0.0%.
Has this affected the taste of beer they brew? Put simply, no.
Pouring the Day’s Pale Ale into the glass, the first thing that strikes me is the deep amber colour. It has a wonderful richness that promises a fruity beer (a favourite of mine) so I’m quite excited to experience this Pale Ale.
Taking in the aroma, my high expectations are easily achieved. There’s a wonderful fruity aroma arising from that dark amber liquid with hints of tangerines and a subtle sharpness from the hops that makes me think of grapefruit.
With my first sip, this brilliant beer again delivers on its fruity promise. On a caramel malty layer, there’s these wonderful rich fruits that escape the beer. Again, the subtle hint of oranges or tangerines hang in the background before the hops come in with a nice bitterness to round off the flavours.
It’s probably because I’m writing this in the Christmas break, but drinking this beer made me think of enjoying a great Christmas Pudding – not in flavour (although the subtle orange hints feel Christmassy), but rather the richness and warmth of the beer. With it’s good body and great flavours, it’s a beer to be enjoyed and savoured all year round.
Jump Ship Goosewing IPA (0.5%)
From the Jump Ship range, we’ve got the Goosewing IPA. Pouring into the glass, this IPA doesn’t have the strongest of heads, but what is there doesn’t fade. It sits atop a wonderfully hazy IPA that’s a medium amber colour.
Taking a moment to savour the aroma and there’s a fruity sharpness that makes me think of grapefruits. Taking a moment to appreciate the aroma longer, I can sense beyond the sharp fruitiness and pick up subtle floral scents that suggest some bitterness to come.
My first sip delivers the sharpness promised in the aroma with bitterness to the initial flavour that’s comes through from the floral hops. These quickly move onto a fruity zest that again reminds me of grapefruits that rounds off to a citrusy kick.
With the good body on the beer, the amazing aroma and great flavours, it’s a really enjoyable beer to stop and appreciate. Every time I drink a Goosewing, it’s always a pleasant surprise to remind myself just how good this beer is.
UNLTD IPA (0.5%)
The UNLTD IPA is the second beer from UNLTD, after they launched with their Lager in 2020 (reviewed below). Keeping their now iconic black bottle, there’s now a flash of gold to the label to signify it’s the IPA hidden within the blackness.
As the IPA pours into the glass, it produces a good head which then fades relatively quickly. This gives me a chance to look down on the crystal clear medium amber liquid sitting in the glass before taking a moment to appreciate the strong aroma. There’s an initial sharpness of the hops combined with a citrusy kick. Beyond that I can sense a strong fruitiness to the beer that makes me think of tropical fruits.
The aroma draws me in and taking that first sip is a real joy. There’s that sharpness again that comes through from the hops that’s an instant reminder that I’m drinking an IPA. As the flavours move onwards, the malty base starts to come through and with it, the tropical fruits. All the while the bitter sharpness remains which slowly fades into a citrusy aftertaste.
It’s an incredibly moreish beer and I find myself going back for sip after sip to enjoy this wonderful collection of flavours. Needless to say, I’ve also grabbed a few more to stock up the fridge for later.
Incredibly, all this flavour is packed into a bottles that contains only 13 calories! That’s a very low calorie count for any beer, even an alcohol free one. And the great thing about that? It means you can enjoy even more of these great tasting beers without having to worry about your waistline.
Best Alcohol-Free Lagers
If a pale ale or IPA doesn’t tickle your fancy and you’re more a fan of a crisp lager, then the following beers are for you. I’ve been through our selection of alcohol-free lagers and chosen the best to review.
Drynks Unlimited Smashed Lager 0.0%
Drynks Unlimited are alcohol-free specialists with a range of beers and ciders. They brew all their drinks as a traditional alcoholic drinks then use the UK’s first cool vacuum distillation to gently remove the alcohol without affecting any of the flavours.
The Smashed Lager pours with a good head that only fades a small amount while I fumble around trying to get a good photo.
There’s no hiding it’s a lager with its pale gold colour and strong aroma. There’s a slight sweetness hidden in among the hoppy, floral bitterness and these aromas are carried through into the flavours.
There’s a biscuity maltiness to the beer that has a subtle honey flavour giving a hint of sweetness. Then the hops come charging in with a wonderful floral bitterness that compliments the malt to give a fantastic and rich flavour. This slowly fades into a floral bitter after tastes.
