Jalada(David Somers)

Alcohol Free Beer

Latest updates to this page

  • 2022-01-19: Put all the Lowtide beers in S Tier for now. Added a note that I have some Drop Bear beers on the way. This page is getting tricky to manage. I may take away some of the detail to leave it with a simpler list.
  • 2022-01-12: Added Lowtide West Coast Hop Lock to S Tier.
  • 2022-01-06: Added a couple more beers I want to try.
  • 2022-01-05: Added Lucky Saint to B Tier.
  • 2022-01-04: Added a list of beers I plan on trying.

I have chronic heartburn and alcohol is a huge trigger. I love beer and thankfully alcohol free (0.5% or lower in the UK) beer doesn’t seem to affect me. I am on a quest to try lots of AF beer and share my findings with anyone who might be interested.

Scroll down to see my favourite AF beers, and some that I tend to avoid.

Where to buy (in the UK)

  • Direct, especially from AF breweries like Big Drop and Mash Gang, but also from the larger breweries like Brew Dog.
  • In supermarkets. Variety varies massively not only between companies but also in locations, so shop around.
  • In specialty bottle shops which will now often have a low alcohol section.
  • Online retailers both specialist and general.

Where to drink

I don’t have a lot of experience drinking AF beer out and about. Check out the AF Beer Club’s map for the UK for where AF beer is on tap. Others often do AF beer in cans and bottles.

My tier list

Obviously this is completely subjective; you may like different types of beer to me! For context I typically like strong, crafty, hoppy, floral beers. I can appreciate other types of beer, but I wouldn’t tend to choose them off a menu against something else.

Where I’ve remembered to do so, I’ve added my tasting notes. I’m not a beer tasting expert so these are just my amateur thoughts. I’ve also indicated where a beer is gluten free. Lots of low alcohol beer is also gluten free, which is a nice bonus!

Finally, I’ve included links where you can buy the beers direct from the brewery where possible.

The tiers are: S, A, B, C, and F.

S Tier

These are my absolute favourites that stand above anything else. They’re the ones I immediately try to buy more of and rave about to friends.

Mash Gang Chug XPA

Mash Gang Chug XPA Bought a can at MK Biergarten. Absolutely delicious. Immediately went into my top tier. I think I’m a sucker for cloudy beers, alcohol or no alcohol. One of the few AF beers that really captures the floral notes I like in a beer.

Buy: Mash Gang

Signature Brew Lo-Fi

Signature Brew Lo-Fi Sadly no longer available. This was so good I bought a whole crate for me and a friend who was experimenting with low alcohol beers because it was too good not to share. Cloudy like Mash Gang Chug. Made with Simcoe hops. Fruity & floral.

Lowtide West Coast Hop Lock, NEIPA the Cosmic Turtle and Forgot My Pils

Lowtide West Coast Hop Lock

All three of these beers from Lowtide are excellent and disappearing fast from my fridge. I may re-tier them at some point; the NEIPA stands out amongst the three having now had them all. But you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Buy: Lowtide Brewing Co

A Tier

These are my favourite beers that I’ll always pick up when I can. Not all of them are mainstays at breweries so may no longer be available.

There’s a lot of IPAs on this list because that’s what I’d generally drink, but don’t miss out on Big Drop’s Milk Stout. It’s an AF beer that you really need to try without comparing it to actual beer. If you do, I think you’ll like it.

Big Drop Wildtrack APA

Big Drop Wildtrack APA Quite bitter. Kinda fruity, like a sweet blackcurrant. Very carbonated. A little bit lager-y. Probably not as good as their Paradiso Citra IPA. Has some spice like a mince pie…kinda aniseed-y maybe?

Buy: Big Drop

Big Drop x Hop Notch: Fläderlätt Elderflower IPA

big drop fladerlatt

Gluten free. Seasonal so may not be around forever.

Buy: Big Drop

Big Drop Waterslide IPA

big drop waterslide

Gluten free. Part of their summer season but still available in Winter 2021 so may be around for a while.

Buy: Big Drop

Big Drop Paradiso Citra IPA

big drop paradiso

Gluten free. One of Big Drop’s mainstays and won awards in 2020. I’ve had this on draught and it’s a delicious pint.

Buy: Big Drop

Big Drop Galactic Milk Stout

big drop galactic milk stout A really interesting take on a stout beer. Even if you wouldn’t normally drink darker beers like stout, don’t pass this one up.

Buy: Big Drop

B Tier

These are beers that I enjoy drinking and would purchase if I was in a pinch, but don’t particularly stand out to me as great beers compared to those in my S and A tiers.

Infinite Session IPA

infinite session ipa

Very easy to drink. Not particularly standout but bonus points because my local Sainsbury’s sells it.

Buy: Infinite Session

Big Drop Pine Trail Pale

big drop pine trail

Does a good job of imparting hoppy and floral flavours, with a pretty bitter aftertaste. This was my introduction to Big Drop!

Buy: Big Drop

BrewDog Nanny State

brewdog nanny state

My favourite of the Brew Dog AF beers that I’ve tried. Is weirdly dark in colour for its light taste.

