The Athletic non-alcoholic choice

Great booze-free beers to try.

Last year we directed you to the excellent Kynota, Ottawa’s only purveyor of adult appropriate non-alcoholic beverages. This Dry January I introduce you to the beers of Athletic Brewing.

The story goes that Wall Street guy and beer fan, Bill Shufelt was feeling the effects of his 24/7 business life when he realized that what was missing was a great tasting non-alcoholic beer. There’d be no downside for him the next day.

He had no brewing experience but interviewed many brewers who weren’t intrigued by the prospect of brewing non-alcoholic beer. Enter brewer John Walker who liked the idea of the challenge and the two became business partners.

Athletics' rise has been almost meteoric and the US-based company now has distribution in Canada, England, Australia and the EU. They also have a very easy to use website where you can shop online with a few enticing special offers to get you started.

“How does it taste” is the question on everyone's lips and the reply is simple: drinking beer has never been easier. The absence of alcohol will, of course, alter the perception of what you’re drinking but these recipes are spot on and refreshing.

From what I’ve tried of their brews, the beers are bigger in flavour than many other n/a brands I’ve tried, making them more satisfying and leaving you less likely to miss the presence of alcohol. They’re also a good alternative to sugary drinks. 

All Out stout. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

I recently had their lemon radler, Ripe Pursuit, and All Out, their version of a stout. Ripe Pursuit had just enough sweetness to lend a roundness to the malt profile then giving a fresh lemon note that persisted through to the finish. With or without booze, I’ll be direct and say that it was one of the best radlers I’ve ever tasted.

The All Out stout also met expectations with attractive coffee and chocolate notes without leaving a cloying sensation often found with high percentage stouts. Just simply refreshing.

Athletic Brewing’s campaign itself is pretty brilliant. They’ve taken a product often associated with sports for spectators and appropriated it for those who participate in sports. A smart strategy that encourages healthy living and enjoyment of good tastes.

The company offers an app (Track Record) that allows people to track how well they’re performing during Dry January and beyond.  They also run a larger initiative called Two for the Trails, where funds are raised and donated for the conservation and rehabilitation of nature trails.

Athletic beer is available at various shops around Ottawa such as: Kynota, Whole Foods, Hintonburg Market, Herb & Spice, LCBO and many others.