The best non-alcoholic beers in 2022 - great alcohol-free lagers taste tested
Max taste, zero hangover, with these best alcohol-free beers.
The craft beer scene in the UK is exploding, but there’s also a huge trend for the best alcohol-free beers. In fact, a report by drinks retailer EeBria states that the category is up a whopping 381 percent since 2017.
You just have to take a look at our best craft beer list to see that everyone is into trendy ale at the moment - but good beer doesn't always mean a high abv.
There’s some complexity on the definition and branding of alcohol free and low alcohol beers, so you’ll find a mix of the two here. The important thing is that everything below has a maximum abv (alcohol by volume) of 0.5%.
Although some are 0.0%, they tend to have less flavour and the difference in alcohol is negligible. For some context, a ripe banana or even a slice of bread can contain 0.5% so you’re not going to get drunk, no matter how much you drink.
There are beers here from some big names but alcohol-free and low alcohol beer is getting so popular there are even breweries dedicated to making the stuff without that potent element. We’ve included some of them here.
One benefit to these beers is the lack of alcohol, and therefore tax, makes them a lot cheaper than normal brews. Many are also low in calories.
So whether you’re pregnant, driving, wanting to keep alcohol for the weekend or any other reason, let’s get drinking. Long gone are the days when the choice was limited to just a few big lager brands.
Upvote your favourite booze-free beer, and add any you think deserve a place in this hall of fame using the box at the bottom.
Additional reporting/tasting: Marc Chacksfield
- These are the best non-alcoholic spirits to try.
Best alcohol-free beers
1. Lucky Saint - Beer 0.5% Unfiltered Alcohol Free
Added to our list of the best non-alcohol beers by popular demand, his UK-based brand (although it brews its beer in Germany) has been applauded for its quality taste. It's certainly a brand to watch.
Lucky Saint has a richer, maltier flavour than even a lot of alcoholic lagers and just the right amount of bitterness. It’s really one where you won’t notice the lack of booze.
53 calories per 330ml bottle
2. Days Lager
One of the newest AF lagers on this list and we're impressed with its taste. There are two different beers available: Days Lager and Days Pale Ale. We've tried them both and it's the Days Lager that gets our vote (the IPA has more of a wheat-like taste, if that's your thing). There's a crispness to the drink that's cut with citrus.
3. Firebrand Brewing Co - Shorebreak
This Hazy Pale ale by Firebrand Brewing Co is billed as the "first truly Cornish alcohol-free craft beer" and it's one that passed our taste test with flying colours. There's a real richness to the flavour here, giving the beer a mouth feel normally missing from the AF category. Dry hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Cascade varieties, Shorebreak has a tropical fruit flavour and a decent amount of body. This is impressive as it's also lactose free, so suitable for vegans.
4. Guinness 0.0
After having to recall the first batch, Guinness 0.0 is back and we can safely say it’s one of the best AF beers we’ve ever tasted. Arriving in 440ml with the infamous nitro widget to give it that quintessential thick and creamy head.
Brewed using a new cold filtration process, Guinness really has made this taste just like the real deal only without the alcohol. We bet in a blind taste test, many people wouldn’t be able to pick out which was 0.0.
5. Ilkley Brewery - Virgin Mary
This pale ale from Ilkley Brewery Co does a decent job of masking the fact that there's little to no alcohol in the bottle. Styled on its Mary Jane Pale Ale, there are tropical fruit notes and a refreshing lingering taste. If you fancy something a little different, Ilkley also does a Nowt Mary version, which is an AF milk stout.
6. Erdinger alkoholfrei
A refreshing wheat beer which still has the zing of an ale with alcohol in it. It's packed with vitamins too, with both B12 and folic acid making an appearance and we really liked the sweetness of the beer. If you aren't a fan then adding a slice of lime really cuts through this.
7. Jupiler Belgian Beer
Jupiler is Belgian's number one beer so we were excited to see an AF version of the popular lager. Flavour wise, it starts off sweet and ends a touch bitter but it is effortlessly drinkable. There isn't much carbonation in this one and we would have liked to have tasted the hops more, but if you are after a crisp-tasting lager then this one does the trick.
8. Lervig - No Worries
Lervig are craft beer producers that are based in Stavanger, Norway - they bought the brewery in their town when it was mass producing 'not great' beer - and its No Worries is an AF beer with real punch. It is lightly hopped which means that it is a refreshing pale ale with something of a floral note throughout.
9. Franziskaner - Alkoholfrei
Based in Munich and one of the oldest Bavarian breweries, Franziskaner has been offering alcohol free offerings for around five years now. Its Alkoholfrei option offers up a slight fluffiness on the head, a tang of banana on the taste and wheaty notes throughout. It's one of the creamiest beers on this list.
