i’ve had a lifelong love of beer, with craft beer being my alcohol of choice for most of my adult life. (in high school it was all mickey’s, bass ale and wine coolers; by college rolling rock and miller high life were my go-to beers. but i was lucky enough to move to new orleans post-college, where abita beer was already a thing. it was my first introduction to craft beer and their brews are still some of my favorites. i’ve probably drunk more abita amber than any other beer in my lifetime.)
in recent years, however, i started to notice my body REALLY not liking alcohol anymore. so i reduced the amount of beer i was drinking, usually no more than 1 or 2 at a time and only on the weekends, because of how awful it made me feel the next day. alcohol is very much a way of life here in new orleans, though, so it was still very much a part of my social life, even at a reduced amount. i just tried to get smarter about choosing lighter beers, drinking only with food, interspersing water with beers, and stopping at 2 in a night. but even with all that, it was still affecting me adversely.
about a month before my brain surgery (around september of last year), i stopped drinking alcohol entirely, wanting to go into surgery feeling as good as i possibly could. post surgery, i have not felt like i am ready yet to return to alcohol; i’m wanting to give my body and brain some more time to heal without the inflammation and toxicity that alcohol brings. i’ve dropped and kept off 10 pounds or so, and all my pants are loose, which feels good. given all that, around mid-november, ahead of the holiday season and some anticipated socially-distanced social gatherings, i began investigating non-alcoholic beer as a possible option.
much to my surprise, i’ve found a burgeoning and exciting NA craft beer scene taking root in the US. (NA beer has already been a much bigger thing in europe and other parts of the world, but as usual, the US lags behind.) i started sampling various brands and breweries, mostly ordering online because it’s so hard to find locally, and joined a few facebook groups dedicated to non-alcoholic beer appreciation as a way to learn more. i now find myself reading a lot of articles online and listening to several podcasts about NA beer and its makers. i’m a little obsessed!
so i am making a category here on this blog to easily catalog all my reviews of various NA brews and other thoughts on the trend/industry as it develops. not that i’m any kind of expert, just documenting mostly for myself what i’m learning – and if it can help anyone else, great! i am hopeful that the craft brewing scene here in new orleans will eventually catch on and some of our successful local breweries will take on the challenge of making delicious NA brews of their own.