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Dealcoholized Beer - Tastes Like Real Beer But Healthier?

Enter the fascinating world of dealcoholized beer, a beer with reduced or no alcohol content but with its distinct flavors and characteristics preserved. Breweries continue to refine their techniques to ensure that these beers maintain the characteristics that make them enjoyable. They provide an alcohol-free experience that satisfies even the most discerning palates.

Dr. Bill Butcher
Jun 04, 20239159 Shares305303 Views
For beer drinkers out there, have you already tried dealcoholized beer?
In recent years, an increasing number of individuals have been seeking alternative beverage options that align with their health-conscious and mindful lifestyles.
One such option that has gained significant popularity is dealcoholized beer.
As more people are prioritizing their well-being without compromising on the social aspect of enjoying a cold brew, it has emerged as a compelling choice.
Offering a refreshing and familiar taste without the effects of alcohol, this innovative beverage has captivated the attention of consumers worldwide.
Join us as we embark on a journey to discover how this innovative approach of creating dealcoholized beer is making beer better than ever before.

Making Non Alcoholic Beer That’s Actually GOOD!!

What Is Dealcoholized Beer?

Dealcoholized beer refers to a type of beer that has undergone a process to remove or reduce its alcohol content.
It is a beverage that retains the characteristics and flavors of traditional beer while containing significantly lower levels of alcohol.
Dealcoholized beer is also referred to as:
  • low-alcohol beer
  • non-alcoholic beer
  • nonny (slang for “non-alcoholic beer”)
  • NA beer or simply NA (slang/short for “non-alcoholic beer”)
The primary purpose of dealcoholized beer is to offer an alternative to individuals who may choose to limit or avoid alcohol consumption for various reasons.
Dealcoholized beer typically goes through a process that removes alcohol while preserving the following:
  • flavors
  • aromas
  • overall characteristics of traditional beer
Various techniques (which shall be discussed later) are employed to achieve the desired reduction in alcohol content.
It is important to note that dealcoholized beer still contains a minimal amount of alcohol but significantly lower compared to regular beer.
However, the exact alcohol content may vary depending on the specific brand or production process.
An adult female in white T-shirt and wide brim hat pouring a bottle of non-alcoholic-beer into a goblet glass
An adult female in white T-shirt and wide brim hat pouring a bottle of non-alcoholic-beer into a goblet glass

Dealcoholization Of Beer

Dealcoholizationof beer refers to the process of reducing or removing the alcohol content from beer while retaining its:
  • flavor
  • aroma
  • overall characteristics
This process is often carried out to produce non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beer varieties that cater to individuals who want to enjoy the taste of beer without the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
In addition, one of the primary reasons for the interest in dealcoholized beer is the growing awareness of health and wellness.
Many people are seeking alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages for various reasons, such as:
  • personal preferences
  • dietary restrictions
  • a desire to reduce alcohol consumption
Another aspect that has contributed to the popularity of dealcoholized beer is the changing social and cultural landscape.
As stated in “Market Research Report,” published on August 2020 by Fortune Business Insights:
The global beverage industry is benefitting from a wave of fundamental transformation and continuously evolving with the increasing associations with social and cultural roles in the market.- Market Research Report by Fortune Business Insights (August 2020)
In many social situations (e.g., parties, gatherings, or professional events), individuals may want to partake in the conviviality associated with beer consumption without consuming alcohol.
Consumer perception and acceptance of dealcoholized beer have also played a crucial role in its market growth.
With ongoing research and development, the future of dealcoholized beer looks promising, offering an expanding range of choices for consumers.