This is a great lager to kick off this review. It screams lager at me from the moment it’s poured. With a wonderful aroma and great flavours packed in, any lager lover will enjoy this crisp and refreshing beer.
Drop Bear Beer Co New world Lager 0.5%
Drop Bear Beer Co. exploded into the alcohol-free beer market in 2019 with two cracking beers. They’ve since gone on to add two more beers in 2020 to round off their range so there’s something for all tastes. The New World Lager was the second of these new beers and was released as the first alcohol-free Indian Pale Lager (IPL) to be part of a core range.
The New World Lager pours with a thin head that fades quite quickly leaving a thin film of bubbles sitting atop a pale gold beer.
Straight away the strong aroma hits me and draw me in. There’s a rich caramel that comes through that is also accompanied by a fruity edge. I can’t help but take a few moments to stop and appreciate its unique aroma and try to identify the fruits. My best guess is passion fruit along with stone fruits like mango, apricot and peach.
If I thought the aromas were packed in, it’s got nothing on the flavours hidden within this beer. There’s an initial caramel maltiness which is accompanied by the passion fruit and stoned fruits that were hinted at in the aroma. Finally, there’s the floral bitterness delivered by the hops and carried through into the aftertaste.
With so much flavour going on in this lager that I can’t help myself going back for more. Drop Bear Beer have delivered a standout beer yet again.
Nirvana Brewery Bavarian Helles Lager 0.3%
Launched in 2017, the Nirvana Brewery is an independent family run business that specialises in brewing alcohol-free beers. In their four years, they’ve built a wide range of beers that now includes a stout, IPA, three pale ales and this, their Bavarian Helles Lager.
Picking up the bottle and pouring into the glass, it has a decent head that refuses to fade, hiding the pale gold beer. The aroma on the Nirvana is much softer than I was expecting. This forces me to take my time to appreciate the subtle floral hues hidden within before moving onto take a sip.
The first thing that strikes me is the smoothness of the beer, both in the mouth feel and the way it delivers the flavour to my palate. There’s an initial malty richness with hints of caramel, but this smoothly progresses to the bitterness of the hops which deliver sharpness to the flavours with a soft floral hint. The flavours slowly fades into an aftertastes of the lingering floral bitterness from the hops.
There’s no subtle hints of fruit within these flavours, this is all about the caramelly malt and the floral bitterness. Together they make a silky smooth flavour combination.
Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager 0.5%
Lucky Saint was is a beer developed from a love of great beer, a desire for alcohol-free and a detemination to succeed when other would have given up. It was a journey that took its founder Luke Boase across Europe, then a full years development until he ended up with his perfect beer.
Picking up the short stubby bottle that’s a bit of a signature of Lucky Saint, I pour the pale gold beer into a glass. There’s a decent head on the beer when first poured, but that fades fairly quickly.
It’s the first of those tried that isn’t crystal clear. Instead, there’s a slight haze to the beer which I should have expected given it’s an unfiltered lager.
There’s a floral aroma coming from the hops, but there’s also a slightly herbal edge taking away any sweetness in the scent. With the two combined, I can almost smell the hoppy bitterness in the lager and it draws me into trying the beer.
I take a first sip and it’s a smooth beer with a good body. The malts come through with a slight caramel edge then the sharpness of the hops comes arrives delivering a slightly citrus edge to the floral bitterness that flows through into the aftertaste.
This really is an excellent lager. The smooth delivery of all those flavours will keep me coming back time and again.
UNLTD Lager 0.5%
UNLTD Lager first hit the shelves in 2020 and was launched by its founder, Johnny Johnson after he went alcohol-free, but still wanted to enjoy beer. Unhappy with what already available, he set out on developing his own high flavour, low calorie alcohol-free lager.
Picking up that good looking bottle (that’s won design awards) and pouring it into the glass, the first thing that gets me is the large head that sits atop the beer. I give it a moment to see if it fades and am pleasantly surprised that it stays.
Taking a second to enjoy the pale golden colour, I also notice this is another lager with a haze to the beer. I move onto sampling the aroma which has a floral bitterness to it accompanied by a hint of citrus.
It’s a lighter bodied beer to drink, but still packed with flavours. The bitterness of the hops is slightly herbal which is then followed by a citrus edge. Combined these deliver a crisp freshness to the beer that makes it very moreish.
