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The 13 best non-alcoholic beers to enjoy in 2024 for Dry January and beyond

Whether you prefer ale, stout or lager, there’s a booze-free beer for everyone

Siobhan Grogan
Tuesday 16 January 2024 13:47 GMT
<p>You can still enjoy a drink at the end of the day without worrying about the impact on the next day</p>

You can still enjoy a drink at the end of the day without worrying about the impact on the next day

More of us than ever are looking to cut down on booze for good. Last year, almost 9 million people in the UK planned to take a month off drinking in January, but swerving alcohol is more than a New Year’s resolution for many.

Staying away from alcohol has all kinds of benefits, whether you want to just cut down your intake or stay off the booze for good. From helping sleep quality to boosting weight loss or even improving mental health, avoiding alcohol can be a game-changer for anyone wanting to feel better about their mind and body.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean a life of plain old water or too-sweet fizzy drinks any more. Brewers are now falling over themselves to provide alcohol-free options so we can still enjoy a drink at the end of the day without worrying about the impact on the next day. That’s no surprise when you consider that the market size of the non-alcoholic beer production industry in the UK was measured at a whopping £807.6m in 2023 and is only expected to grow.

It’s not always easy to get it right though. Non -alcoholic beers can be produced by removing the alcohol after brewing or by stopping the alcohol content developing beyond a certain level during brewing. This can affect the flavour and mouthfeel of the final beer so is often compensated for with added sweetness or more hops which can taste bitter. However, with more brewers competing to create the most realistic-tasting beer on the market, there are now many options available that are barely distinguishable from the real thing.

Remember that UK government guidance says that drinks labelled as alcohol-free should have no more than 0.05 per cent ABV though this is voluntary, so some beers with 0.5 per cent may also be labelled non-alcoholic but are not suitable for anyone who wants or needs to avoid alcohol completely.

How we tested the best alcohol-free beers:

A selection of the tried and tested beers

We tested a range of non-alcoholic beers, all under 0.5 per cent ABV, to find our favourite, whether you’re looking for a lager, searching for a stout or pining for a pale ale. We judged each one on taste, aroma, appearance and mouthfeel. We also considered the packaging, cost and, most importantly, how close it seemed to the real thing to decide whether we’d be happy sipping it at the end of the day.

The best alcohol-free beers for 2024 are:

  • Best alcohol-free beer overall – Lucky Saint alcohol-free beer, £25.99 for 12, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best budget alcohol-free beer –Chouffe alcohol-free, £1.25, Asda.com
  • Best stout substitute –Guinness 0.0, £5 for four, Waitrose.com
  • Best alcohol-free pale ale –Lowtide West Coast Hop Lock, £2.89, Lowtidebrewingco.com
  • Best gluten-free alcohol-free beer –Adnams Ghost Ship, £26.99 for 24, Adnams.co.uk

Lucky saint alcohol-free beer

LUCKY SAINT Alcohol Free Beer
  • Best: Alcohol-free beer overall
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Vegan
    • Tastes just like the real thing
    • Very drinkable

We were so impressed by this beer that we even double-checked the label to make sure it was definitely alcohol free. Astonishingly convincing, it was created by Luke Boase who couldn’t find an AF beer he loved so started working with brewers in Germany to create one instead.

It has all the same ingredients as a regular pilsner – Bavarian spring water, Pilsner malt, Hallertau hops and single-use yeast but no flavourings, additives or added sugar. It’s then brewed and fermented for six weeks to develop flavour so the beer can be left unfiltered for maximum taste, before the alcohol content is reduced using vacuum distillation. The impressive result is a golden, slightly cloudy beer with a nicely foamy head and a pleasing citrus tang. It’s light but malty with a great mouthfeel that will appeal equally to ale and lager drinkers, plus we loved the smart but understated teal-colour packaging. Better still, it’s now available on tap across the UK and in venues including Everyman Cinemas and Pizza Pilgrims so – at last – there’s an AF option that won’t feel like second best.

This price is for a case of 12.

