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Who here drinks non-alcoholic beer?

Hey guys and gals, recently I was given O'Doul's as a client for a class, and I've got to be frank, I'm not well versed in those who prefer to drink non-alcoholic beer and I was wondering if you wonderful people could aid me.

So far in my research I've narrowed it down to Designated Drivers, and those whose religion won't let them consume alcohol (like those who follow Islam). Am I on the right track?

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  1. I drink non-alcoholic beer 'cause I usually use it as a chaser for my alcoholic tequila or g & t (minus the g)

    1 Reply
    1. re: brooklynkoshereater

      Hello everybody. I am a first timer here and would like to share my views here.

      I am a non-alcoholic beer drinker by choice and have tried many different kinds. I prefer St. Pauli Girl, Clausthaler, Buckler, as well as Coors Cutter/NA. I do enjoy Kaliber NA

      The NA's i avoid are O'Douls and Becks. Old Milwaukee NA is ok, but Coors NA is my favorite U.S non-alcoholic beer.

      The non-alcoholic beers from Germany, Holland, and Ireland will always be the best by far.

      There is one from Canada that's good called LaBatts NA but is very hard to find.

      Thank You all for listening, and Thank You for your time.

    2. If your religion did not allow alcohol, I would think that the 1/2 % abv that "non-alcoholic" beers can contain wouldn't be allowed either.

      I used to drink them on occassion when I drove a delivery van and needed a cold, carbonated thirst quencher while driving around in a hot van and wasn't in the mood for sweet drinks.

      1. I drink NA beer for safer enjoyment of my favorite beverage. Whether working or driving, I would rather have my full (admittedly limited) wits about me, including the unimpaired ability to react quickly if necesssary. At home and work, I routinely use brush-cutters, mowers, chippers, chain saws and other power tools. In my kitchen, I use a very sharp knives (because I maintain my knives). On the road, well... it really doesn't matter how good a driver you think YOU are. I admit, I can (and do) get distracted occasionally. More importantly, NO ONE can know what is going on in all those other cars (a tire ready to blow, a heated argument, a heart attack...). There is no room for any impairment (anything less than 100% of the abilities you were given by nature (or God, if you prefer). I drink water all day, lots of it, but it can get boring. Soda? Sometimes, but I really have to shelve my better judgement first.
        So, back to beer. I drink more NA than anything, because its better than no beer at all, beer (and life) doesn't have to be perfect to be enjoyed. I prefer IPA, and that it what I usually enjoy at home.

        Looking into the topic, and searching for my favorite style (India Pale Ale) in a NA, I was surprised to learn that ordinary orange juice has about the same (0.4% ABV) as many NA beers. But other than that, I found little help.

        I gave up trying American NAs more than ten years ago. Sharps was the best then, but didn't hold a candle to the imports, once the prices were nearly equal, I stayed with Becks, St. Pauli, and Clausthaler. All three produce drinkable substitutes for the real thing. Kaliber, though it stands out from the others three, can be a nice change of pace, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Duke

          I am also on the hunt for a NA IPA. No success here. I really miss IPAs.

        2. I'll drink NA's on occasion with lunch or during the afternoons, or if we're going to a concert or a play at night. I especially used to like then during long bike rides for an energy boost.

          I buy O'Doul's Amber since I prefer ales and darker beers.

          1. I drink N/A beers on occasion, and am actually able to enjoy them as much as a regular beer. I like them on a long drive and in general much prefer them over soda pop. I will often enjoy one while working as well. Sometimes it's great to be able to enjoy a beer without worrying about inappropriately getting buzzed.
            O'Doul's Amber is not too bad, nor is Kaliber (a Guinness product). Some of the ones out of Germany are reasonably good as well.
            As a long time homebrewer (going on 40 years) I've also experimented with making some very low alcohol brews at home, with some success. SInce IPA is one of my favorite beers as well, I've experimented a bit in making some assertively hopped low alc beers as an experiment. The real challenge there is getting the right kind of body and malt background without a lot of residual sweetness.

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Professor

              I have done a lot of research about drinking NA Beer and driving, and it is recommended that you don't drive a vehicle after drinking one NA Beer. Even though there is 0.5 percent in these beers, it is still not recommended.

              1. re: Daniel2

                > Even though there is 0.5 percent in these beers...

                No, to be labeled "Non-alcoholic" these brews must have _under_ 0.5% ABV. The specific language from the TTB:

                The statement “CONTAINS LESS THAN 0.5% ALC BY VOL” must appear with NON-ALCOHOLIC” on the label" http://www.ttb.gov/beer/bam/chapter1.pdf

                This requirement dates from the Prohibition Era and was the limit for near beers in that era, when the technology for alcohol removal was not as advanced. As Jim Dorsch notes below, for most US NA's, the actual ABV is unknown.

                In the US, there is yet another designation for non-alcoholic beers - "Alcohol Free" - which the TTB notes

                " The alcohol content statement “0.0% ALC BY VOL” may not appear on the label unless the malt beverage is labeled “ALCOHOL FREE” (same link as above).