It’s hard to believe that all this flavour and refreshment is packed into a beer that’s only 23 calories. I can see this being a beer that’s reached for on many hot days in the future.
Big Drop Brewing Co Uptown Craft Lager 0.5%
Since launching back in 2016, Big Drop have taken the alcohol-free world by storm. They’ve released a wide range of alcohol-free beers into their core range then started their World Collaboration series in 2020. Along the way they’ve racked up a number of awards, including a European Double Gold in 2019 for this, their Uptown Craft Lager.
Looking at the beer, it’s clear from the outset this will be different. Whereas all the other beers tested here are variations on the classic pale gold colour of a traditional lager, this is deeper colour that’s more amber than gold.
It pours with a thin head that fades very quickly – too quick for me to even get a photo. I move onto trying the aroma which is very understated. There’s definitely some floral hops there with a slight herbal edge, but again it doesn’t make me think of a classic lager.
The divergence from classic lager is far more striking in the flavour. The maltiness of the beer has a richer, more fruity flavour than I was expecting with strong hints of orange. Overlayed with that are the flavours coming through from the hops, delivering an almost earthy herbal bitterness.
After drinking so many great beers that have that classic lager taste, the Big Drop is something very different. The fruit from the malts and lack of sharp bitterness in the hops makes me think more of an ale than a lager.
That said, it’s great to see someone branching out and exploring to deliver a flavoursome beer that unique and refreshing.
Days Brewing Lager (0.0%)
The second beer from Days Brewing to be featured on this list is their Lager. Again, it’s brewed using their special process that doesn’t produce any alcohol, ensuring this beer remains 0.0% abv.
There’s a decent head produced when pouring the beer into the glass, which only fades a little, leaving a creamy head atop the lager. Holding the glass up, I can see it’s nicely carbonated with the bubbles running through the clear deep gold lager.
The aroma of the beer isn’t the strongest, so it takes me a little longer to pick out the different scents. There’s a definite hoppy edge, but it’s not the over powering hoppy sharpness you often find with lagers. Instead, I can also pick out the malty aromas of stoned fruits (possibly mango) and a hint of orange or tangerine.
Taking a sip, I have a moment to enjoy the flavours coming through from the lager. There’s that malt base again and the taste reflect the aromas with hints of stoned fruit, mango and a subtle tangerine edge. All this sits over a sweet caramel that combined nicely with good body to lay a solid foundation for the beer.
As the flavours move on, the hoppy bitterness I’d associate with a lager starts to come through, but they’re more subtle than I’d expected. This isn’t an overpowering hoppiness, more an indirect reminder that you’re enjoying a good lager. The hops give it the bitter edge you’d expect from a lager which then fades into a nice citrusy aftertaste.
It’s not got that strong classic lager taste that other beers may have, but it’s not trying to and it doesn’t need it. It delivers it’s crisp refreshment in its own way and it’s all the better for it.
Fortitude Everyday Lager (0.5%)
One of three alcohol-free beers from Fortitude, their Everyday Lager was their first beer launched. It’s has already made a mark on the alcohol-free world, with a Gold Award at the European Beer Challenge in 2021.
When poured, this was one of the liveliest beers from the group with a super-generous head sat atop the lager. Giving it a moment, I was expecting to see the head quickly vanish, but watching the beer I saw it settle down to leave a good head. Watching the beer, I also gave me time to notice the slight haze in the pale straw coloured beer.
It’s not the strongest of aromas, but what is there screams classic lager. The hops give a wonderful floral sharpness that leaves you in no doubt they’ll be a predominate flavour to the beer.
Enjoying my first sips, I’m immediately hit with those floral hops that give an enjoyable bitterness. They’re such a predominate taste, that it’s easy to get distracted by them and miss the malt base to the beer which has a certain richness to it. However, with each sip I’m bought back to that classic lager bitterness of the hops with their strong floral edge.
Combining these flavours with its slightly lighter body makes this a very crisp and refreshing lager. I can see this being a beer that’s frequently reached for on a hot summer’s day when maximum refreshment and great flavour is a must.
One of the great benefits of going alcohol-free is the lower calorie content compared to their alcoholic relatives. You can enjoy them as much as you want without risk of the traditional beer belly haunting you.
