Two months ago, I was sitting at a bar having a discussion with a friend who was doing the Feb Fast. The idea behind it was to use February as the reason to stay off the booze. I couldn’t help but feel slightly distracted as I pondered the last time I went alcohol-free for an extended period of time, which was accurately never. With that slightly daunting realisation, I decided then and there to have a break from the booze.
My first thought was, this is going to be difficult with alcohol so ingrained in our culture. I pictured someones uncle staring at me while I drink a Coke at a bar, saying to their nephew who’s just turned 18, ‘Son, never trust a man who doesn’t drink‘. What I discovered in the process is, it’s actually really bloody easy.
After watching a show called ‘On The Sauce’ with Australian comedian Shaun Micallef, the first thing I discovered is 1 in 4 Australians don’t drink. Am I living in some sort of alcohol-fuelled bubble? The next thing I discovered is, there is a vast array of non-alcoholic beer alternatives that you can literally buy at almost every bottle-o, bar and most supermarkets.
As the weeks have now turned into months, I am feeling like a bit of a double agent as on most occasions out, I’ve tipped my alcohol-free beers into a schooner and drank it without telling too many friends (I guess this article is the big reveal). It’s been a win-win situation and let me explain why. It removes any social pressure for not drinking, it’s not packed with sugar, it tastes exactly the same as a beer, it doesn’t have you running to the toilet for a piss every 30 minutes, it’s deadset a placebo as you’re not questioned why you aren’t drinking, and finally the next morning you can wake up and carry on like a smooth operator.
With my journey continuing, I wanted to give you an insight into the best non-alcoholic beers to enjoy with music, food, friends and family. Although I’ve chosen the title to include the word craft, admittedly I’ve included some mainstream beer companies that tasted too good to not include. Also, this isn’t an advertisement in any way. I ain’t being paid by nobody (hill billy accent).
Mornington – Straight from Victoria. Light delicious flavour and very session-able local craft alcohol-free beer.
Heaps Normal XPA – An ex-Young Henry’s employee who’s set up shop in the ACT. A more crafty taste. Fantastic to take to a park and drink with friends on a sunny afternoon.
Big Drop Brewing Co. – Very crafty beers. Strong flavours. I enjoyed their selection most with chips and dips.
Nort – A neutral Aussie beer flavour. For those who like the mainstream Aussie beers like Toohey’s New.
Peroni Libera – Light and slightly sweet. Fantastic with food, particularly seafood and pasta.
Heineken Zero – If you manage to find this in a can, let me know. Of the personal opinion that the canned version tastes better than the bottled.
Sobah – The first non-alcoholic craft beer to market in Australia! Proudly Aboriginal owned and led, their selection of non-alcoholic beers are adventurous in flavour and taste. Personally enjoyed the finger lime cerveza which is reminiscent of the flavours you get in a Mexican beer. Stay tuned as they are in the process of building a non-alcoholic craft brewery.
Carlton Zero – Very readily available and quite sweet. Almost like drinking a lightly sugared shandy. I’ve unconsciously got through a 6-pack of this without realising until I’d done the math in my head.
There’s also plenty more out there on the Aussie market. Brewers feel free to reach out to us and we’ll taste and try your alcohol-free beers and add them to this article. (information @ stoneyroads.com) The brewers not mentioned that we know of include Upflow brewing, Holgate love all, Adnams Ghost Ship cirtus pale ale, Mikkeller Drink’n in the sun, Omnipollo. Vandestreek, Pistonhead flat tyre, Hawkesbury Pale Ale, ZERO+ pale ale and Great Northern’s non-alcoholic beer.