Can a Beer That Has No Alcohol, Calories, Sugar, Malt or Gluten Actually Taste Good?
Hoplark 0.0 puts the hops front and center in their new vice-free brew
“Is … is this just hoppy water?”
That was the question one editor here asked just before we tried Hoplark 0.0, which is being touted as the “craft brew industry’s first zero alcohol, zero-calorie, zero sugar, and zero gluten” release.
Hoplark, based in Boulder, CO, launched in 2018 and already has a number of hop-forward non-alcoholic beverages under its belt, including a tea and, yes, hop-brewed sparkling water.
When it comes to Hoplark 0.0, the company claims they have a proprietary process to achieve flavor sans all the things you’d normally love in your brew — like calories and alcohol. “We know how much people love beer but want more options when it comes to drinking, or not drinking,” Dean Eberhardt, co-founder and CEO of Hoplark, said in a statement. “Whether you’re wanting to avoid the next day’s side effects or are focusing on your health, Hoplark 0.0 is for everyone. Half of Americans now say they’d like to drink less alcohol. I’m proud to give consumers another choice with Hoplark 0.0 which offers the flavorful hoppy taste of a craft beer, but without the alcohol, calories, or sugar.”
That said, don’t call it a beer. “Now with the launch of Hoplark 0.0, the world’s best non-alcoholic beer isn’t a beer,” as Eberhardt notes. In fact, Hoplark 0.0 seems very similar, ingredient-wise, to Hoplark Citra Hop Water. A rep for the brand explained that the new release is “dramatically more hopped” — while Hop Water uses hop extracts to get its flavor, the 0.0 Citra specifically aims to create the flavor of a craft beer with a “dry-hopped experience.”
So, let’s have a sip.
Hoplark 0.0 is double dry-hopped with Citra hops. Appearance-wise, this is cloudy and pale hay liquid that’s best left in the can. On the nose, it’s all hops — very, very strong presence here — but on the palate, the citrus, grassy and floral notes really shine. It lacks heft (blame the lack of alcohol), but if you dig Citra hops and don’t want booze, this is a decent summer sipper. Or, as the Hoplark site suggests, “If you love the floral bitterness of hops, you’ll love these brews.”
(That said, for an actual non-alcoholic brew, I’d probably stick with Dogfish Head’s Lemon Quest.)
InsideHook Executive Editor Mike Conklin tasted it and noted, “It tastes exactly like a brewery smells, which I guess is like a raw hoppy note that comes through because there’s no maltiness to offset it? It’s kind of weird, kind mof refreshing?” Meanwhile, our Managing Editor and resident beer expert Bonnie Stiernberg — she of the “is this just hoppy water?” question from earlier — suggests it’s more like a hop-flavored seltzer. “It’s not offensive,” she offered.
With zero calories, booze or gluten, there’s no reason it should be.
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