A beer without hops is a suitable drink for those who don’t want bitterness. Some beer enthusiasts firmly believe that beer is defined as a drink made of hops, so if you remove the main ingredient from it, you will be left with a malt-forward drink.
However, if you’re allergic to hops or don’t prefer the taste of it in your beer, you can try low-hop beers or zero-hops beers instead.
Our beer experts rave about these top hop free beers that are mostly made with excellent hop substitues and fine ingredients that adds an interesting spin to the typical hopped beer taste.
List of Beer Without Hops
Hop-less beers are also widely known as gruit, and hops play two vital roles in a beer. First, they add bitterness (flavor and aroma) to the drink. Second, hops help retain the freshness and preserve the drink for a longer period of time.
Despite these important reasons, beers can be made without hops and still taste great. There are definitely many ways to enjoy a good glass of beer minus the punch.
Schneider Aventinus by Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn
Germans do it best when it comes to brewing and that’s a no-brainer. When the country has so many varieties to offer, you can expect a good beer without hops from them. Aventinus is a wheat beer with a velvety smooth texture. If you enjoy good ol’ wheat beer, you will love the Schneider Aventinus for its complex and powerful flavors.
It is known as one of the best in its category and is widely loved by wheat beer fans. The beer is in the style of German Weizenbock.
When you taste a glass of the Schneider Aventinus, you will be blessed with hints of banana and clove and a touch bit of raisins. As a fact, German beers are usually high in alcohol and this beer is no different as the Schneider Aventinus contains 8.2 percent alcohol content.
The wheat beer is brewed by Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn. When poured, the beer has a ruby-like appearance and an appealing look.
Samuel Adams Double Bock by Boston Beer Company
Boston Beer Company, one of the widely popular beer companies, brews some of the finest beers without hops! The hop-less beer from the “Samuel Adams Double Bock” brand is of German Doppelbock style.
It is a malt beer where other ingredients are brewed into the drink instead of hops. The ingredients that replace the hops are black tea, bay leaves, green malted corn, citrus and coriander.
You won’t miss out on any great flavor without the hops when it comes to taste. The Samual Adams Double Bock offers a rich taste of caramel barley, chocolate, earthy spices and licorice, all well-balanced within the beer.
The malt-centric doppelbock beer is an excellent choice for those looking for a great commercial beer without hops. The beer is available in a brown glass bottle that pours a dark reddish-brown liquid and forms a white head that lasts very long.
Marigold by Scratch Brewing Co.
Instead of hops, this beer is brewed with Marigold roots, a natural ingredient. This ale without hops is made by Scratch Brewing Company, a farmhouse brewery located in Illinois. This beer brand is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy organic beer. The secret behind why the beer tastes great is due to the use of natural ingredients collected from a forest near the brewery.
The Marigold beer is brewed for about nine months in neutral oak. The beer receives its flavor and taste mostly from marigold flowers and stems, along with wild yeast. It has a comparatively low alcohol percentage at 5.1 percent. Marigold is a farmhouse Ale – Saison beer.
The beer body has an almost burnt orange appearance and is sold in a tall, dark bottle with a neat label. The beer could have a frothy white head depending on how you pour.
Varonna by Fox Farm Brewery
If you’re in for a gruit beer brewed in Connecticut, the Varonna beer is the one to sip on. The beer has a unique blend of ingredients grown in Connecticut and brewed by Fox Farm Brewery. Despite lacking hops, the flowery and sweet beer tastes refreshing, unlike most canned beers. Varonna beer contains around 5.5 percent alcohol content.
For beer enthusiasts who enjoy old-school beer styles, Fox Farm Brewery offers a variety. Varonna is a Norwegian-style farmhouse ale that contains spruce tips and sweet gale. As you pour the beer, it appears pale gold and finishes with a small head. The beer has an almost lemon-citrusy taste with a hint of spicy yeast.
The farmhouse ale has a funky flavor from oak and herbal characters. Overall, Varonna tastes everything earthy and refreshing, minus the hops.
Gruut White by Gentse Gruut Stadsbrouwerij
One of its kind, the Gruut White beer has a remarkable taste. It is a white beer (witbier) of Belgian style brewing, also known as Belgian White Ale. This beer with no hops contain 5 percent alcohol content, followed by a moderate calorie count. The white beer has a distinctive pale yellow, almost white, appearance that ends with a foamy head.
Upon tasting, you will be introduced to traditional herbs and spice notes that smoothly replace the hop character. The hop-less beer has a fruity fragrance on the nose while feeling creamy, light and sweet on the palate. The herbs have a bit of sharpness that feels well balanced.
