20 Low-Alcohol Beers Ranked Worst To Best
It’s not "Dry January" or "Sober October," but more and more of us are turning to beverages with less alcohol. Drinking low-alcohol beverages is one of the most talked-about alcohol trends of 2022. If your only knowledge of the low ABV (alcohol by volume) beer scene is Heineken 0.0, it’s time to read on. Thanks to the trend toward drinking less, more breweries are releasing low-alcohol brews, with entire breweries even being founded to create low ABV beers. Plus, new methods are being developed for the removal of alcohol from beer, as Renegade Brewing explains. Thanks to these factors, customers have more to choose from.
With all this going on, it can be hard to know what to drink. For starters, what is low-alcohol beer? Different countries have different standards. In the U.S., low-alcohol beer is defined by having an ABV of less than 2.5%. Beers with less than 0.5% ABV can also be labeled as "non-alcoholic," according to federal law. That’s because it’s virtually impossible to get drunk off these products (via UpThirst). But alcohol by volume isn’t all there is to know. If you’re a beer connoisseur looking for the best low-alcohol beers that don’t reduce quality, continue reading to find 20 low-alcohol beers ranked worst to best.
20. Oatmeal Dark (Bravus)
The Oatmeal Dark is a beer made by Bravus, an Anaheim, California-based microbrewery that specializes in low ABV or non-alcoholic beers. Per the company, this beverage is made in the style of dark beer, similar to an Irish stout like Guinness, and has an ABV of less than 0.5%. The Oatmeal Dark is one of the most popular Bravus brews, with around 160 online reviews on the brewery’s website alone. Additionally, according to Bravus, it won a silver medal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival.
The reviews on Bravus’ website are mostly positive. Reviewers say the Oatmeal Dark is an outstanding low ABV beer that is a successful take on the dark beer style. For example, one person who tasted this beverage wrote, "most dark n/a beers have a funky after taste and that is not found here." On the beer review website Untappd, customer reviews are a little less enthusiastic, giving the Oatmeal Dark a rating of around 2.8 out of 5. However, Untapped drinkers are still mostly satisfied, writing reviews like "it’s not really that bad. Good stout nose. Lighter body. Flavor was better than expected."
You should be able to find the Oatmeal Dark (and other Bravus beers) at one of the brewery’s many stockists located throughout the United States. To find a store selling Oatmeal Dark, you can use the store locator on Bravus’ website.
19. Irish Red (Sober Carpenter)
Made by Canadian company Sober Carpenter, this Irish Red style beer has a minuscule amount of alcohol. Like the United States, Canada classifies non-alcoholic beers with an ABV of less than 0.5% (per Beer Canada). This low ABV brew mimics an Irish Red, a style known for its reddish hue and sweet flavor (via The Tap). According to Sober Carpenter, its Irish-style Red is acclaimed, and it won a gold medal in the USA Beer Ratings 2021. Although the beverage competed well, it doesn’t have many fans.
On Untappd, there are more than 800 reviews with an average score of around 2.8 out of 5. One person wrote, "appreciate the effort that’s going into making non-alc beers, but hard pass here, Irish red or not." On BeerAdvocate, there are at least five reviews, but those aren’t outstanding. A reviewer said, "this is a decent beer, if a bit light in all flavor respects." However, the same person also added, "it’s the first NA Irish Red that I’ve tried, and I think it’s a pretty serviceable stab at the style." The fact that most tasters think this is a successful mimic of typical Irish Reds isn’t nothing. But the beer should be able to stand on its own. For this downside, we place this Canadian brew near the bottom.
18. Nanny State (Brewdog)
A Scottish company with an emphasis on sustainability, BrewDog became the world’s first carbon-negative brewery in 2020 (via BrewDog). While it doesn’t exclusively make low ABV beers, the brewery continues to produce several with names like Punk AF, Elvis AF, and Hazy AF. One of the most popular is Nanny State, a pale ale that’s low-calorie and low-carb. With only 20 calories and 2.3 grams of carbohydrates per can, Nanny State is popular, with more online reviews than the rest of low ABV beers at BrewDog.
On Untappd, Nanny State has been reviewed over 60,000 times for an average of 2.7 out of 5. On BeerAdvocate, it’s been reviewed more than 140 times, for an official BeerAdvocate score of 73. While it’s a lot of reviews, no one seems that excited about this beer. Steady Drinker was slightly more enthusiastic. The beer blog wrote, "the insane amount of hops and malts delivers in the flavor department too. There’s a rich, almost plummy, taste at first, which turns into a bitter and citrusy finish." Due to this more complex flavor profile and extreme popularity, we think this beer is fine but not outstanding.
