2021 Guide to Australian Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer
Stocking an awesome range of alcohol-free craft beers is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made with this business – they practically walk out the door…for good reason. So, crack open a cold one and settle in. This is your ultimate guide to Australian non-alcoholic craft beer.
Aussie craft non-alcoholic beer. It’s a drink everyone can enjoy, and it's fast becoming a cult phenomenon all around the globe. The popularity of craft breweries and their delicious bevvies has opened the door to a non-alcoholic craft beer market in our beer-obsessed country.
What is craft beer?
Well, that’s a debate for the ages, because some brewers think a craft beer should come from a small brewery. Others think that a craft beer should be able to be brewed by anyone, big or small. Some brewers believe that a craft beer should be innovative and use flavours and methods no brewer would’ve thought to use before. Others think it’s all about preserving tradition and tweaking recipes and methods just enough to spark a new generation of taste.
To me, a craft beer has a distinct aspect to it. It has its own personality. It’s got that pizazz, an excitement to it that you just don’t get with some of the mainstream beer brands. It’s hard to explain, but I think my fellow alc-free craft beer drinkers know exactly what I’m talking about.
In the end, as long as it’s full of flavour, super refreshing and goes well with food you can count me entirely.
How is non-alcoholic beer made?
Non-alcoholic beer is made in much the same way as alcoholic beer – craft beer is no different. Of course, the brewing methods vary depending on the brand, the type of beer and the taste the brewer is trying to achieve. That's really the beauty about craft beer, the entire process is a craft.
The main steps usually stay the same throughout any beer making process…
Step 1 is making a mash, then you boil the wort, blend the hops and ferment the heck out of it! The difference between alcoholic craft beer and non-alcoholic craft beer is wither removing the alcohol or controlling the fermenting process by stopping it before it turns into alcohol.
Regardless, the same base ingredients are used in almost all breweries, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. A mix of water, grain, yeast, hops and other natural ingredients including a range of botanicals to create a unique craft beer taste.
5 of the best Aussie owned non-alcoholic craft beer brands
1. Upflow Non-Alcoholic Beer - Melbourne
From humble beginnings in 2018, the Melbourne Upflow team have gone from high to high! With 4 craft beers in their range - Pale Ale, IPA, Stout and their latest, a super innovative Hypotonic Ultra Pale Ale (sports beer), which they created for the 2024 Aussie Olympic team!
They only use the very best pure malt, yeast, hops and water to brew their bevvies – nothing more, nothing less. In doing so, Upflow’s beers hold a distinctive flavour that’s similar to that of a regular beer, minus the alcohol.
2. Heaps Normal Non-Alcoholic Beer - Sydney
Heaps Normal co-founders Jordy Smith, Andy Miller, Ben Holdstock and Peter Brennan are trying to normalise mindful drinking…and boy, are they succeeding!
The Heaps Normal guys found that when they went out, the non-alcoholic drinks options were kind of dull (water, juice, tea) or super sugary (soft drink). So, they made their own non-alcoholic craft beer to put a little excitement into nights out, sans the alcohol. Their Quiet XPA goes down an absolute treat on a hot summer day…or a cool winter night. It’s an all-round winner!
3. Sobah Non-Alcoholic Beer - Gold Coast
Seriously cool Gold Coast couple Clinton and Lozen Schultz are behind the Sobah non-alcoholic craft beer range which are all brewed with traditional Australian bush tucker like Lemon Aspen, Finger Lime and Pepperberry, it doesn’t get more Aussie than that!
Not only is their beer crisp, full-flavoured and utterly delicious, their values and Aboriginal culture make this beer extra special.
4. NORT Refreshing Pale Ale - Sydney
Another 100% Australian owned and brewed craft alc-free beer, NORT’s Refreshing Ale is one of the best non-alcoholic drinks on the market.
This alcohol-free beer is low in calories and contains plant-based ingredients to ensure a wide range of people can enjoy its delicious taste. It’s good for your waistline and your overall health. The best part? It tastes just like a real beer should.
5. Hawkesbury Brewing Co. - NSW
This Hawkesbury Brewing Co makes a non-alcohol beer called Prohibition which is bright and full bodied with tropical notes and citrusy flavours throughout. It’s brewed entirely naturally with only premium ingredients to ensure the very best flavours are maintained throughout the alcohol removal process. Water, hops, malt and yeast are used to create a truly tasty non-alc beverage that anyone can enjoy!
6. Mornington Peninsula Brewery - Victoria
This tavern, bar, brewery & distillery is located in the beautiful Mornington Peninsula area of south-east Melbourne. They brew a full range of beers on site where you can drink, eat and enjoy live music. The latest addition to their range is their non-alcoholic Mornington Free, which is an American style Pale Ale.
This follows a unique recipe to ensure a full fermentation to less than 0.5% ABV without losing that true craft beer taste. Passionfruit and citrus aromas make this light golden beverage a truly delicious drop.
7. ZERO+ Pale Ale Sports Beer - Victoria
Brewed at Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend Victoria by Brewmaster Paul Holgate who has 20+ years experience brewing award winning craft beers. This is an electrolyte enhanced non-alcoholic Pale Ale created as a post sports and exercise beer. It is designed for faster muscle recovery and entire body rehydration.
It also contains Polyphenols for inflammation and it's packed with Magnesium, Potassium & Calcium!
This is a multi award winning UK brand but still worth a mention here, because they brew 2 of their beers in Melbourne - the Big Drop Pine Trail Pale Ale and the Big Drop Uptown Craft Lager which are both also low gluten (less than 10ppm) so a great great option for anyone looking for a low gluten beer.
Why drink non-alcoholic craft beer?Well, for the same reasons you drink any type of alcohol-free beer, wine or spirit…
No alcohol means no hangover. Gone are the days of having a night out meaning you lose an entire day the next day lying in bed feeling sorry for yourself. Your liver (and the rest of your body) will thank you!