It is brewed by Gentse Gruut Stadsbrouwerij, a Belgium-based brewery that offers a few more interesting versions of the beer. You can try Gentse Gruut Blonde, Amber, Brown or Inferno if you’re seeking a little variety or a heavier body.
Hard Wired Nitro by Left Hand Brewing
This beer on our list will be an immediate favorite for coffee addicts. With every sip of Hard Wired Nitro, you can taste the familiar bitterness of coffee character instead of hops. The coffee-infused porter is smooth on the palate and is easy to drink too. The roasty finish of the beverage lingers in your mouth a long while after drinking.
It is an American Porter beer. Hard Wired Nitro packs all the delicious flavors of cacao with a little bit of blueberry and caramelized sugar.
At 6 percent alcohol, you can expect a beer that provides the goodness of coffee, making you forget about hops. Hard Wired Nitro is brewed by Left Hand Brewing, located in Colorado.
Session Lager by Full Sail Brewing
Session Lager is a beer with less hops, as the presence of hops is barely noticeable while drinking. We’ve included this beer for those who don’t mind a little hop in their beers. As an American Lager, the Session Lager has been around for quite a long time. Brewed by Full Sail Brewing, the beer packs flavors that evoke pre-prohibition-style beers but is surprisingly easy to drink.
This beer is much more than refreshing with 130 calories and 5 percent alcohol. The beer brand was founded by Irene Firmat in 1987 and is located in Oregon. The remarkable red packaging of Session lager is hard to miss with its name printed in bold font. It is widely sold in cans and beer bottles.
The beer is an all-malt craft lager with a crisp taste. Session Lager has a golden, almost straw appearance under bright light.
Other Helpful Information
Here are the answers to some of your burning questions regarding beers without hops.
– How Can I Substitute Hops in Beer?
Hops can be substituted in beer using a number of products such as chamomile, orange peel, wormwood or mugwort, among others. Here are some of the most common hop substitutes that you can use in brewing beer:
- Chamomile (for aroma)
- Orange peel
- Sweet gale
- Spruce Tips
- Juniper Berries (for aroma)
- Labrador Tea
- Rosemary (for aroma)
- Coriander (for aroma)
– Do Modern Breweries Sell Hopless Beer?
Yes, some modern breweries sell hopless beer, but finding them can be quite difficult. This is because the majority of beer enthusiasts enjoy the hoppy bite and want hops in their beer, which is why breweries pay less heed to a few drinkers who want hopless beers.
If you’re in the United States, it can be almost impossible to find a true hopless beer since most U.S-based breweries include some hops in all their beers. Some hop free beer brands that you can check out include Big Sky Brewing Co, Anchor Brewing Co. and Great Lakes Brewing Co.
– Is It Technically “Beer” if It Does Not Have Hops?
Yes, it is still technically a beer even without hops. Your coffee would still be called a coffee if you did not add sugar to the hot drink. Similarly, beers that are brewed without hops can also be called beer.
However, some beer enthusiasts may have different opinions, or certain laws of some countries may require the addition of hops to market the beverage as a “beer.” The presence of gruit beer is sufficient proof to combat this misconception.
– What Does Hopless Beer Taste Like?
Hops add the bitterness to a beer, so a hopless beer is usually very sweet and malty since it lacks the bitterness from hops. Hopless beers can sometimes have a floral flavor as well. The taste of the hopless beer also depends on the ingredients used to brew it.
The presence of hops helps to balance the excessive sweetness of the drink, which is why so many people prefer traditional beers with hops.
– Does Beer Without Hops Still Have Alcohol?
Yes, beer without hops still has alcohol. Depending on which brand of beer you pick, your beer can have alcohol content of 5 to 8 percent. The presence or absence of hops has no relation with alcohol as all other usual ingredients are present in a brewed beer without hops.
The top hop-less beers on our list each provide a stunning taste profile, substituting hops with better and tastier alternatives be it spices or roasted coffee.
If you’re into homebrewing, you can even try preparing hop-less beers by yourself with some common substitutes.
- Hops are added to beers because they add flavor and bitterness to balance the sweetness of the drink and help preserve the beer for a longer time.
- Beers that are brewed without hops are known as gruit.
- Some of the best hopless beers to try are Schneider Aventinus, Samuel Adams Double Bock, Marigold, Varonna, Gruut White, Hard Wired Nitro, and Session Lager.
- When homebrewing, you can use some common hop substitues such as Chamomile, Orange peel, Sweet gale, Spruce Tips and many more.
- Hopless beers usually lack the punch of hop bitterness and taste sweet unless a bitter substitute is used during brewing.
With the help of our list, you can now definitely enjoy the refreshing and crisp beers without hops and won’t even feel that you’re missing out on anything.
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