Ah, January. Our time to hit reset after months of holiday indulgence. If you’re doing Dry January and you’re convinced you must avoid the Bend Ale Trail at all costs, fear not!
Here’s a mouthwatering roundup of Bend-made brews that’ll offer a taste of what you’re craving, but without the alcohol or excess calories.
No Mo (and even mo!) from Crux Fermentation Project
One of my first tastes of booze-free beer came in the form of No Mo from Crux Fermentation Project. The fine folks at Crux craft this refreshingly hoppy near-beer with citra and mosaic hops using traditional brewing methods I swear make it taste like the real deal.
If hazy beer’s more your style, they also make a hazy version that’s a bit more full-bodied and crafted with BRU-1 and Sabro hops.
Both brews have the bright, tropical flavors of a classic Crux IPA, but if that’s not your jam, they also have a new No Mo Strata Gold that’s more in the style of a golden ale.
All these booze-free brews clock in around 30 calories and less than 0.5% ABV. You’ll find them at the Crux pub, or on grocery store shelves all over the region. Commence with guilt-free sipping!
N/A IPA from 10 Barrel
Anyone else remember Swill, the American Radler produced by 10 Barrel back around 2014ish? There’s something about their new N/A IPA that reminds me of that lucious, fruit-forward brew, and trust me when I say that’s a good thing.
N/A IPA has more of a malty presence than most of the non-alcoholic brews I love, but it makes for a more full-bodied experience. With extensive testing, I can confirm this is the absolute perfect n/a brew to sip while sitting in a hot tub in a flurry of January snowflakes.
As with other booze-free brews on this list, N/A IPA boasts less than 0.5% ABV and can be found in both grocery stores and at the Eastside and Westside 10 Barrel locations. Pair it with a veggie-packed salad off their pub menu and you’ll hit two New Year’s resolutions in one fell swoop.
Hop Quencher from Worthy Brewing
You know what I love about Worthy Brewing? I mean besides their heart for sustainability and their freakin’ amazing Hopservatory.
I love that they get super geeky about all things beer-related. That’s true even with their non-alcoholic masterpiece, Hop Quencher.
Not only does this sweet little sparkling strata hop water boast zero sugar and zero calories, but it’s boosted with Xantholumol. In peer-reviewed, published scientific articles you’ll find linked on their website, you can read about the health benefits of this flavonoid derived from hop cones. Those include anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-obesity metabolic effects.
If all that sounds not-so-sexy, just ignore the science and swill a can anyway because this brew tastes ah-may-zing. It’s light and refreshing and tastes like a tropical vacation would if you could lick one.
This just got weird, didn’t it?
Black Butte Non-Alcoholic from Deschutes Brewery
You’ve gotta admire Deschutes Brewery for making an n/a version of one of their most beloved beers.
And I admire them even more for absolutely nailing it.
Full-disclosure: I’m not a huge dark beer fan, and the Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery is one of the few I truly adore. So the thought of swilling a booze-free version made me…unsure.
But I had nothing to fear because Deschutes somehow magically captured the distinct, delicious drinkability of their classic Black Butte Porter, but made it without alcohol. I don’t know for sure what sorcery went into this sweet little 12oz can, but the taste is so similar to the original, you’ll check the label to be sure.
But believe it or not, this baby has less than 0.5% ABV and about 100 calories per serving. That’s a little more than with some of these booze-free brews, but trust me—it’s worth every last calorie.
Find it in their Bend taprooms or in grocery stores around the region.
Hop Water from Sunriver Brewing
This one’s a bit trickier to find, and I haven’t yet spotted it on grocery store shelves (though if you have, please tell me so I can grab some!)
But Hop Water from Sunriver Brewing is definitely worth the search, or a stop at their pub to swill this sparkling water infused with flavors of fresh basil and citrus.
Last time I tried it was at their eastside pub paired with their turkey dip sandwich (smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar, and natural turkey jus on a Sparrow Bakery hoagie). Can I just say it was perfection?
Bonus round: Mocktails
If beer isn’t your jam even at zero-proof, you’ll be glad to hear tons of Bend watering holes have mocktails on their menus.
Some of my personal faves include the Calm the F**k Down (lavender, chamomile, ginger, soda, CBD) at San Simon, the Miss Daisy’s Driving (ginger beer, mint, cucumber, bitters, ginger) at Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, and the rotating daily mocktail (always changing, always tasty!) at Boxwood Kitchen.
While this post dates back to 2016 and I can’t guarantee all of these options still exist, you’ll spot a few ideas you may not have considered like kombucha, fancy lemonade, and locally-made ginger beer.
Cheers to Dry January, friends!