In Search of Buzz-less Good Time: Non Alcoholic Beers and Hop Waters Review

**Disclaimer:** The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are the result of internal monologues and rants and should not be mistaken for the opinions of shop personnel, innocent mannequins, or any fish species. Any resemblance to actual wisdom or coherent thoughts is purely coincidental, however if they resonate with you, I will take credit for it. Reader discretion (and occasional giggling) is advised and expected.  

Let’s be honest, a solid buzz IS a good time. The problem lies when the buzz goes to full blast. Those usually end with regretful mornings and poor decisions to fix later. For some, that is par for the course. For others, it can be a really bad path. As anglers we are surrounded by potential dangerous stuff. Fast flowing rivers, vehicles, boats, motors in some cases, and if you are truly lucky, this is all happening somewhere remote and far from emergency services. So my plea would be that we look at alternate maneuvers to enjoy our time on the water and still enjoy our favorite beverages.  

If you haven’t pick up on it, were talking about staying sober while fishing, now before you click outta here, give me a minute. In 2022 the fatality rate among boaters was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Sure this includes flat-cappers in wake setters, river runners in jet boats, adrenaline junkies in speed boats, rental riders on jet skis, and just about any other vessel you can think of, but…it’s a real number. Surprisingly the Red Cross put out a study showing that fisherman deaths were higher than those categories combined. Those included wade fisherman. Another consideration is often we are often driving, hiking or taking modes of transportation to fishing where not having impaired judgement is a good idea.   

So today, we’re embarking on a wild journey (sans the alcohol-induced dizziness) as we explore the mysterious realm of… non-alcoholic beers! Yes, those bubbly, fizzy concoctions that promise all the taste with none of the headache (unless you drink too many purely for the taste and then, well… that’s another issue). 

Now, to ensure you get your money’s worth (or at least not more than $3.99), we’ll be comparing some of the  contenders in the NA beer category. Ready for this sober adventure? Let’s go! 

Non-Alcoholic Beers (~Gluten lol)


  • Pros: Reliable and often the go-to choice for many sober-curious drinkers. Economical and doesn’t leave your wallet feeling light. 
  • Cons: The taste might remind some of that time they mistakenly drank sparkling water thinking it was soda. It’s refreshing, but might leave your taste buds wanting.


  • Pros: Also friendly on the wallet! Offers a slightly richer flavor than its $2.49 counterpart, Clausthaler. 
  • Cons: If you’re looking for a robust beer experience, this might feel like watching a 3D movie without the glasses. It’s close, but not quite there. 


  • Pros: For an extra 50 cents, you’re getting into more sophisticated territory. Think of it as upgrading from coach to premium economy. 
  • Cons: Still might not completely quench the thirst of a true beer aficionado. 


  • Pros: We’re inching closer to the top of our price range, and with it, a deeper, more satisfying taste. Definitely the choice for those who describe themselves as “a bit fancy.” This is one of my favorites. It’s crips and delicious. 
  • Cons: It might leave your less discerning friends asking, “Did you really pay that much for a non-alcoholic drink?” 

Bitburger Drive 

  • Pros: This one brings a crisp taste that’s reminiscent of driving through the German countryside. If cars ran on non-alcoholic beer, this would be premium unleaded. This is also a fantastic dry beer. 
  • Cons: That authentic taste might be a bit too authentic for some. Not everyone’s in for a ride. 

Upside Dawn Golden Ale

  • Pros: A smooth ale experience, it’s like the sunrise after a long night. No, not the hungover kind – the rejuvenating kind. Athletic Brewing is newer on the scene and make some great drinks.  
  • Cons: With a name like that, you might expect some gravity-defying tricks. Spoiler: it still pours downwards. 


  • Pros: Often the first name that pops up when someone says “non-alcoholic beer.” It’s like the Coca-Cola of the NA beer world. It’s a staple and a solid go to. It’s also available almost anywhere. 
  • Cons: It’s a classic, but sometimes, classics can feel a bit, well, classic. You might be left wanting a bit more zest. 

