12 Low-Alcohol Beers You Should Be Drinking
Beer is brilliant. From the first time you’re allowed a sip of your parent’s lager and screw up your face in disgust to the first time you get absolutely hammered after downing litre upon litre of lukewarm Fosters, beer is a drink that’s pretty inseparable from British culture. Unfortunately, one of the fallouts of that affinity for beer is that this country has got a bit of a drinking problem. Okay, it's got a very big drinking problem. So much so that it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t found themselves pressured into drinking on at least one occasion where they really didn’t want to.
Thankfully, the tides seem to be turning and sobriety has become an increasingly popular wellness trend in the UK over the last few years. And with that decreased interest in alcohol has come an increased interest in alcohol-free alternatives to the drinks we know and love. One of the fastest-growing categories in the sector is low-alcohol beers and alcohol-free beers. Why? Because, as I said earlier, we're a nation that's mad about beer and those alcohol-free beers are pretty damn good. Well, most of them. There are obviously some duds out there but I decided to write this guide on the best low- and no-alcohol beers to direct you to the good stuff. Low-alcohol beers aren’t just for Dry January, y'know – you can crack one of these open any time of the year and they won’t taste like a wheat-heavy, fizzy compromise.
If you’re after something slightly stronger, you can always check out our beginner’s guide to beer and some of the IPAs and saisons I've recommended in there. This guide, however, is dedicated to great low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers – beers that you can, technically, drink at 10am while sitting in your cubicle at work. I wouldn’t recommend doing that though. It feels a bit weird. And your boss might ask you some uncomfortable questions.
This non-alcoholic beer from Belgian brewery Halve Maan has got one of the coolest labels about. But that’s not why it’s on the list. No, SportZot has earned its place here thanks to how each beer’s liquid insides are just as chilled and refreshing as the bottle’s playful exterior. Expect a fruity, Belgian-style beer that’ll really hit the spot when the sun is out.
Lucky Saint has become the go-to low alcohol beer for a lot of sober curious drinkers in the UK. Coming in at a sly 0.5% ABV, it’s a malty beer that – were you to be conducting a blind beer taste test – you probably wouldn’t peg it as one that had barely any booze in it. Lucky Saint ensures each bottle is packed with quality malted barley, the freshest hops, and single-use yeast. It's rather lovely stuff, and even on draught at a few conscientious pubs.
Big Drop Low Alcohol Stout
Big Drop Brewing Co are on a mission to “make alcohol-free craft beers that taste incredible”. Nothing less, nothing more. Having quaffed their Low Alcohol Stout on more than one occasion, I can confirm they’re well on their way to completing that mission. It’s rich, chocolatey, and hits every sweet spot you’d want from a bonafide stout. If you're in the market for something brighter then Big Drop’s Low Alcohol Pale Ale is also worth a punt. It’s light and citrusy. Like a feather that’s been doused in lime.
Erdinger Low Alcohol Lager Wheat Beer
I know that Lager Wheat Beer seems like one too many words to properly process at once (a bit like the mishmash of words people will shout at you after you’ve mimed drinking from a beer bottle during a game of charades) and throwing “low alcohol” in front of them probably makes things even more confusing. To clear up any confusion in your mind, here’s what you need to know about this low-alcohol beer from Erdinger: it’s very nice. It’s got a lovely wheaty aftertaste and the folks at the brewery even recommend drinking it after sport. Which is a brilliant idea.
Not many beers out there can boast about having 0.0% ABV or being a completely alcohol-free liquid. Freestar though? Freestar can boast about that down the local until the cows come home. Made using malted barley, hops and water, Freestar contains everything you’d expect from a regular beer apart from yeast. Yeah, Freestar skips that stuff and blends all its beer rather than brewing it. That might sound a bit different but that process also apparently emits 90% less CO2 than the industry average. Which can only be a good thing, right?
This lager from Days – a small, alcohol-free brewery in Scotland that’s got some superb branding – describes itself as “clean, crisp and sessionable”. I’ve got no complaints about that. It has all the characteristics of a lager with none of the threat of making you feel worse for wear the next day. Plus, Days are offering free delivery on all orders UK-wide. Stock your fridge with these if you’re in the market for a non-alcoholic beer that’s actually cool.
Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5%
Out of all the larger breweries that have got involved in the alcohol-free scene, Adnams are probably the best of the bunch. Their low-alcohol version of Ghost Ship is just as good as the original – packed with crispy, citrus flavours and a moreish finish that’ll last you until the end of the bottle. And then carry you through onto the next.
Camden Town Brewery Week Nite
Unfiltered, dry-hopped and full of flavour, this lager from Camden Town Brewery is lower in ABV than the rest of their range but no lower in terms of my estimate of it. It’s called Week Nite because it’s designed to be drunk during the week (GET IT?) and while it’s not the lowest beer out there (it clocks in at 3% ABV) it will quench your thirst without knocking you over the head.
Small Beer Steam
Small Beer specialises in little beers that deliver big flavours without giving you a big hangover the next day. All of Small Beer’s range come in under 2.8% and Steam is probably the most unique beer they’ve got. Sustainably brewed in their South Bermondsey brewery, this ale sits between a lager and a stout, offering a balanced profile of dried fruits and spice.
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana Alcohol-Free Tropical IPA 0.5%
Tiny Rebel is a brilliant independent brewery from Wales that produces a pretty stellar selection of ales. This alcohol-free tropical IPA is packed with Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe and gives me proper J2O Orange and Passionfruit vibes. In a good way, of course. This is the ultimate summer serve, MOB. Get a couple of cans in. Stat.
Infinite Session American Pale Ale
This smooth alcohol-free beer comes from the folks at Infinite Session. Which I think we can all agree is the greatest name for a non-alcoholic brewery. Like, ever. The American Pale is my pick of the bunch: a smooth-bodied beer that’s jazzed up with tropical new-world hops which give it a simultaneously refreshing and bitter flavour. Alcohol-free beers can often be a little one-note and lack the depth of their boozy cousins. Not this beer though. This one’s got legs.
Signature Brew Lo-Fi Alcohol-Free Pale Ale
Signature Brew’s thing is all about combining their passions for beer and music. That’s why this 0.5% ABV beer is inspired by lo-fi beats and acts as a sort of liquid ode to the minimal music you put on in the background while you’re pretending to do your job. Or write your dissertation. This is the can you crack open while listening to ‘lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to’ on YouTube as you sigh deeply and think about your ex.