17. 17 Mile Porter (Surreal)
Surreal is a company that makes exclusively low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beers, per the brewery. The California-based brewery is widespread and can be easily purchased at retailers like BevMo, Whole Foods California, Total Wine, and Bristol Farms. This exciting beer has an ABV of 0.5%, contains only 50 calories, and 10.5 grams of carbohydrates. As a dark beer like a porter, Surreal says it contains tasting notes of "dark chocolate and roasted coffee." That’s a rich-tasting treat for low-alcohol beer.
Fans of dark beers seem to like the 17 Mile Porter. One review on TotalWine said, "this is a very complex beer for an NA! Notes of chocolate, vanilla, coffee…a nice hint of roasted marshmallows." As a porter, it will be more divisive than approachable styles like a pale ale or a pilsner. However, the 17 Mile Porter maintains middle (or just below middle) of the road reviews on Untappd, where it has over 600 reviews averaging 2.71 out of 5, and BeerAdvocate, where it has an official score of 78 out of 100.
This beer is clearly good for dark beer fans. But that doesn’t mean we can recommend it to just anyone, especially people new to the low ABV community. For the inherent divisiveness of this beer’s style, Surreal is near the bottom of the list.
16. Sleight of Hand (Tempest)
Made by Scottish brewery Tempest, the name "Sleight of Hand" is inspired by this beer’s chameleon-like abilities to imitate normal beer (via Tempest). According to the brewery, there are a few things Tempest is willing to reveal upfront, such as the fact that the ABV is 0.5% and the style is a pale ale.
Adding to this beer’s mystique, it’s sometimes (particularly in the U.S.) marketed as a sour, despite the "pale ale" name that’s sometimes on the label. You can see this in reviews on Tempest’s website referring to Sleight of Hand as a sour. According to Free Beer, the flavor falls somewhere in between, "it also wasn’t a sour like I know it, but more a mix between that style and the pale ale they mislead us with on the can." Clearly, some beer drinkers are confused.
While Tempest isn’t the most popular low-alcohol beer (BeerAdvocate doesn’t even have an official score for it), Tempest was ranked among the top 100 "Best Brewers in the World for the Year 2020" by the website RateBeer, so the brewery must be doing something right. For that reason, this brew is worth mentioning.
15. Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei (Rothaus)
The German brewery Rothaus has a romantic reputation for being founded in 1791 on the grounds of a monastery in the middle of Germany’s Black Forest mountain range (per Flaviar). With a historical background like that, many people are drawn to Rothaus’ beers. Fans even admire low-alcohol ones like the Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei (alcohol-free).
Rothaus’ regular Tannenzäpfle has an ABV of 5.1% and its Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei has an ABV of less than 0.5% (via Rothaus). Both beers are pilsners. The Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei is made using a unique process that makes it smell as normal as possible. Per Rothaus, the brewery "removes the alcohol with steam under vacuum," a gentle process that allows natural beer aromas to remain, even after this beer’s alcohol is extracted. Many reviews on Dry Drinker seem to like this process, attesting that Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei tastes just like the regular Tannenzäpfle. One person even wrote, "I’m from the Black Forest not far from where the beer is brewed, and I can say it tastes like the full alcohol version."
Another plus to the Tannenzäpfle Alkoholfrei is that it’s popular. More than 4,000 Untappd users have tried it. However, not all of them are particularly moved by it. The average rating is 2.77. We recommend this beer for big fans of Rothaus’ Tannenzäpfle. But we aren’t confident it will be a huge hit with those that aren’t already familiar with the brewery.
14. Non Ale (Hitachino Nest Beer)
The Non Ale is a cleverly named low ABV beer — the "non" part comes from its status as a low-alcohol beer with an ABV of 0.3%. Beer maker Hitachino Nest Beer has been brewing all sorts of beers, not just low ABV ones, out of the Kiuchi brewery in Japan since 1996 (via Hitachino). Hitachino must be doing something right because it’s been gathering a steady stream of international awards for most of its time in business. The Non Ale is the only low ABV beer listed currently on the company’s website.
On Untappd, Non Ale has more than 900 reviews, with an average rating of around 2.8 out of 5. People don’t have much to say about it there, except that they are enjoying the beer at Wagamama, a British chain serving Japanese-inspired pan-Asian food. On BeerAdvocate, a reviewer also remarked on the appearance, saying the Non Ale had "a thick and beautiful white head," although the flavor doesn’t seem to be as strong as this beer’s appearance.