Old Milwaukee

  • Pros: A throwback name with a contemporary edge. For those who like their beers with a touch of nostalgia. Old Mil is my go to Walmart buy. It’s hits the perfect spot on a good sunny day. 
  • Cons: Like revisiting that old film from your childhood. Sometimes it holds up, sometimes it’s best left in the past.

Clausthaler NA – Grapefruit

  • Pros: The younger, zestier sibling in the Clausthaler family. A tangy spin that will make your taste buds dance… or at least sway a little. My wife is not a fake beer gal at all, but I bought a sixer of this one day and she fell in love with this. She’s often one handed in the garden because she has one of these in her hands 
  • Cons: Grapefruit isn’t for everyone. If you’re not into that bittersweet life, this might not be your jam… or juice.

Coors Cutter

  • Pros: A recognizable name that promises a reliable, crisp beer experience.  
  • Cons: For some, it might feel a bit too similar to the real deal without the buzz. A tease in a bottle!


  • Pros: The King of Beers… minus the alcohol. A solid choice for those who don’t want to stray too far from the tried-and-true. Solid stand in for the days you don’t want a fancy beer. 
  • Cons: You may find yourself humming the Budweiser theme without the same level of enthusiasm. 

Lagunitas IPA

  • Pros: For the ones who fancy themselves beer connoisseurs. Rich, hoppy, and full-bodied, this one doesn’t skimp on flavor. If you drink your beer with a pinky sticking out then this is for you.  
  • Cons: If you’re not an IPA fan to begin with, this NA version isn’t going to change your mind. 

Hop Waters (Non-Alcoholic, Gluten, Carbs or Calories)

Brooke here, helping give my two cents on the other realm of NA drinking, sparkling waters, infused with HOPS. Maybe you’re on a journey, like myself, were you #sobercurious, but also mindful of gluten. One such trend that’s been creating ripples is the infusion of hops into sparkling water. Hops, traditionally known for their role in brewing beer, are now making their mark in the non-alcoholic beverage scene.

One of the most exciting aspects of hops-infused sparkling water is the explosion of flavors it brings to the palate. The natural compounds in hops, such as terpenes and essential oils, contribute a diverse range of flavors from citrusy and floral to earthy and herbal. Explore different brands and varieties to discover which flavor profile resonates with your taste buds.

Crafting a high-quality hops-infused sparkling water is an art. Brands carefully select hop varieties to achieve the desired flavor complexity. The brewing process involves infusing hops during different stages to extract the optimal amount of flavor without overpowering the drink. The result is a beverage that’s both nuanced and refreshing.

Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher

  • Pros: the best tasting hop water I have found, the closest resemblance to a beer if I say so myself.
  • Cons: cost and availability. As of today, I have only been able to find them at one store and they are sold out. I thought the cost alone would deter, but I was wrong. A 4-pack of glass or a 6-pack of cans will run you about $8.99 (pre-tax).

Athletic Brewing Co. Daypack 

  • Pros: fun flavors, that offer a little more variety to the day on the river in the sun.
  • Cons: the flavors and the cost. The flavors are a bit much for me, but if you are looking to replace your Dark Cherry White Claw this is a great alternative.

Hop Wtr

  • Pros: Another fun flavor option, the hops oil is subtle.
  • Cons: similar cons as the Athletic Daypack

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Hop Splash

  • Pros: Probably the closest flavor to an IPA
  • Cons: The hops flavoring has an interesting bite at the end.

Well, there you have it, folks. So whether you’re on a booze break, designated driving, or just curious, there’s plenty of effervescent excitement to explore. Cheers to exploring new flavors, one sip at a time! 

We’re not saying you need to quite drinking, I just wanted to offer an alternative that may prove to be safer on the water, roads and in the out of doors.