Beer. I love it. And, perhaps, that’s why I displace so much water in the pool. After all, beer is a lot of empty calories. Delicious, delicious calories. So when my wife and I decided to cut out a lot of things that weren’t good for us, beer, unfortunately, was high on that list. For those of you who know me, you should recognize that almost completely eliminating beer from my menu was quite a change.
I’m sure the local breweries have all had to make some financial changes to their spreadsheets.
Very surprisingly, I went to a drinking buddy’s house recently and he also has almost completely eliminated beer. But he showed me something that’s almost as good. Sorta.
Now, I have no real issues with non-alcoholic beer. It’s sort of like a lot of things that pretend to be things. It’s not as good.
What non-alcoholic beer often has is calories and sugar and a severe lack of actual beer flavor. Not always, my dad mistakenly purchased Bitburger’s non-alcoholic beer once and we actually thought it tasted like beer. But my take has been to just not drink beer because non-alcoholic beer is only a partial solution and one that still has empty calories and, again, not the kind of flavor I’m looking for in beer.
Now, I like all sorts of beer. My favorite might be the hoppy IPA style, but give me stouts, barrel-infused stouts, lagers, sours, you name it. If it’s beer, unless it’s truly terrible, I generally like it. Some, of course, more than others.
In fact, the publisher of this website, Chuck Woodbury, has often encouraged me to write a column that combines my love of travel with my love of beer. I have considered that and my wife and I do seek out microbreweries when we travel. It would be no challenge for me to list some of my favorite microbreweries right off the top of my head, along with 10 beers that I think are wonderful.
And none of those are non-alcoholic brews whose flavor often has a lousy aftertaste and also imparts some not pleasing flavors which are a bit artificial to me.
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher
The Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher is essentially carbonated water infused with hops. That’s it. So, rather than trying to be something it’s not, it’s just water. And hops. And because it’s only water infused with hops, it has no calories, no sugar, no nothing. Except flavor. Really good flavor.
It has the things I like in beer. A hoppy flavorful taste. But lacks the things that I don’t want at the moment, which is mostly calories and sugar.
Well, and there’s the one thing lacking that may be a deal breaker for some. It’s totally devoid of alcohol.
Because the Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher is just water infused with hops, you could literally drink it while driving down the road and be in violation of no laws. However, Lagunitas, which is a company that still thinks like a small, local brewery, does have a label on the bottle that looks like a government warning label but instead is fun to read. I’ll leave it up to you to do so if you can find this stuff, because it’s funny.
It has the word “preggos” in it.
These things aren’t cheap, though. So I found that they were on sale at the local supermarket and literally bought all they had. All. Of. Them.
Typically, though, they’re supposed to sell for $7.49 for a four pack, and that’s a bit steep for fizzy water, honestly. Even if it’s good fizzy water. Especially when you can buy eight flavored fizzy waters for $4 on sale.
In talking about this to friends, I’ve found that others, too, have discovered the stuff. One friend, who is mad-scientist brilliant, even has been working on making his own. So, to that end, we’ve ordered some hop extracts from a brewing supply to see what happens. Because, essentially, that’s all this is—hop extracts and carbonated water.
So, for all of you who want to cut back on, or just eliminate altogether, beer but do enjoy the flavor of beer, this might be the best solution I’ve seen.
Judging by how many friends I’ve found that have latched on to this product, I suspect you’re going to find more and more breweries making this. I mean, for $7.49 for a four pack, I’d imagine there’s a lot of money in it.
Until then, I’ll use my Drinkmate carbonator and a bit of that hop extract. I’ll let you know how that goes.