If “near beer” makes you think of tinny-tasting suds, we’ve got good news: The world of low-alcohol brewing has come a long way. As beer with less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume becomes more popular—sales jumped 50 percent between 2013 and 2018 in Canada alone—craft brewers are making fresh, buzz-free blonde ales and hoppy IPAs that are almost indistinguishable from their tipsier counterparts. While the specific techniques they use to achieve this feat are closely guarded secrets, many brewers are turning to alternative methods of fermentation over dealcoholization, which can affect taste.
Here’s five breweries across Canada doing some amazing things with non-alcoholic beer—many of which deliver!
Surprise Berliner Weisse 12-pack, $45, lebockale.com
Crisp, fizzy and almost fruity, this blonde is a top-notch ale.
Blonde Ale 24-pack, $55, drinkpartake.ca.
Coriander and citrus punch up the weissebeer flavours of this Montreal-based brewery’s white offering.
White 12-pack, $35, sobercarpenter.ca
Central City Brewers
This B.C. brewery’s pilsner boasts a thick foam and delicate malt flavour.
Street Legal Pilsner 4-pack, $13, centralcitybrewing.com
Hoppy, toasty and pleasantly piney—everything you love in an IPA.
Village Local 4-pack, $12, villagebrewery.com