Dry January? Totally cool if it’s your thing. I usually don’t observe it myself, but I know a lot of people who do (especially following too much fun on New Year’s). And look, I spend a ton of time talking about alcohol, so much so that I’ve built a career based on it. But here’s the thing about a lot of us who work in booze – we don’t actually spend day-after-day drinking. Don’t get me wrong; kicking back with a beer is one of my favorite things ever. But it stays fun because I know I can’t do it all the time.
And guess what? Non-alcoholic beers are totally a thing. Like a REAL thing now – your choices are no longer limited to a bottle of O’Doul’s or… water. Both the big beer (macro) and the craft beer industries have really ramped up their exploration of extremely low-alcohol brews and how to make them more flavorful.
To embrace how far the N/A beer world has come, here are four new movies and the contemporary low-ABV / non-alcoholic brews to go with them:
Soul and Mikkeller Weird Weather
The Movie: Animated Family Dramedy / 2020 / Pixar
The Beer: Hazy NEIPA / 0.3% ABV / Mikkeller and De Proef Brouwerij – Copenhagen, Denmark / Lochristi, Belgium
I’ve cried during a lot of Pixar movies, and I sure as heck cried during Soul. If you don’t already know the story of this one, I suggest cracking open this surprisingly soulful, incredibly low-ABV Hazy and going in blind (Soul is on Disney+). If Pixar is the master of modern animation, the already well-established Mikkeller appears poised to become a leader on the N/A beer front.
Tenet and Athletic Run Wild IPA
The Movie: Action-SciFi / 2020 / Warner Bros.
The Beer: West Coast IPA / 0.4% ABV / Athletic Brewing – Stratford, CT
Like so many movies of the past year, Tenet went through numerous delays, and I had almost forgotten about it by the time it finally debuted on streaming services. But, it’s a solid choice if you’re looking to kick off the year with some action. While you’re making good choices, Athletic Brewing should be a go-to for anyone looking for a regular supply of N/A beer. These guys specialize in low-ABV brews with a craft beer aura, and Run Wild IPA is a fine example of how well they’ve honed their skills.
News of the World and Clausthaler Dry Hopped
The Movie: Western-Drama / 2020 / Playtone
The Beer: Euro Pale Lager / 0.4% ABV / Clausthaler – Frankfurt, Germany
New Western flicks are few and far between (the last one I even saw in theaters was 2017’s utterly disappointing Hostiles, but that’s a story for another day). So, I’m pretty excited to see this adaptation of Paulette Jiles’ 1800s-set novel coming to On Demand January 15. Since it feels like a new look at a classic genre, I’m choosing a non-alcoholic beer that’s a new variant of a longtime favorite. The original Clausthaler isn’t bad, but dry-hopping with Cascade gives this one a much more flavorful kick.
Wonder Woman 1984 and Bravus Oatmeal Stout
The Movie: Superhero Action / 2020 / DC Films
The Beer: Oatmeal Stout / 0.5% ABV / Bravus Brewing Co. – Costa Mesa, CA
I have mixed feelings about the new Wonder Woman movie, but either way you look at it, it’s still one of the better DCEU flicks to come out. And hey, superheroes are always a fun way to kick off a new year. To get you through the slower moments of Wonder Woman 1984, I’m recommending Oatmeal Stout from Bravus Brewing. Honestly, this is one of those exceptional N/A brews that gives boozier versions a run for their money. Thick caramel and mocha notes flow throughout, and I’m definitely tasting the wonder.