It should come as no surprise, but alcohol sales and consumption were up considerably during 2020. Shocker! For many, 2020 really sucked. The use of alcohol as a way to cope with mental stress is widely documented adding further light to this uptick in sales. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that dry January is seeing an uptick this year. In fact, Nielsen recently released a study that 47% of people over the age of 21 are making an effort to cut back or abstain from consuming alcohol.
Are you participating in Dry January?
Honestly, I'm not.
Despite being something of a health nut, it's not my thing. I'm too big of a craft beer fan and have never found non-alcoholic beers that appealing. However, when the opportunity to try some tasty AF (alcohol free or as f*&k, both in this case) beers from Brew Dog, I thought, "sure...I'll play along." Besides, just because I'm not going to be sober while at après-ski this month doesn't mean that you all shouldn't. Arm fully twisted and curiosity piqued, I obliged and found that Brew Dog is brewing some tasty AF beers.
O'Doul's is No Longer the Only AF Beer Option
Dry January aside, more and more breweries are producing alcohol free beers as part of the "better for you movement" that has surfaced in recent years. Back in the day, if you were sober curious, you were pretty much restricted to O'Douls. I think there were one or two others (St. Pauli girl...maybe) but I legitimately can't even think of them.
Like I said, it's not my thing.
However, today top brewers like Athletic Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery and, the aforementioned, Brew Dog are spearheading the AF beer movement with Brew Dog being at the forefront thanks to their innovation and creativity.
From One Extreme to Another
The conception of BrewDog’s first AF beer, Nanny State, in 2008 has an interesting backstory. Back then, when high-strength beers were somewhat obsolete, BrewDog made waves in the industry with a 12% imperial stout called Tokyo. The brewery is no stranger to criticism (actually, I think they welcome it), and the same held true for Tokyo’s launch when organizations and public health bodies put up a stink about the high % ABV. So, it did the one thing it could: upped the ABV to 18% and made the strongest beer ever brewed in the UK at that time.
With everyone losing their minds over an 18% beer, BrewDog staged a liquid protest and introduced Nanny State, a pale ale with a whopping 0.5% ABV. Talk about taking it to the extreme. Since then, their passion about craft beer with or without alcohol has led them to brew some of the best AF beers available on the market.
Whet Your Palate With the Brew Dog AF Mix Pack
When I learned of this interesting backstory I was even more curious. I'm a sucker for a "middle finger to the critics" tale. However as an avid craft beer drinker who reviews many beers on our après ski beer blog, I was still a bit skeptical. So I sat down and tried Brew Dog's AF beers and, surprisingly, found them quite good.
The Mix Pack that I received included: Nanny State, Punk AF, Elvis AF, Ghost Walker, Hazy AF, Wake Up Call and Tiki Torpedo. Available to the public, it's worth getting if you don't know which direction to go in. I wouldn't either but having tried them, I'm partial to the Nanny State, Hazy AF and Wake Up Call, with the latter being my favorite.
How Do Brew Dog's AF Beers Taste?
What is interesting is that all of the beers are pretty true to style and actually taste like beer, which is not always the case in the non-alcoholic beer category. The OG Nanny State was a pretty easy drinking Hoppy Ale that had some really good flavor thanks to the combination of 6 different hops.
The Punk AF is the non-alcoholic sister to the Punk IPA craft beer. It's not exactly the same but it does pack a really hoppy punch for an AF beer. Juicy, tropical and a little bit piney on the end, it is a worthy counterpart.
My favorite of all Brew Dog's AF beers was the Wake Up Call. It also happens to be the highest in calories at 77 per serving with the others clocking in around the mid-20's. Maybe it's the added calories but this beer has a heftiness and depth of flavor about it that you would expect from a stout beer. Coffee infused, those notes are prevalent on your nose the instant you open the can. It follows through onto your palate with notes of chocolate and even dark fruits which when combined with everything else makes this a quite flavorful non-alcoholic stout option.
Brew Dog's Tasty AF Beers Make Sober January Tolerable
I'm not saying that I'm jumping on the alcohol free band wagon. The notion of having an actual beer at après ski is far too appealing to me. Furthermore, I'm definitely not going to be sober the rest of January while focusing solely on drinking the remaining AF beers that Brew Dog sent me. However, if I were to do either one, I'd crack open one or more of Brew Dog's AF beer options. Despite being alcohol free, they actually still taste like beer and pack a punch of flavor making them a worthy après ski beer alternative whether you are participating in dry January or merely sober curious.
Do you love good craft beer after a day of skiing? Then be sure to subscribe to our après ski beer blog and never miss another post. We consistently review the best craft beer on the market to give you the options that you need when drinking with your friends after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. And whether you are participating in dry January or not, our If You Don't Après Ski T-shirt is always a crowd pleaser on the mountain.