I’ve pulled together the nutritional information for the beers reviewed in the table below. You can also compare these against other alcohol-free drinks in our full nutritional table.
|Drink||Energy (cals)||Energy (kjs)||Fat (g)||Fat – of which saturates (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Carbohydrate – of which sugars (g)||Protein (g)||Sodium (g)||ABV|
|Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager||16||70||<0.1||<0.1||3.5||<0.1||0.6||<0.01||0.50%|
|Nirvana Brewery Hoppy Pale Ale||9||0.1||<0.1||1.4||0.1||0.1||<0.1||0.50%|
|Nirvana Brewery Classic IPA||10||0.1||<0.1||1.7||0.1||0.1||<0.1||0.50%|
|Nirvana Brewery Traditional Pale Ale||15||0.1||<0.1||3.7||2.2||0.1||<0.1||0.00%|
|Big Drop Brewing Co. Lager||11.8||50.5||0.4||0.1||2.3||0.1||0.5||0.1||0.50%|
|Big Drop Brewing Co. Pale Ale||18.5||78.9||0.2||<0.1||3.7||2.1||0.3||<0.1||0.50%|
|Drop Bear Beer Co Yuzu Pale Ale||7.5||30.1||0.1||0.03||0.7||0.3||0.1||0.003||0.40%|
|Drop Bear Beer Co Tropical IPA||6.5||26.7||0.1||0.02||0.5||0.1||0.1||0.003||0.30%|
|Nirvana Brewery Bavarian Helles Lager||20||<0.1||<0.1||4.1||1.1||0.4||0.005||0.30%|
|Drynks Unlimited Smashed Lager||23||0||0||3.1||3.1||0.3||0||0.00%|
|Drop Bear Beer Co New World Lager||7.5||30.4||0.2||0||0.4||0.1||0.1||0.003||0.50%|
|Days Brewing Lager 0.0%||22||91||0.4||<0.1||4.5||2.5||0.1||<0.1||0.00%|
|Days Brewing Pale Ale 0.0%||21||91||0.3||<0.1||4.5||2.5||0.2||<0.1||0.00%|
|Jump Ship Goosewing IPA 0.5%|
|Fortitude Everyday Lager 0.5%||11.9||50.5||<0.1||<0.1||2.4||0.7||0.3||0.01||0.50%|
|UNLTD. IPA 0.5%||19||4||0.1||0.1||1||0.1||0.1||0.02||0.50%|
Top 10 Alcohol Free Beers
You’ve read the reviews of some of my favourites, but now it’s time to narrow this list down to my top 10. These are the alcohol-free beers I reach for time and again. You’ll always find a few of these chilling in my fridge, ready and waiting for that moment I want alcohol-free refreshment.
I was tempted to put these into a top 10 in order of my favourites, but it was just too hard. They’re too many great beers here, plus I change my mind so frequently and often my favourite is based on what I fancy that day. Instead, I’ve put them in alphabetical order to make it fair.
- Days Brewing Lager (0.0%)
- Days Brewing Pale Ale (0.0%)
- Drop Bear Beer Co New World Lager (0.5%)
- Drop Bear Beer Co Tropical IPA (0.3%)
- Jump Ship Goosewing IPA (0.5%)
- Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager (0.5%)
- Nirvana Brewery Bavarian Helles Lager (0.3%)
- Nirvana Brewery Classic IPA (0.5%)
- Nirvana Brewery Hoppy Pale Ale (0.5%)
- UNLTD IPA (0.5%)
Get Yours Today – Try These Alcohol-Free Beers
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Best Alcohol-Free Beers – Final Thoughts
I’ve really enjoyed doing this review as it’s been a great reminder of just how good these alcohol-free beers are. I drink these beers all year round and it’s too easy to start to take for granted their great flavours and aromas.
Taking the time to review these beers again has stopped this.
Instead, it was like going back and enjoying them for the first time. Having a moment to stop and appreciate each of their unique characteristics reminded me why they became my favourites in the first place. Whether it was brilliant flavour, good body, wonderful aroma or other great quality, they’re all fantastic beers.
And make no mistake, these aren’t great alcohol-free beers. These are great beers. They’re a wonderful reminder that it’s the flavours and aromas that make a beer great, not the abv.
With one of these in hand, any beer lover will have a smile on their face. I know I certainly do.