Overall, Hitachino Nest Beer’s Non Ale is a visually satisfying replica of drinking a normal ABV beer. However, the flavor profile might not be very memorable.
13. Pale (Partake)
Pale is a pale ale style of beer made by Partake, a brewing company specializing in low-alcohol beers. In its mission statement, the brand passionately says, "Partake is the official beer of adulting and we’re on a mission to prove that alcohol doesn’t own good times." Pale is just one of Partakes’ many styles containing less than 0.5% ABV. So, you can adult every day without regretting what you drank the night before.
Reviews on Partake’s website focus on its healthy nutritional facts. The beer is also lighter than others on this list, with only 10 calories, zero grams of carbs, and zero grams of sugar in the can. Some readers even mention that it meets their dietary restrictions, as people suffering from ailments like diabetes need a low-sugar beer. It makes sense, considering the founder of Partake was inspired to create the brand by a Crohn’s disease diagnosis (via Lights Camera Crohn’s).
On Untappd, Pale has an average rating of around 3 out of 5. The beer has quite a few tough critics, with most complaints being about flavor. On BeerAdvocate, people are still hesitant to say anything good about it. Reviews tend to criticize multiple aspects of the beer, saying it’s thin in both flavor and mouthfeel. However, we think this beer is worth a higher ranking due to its nutritional facts and is great for people who maybe aren’t beer fanatics.
12. Galactic Milk Stout (Big Drop)
The Galactic Milk Stout is a beer made by Big Drop, a brewing company founded in the United Kingdom. The company makes low-alcohol beers and has won awards for them. Its beer, the Galactic Milk Stout, also has an impressive resume. According to Food Magazine, the Galactic Milk Stout brings in most of Big Drop’s praise, winning "20 of Big Drop Brewing Co.’s 70 international beer awards since its launch in 2016."
Not surprisingly, the Galactic Milk Stout has an ABV of 0.5% and 91 calories per can. The calories aren’t turning away many reviewers on Untappd, where the Galactic Milk Stout has been reviewed more than 17,000 times. It has an average rating of 2.81 out of 5, which is probably the least impressive stat for this beer.
On BeerAdvocate, it has an official review of 84 out of 100. At least two people remarked on flavorful tasting notes and aroma but noticed a lack of body typical to low-alcohol beers. For example, one BeerAdvocate writer said, "thin but cmon for an alcohol-free to be expected." In our opinion, Galactic Milk Stout would need to get rid of its thinness to be ranked higher despite the awards.
11. Dry-Hopped Clausthaler
Clausthaler is a line of low ABV beers from the Radeberger Gruppe, the largest brewing company in Germany. Although not as big a producer as its parent company, Clausthaler has a lot to offer. The brewery makes several popular non-alcoholic beers, including the original lemon flavor and a grapefruit flavor. But one of the most well-received of the Clausthaler low ABV beers is the Dry-Hopped.
According to Clausthaler, it is the first "dry-hopped non-alcoholic beer in the world." The brand said of the beer’s revolutionary quality: "It brings together German craftsmanship, the world’s foremost non-alcoholic brewing technique, and Cascade Hops imported from the USA." It also has an ABV of roughly 0.5% and is classified as an amber beer.
The unique method behind Clausthaler is not the only impressive thing. The Dry-Hopped has over 5,000 reviews on Untappd with an average rating of 2.98 out of 5, giving it a better score than the other Clausthaler beers on the site. The same goes for BeerAdvocate, where the Dry-Hopped has more than 75 ratings and an official rating of 79 out of 100. Additionally, reviews have positive things to say about the flavor profile, head, hops, and aroma, with more than one person saying it’s the best non-alcoholic beer they’ve ever had. Clausthaler’s Dry-Hopped beer has some of the best approachability and the least criticism of any beer mentioned thus far. But it’s a little too boring and crowd-pleasing to be ranked higher.
10. Heavenly Body Golden Wheat (WellBeing)
WellBeing Brewing says it’s on a mission. The brewery wants to de-stigmatize not drinking while creating "a range of high-quality, craft non-alcoholic beers for all to enjoy in any social occasion," per the website. But not only are WellBeing’s beers low in alcohol, its products are also healthy. WellBeing’s Heavenly Body Golden Wheat is a low-alcohol beer with an ABV of 0.3%. But it’s also vegan, contains only 68 calories, and has zero grams of sugar, according to the brewery.
WellBeing describes the Heavenly Body as an American-style wheat with an added citrus flavor meant to create complexity. Reviews on the brewery’s website compare it to familiar beers like Blue Moon or Shock Top. If you like those beverages but want a non-alcoholic beer, Heavenly Body Golden Wheat could be a good substitute.
