For the longest time, the vast majority of non-alcohol beer out there was, uh, not good. I always equated the only ones really available to most of us, your big, industrial selections like Molson Exel and Labatt .5, with the likes of fizzy cereal water. Not exactly my thing.
But we have so many fun, high-quality options now, right? I mean, the discovery of these (plus enjoyable alcohol-free takes on wine, spirits and cocktails) is why I started this whole venture. People used to say that people like me, who DOES drink traditional wine, beer, and spirits on the regular, will never find anything of interest because, well, there's no booze in them.
O.K., but figuring I enjoy coffee, tea, sodas, kombucha, and so on led me to believe that couldn't be the case. And, really, I was right. The only reason that perspective resonated is because hardly any of us had tried great product, often made in small batches with care, using quality ingredients.
So as I'm on this journey exploring, among other things, non-alcoholic beer - even though I'm already really loving stuff from Big Drop Brewing, Sober Carpenter, Phillip's iOTA, Grüvi, and (so many) more, I know I'm still likely gonna stumble on duds.
When that happens, I'm going to revert to an old hack I've used when one of those 'fizzy cereal waters' have come into my possession:
Make it into a michelada. Seriously, it really fixes everything.
For those not in the know, here's the Wikipedia synopsis:
A michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice, assorted sauces, spices, tomato juice, and chili peppers. It is served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. There are numerous variations of this beverage throughout Mexico.
That's the long and short of it, but as someone who's been everywhere from Mexico City to Oaxaca to La Paz, it definitely varies on region, who's making it, what's on hand, etc. Here in Canada and in the U.S. you'll occasionally see more cocktail-y takes on them, incorporating tequila or mezcal.
So, at home I'll usually grab a big glass, rim it with fresh lime, and then Tajin (or celery salt, or Montreal steak spice, or, or, or...), then pour in a good glug of Clamato juice, and hearty splashes each of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. I'll squeeze in the rest of the lime, stir it good, then load the glass with ice. Then, it's just finishing topping things up with the beer. For me it's somewhere between 1/3 Clamato and sauces to 2/3 beer, and basically 50/50. Honestly, since many widely-available Mexican beers are so clean and refreshing, these don't taste that different to the real thing.
Ratios above are all to your personal taste, and there are a zillion different ingredients and ways of putting 'em together.
Just Google michelada, but more importantly - never settle for plain, fizzy cereal water again.