We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Gentleman’s Journal round up twenty-five 0% porters, pale ales and pilseners to discover which — if any — should have you reaching for your bottle opener

It’s just turned 9:30am in the Gentleman’s Journal offices, and we’re all about five beers deep. But don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong over here — it’s not the last days of Rome, we’re not all struggling with hump day and there’s no need to send help. It’s alcohol-free beer, and we’re testing for the best.

It gets a bad rap, alcohol-free beer. In fact, when we were typing up a list of the 25 different bottles and cans we sampled, a German pilsener called ‘Jever Fun’ kept being rather cruelly auto-corrected to ‘Never Fun’. Even more cruelly, it didn’t even make our top ten.

Speaking of which, you can find below our recommendations of the ten best alcohol-free beers. But, before you grab the ring-pull and pop the top on our list, let’s give you a quick explanation of how all the lagers, pale ales and porters we tried all fly below 0.5% ABV.

So what is alcohol-free beer?

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January
How do they remove the alcohol from beer?

One of the main reasons we turn our collective noses up at alcohol-free beer is because it’s an alien concept — a blue-bottled bar interloper lapped up by our less interesting friends. But, although it continues to be eyed with the disdain and mistrust of frozen yoghurt or decaffeinated coffee, it actually been around since 1919 — thanks to Prohibition.

It starts life as normal beer, going through the hopping, mashing and fermenting processes — before the alcohol is removed through heating. And, while this distilling does alter the flavour of some beers, it unlocks and deepens flavours of others. Unfortunately, it’s often hit-and-miss — but sometimes a genuinely tasty brew floats to the surface. So suspend your prejudices, reach for your pint glass and open your mind; for here are the best alcohol-free beers you can buy.

10. Big Drop Stout, 4.6/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Cacao, Vanilla and Bitter Coffee

Where it’s brewed: Ipswich

Give it a chance because: It’s surprisingly authentic for an alcohol-free beer, achieving that heavy pour and residual sweetness you’d expect from a boozy milk stout. It does have a lighter mouth feel than a usual stout, but overall works its dark magic commendably.

9. Thornbridge Big Easy, 6/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Lemon, Peach and Apricot

Where it’s brewed: Derbyshire

Give it a chance because: It captures the sublime taste of American hops without the alcohol. True, it might feel a little thin, but if you’re all hopped up, this is the way to go.

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Thornbridge Big Easy

£1.79

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8. Heineken 0.0%, 6.5/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Fruity notes and soft malty body

Where it’s brewed: Amsterdam

Give it a chance because: It’s very nearly, almost, practically identical to the real deal. Except it’s still got a little way to go. However, for a beer lacking any alcohol at all, this is an incredibly impressive offering.

7. BrewDog Nanny State, 6.75/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Ripe Citrus, Orange and Sherbet Lemon

Where it’s brewed: Ellon, Scotland

Give it a chance because: It’s suitable for vegans — which is rare for any beer, let alone an alcohol-free one. One of the most refreshing beers we tried, you’ll get resinous pine notes, a foundation of malt and a riot of freewheeling citrus.

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

BrewDog Nanny State

£1.30

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6. Maisel’s Weisse Alcohol Free, 7/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Spicy Fruit and Wheat

Where it’s brewed: Bayreuth, Germany

Give it a chance because: It’s genuinely quite good for you. Ideally isotonic and nutrition-conscious, it may be beer — but it’s vitamin rich and full of spicy, fruity flavour.

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Maisel’s Weisse Alcohol Free

£1.49

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5. Infinite Session Craft Lager, 7/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Crisp, Refreshing and Full of Flavour

Where it’s brewed: Hackney Wick

Give it a chance because: It’s new, exciting and everything you want from a lager. As the alcohol-free brewery say: ‘Beer is bigger than booze’. And, on the evidence of this, we’re inclined to agree.

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Infinite Session Craft Lager

£1.89

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4. Jupiler 0.0%, 7.25/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Malt and Soft Fruit

Where it’s brewed: Liege, Belgium

Give it a chance because: It’ll grow on you. It’s flavourful enough, but still a little watery — but press on and you’ll discover a fruity, malty lager that won’t change the world, but does a very solid job.

3. Erdinger Alkoholfrei, 7.3/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Wheat, Baking Bread and Cloves

Where it’s brewed: Erding, Germany

Give it a chance because: It’s a real thirst quencher. Perhaps more a bottle for summer than the upcoming cold months, Erdinger Alkoholfrei is brewed under the strict Bavarian Purity Law, which makes it a real market leader.

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Erdinger Alkoholfrei

£1.30

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2. Nirvana Sutra IPA, 7.5/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Pine, Spice and Floral Flavours

Where it’s brewed: London

Give it a chance because: We’re great fans of an IPA at Gentleman’s Journal, and this one really took us by surprise. Spicy, floral and with a light amber body, it’s got a very welcome elderflower twang — and is well worth a try.

1. Big Drop Pale Ale, 7.6/10

We’ve zeroed in on the best alcohol-free beers for Dry January

Tasting notes: Pine, Malt and Honey

Where it’s brewed: Ipswich

Give it a chance because: It’s cracking. There’s a pattern here, and pale ales obviously hold their own against the distilling process more so than any other beer. It’s got a solid body, a little sweet malt and plenty of pine on the nose. Your new go-to alcohol-free beer.

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Further Reading