The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Beer

Non-Alcoholic Beer VS. Dealcoholized Beer

You might be wondering, what is the difference between non-alcoholic beer and dealcoholized beer?
As someone in the business of non-alcoholic drinks and pre-mixed cocktails and elixirs, American non-alcoholic specialty store Boisson gives an explanationregarding this matter.
According to a December 2021 article published by the store (“boisson” is a French word for “beverage”), the label “alcohol-free” doesn’t really guarantee that a certain beverage is indeed free from any alcohol content.
In fact, some beverages labeled “alcohol-free” can still have as much as 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refers to ABV, as quoted by Boisson, as a “trace amount of alcohol.”
Therefore, using the FDA’s definition of ABV as a guide, in the U.S., per its existing pertinent laws, it is illegal to label beverages as “alcohol-free” even if the ABV is only 0.1 percent.
The right - and legal - way to label them is “non-alcoholic.”
Still, Boisson clarifies that in the U.S., there are alcohol-free beverages that are true to their label. These are the beverages that indicate “0.0% ABV” in the label.
Some examples of these alcohol-free beverages (0.0% ABV) include:
  • Bitburger Drive (a German beer)
  • Elivo Cardio Zero Red (a Spanish red wine)
  • Leitz Eins Zwei Zero (a sparkling wine)
In other countries, the labeling could be entirely different.
For example, in the U.K., Boisson said that, unlike the clear laws implemented in the U.S., the British laws pertaining to labeling of drinks tend to be “inconsistent.”
How is that so?
Well, a beverage with 0.5 percent alcohol in the U.K. could receive eitherof these two labels:
  • “alcohol-free”
  • “non-alcoholic”
Now, how about dealcoholized beer?
The said article further explains that dealcoholized drinks or beverages (such as dealcoholized beer) are simply those that originally contain alcohol.
Through the process called dealcoholization, the alcohol - some of it; not entirely - is removed.
As Boisson puts it:
Something that has naturally occurring alcohol but has not had that alcohol removed cannot be termed ‘dealcoholized’ even if the alcohol content is less than 0.5%.- Boisson (December 22, 2021)
There should be more than 1.2 percent ABV for a beverage to be labeled “alcoholic drink.”
Other beverages which have an alcohol content that is between 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent are labeled “low-alcohol drinks.”
A man with his upper part body blurred except for his right arm holding a full glass of beer with froth
A man with his upper part body blurred except for his right arm holding a full glass of beer with froth

Dealcoholized Beer Process

One of the challenges in dealcoholization is maintaining the desired taste and aroma of beer.
Alcohol contributes significantly to the sensory profile of beer, affecting its:
  • mouthfeel
  • body
  • overall flavor
Thus, dealcoholization processes must carefully consider these aspects to ensure that the final product retains the desired characteristics.
Brewers and scientists work together to develop techniques that minimize flavor changes and preserve the beer’s quality during the dealcoholization process.
There are several methods employed in the dealcoholization process Some of the commonly used techniques include:
a. Heat Evaporation
This method involves applying heat to the beer to vaporize the alcohol, which has a lower boiling point compared to water.
The vapor is then condensed and collected separately.
However, this method can result in flavor loss due to the heat’s impact on the delicate compounds in beer.
b. Membrane Filtration
Membrane filtration techniques, such as nanofiltration and ultrafiltration, are used to remove alcohol from beer.
These methods use membranes with specific pore sizes that allow for the separation of alcohol molecules while retaining larger flavor compounds.
c. Fermentation Arrest
In this method, the beer fermentation process is stopped before all the fermentable sugars are converted into alcohol.
This can be achieved by:
  • reducing the temperature
  • adding chemicals (or)
  • using yeast strains that have a low alcohol tolerance
The remaining sugars contribute to the beer's body and flavor, while the alcohol content is reduced.
d. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis involves passing the beer through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure.
The membrane selectively allows the passage of water and alcohol molecules, separating them from the other beer components.
The alcohol and water are collected separately. Then the dealcoholized beer is recombined with the water to achieve the desired alcohol content.
Note:This method is effective in preserving the beer’s flavor, but it requires advanced equipment.
e. Spinning Cone Column
The spinning cone column is a type of distillation apparatus that uses centrifugal force to separate alcohol from beer.
The beer is introduced into the column, and as it spins, the alcohol evaporates and is collected separately.
This process is carried out at lower temperatures, reducing the impact on flavor compounds.
f. Vacuum Distillation
In vacuum distillation, the beer is subjected to reduced pressure, which lowers the boiling point of alcohol.
This allows for the separation of alcohol at lower temperatures, minimizing flavor loss compared to traditional distillation.
The vacuum distillation process is often combined with other techniques to improve efficiency.
A bottle of Erdinger Alkoholfrei and its box container; a can of Paradiso Citra IP Alcohol-Free
A bottle of Erdinger Alkoholfrei and its box container; a can of Paradiso Citra IP Alcohol-Free