Buy: BrewDog

Big Drop Fieldhopper Golden Ale

big drop fieldhopper

Tastes quite a lot like a bitter lager. That’s not unpleasant, just not expected for the description of a ‘Golden Ale’. Not really to my taste, but I think others would enjoy it a lot. If you like Lucky Saint but want something a bit less sweet you might like this.

Buy: Big Drop

Big Drop Poolside DDH IPA

big drop poolside

Gluten free. Another seasonal beer from Big Drop. I forgot to write tasting notes for this one! I’ll try and remember next time…

Buy: Big Drop

Lucky Saint

I don’t tend to drink lager so it’s difficult for me to compare this to its alcoholic brethren. Managed to keep a head for longer than thirty seconds so beats out some competition there. Smells like lager. A lot of cereal flavours. Some sweetness but not too much. Not very watery. A long-lasting, bitter aftertaste that isn’t unpleasant and is reminiscent of other bitter lagers. In other words, it’s got a fair bit of complexity, which I appreciate!

This belongs in the B Tier not because I would necessarily purchase it, but because I think it’s a technically good AF beer.

Buy: Lucky Saint

C Tier

If there’s nothing else available I’d probably drink these, but I’m not going to go out of my way to stock my fridge with them.

Big Drop Woodcutter Brown Ale

big drop woodcutter

Like a lighter version of their milk stout - similar dark flavours of coffee etc.

Buy: Big Drop

Adnams Ghost Ship

adnams ghost ship

Definitely tastes more like a traditional ale, like the beer it shares a name with. Apparently they de-alcoholise actual Ghost Ship to make this, so it’s not surprising it tastes similar. It’s not bad, but is perhaps a little too sweet for me.

Buy: Adnams

BrewDog Elvis AF

brewdog elvis af

Like sparkling grapefruit. I guess Elvis Juice is a bit like that as well, but this is even more so. Just a bit too thin for me.

Buy: BrewDog

BrewDog Punk AF

brewdog punk af

Like Elvis AF, this just tastes a bit weak and watery for me.

Buy: BrewDog

F Tier

I don’t plan to buy or drink these again. These might not be objectively bad drinks; you might personally like what they’re trying to achieve, but they’re not for me.

Beavertown Lazer Crush

beavertown lazercrush

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair on Lazer Crush; it has won awards! But I found it to be pretty watery and smelled more like a fruit cocktail than a beer. It wasn’t hoppy at all. If anything it was very refreshing, and very mild. But to me it seemed so far away from a ‘beer’ drink that I wouldn’t choose it if I wanted a beer.

Buy: Beavertown

Hoegarden 0,0

hoegaarden 0 0

I really did not like this, and I couldn’t even finish it. It had everything I don’t like about Hoegaarden & wheat beer. It was also super sweet.

AND UNION Tuesday Wheat beer

and union tuesday

Not quite as nasty as Hoegaarden. I don’t like wheat beer generally, so I was bound to not like this. If you’re not paying attention I think it’s actually quite similar to alcoholic wheat beers. I wonder if there’s something about wheat beer that makes it easier to reproduce as an AF beer.

Buy: AND UNION

On my list to try

  • I have a mixed case on its way from Drop Bear, I’ll tier them as I go.
  • Pohjala, an Estonian brewery, have a non-alcohol IPA called Tundra which I’ve been recommended.
  • Ridgeside Brewing have a handful of AF beers I’d like to try but they’re out of stock of mixed cases at the moment.
  • Howling Hops have joined the Dry January frenzy with a new pale ale that looks good!
  • Gweilo, a brewery from Hong Kong, have brought out an AF pale ale. I’m not sure I’ll buy direct as it’s their only one, but I’m hoping to spot it elsewhere to pick it up.
  • Ilkley Brewery Virgin Mary . They’ve also got a new AF stout out but I’ll probably give that a miss.
  • Gipsy Hill Brew have got some alcohol-free sours on the way. Collaboration with Mash Gang who are S-tier so I’m excited to try these.
  • Northern Monk Holy Faith. Looks nice from photos I’ve seen. I’ve seen Northern Monk in supermarkets so I’m hoping to spot this, too.
  • To Øl Implosion. This is a 0% ABV beer which in my experience can be bad because no alcohol at all implies they’ve boiled it off. But it’s actually a refinement of their previous recipe which was 0.3% so I guess they’ve found a new technique to get the ABV even lower.
  • Guinness 0.0. Recently relaunched after a recall (!) a couple of years ago, Matt Gray said good things. I wouldn’t normally drink Guinness but I’m just intrigued to taste what they’ve come up with.
  • Brooklyn Brewery’s selection (called ‘Special Effects’). It’s quite difficult to find anything other than their AF lager (which I probably wont like) so I’m not rushing to find them.
  • Anything by Athletic Brewing, another AF specialist brewery, but this time from the US. They now have a UK online shop so hoping to pick something up from them soon.
  • Anything by Another Dimension. Their online shop doesn’t have a lot of stock.

Have I missed one?

Please let me know if you think there’s a beer I would like! You can email me or get in touch with me on social media via the links elsewhere on this page.