Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher

The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks for the Boating Season

It’s that time of year when the hot days make few things better than cracking open a cold one. With more and more adults choosing to refrain from alcohol, options for enjoying cold beverages are increasing for boaters who want the taste of beer without the after-effects. 

Avoiding a hangover is just one of the benefits of abstaining from alcohol. BoatUS reports that roughly half of all boating accidents involve boating under the influence, with non-fatal boating accidents resulting in almost $250 million in property damage annually. The association reports that some accidents are due to what is referred to as “boater’s hypnosis,” a fatigue syndrome caused by excessive vibration, sun exposure, motion and other factors. Boater’s hypnosis slows reaction times, and when coupled with alcohol, the effects can be significant. 

Abstaining is always the best idea when operating a boat, and thankfully several beverage companies now make that easy and enjoyable. 

Here are a few drink suggestions for the responsible skipper.

Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher 

$17.99 for a 12-pack

This popular beer company has released a sparkling seltzer water infused with its own hops, creating an IPA-inspired seltzer beverage. The Hoppy Refresher is made from the same amount of hops and yeast, but the beverage is thankfully zero-calorie, gluten free and carb-free. Aromatic and with the same bubbles as a glass of champagne, this is a fun beverage you can enjoy all day without worry. 

Budweiser Zero 

$11.99 for a 12-pack

Budweiser has done a pretty decent job creating a beer-ish beverage that has minimal calories and carbohydrates. The “zero” in the name refers to the beer’s fat content, not the hoppiness or carbonation. Bud Zero is best compared to an extremely light beer and is refreshing when you want to enjoy a cold one without worrying about calories (just 50 per can) or carbs (12g), but is the least like an actual beer of all we reviewed. 

Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn Golden 

$13.99 for a 6-pack

One of the more flavorful non-alcoholic beers comes from Athletic Brewing, a Milford, Connecticut brewery that has focused on great-tasting products that support personal health. Focusing on products that are not just beer substitutes but are also part of a fitness lifestyle, Athletic’s Golden brings fruity notes with light malt and hops with only 45 calories per 12 ounces. This is one of the more expensive non-alcoholic beers on the market, but it’s worth it when you want to feel good about your beverage choice, and not as if you’re being punished. 

Stella Artois Liberte 

$9.99 for a 6-pack

Stella Artois has done the best job in creating a non-alcoholic beer that tastes the most like its alcoholic sibling. This mild, sweet pale malt has a refreshing, clean finish with the complexity of deep fermentation, making the Liberte a great drink for enjoying while underway or while dining. 

Heineken 0.0 

$19.99 for a 12-pack

Perhaps the most like an actual beer, Heineken 0.0 has a grassy, almost citrusy flavor reminiscent of an actual Heineken. In fact, all of our reviewers admitted to enjoying the taste of the N/A Heineken more than the regular version. Also appreciated is the fact that the packaging is almost indistinguishable from normal Heineken, which makes socializing in groups easier when you don’t want it known that you aren’t imbibing. Top marks all around. 


MacDuff Perkins lives in Annapolis, where she is the owner of Groundswell Yoga Studio. She and her family enjoy sailing their Sabre 42 around the East Coast.