                I don't know which, if any, such beers are available in the US but the labeling requirements seem easy enough to distinguish them from the NA's with trace alcohol content..

                1. re: Daniel2

                  If that's the case, you should also avoid driving after eating food flavored with alcohol based extracts and after drinking juice, which typically contains a very small percentage of alcohol via natural fermentation.

                  Honestly, if an average person drank enough NA beer in a short enough period of time to actually become intoxicated, I'd be a lot more concerned about water intoxication, which is far more dangerous.

              2. I know I'm 6 months late, but there are not many posts on the beer board and this still shows up on page 1. One group I did not see listed in the thread was sober or recovering folks. I know several people who are now sober who order O'Doul's when out with a group at a bar/restaurant. You could make a case for this being a slippery slope, but these people have been sober for many years and enjoy the taste and social aspect while hanging out with friends and coworkers.

                1. No one's mentioned drug interactions. Some prescription medications warn against alcohol, so a beer lover might temporarily drink NA beer.

                  1. I agree with the posters who suggest you're missing the appeal to recovery folks - my husband's been sober for 7 years now and drinks NA beer because he misses the flavor. Sorry to say that that means O'Doul's is among his least favorite brands, though - too bland. You might find this thread helpful in pinpointing why people drink the various NA brands - O'Doul's Amber does get some recommendations!

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641030

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: rovingfoodie

                      Bumping an old topic here but I have to drink NA beers now because of medication interactions. I love beer and i can't imagine the rest of my life without tasting it but drinking alcohol is no longer an option.

                      1. re: emilybobemily

                        So the .5 % of alcohol that is allowed in N/A beer isn't a problem?

                        Just wondering as the residual caffeine in decaffeinated coffee still causes issue with migraines for me.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          It's too bad that it's not so easy to find out just how much alcohol is in these products. There is likely (essentially) none at all in some of them, but we don't know which ones.

                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                            When knowing more about the ingredients in something is critical, I always try contacting the manufacturer (in this case, the brewery). If you don't get much help, request a copy of their product's MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).

                            I read somewhere that most brewers remove alcohol from their NA products by heating the beer. They may even remove "all" of the alcohol, but as labeling the product NA only requires that alcohol be less than 0.5%, there is little incentive to say "zero" because of the potential liability it could create if even a tiny trace slips through and turns out to be significant for even one consumer.

                            By the way, I first started or joined a Chow thread on NA beer sometime around 2007? So, it's neat to see the topic is of interest to so many.

                            I have no sense of smell but, relying on hops and malt to keep it interesting, I rarely choose an American lager. I'll try anything (lately my recycle bin is full of Abita's Turbodog bottles), but keep coming back to the IPAs (Full Sail, Harpoon, Long Hammer and others).

                            But, I now drink Becks NA more than any other beer (NA or loaded). It is "safe," and I drink for taste... not the buzz. After a long day's work under the Florida sun, drinking a gallon or two of H2O for rehydration, there's something about a beer that says "done." With Beck's NA, I can be "done" even as I drive home, and not worry about DWI and DUI. Beck's NA is almost ubiquitous here in Florida and tastes at least as good as any NA I've tried. I like NA brews by St. Pauli, Clausthaler, Kaliber (Paulaner is fine also, but not worth 25% higher price). I never found Erdinger's NA.

                            I am still disappointed I have not found an American-brewed NA that has the body and taste of a "real" beer. Since I first wrote, I have been surprised that the microbrews still ignore this niche.

                    2. Maybe I should switch to an NA beer in the evenings. I get drowsy and fall asleep too easily.

                      How about an LA (Low Alcohol) beer? Something less than 2.5%? I guess that's how the low-calorie beers work... cut the amount of alcohol. Can you have an extra light beer with taste?

                      MGD "64" is 2.8%
                      Pabst LA 2.5%
                      Bud Select "55" is 2.4%

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                        I quite like Stiegl's Grapefruit Radler @ 2.5% Having said that, it's more grapefruit than beer and therefore may not totally scratch the beer itch, but it's tasty and an interesting alternative to the extra-lights.

                        1. re: antennastoheaven

                          It's like a shandy. They also have a lemon radler.

                      2. I drink NA beer regularly and find many of the German beers satisfying. I had my first one many years ago when my wife was pregnant and that was all we had in the house. For 35 years I drank alcoholic beers but as those around me had to give up drinking, so did I. I was fortunate. When I decided to stop drinking four years ago. I just stopped completely. But there are things in my life that I did and really enjoyed a beer upon finishing... a round of golf, mowing the yard, a sporting event, etc. For those times I find these NA beers to be a very enjoyable way to quench the thirst while maintaining virtually alchohol free. However they are not enjoyable to drink frequently or in any multiple quantities because the good ones are too heavy.
                        What disappoints me is that no micro-brewery offers this type of option. If any ever did, I think they would be swarmed. The NA option is growing for a variety of reasons. You would think some entrepreneur would give it a shot. But I have found none. I keep looking and hoping but fear it won't happen. Is there a reason micro-breweries don't go there? Is it too costly to take the extra steps to get the alcohol out?