There are over 1,000 polarized reviews for Heavenly Body Golden Wheat on Untappd. Some users say it’s the worst non-alcoholic beer they’ve ever had, while others say it’s the best. Critics say the Heavenly Body is too watery or thin, while fans say the beer is refreshingly light. On BeerAdvocate, there are more of the same criticisms regarding lack of flavor. Still, this beer is a good choice for fans of smooth, lighter-tasting beer. Like it or not, it’s clear that’s what this low ABV brew is, and we think that should count for something.
9. Lazer Crush IPA (Beavertown Brewery)
Lazer Crush is a beer made by Beavertown Brewery. The brewing company is based in London and makes all sorts of beers, not just low-alcohol ones. According to Beavertown, Lazer Crush is an IPA-style beer with an ABV of 0.3% and is made using a unique process for a low ABV brew. The brewery said it "used a clever strain of yeast that fully ferments our crisp pilsner malt without producing alcohol." This differs from other processes, where the alcohol may be removed after brewing, or small amounts of malt are used to create low ABV beer in the initial stages.
The beer blog Steady Drinker gave Lazer Crush a favorable review, saying, the "mouthfeel, body, and aroma are superb." However, the blog noted that the beer had a high sugar content of 9 grams per can, which might turn some people off. On beer review websites like Untappd, Lazer Crush has over 6,000 reviews, with an average rating of 3.18 out of 5. Like Steady Drinker, Untappd users pointed out the sweetness. "Very unhoppy. Quite sweet. Nice for summer drinking," wrote one review.
Lazer Crush is an exciting and well-received IPA. Positive comments have been made regarding its scent, flavor, and mouthfeel, and the only criticism we have is there is too much sugar per serving.
8. Holy Faith (Northern Monk)
The English brewery Northern Monk is located in Leeds, England. You may have never even heard of Leeds, but don’t worry — Northern Monk stocks its beers in 23 countries, so it shouldn’t be too hard to try any of them. Northern Monk is known for its monastic beer-making practices in the international beer scene. But unlike some of the world’s oldest breweries run by monks, Northern Monk combines monastic brewing with "a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques."
Whatever Northern Monk is doing, it is doing it right. With its 0.5% ABV, the hazy pale ale Holy Faith is the low-alcohol version of Northern Monk’s award-winning pale ale, Faith. Thanks to its standard ABV forefather, the low-alcohol beer Holy Faith seems to be accepted by the beer world.
Holy Faith pale has an average rating of 3.42 out of 5 on Untappd. On Beer52, there are stunning recommendations for it, such as "for such low alcohol, it was amazing: zesty, nice bitterness, lovely head," and "nice hazy IPA with a citrus taste." These few reviews show the depth of flavor within Holy Faith. If you end up enjoying it, feel free to try Super Stredge, a low ABV IPA also brewed by Northern Monk.
7. Special Effects Hoppy Amber (Brooklyn Brewery)
Special Effects Hoppy Amber is a low ABV beer from the American company Brooklyn Brewery. It’s a well-known company with a James Beard Award-winning brewmaster. The brewery’s Hoppy Amber contains an ABV of less than 0.5%. That’s the "special effect" that Brooklyn Brewery is referring to, per the company website. You get all of the taste and smell of a typical beer, but without the alcohol.
Paste Magazine called the Special Effects Hoppy Amber their favorite of the Brooklyn Brewery’s low-alcohol beers, saying the beer was "an uncomplicated palate in terms of your average U.S. beer release, but among the N/A world, it’s actually more complex than most." That may not seem like a lot, but it’s exactly what some beer drinkers want to hear.
On BeerAdvocate, there are even more favorable reviews of the low-alcohol amber beer. Users are inspired to say a lot. The smell, taste, mouthfeel, and appearance are usually more than satisfactory. One user even said something similar to Paste Magazine, writing, "tastes like a regular beer but better than most regular beers." On Untappd, so many people are inspired to say they’ve tasted the Special Effects Hoppy Amber that over 32,000 people have reviewed it. With all these factors in play, this beer deserves a spot in the top 10.
6. Grainwave Belgian-Style White Ale (Ceria)
Here is a beer made by Ceria Brewing Company, a family-run brewery based in Arvada, Colorado, specializing in entirely alcohol-free beers. With an ABV of less than 0.5%, the Grainwave is an alcohol-free beer that’s also only 77 calories per can. But that’s not all. The founder of Ceria Brewing is Keith Villa, the founder and brewmaster of Blue Moon. Villa brings over two decades of experience at Blue Moon to Ceria, which should count for something.