10. Beavertown - Lazer Crush
If you want a punchy IPA that's got all of the mouth feel of a craft ale with a higher ABV, then Lazer Crush is what you need. There are tropical notes with mango and peach hitting hardest. This isn't a sweet drink, though, as there's enough grapefruit on board to balance with bitterness. If you are looking for a bit more alcohol (but still in the low ABV range) then the 2.8% Nanobot, a super-session IPA, is also a favourite of ours.
11. Lowlander - Wit
The whole Lowlander range of AF beers is worth trying but a wit beer is an unusual style to find even in the alcoholic market.
It is not brewed in the traditional way with coriander but instead focuses on using reclaimed orange and lemon peel from bars and restaurants. Still, this is a soft and easy-drinking beer with a thick body and bags of citrus and cream cracker flavour.
12. Vandestreek Playground IPA
A really refreshing beer and another 'we can't believe it's alcohol free' ales. The Vandestreek Playground IPA is an 0.5% ABV India Pale Ale offers up a flavour that comes from 3 types of American hops (Mosaic, Citra and Cascade). It's got that full mouth feeling and is cut with a bitternes that we really like.
13. Brooklyn - Special Effects
You’ll know this US brewery for its popular lager, and likely many other beers too. Special Effects recently made its debut in the UK and is well worth a try.
It has a solid malt base but is, unusually for a low alcohol beer, dry hopped giving it an aroma more common to an IPA. This makes is a nice middle ground, so will appeal to most drinkers and pairs with a wide range of food.
Brooklyn says it has developed a fermentation method that limits the amount of alcohol produced. Special Effects comes out at 0.4%.
96 calories per 330ml bottle
14. Infinite Session - IPA
With the Infinite Session Pils no longer being brewed, our next choice is this IPA from Infinite Session. There's a real citrus punch here, thanks to the Amarillo & Citra hops used.
You get a decent mouth feel as well, which is normally missing when the alcohol has been taken out.
As it says on the can, this is infinitely sessionable and the brewery also has a pale ale and helles in its repertoire.
36 calories per 300ml can
15. Adnams - Ghost Ship
Ghost Ship is a good example of an alcohol free version of a flagship beer. It is great if you want something more on the traditional ale side of the beer spectrum.
This is a light and citrusy pale ale that will disappear in a flash. It really doesn’t taste far off the regular 4.5% version, partly thanks to some reverse osmosis kit which avoids the high temperatures often used to remove the alcohol, with flavour being a casualty.
The beer is available in 500ml bottles, and now in cans too.
105 calories per 500ml bottle
16. To Øl - Implosion
While To Øl - Under The Radar was our favourite non-alcoholic To Øl beer, it's out of stock right now - but this is an amazing replacement. It's a hoppy pale ale with a real mouth feel that we weren't expecting because of the lack of alcohol. Add to it lemony notes and what you have is a brilliant-tasting beer.
17. Big Drop - Galactic Milk Stout
Some breweries solely make alcohol free beers, and Big Drop leads the way.
Accompanying the attractive artwork on the label is a great range of beers including a sour. But this is the best stout in the low alcohol category as it stands. It’s on the sweet side thanks to the addition of lactose but also has a nice roasted malt and chocolate character.
Seek out the range and watch out for some collaboration brews.
91 calories per 330ml bottle
18. Thornbridge - Zero Five
Zero Five (formerly Big Easy is an easy drinking beer. It's American style pale ale with lots of juicy aroma and flavour, including peach and apricot, making it great for a BBQ.
Big Easy is brewed at a low alcohol content to avoid having to use any processes to remove the alcohol. Thornbridge wanted to get this beer right so much that four batches (60,000 bottles) were thrown away before it was good enough.
61 calories per 330ml bottle
19. Nirvana - Classic IPA
You’d hope a brewery dedicated to brewing alcohol-free beer would have something good on the menu, and we love this IPA.
Named Classic IPA, it’s straw coloured and goes big on a piney resinous profile with a background of bitter grapefruit, both in aroma and flavour.
It will be a marmite type beer but we couldn’t not mention that Nirvana also makes a ‘Buchabeer’ by blending Japanese Green tea Kombucha with cane sugar and pale ale.
33 calories per 330ml bottle
20. Paulaner - Hefe-Weissbier
This is an alcohol-free version of a Bavarian classic. Nothing new, but certainly worthy of this list.
In true German style, this is a wheat beer that is unfiltered and full of flavour yet less than 0.5%. Unlike some alcohol-free beer it doesn’t suffer from being thin and you get that classic big banana hit with some clove spice. The calorie count is low for a wheat beer too.
115 calories per 500ml bottle
21. Harvey’s - Old Ale
If you’re looking for a darker alcohol-free beer then Harvey’s, one of the oldest breweries in the country, has your back.
It’s brewed to the exact same recipe as the regular beer, but reduced to a maximum of 0.5%. It’s not as full-bodied as the real deal but still captures the rich malty flavour which the style demands.
There’s a gorgeous deep amber hue and a slight after taste of burnt toast. Available in tiny 275ml bottles.
63 calories per 275ml bottle