The best non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beer taste-tested 2024
We tasted non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beer, from lager and pale ale to deep, rich stout. Discover our top buys and find your new favourite booze alternative
As a country, we are drinking less often, so now seems like a perfect time to look at alcohol-free alternatives to beer. Some of these products really impressed.
Low-alcohol beers can be made in two ways: some are brewed using special yeasts and low-sugar malt to produce very little alcohol, whereas others have the alcohol removed.
Alcohol doesn’t just affect you physically, it also acts as a vehicle for flavour and provides texture. To compensate for the lack of mouthfeel in alcohol-free drinks, brewers can add sweetness – some of the big brand 0% lagers taste of popcorn – or turn up the hops.
The latter can work to an extent, but bitter hops without the warmth of alcohol can quickly get too much. Read our review of the best non-alcoholic spirits and aperitifs for more booze-free inspiration, plus discover our pick of the best low- and no-alcohol wines. For plenty more round-ups, guides to going alcohol-free and inspiring mocktail recipes, visit our alcohol-free drinks hub.
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- Available from Amazon (£17.97/8 x 440ml)
The long-awaited zero ABV version of one of the world’s great beers is finally here and… it’s pretty tasty. It tastes recognisably like the alcoholic original with a coffee-like bitterness and a sweet milky finish. The famous Guinness head isn’t quite there but this is enjoyable nonetheless.
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Amazon (£17.97/8 x 440ml)
Big Drop Pine Pale Ale 0.0%
- Available from Wise Bartender (£2.09/330ml)
The brewery is a pioneer of high quality British zero-alcohol beers. It’s worth exploring the range but I particularly enjoyed the big hoppy flavours of this refreshing pale ale. It easily passes the big test, did I finish the can? Yes, very quickly.
Wise Bartender (£2.09/330ml)
Heineken 0.0% lager
This was a real surprise – it's fresh and clean, with no sweetness or strange flavours and tastes very much like the alcoholic version. It contains about 1g sugar per 100ml, which is less than some full-strength lagers. It's the best of the big brands.
Brewdog Nanny State hoppy ale 0.5%
- Available from Brewdog (£5/4 x 330ml)
A long time stalwart on the zero ABV beer scene, this is still able to hold its own thanks to lots of hoppy pine-like bitterness. It’s lacking a bit in texture compared with the very best, but once well-chilled it is hard to resist its bold flavours.
Brewdog (£5/4 x 330ml)
Beavertown Lazer Crush IPA 0.3%
- Available from Beavertown (£22/12 x 330ml)
Wow, this is not short on flavour. It’s stacked with pink grapefruit and passionfruit that almost reminds us of a soda. Probably not one for your real ale-loving dad, but Beavertown fans are going to lap this up.
Beavertown (£22/12 x 330ml)
Loah blood orange lager 0.5%
- Available from Loah (£12.50/6 x 330ml)
We were seriously impressed with these bittersweet, low-alcohol beers. In fact, we'll be stocking our fridge with them for evenings when we don't want to drink too much. Don't be put off by the blood orange, it tastes like your classic IPA with just a touch of citrus and works wonderfully with rich, meaty dishes like sausage pasta.
Loah (£12.50/6 x 330ml)
Skippers Wet Hopped Pilsner 0.5%
- Available from Dry Drinker (£24.27/8 x 330ml)
Another astonishingly good lager, this time from Germany. The name comes from the practice of adding hops after fermentation. This gives it a proper bitter bite. Combine that with a full malty body and you have a totally convincing zero ABV pilsner.
Dry Drinker (£24.27/8 x 330ml)
Ilkley Brewery Nowt Mary milk stout 0.5%
- Available from Ilkley Brewery (£20/12 x 330ml)
Milk stout is a beer style sweetened with lactose that lends itself brilliantly to zero alcohol versions. The lactose provides the body you lose from not having any alcohol. This Yorkshire version is brewed with actual coffee and ground cacao nibs for big sweet flavour.
Ilkley Brewery (£20/12 x 330ml)
Bristol Beer Factory Clearhead IPA 0.5%
- Available from Bristol Beer Factory (£30/12 x 440ml)
This superbly balanced IPA-style beer not only tastes delicious but does good too as 5 per cent of profits go to mental health charity Talk Club. It also comes in a half-litre can so you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck.
Bristol Beer Factory (£30/12 x 440ml)
Athletic Upside Dawn golden ale 0.5%
- Available from Dry Drinker (£18.48/8 x 335ml)
Another American brew, this time from Connecticut. This mixes Vienna malt, English and American hops to create a beer with lovely balance and an understated charm. Athletic Brewing Co. is a zero-alcohol beer specialist and its Wild IPA is also excellent.
Dry Drinker (£18.48/8 x 335ml)
Adnams Ghost Ship pale ale 0.5%
- Available from Tesco (£1.50/500ml)
This has a great malt character on the nose, something like digestive biscuits, then is citrussy and grassy on the palate. It actually tastes like an Adnams pale ale. I gave this to a friend, who didn’t realise it was alcohol-free.
Erdinger alkoholfrei wheat beer 0.5%
- Available from Waitrose (£1.75/500ml)
This has that characteristic banana smell that you get in a wheat beer. It’s certainly sweet but carries the sugar really well, especially when served over ice with a slice of lemon. Erdinger is widely available, so it’s a good friend if you’re driving to the pub.
More drinks inspiration
This review was last updated in January 2024. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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