The blog BeerConnoisseur gave this low ABV beer an 80 out of 100, calling it a "refreshing, medium-bodied, zero percent alcohol version of a Belgian White Ale." While many drinkers say that you can tell the Grainwave is low ABV, they also say it’s quality. On Untappd, a reviewer went so far as to say, "I hate to admit this, but this NA beer is better than a lot of other beers I have had before."
On BeerAdvocate, one person didn’t go that far. But they still said that compared to other low ABV beers, the Grainwave was "better than most." Many reviews note a positive balance of citrus and spice in the flavor, a complexity lacking from other beers on this list. The body is also substantial, especially compared to other low ABV beers. With reviews like these, it makes sense that Grainwave is almost in the top five.
5. Limbo Raspberry Flemish Primitive (Mikkeller)
The Copenhagen-based brewery Mikkeller doesn’t make exclusively low ABV beers but has a few to offer. In addition to the Limbo Raspberry, another popular low-alcohol option is the Danish company’s Drink’in The Sun American-style wheat ale. However, the Limbo Raspberry is a more exciting beer style, with great reviews at that. We think this earns it a spot in this ranking over Drink’in The Sun.
Mikkeller’s Limbo Raspberry is a Flemish Primitive style of beer with an ABV of 0.3%. It’s brewed with actual raspberries, giving the drink a satisfying red color. Mikkeller recommends pairing this non-alcoholic beer with activities you couldn’t normally do while drinking, such as going for a bike ride. However, you could also drink the Limbo Raspberry with a pasta dish or a steak dinner due to the flavor palate.
There are over 7,000 reviews on Untappd for this beer, with a high average rating of 3.5 out of 5. Reviewers are mostly gushing with compliments. One person wrote that this "is one of the best non-alc beers I’ve had, dry and fruity, with easy fresh acidity." While there are fewer reviews on BeerAdvocate, it has an excellent official score of 87 out of 100. There are still criticisms about thinness and disagreements over which Mikkeller is the best flavor. For these slight drawbacks, the Mikkeller is placed below other beers in the top five.
4. Lemon Quest (Dogfish Head)
If you live in the northeastern U.S., you’ve probably come across Delaware-based craft brewery Dogfish Head before (via Untappd). Dogfish Head is not only ubiquitous but award-winning. According to BrewBound, the brewery has received Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year award and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional (which went to brewery founder Sam Calagione). With recognitions like these, even the Dogfish Head’s low ABV beers should be good.
Per Dogfish Head, the Lemon Quest’s style is a "non-alcoholic wheat brew" with an ABV of less than 0.5%. The beer is brewed with "real lemon puree, blueberry juice, açaí berries, monk fruit, sea salt" and contains less than 100 calories per can. It was originally released in 2021 and remains stocked at stores in the U.S. today. You can locate one of those stores using the brewery’s fish finder feature.
NearlyBeer described this beer as lemon-forward, writing, "the blueberries, açaí, and monk fruit are just a wonderful pairing, that makes the lemon flavors pop." There are more than 900 Untappd reviews averaging 3.63 out of 5. Favorable reviews recommend it as a refreshing summer beverage, with one person stating that "this is a nice peppy glass of berry and lemon juices." The handful of BeerAdvocate reviews are similar, with people writing things like "perfectly balanced" and "excellent summer beer." Sometimes, there is confusion about the style, but that’s the only criticism we have for this brew.
3. Just the Haze IPA (Samuel Adams)
Just the Haze is a beer made by iconic American brewery Samuel Adams aka. The Boston Beer Company. You’ve probably heard of it before, as it’s one of the largest companies of its kind in the U.S. (per Brewer’s Association). Just the Haze is marketed as a pacing beer that allows drinkers to extend drinking sessions, per BrewBound. The idea is that by having some lower ABV beers intermittently while drinking, you won’t get drunk as quickly.
This IPA has an ABV of less than 0.5% and contains 98 calories per can (via Samuel Adams). Over 2,000 Untappd reviews for Samuel Adams’ Just the Haze rate this beer an average of 3.6 out of 5. Many say it’s the best low ABV beer they’ve had.
The low ABV IPA is a top scorer on BeerAdvocate, with over 50 ratings scoring an official rating of 89 out of 100. Many reviewers say it’s almost indistinguishable from a regular IPA, stating, "taste is excellent — it tastes like a hoppy IPA with a little bitterness to finish." There are only a few common criticisms, including statements that Samuel Adams’ low ABV beers are simply not as good as those made by some other breweries.