I’m a beer drinker. I like it…a lot. And not because it makes my head feel floaty or because it’s easier to make bad decisions after having a few. Nope, I’m not into beer for the alcohol alone…I like the taste of beer.
I’ve been labeled a bit of a “beer snob” or “beer geek” by those that genuinely enjoy a Bud Light, but truth be told, I’m really not all that knowledgeable about the brown bottle. Living in the Napa Valley of beers, I’m surround by actual ‘beer geeks’ who know far more than I do….I just like a good beer.
I like it hoppy and a little malty. I love Pale Ales, Reds and IPA. I enjoy the light flavor of a Stella on a hot day and heavy creaminess of a Guinness in March. I have dreams about Yeungling (only available east of the Mississippi). And when I’m feelin’ fancy, I’ll bust open a bottle of Chimay. Mmm….
And, as many of you know, my spouse is a home-brewer so we often have two home-brews on tap at the house. Lately, because he’s a real sweetie, he has one beer on tap and a home-made root beer on the other for his expecting wife. Awwww.
But root beer doesn’t always cut it. Over the last eight months, I’ve missed my hoppy elixir of malted grain and in efforts to satisfy my craving I’ve tried about every non-alcoholic beverage under the sun. Today, I thought I’d share my findings so you lovely beer guzzlin’ gals will have some guidance when it comes to spirits if you suddenly find yourself with child.
In order of preference:
St. Pauli Girl – Hands down, my favorite NA. It’s a little odd, given my affinity for the heavier, hoppier microbrews, but I have to say when it comes to “beer” taste, St. Pauli Girl gets it the closest. It’s a lightweight malt beverage, perfect for a hot day or with a meal. I’ve knocked back quite a few of these green bottles in the last eight months and will definitely be trying regular St. Pauli Girl post-pregnancy. I’ve never really considered regular St. Pauli Girl beer before and can honestly say I have no idea what it tastes like.
O’Doul’s – Probably the most famous of the NA’s, you can find O’Doul’s at almost every bar, restaurant, or liquor store. For those that typically imbibe on the more flavorful selections, I’d recommend trying the Amber O’Doul’s (comes in a brown bottle). It has a lot more ‘beer’ flavor and has more substantial weight on the tongue than O’Doul’s Premium (green bottle).
Kaliber – An interesting spin on NA if you ask me. This swig will definitely give you some taste, but it’s not what you’d expect. Created by the folks who bring us Guinness, this slightly darker ale has a coffee-infused flavor and aftertaste. While the flavor of Kaliber is stronger than that of most of the other NA’s, it’s still a very light-weight brew and won’t fill you up.
Bitburger – I just stumbled upon this one recently. Bitburger is a German beer with more hops than most NA’s and quite a bite. The flavor is definitely strong….it takes some getting used to…but it grows on you as you sip down this bubbly beverage. It’s the only beer I’ve found that is 0.0% ABV (most NA’s are less than 0.5% ABV).
Becks – I’m not a huge fan of Becks NA. It’s a light amber but a little too light in flavor. Also, there is something of an unsettling aftertaste with this brew. I wouldn’t necessarily turn it down but it’s not the first one I’d ask for.
Sharps – By far, the worst beer I’ve ever had (and I had a Hamm’s once pre-pregnancy). Unfortunately for Miller, their NA beer is just as bad as their regular beer. I assumed that the domestic beer giants (Budweiser, MillerCoors) would make a terrible NA because their regular beer sucks, so I avoided the majority of their products while preggo. In Vegas, I was accidentally served a Sharps when I mistakenly asked for a NA brew without asking what the options were. I made it less than half-way through the bottle before paying a ridiculous Vegas-price and leaving it to be dumped out.
So, there ya have it…my NA beer reviews! Like I mentioned, I never explored the typical domestics so I’m not sure what Coors Light NA tastes like (but I’d venture to guess, based on the taste of regular Coors Light, it’d be…..water-flavored?). And I’m sure you can find more flavorful, zany brews if you really dig through the NA aisle but I think the selection above captures most of the widely available NA’s.
I know for sure, the brews near the top of the list will definitely quench your thirst when you’re a sober sister in need of cold one.