Reasons To Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer

By reducing the alcohol content, dealcoholized beer aims to cater to a wider consumer base, including:
  • individuals who may be sensitive to alcohol
  • those who are designated drivers
  • people who are abstaining from alcohol for health or religious reasons
  • individuals who simply prefer the taste of beer but want to minimize
  • their alcohol intake
Beer lovers who have acquired heart-related health problems as they grow older will be happy to know that dealcoholized beer is fine for them.
A 2023 edition of Nutrients, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) in Basel, Switzerland, included a research work about it.
In Features of Non-Alcoholic Beer on Cardiovascular Biomarkers. Can It Be a Substitute for Conventional Beer? (2022), it is stated:
[T]he authors concluded that non-alcoholic beer consumption induced an antioxidant effect, which represents protection from cardiovascular diseases.- M. Sancen; A. Leniz; M. T. Macarulla; M. Gonzalez; I. Milton-Laskibar; M. P. Portillo
The authors added:
It was further suggested that this effect may be due to the polyphenol content of beer, which are mainly flavonoids and melanoidins.- M. Sancen; A. Leniz; M. T. Macarulla; M. Gonzalez; I. Milton-Laskibar; M. P. Portillo
Flavonoids and melanoidins have antioxidant properties. They help the body deal with toxins.
You should also be aware that dealcoholized beer does not only have a lower alcohol content, it likewise has lower calories compared to regular beer.
A glass and a bottle of Nirvana Brewery Dark & Rich Stout on a table; a can of Mash Gang Chug
A glass and a bottle of Nirvana Brewery Dark & Rich Stout on a table; a can of Mash Gang Chug