  1. £25 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Chouffe alcohol-free

Chouffe alcohol-free -indybest
  • Best: Budget buy
  • ABV: 0.4%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Refreshing taste
    • Light and easy to drink
  • Take note
    • Only available in glass bottles not cans

If you’re a dedicated Belgian blond-style beer drinker, you won’t need to hanker after your regular pint any more. The standard Chouffe beer clocks in at an eye-watering eight per cent ABV so is a definite no-go if you’re hoping to cut out the booze, yet this alcohol-free version is a decent alternative you can reach for without worrying about the next morning.

Golden yellow in colour, it’s brewed with a special type of yeast that doesn’t turn sugars into alcohol during fermentation to keep the alcohol content below 0.4 per cent. It’s seriously refreshing, with tropical fruit flavours, grainy aromas and an appealing maltiness on the palate. A hint of spiciness keeps things interesting so we reckon this would slip down a treat after a long day at work.

Price per bottle.

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Guinness 0.0

Guinness 0.0 -indybest
  • Best: Stout substitute
  • ABV: 0%
  • Size: 440ml
  • Why we love it
    • All the taste of the original
    • Great creamy flavour

Close your eyes and you’d almost believe you were drinking the bona-fide black stuff. This alcohol free Guinness is brewed exactly the same way as it’s boozy brother but an extra stage of cold-filtration removes the alcohol while preserving the famous flavour. Crucially, it also has the brand’s famous widget which you can hear rattling around in the empty can and releases bubbles when opened to replicate the draught experience.

We certainly had no complaints about the flavour. It’s as thick and silky as you’d expect with a distinctive creamy head and a noticeable hint of coffee. Although it’s a tiny bit sweeter than the real thing, its smooth-as-silk finish means this one is a no-brainer swap when we’re binning the booze.

Price for a pack of four.

  1. £5 from Waitrose.com
Prices may vary
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Impossibrew enhanced lager

Impossibrew-indybest
  • Best: Booze-free beer with benefits
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 440ml
  • Why we love it
    • Vegan
    • Crisp flavour
    • Discounted when bought in bulk
    • Comes in bigger 440ml cans
  • Take note
    • Contains Griffonia Seed which is not recommended during pregnancy
    • Expensive compared to others

While there’s no question it’s better to minimise our alcohol intake, we can’t help but miss the gentle buzz that kicks in after that first alcoholic drink. Founded in 2022 and since seen on Dragon’s Den, Impossibrew aims to provide an alcohol free solution by adding a mix of plants, vitamins and minerals to their drinks that mimic the relaxing benefits of alcohol without the hangover.

They taste great too. There’s currently a pale ale and lager in the range and neither taste non-alcoholic – we tested one on a friend who didn’t even realise it wasn’t the real thing. The lager is genuinely refreshing with a touch of citrus and honey and a decent mouth feel, although it is a touch heavy on the hops for a lager. We doubted whether the added nootropic herbs including L-Theanine and organic Ashwagandha root would make much of a difference but we definitely felt ourselves unwind more after drinking this than with other alcohol free beers. Don’t expect to get drunk but the mild mood boost still makes this one of the best alcohol-free lagers on the market.

Price per can.

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Lowtide west coast hop lock

Lowtide West Coast Hop Lock-indybest
  • Best: Alcohol-free West Coast ale
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 440ml
  • Why we love it
    • Great looking cans
    • Bigger 440ml cans
    • Vegan
  • Take note
    • A little pricier than other alcohol fre beers

We’re big fans of Lowtide, who have been shaking up the alcohol free world since 2019 when founders Rob and Dave launched a website selling the best alcohol free craft beers from around the world. When they still couldn’t find their dream booze-free beer, they took the next step and started brewing their own in 2021. They now make a whole range of cheekily-named beers including Check This Stout, Forgot To Take My Pils, Brune-DMC and Wild Juice Chase, all of which come in larger 440ml cans decorated with cool original artwork.

We were hard pushed to find our favourite but plumped for their alcohol-free West Coast ale which is packed with all the citrusy pine flavours you’d expect. Clear and amber in the glass, it’s smooth and surprisingly crisp with a tropical twist and a just-right bitterness from the hops. Take it to a sunny barbeque and you won’t miss the booze a bit.

Price per can.

