There are few things more satisfying than a cold IPA on a warm afternoon. But if you’re trying to cut back on drinking right now (or you just don’t drink, period), you don’t have to give up that delicious hoppy-beer flavor entirely. Breweries and beverage companies are experimenting with new drinks that incorporate hops, the green, pinecone-shaped flowers that serve as one of the four main ingredients in beer.
They’re combining hops with sparkling water, tea, and soda to create refreshing non-alcoholic drinks, often with no calories or added sugar. Most are tasty on their own, but they also make great cocktail mixers for when you are drinking.
These new hoppy beverages differ from non-alcoholic beers, which are basically just normal beers with the alcohol removed. Sparkling hop waters and teas, on the other hand, are made using a totally different process that doesn’t produce alcohol, period. They’re also made without grains. Alongside hard seltzers and 100-calorie IPAs, these hoppy beverages are part of a growing trend toward drinks that are light and generally better for you.
When the world opens back up again, you can try hoppy non-alcoholic drinks on tap at breweries like Third Space Brewing in Milwaukee and Fulton Brewing in Minneapolis. Until then, you’ll have to check your local liquor and grocery stores or see if you can get some of the below drinks delivered.
Lagunitas makes Hoppy Refresher, a non-alcoholic beverage inspired by their flagship IPA that’s made with three types of hops, natural flavors, and a pinch of yeast. If you’re feeling more adventurous, Lagunitas also makes cannabis-infused hoppy sparkling water called Hi-Fi Hops that’s available at dispensaries in Colorado and California at the moment.
For something a little different, try HopTea, which is carbonated, dry-hopped tea made in Boulder, Colorado. It tastes like a cross between sparkling water, iced tea and a tasty IPA, but without the alcohol or the calories. There are a handful of hopped teas available, including black tea, green tea, chamomile, and white tea, so you can decide whether you want caffeine or not. In addition to the zero-calorie options, Hoplark also makes grapefruit and lemon flavors with a tiny bit of sweetness.
Paul Tecker was an early pioneer in the world of hop water. As an avid homebrewer, he began growing his own hops and decided to experiment with a beer that contained just two ingredients—hops and water. Thus, H2OPS was born. Though many people expect it to be harsh or bitter when they take their first sip, it’s anything but. “We use aroma hops, not bittering hops, so it has complex citrus flavors,” Tecker says. “It’s not trying to mimic beer, it’s something entirely new.” The alcohol-free drink is unsweetened and has zero calories, no carbs and no gluten.
Snake River Seltzer
This hoppy sparkling water from Snake River Brewing in Jackson, Wyoming, is made with just three ingredients: water, hops and ascorbic acid. It’s non-alcoholic and has zero calories and zero carbs. The brewery serves it with vodka and a grapefruit wedge at its taproom, which is a real treat after a day of skiing at Jackson Hole or exploring in Grand Teton National Park.
Made in Germany, Hopster is a non-alcoholic tonic-like drink made with mineral water, hops, tea, and lemon flavors. It’s slightly sweet and made with four types of hops grown in Bavaria’s Hallertau region, the largest hop-growing area in the world. Tasting notes include rose, ginger, lychee, pineapple, lilac, elderflower, and plum. It also makes a great mixer.
UCBC Sparkling Hop Water
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis started making its unsweetened, non-alcoholic sparkling hop water in 2018 to have something available for people at a local festival who weren’t drinking. The brewery was blown away by how popular the beverage was and decided to start canning and distributing it. Today, they’re also making ginger and grapefruit flavors, as well as hop water infused with CBD.
This one is a little different, since it’s a soda, but deserves a mention nonetheless. Hop Soda, made by Proper Beverage Co. just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a non-alcoholic, hop-flavored soft drink. It’s made with hops and cane sugar, so it has 140 calories per can, but since it’s non-alcoholic, no one will look down on you for drinking one in the middle of the workday.