Best Dealcoholized Beer

With the rise of health-conscious consumers and the demand for low-alcohol options, breweries have responded by developing and promoting dealcoholized beer products.
This shift in the market has led to the introduction of a wide range of options (e.g., different styles, flavors, and strengths), of dealcoholized beer.
From The Independent, a January 2023 article recommends several dealcoholized beers “that are as good as the real deal.” Here they are:
Best Non-Alcoholic Beer 2023/CompanyVerdict/Alcohol by Volume
Merakai Brewing Co.“Best Overall Alcohol-Free Beer” (0.28%)
Erdinger Alkoholfrei“Best Alcohol-Free Fruit Beer” (0.3%)
Pineapple IPA Soda (The Wild Beer)“Best Alcohol-Free Pineapple Beer” (0.3%)
Easy Rinder Hefeweizen (Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing)“Best German-Style Alcohol-Free Beer” (0.2%)
Smashed Lager (Drynks Unlimited)“Best Alcohol-Free Lager Taste” (0.0%)
Chug (Mash Gang)“Best Alcohol-Free Pale Ale” (0.5%)
Dark & Rich Stout (Nirvana Brewery)“Best Alcohol-Free Stout” (0.0%)
Paradiso Citra IPA (Big Drop Brewing)“Best Alcohol-Free IPA” (0.5%)
Note:A non-alcoholic IPA refers to an India Pale Ale (IPA) style/type of beer that has been specifically brewed to contain little to no alcohol:
  • known for its strong hop flavor and higher alcohol content compared to other beer styles
  • increasing interest in low-alcohol or alcohol-free options have led brewers to develop non-alcoholic versions of IPAs
A light green bottle of Heineken 0.0 Pure Malt Lager; a can of Brulo 0.0% ABV Dry Hopped Stout
A light green bottle of Heineken 0.0 Pure Malt Lager; a can of Brulo 0.0% ABV Dry Hopped Stout
In 2023, BBC Good Food conducted a taste test of dealcoholized beer. Here are its own suggestions (in alphabetical order):
A. Best Non-Alcoholic Beer(all have 0.0 percent ABV)
Best Non-Alcoholic Beer 2023Comment
Big Drop Pine Pale Ale“refreshing;” “big hoppy flavors”
Brulo Dry Hopped Stout “a lovely chocolate sweetness to it, balanced with some big bitterness”
Guinness“pretty tasty;” “with a coffee-like bitterness and a sweet milky finish”
Heineken“tastes very much like the alcoholic version;” “no sweetness or strange flavors”
B. Best Low-Alcohol Beer(all have 0.5 percent ABV)
Best Low-Alcohol Beer 2023Comment
Adnams Ghost Ship“citrusy and grassy”
Athletic Upside Dawn Golden Ale“a beer with lovely balance”
Brewdog Nanny State“bold flavors;” “hoppy pine-like bitterness”
Bristol Beer Factory Clearhead“delicious;” “superbly balanced”
Funky Fluid Point Five Hazy IPA“big tropical fruit-laden” taste; “proper body”
Ilkley Brewery Nowt Mary Milk Stout“big sweet flavor”
Skippers Wet Hopped Pilsner“a full malty body;” “proper bitter bite”
Wild beer IPA Soda“super-fruity concoction”
Food Network asked the help of expert brewmaster (17 years of experience) Jaime Fulton, the co-founder and co-owner of Dallas-based Community Beer Co. regarding dealcoholized beer.
For Fulton, here are some of the best non-alcoholic drinks available right now:
Best Non-Alcoholic Beer 2023/CompanyComment/Alcohol by Volume
Black Butte Non-Alcoholic (Deschutes Brewing)tastes like “medium-dark chocolate in a croissant” (less than 0.5%)
Budweiser Zero“sturdy body, faint flavor and satisfyingly buzzy carbonation” (0.0%)
Free Wave (Athletic Brewing)like “drinking a full-strength brew;” “appropriately medium body” (less than 0.5%)
Nada IPA (Community Beer Co.)“true and discernable hop character;” “fresh hoppy flavor” (less than 0.5%)
Night Strike Irish-Style Stouty Brew (Leader Brewing)from the company: “a smooth pour and rich mouthfeel” (less than 0.5%)
Run Wild (Athletic Brewing)“juicy flavor;” “a zesty carbonation” (less than 0.5%)
Santa Clausthaler (Holiday Brew)“delivers straight up cardamom and apple cider” (less than 0.5%)
Victory Wheat (Wellbeing Brewing)wheat beer with an “orange zest” (less than 0.5%)
Initially, some people may have been skeptical about the taste and quality of dealcoholized beer compared to its alcoholic counterparts.
However, advancements in technology and brewing techniques have resulted in improved flavors and a more authentic beer experience.
As a result, dealcoholized beer has gained acceptance and has become a viable choice for those seeking non-alcoholic options.

Our beer guy ranked 12 nonalcoholic beers

People Also Ask

Is It OK To Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer Every Day?

Yes, it is fine to drink dealcoholized beer daily BUT in moderation.
Remember, a non-alcoholic beer still contains:
  • a certain amount of alcohol (unless the label says “0.0% ABV)
  • calories
  • carbohydrates
Still, if you have an ongoing health/medical condition and/or taking certain medications, better consult your doctor first for advice.

Can Kids Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer?

In 2013, Japan Today reported about a male field expert warning the public that making children consume dealcoholized beer could lead them “to develop alcohol dependence issues.”
Movendi International, a non-governmental organization with focus on alcohol prevention, said in a 2022 article that allowing children to drink non-alcoholic beer “is a risky practice.”
It makes children become accustomed to the taste of beer, which could later make them drink more alcohol when they become adults.

Is Alcohol-Free Beer OK For Diabetics?

For the calories alone, regardless of how low they are, Diabetes U.K. stressed that it’s not advisable for diabetics to drink even dealcoholized beer.

Final Thoughts

Dealcoholized beer offers a beverage option for those seeking a beer-like experience without the effects of alcohol.
It caters to individuals with various preferences or circumstances, providing them with a non-alcoholic alternative that retains the essence of beer.
With its unique characteristics and growing availability, dealcoholized beer is redefining the concept of moderation and opening up new possibilities for those who wish to savor the essence of beer in a balanced and responsible way.
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