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Jump Ship Yardarm lager

Jump Ship Yardarm lager-indybest
  • Best: Alcohol-free brand
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Good range of beers
    • Great company ethos
    • Very drinkable
    • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Take note
    • Small 330ml cans
    • Can only be bought in packs of six or more

Another fairly new name in the alcohol free beer world, keen sailor Sonja Mitchell loved beer but hated hangovers so quit her day job to see if she could produce a booze-free version that would taste just as good as her regular pint. It took nearly a year to produce the first beer – the Yardarm lager – and the range now also includes an IPA, pale ale and a stout plus regular seasonal releases made in Scotland’s first and only dedicated alcohol-free brewery.

The lager has since been awarded the world’s best non-alcoholic lager at the World Beer Awards in 2021 and it’s not difficult to see why. Lager is the hardest AF beer to get right and often tends to be too sweet but this is delightfully drinkable, with a lively pop of citrus and biscuity malt.

Better still, the beers come in lighter cans to reduce carbon emissions and make them easier to recycle, plus grain left over after brewing is used to feed cattle. The company have also pledged to donate at least 10 per cent of profits to various charities nominated by customers. A winner all round then.

Price for six cans.

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Innis & Gunn alcohol-free lager beer

Innis & Gunn 0.0% alcohol-free lager beer-indybest
  • Best: Entirely alcohol-free beer
  • ABV: 0.0%
  • Size: 440ml
  • Why we love it
    • Large 440ml cans feel like normal lager
    • Good unfussy packaging
    • Full of flavour
    • No alcohol at all
  • Take note
    • Only available in bulk packs

Don’t panic if you’re skipping alcohol and you pick up a drink marked 0.5 per cent ABV. This still counts as alcohol-free and even an over ripe banana would contain more alcohol. However, if you have to avoid alcohol completely and don’t want to be stuck on lemonade, this is one of the best booze-free beers going.

It’s brewed using a special yeast strain that doesn’t produce alcohol at all during brewing. That means the alcohol doesn’t need extracting at a later stage which can affect the flavour. Instead, it uses only pale ale malt as its base rather than a blend of lager malt and ale malt, plus golden naked oats to add a delicious smoothness. It doesn’t have the cloying sweetness of some alcohol free lagers, but is a full-bodied, flavourful beer that will satisfy any drinker.

Price is for a case of 24.

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Stella Artois 0 per cent

Stella Artois 0%-indybest
  • Best: Alcohol-free beer to buy in the supermarket
  • ABV: 0%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Bottle looks exactly like the real thing
    • Great price
    • An easy swap for Stella drinkers
  • Take note
    • Only available in glass bottles rather than cans

Lager is the trickiest type of beer to reproduce sans alcohol, so many alcohol free versions tend to be a little more hoppy than the average lager drinker would like. But grab this from the supermarket shelf and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s an impressive Stella dupe with the crisp, clean finish of the original and just a touch of hoppy bitterness so you’ll (almost) believe it’s the real thing. We found it a touch sweeter than normal Stella with traces of caramel in the mix but found that meant it went down a treat with rich or fatty foods. We especially loved the fact that the bottle looks exactly the same as the original meaning it’s a simple swap to make if you like drinking Stella anyway.

Price for a pack of four.

  1. £3 from Tesco.com
Prices may vary
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Budweiser Zero

Budweiser Zero-indybest
  • Best: Zero sugar alcohol-free beer
  • ABV: 0%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to recycle cans
    • No alcohol at all
    • Zero sugar
  • Take note
    • Not for those who dislike Budweiser anyway

There’s nothing worse than spending an evening virtuously sipping alcohol free drinks only to discover that you’ve almost consumed more sugar than in a box of chocolates. If you’re cutting down on alcohol to be healthier, it’s an even bigger blow, yet many booze brands mask the absence of alcohol by loading up with the sweet stuff instead.

Amazingly, this zero alcohol lager from American brewing giants Budweiser has no sugar in at all – and only 46 calories per can. It’s made from just water, barley malt, rice, hops and natural flavours and brewed through the same beechwood ageing technique that is used for Budweiser itself. While it will go down a treat with any Bud drinker, we found it a little watery although it has a moreish malty taste and a clean, dry finish which makes it the gloriously gluggable on a hot day.

Price for a pack of four.

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Corona Cero

Corona Cero-indybest
  • Best: Big name alcohol-free lager
  • ABV: 0%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Tastes just like Corona
    • Great price
    • Goes well with spicy food
  • Take note
    • Only available in glass bottles

We were hugely impressed by this entirely alcohol-free Corona, which is every bit as thirst-quenching and refreshing as the original.

Brewed with natural ingredients, it has the same Mexican zing we already know and love from the brand with a well-balanced flavour and rush of citrus notes that lends it that distinctive summery taste. A slight maltiness gives it backbone so you won’t feel like you’re supping water and the bright fruitiness means it pairs well with spicy food. Serve it ice-cold with a wedge of lime and you’ll barely notice it has no booze at all.

Price for a pack of four.

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BrewDog mixed alcohol-free

BrewDog mixed alcohol-free-indybest
  • Best: Alcohol-free beer gift
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Good selection of beers
    • Comes nicely boxed
    • Great chance to try different beers
  • Take note
    • 330ml cans feel quite small

It’s not always easy to swear off the booze – especially on big occasions or around Christmas. Make it a little easier for someone by sending them this mixed pack of alcohol free beers which will feel like a treat but encourage them to stick to sobriety.

This pack of eight beers contains two each of BrewDog’s Punk IPA 0.5 per cent, Nanny State 0.5 per cent, Hazy Jane 0.5 per cent and Elvis Juice 0.5 per cent. They look just like regular BrewDog beers and taste nearly as good, with plenty of flavour and hoppy bitterness across the range, although a little thinner in texture. Our favourites were the Punk alcohol free, which packs a proper hoppy punch and the crisply citrus Elvis Juice alcohol free, but we’d be chuffed to receive the whole lot so we could sample the whole range in one.

Price for pack of eight cans.

  1. £8 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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San Miguel 0.0%

San Miguel 0.0%-indybest
  • Best: For serving with food
  • ABV: 0.04%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Tastes like regular San Miguel
    • Good malty flavour
    • Vegan
  • Take note
    • Barley malt means it’s not gluten-free

Who hasn’t enjoyed a cold San Miguel on holiday? The good news is that it’s possible to enjoy the experience year-round, even when you’re back at home avoiding alcohol with this entirely alcohol-free version.

It’s brewed in a pilsner-style with traditional beer ingredients although the temperature and time are strictly controlled to ensure there are fewer fermentable sugars and alcohol is never produced. It has a great golden colour in the glass and strong biscuit aromas with the same malty flavour you’d expect, a medium bitterness and a bright grassy note. Crisp and refreshing, it’s a little thinner than the original and a touch sweeter but we think it would work a treat swigged alongside food including seafood and even spicier dishes.

Price for a pack of four.

  1. £4 from Tesco.com
Prices may vary
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Adnams Ghost Ship

Adnams Ghost Ship-indybest
  • Best: Gluten-free alcohol-free beer
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Size: 330ml
  • Why we love it
    • Vegan
    • Gluten-free
    • Good pale ale flavours
    • Available in cans and bottles
  • Take note
    • Lager fans may not be keen

Inspired by the stories of the ghost ships that haunted the shores of Walberswick, this alcohol free dupe of Southworld-based Adnams’ best-selling Ghost Ship ale has been wildly popular with its customers and it’s not difficult to see why.

Though of course it doesn’t have quite the same mouthfeel as the 4.5 per cent version, it’s remarkably similar with a fresh fruitiness on the palate from the blend of Citra and other American hops used in brewing. For an alcohol free pale ale, it has an impressive complexity, with alcohol removed at cold temperatures after brewing to preserve the flavours. Better still, it’s entirely gluten-free as an enzyme is used during filtration that reduces gluten to below 20 ppm making it the beer of choice for anyone looking to swerve alcohol and gluten in one satisfying glass.

Price for 24 cans.

  1. £26 from Adnams.co.uk
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Alcohol-free beers

We were generally really impressed with the standard of AF beers, particularly ones that have emerged in the last couple of years from smaller producers. However, Lucky Saint alcohol-free beer is definitely our new AF go-to, as its full flavours, mouthfeel and easy drinking texture didn’t leave us pining for a regular pint at all. We’ll also be stocking up on Corona Cero for spontaneous summertime drinking and plan to explore the whole Jump Ship range after sampling their excellent lager.

Bring the pub to you with our round-up of the best British lagers

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