If you were invited to a beer-and-pretzels game night, but you’re the designated driver, here are my favorite “non-alcoholic” beers to consider, though technically some of these do have up to 0.5 alcohol by volume (ABV).
For each of the last two Januarys, I set aside regular beer to drink these instead, which I tracked and rated on Untappd. These are sorted by my rating, with the global rating across all app users being the tiebreaker. (Good games need tiebreakers.) Anything I rated below 3.0, I personally won’t buy again.
|Rank||Brewery||Beer Name||Type||ABV||IBU||Flavor Profile||Global Rating||My Rating|
|1||Bravus Brewing Company||Breakfast Dark||Porter / Stout||0.5||0||sweet, molasses, coffee, syrupy||3.39||4.5|
|2||Anheuser-Busch||O’Doul’s Premium||Lager||0.2||5||malty, light, sweet, dry||2.00||4.4|
|3||Molson Coors Canada||Coors Edge||Other||0.5||0||malty||2.40||4.3|
|4||Surreal Brewing Company||Pastry Porter||Porter / Stout||0.5||0||roasty, chocolate, bitter||3.20||4.2|
|5||Guinness||Guinness Draught 0.0||Porter / Stout||0.0||28||roasty, dark, metallic||3.13||4.2|
|6||Partake Brewing||Dark||Porter / Stout||0.0||0||malty, roasty, coffee, chocolate||2.88||4.2|
|7||Athletic Brewing Company||Upside Dawn Golden||Lager||0.5||15||clean, light, bitter, crisp||3.27||4.1|
|8||Heineken||Heineken 0.0||Lager||0.0||0||malty, clean, watery||2.41||4.1|
|9||Athletic Brewing Company||Cerveza Atletica Light Copper||Lager||0.5||15||malty, clean, refreshing||3.30||4.0|
|10||Radeberger Gruppe||Clausthaler Original / Premium||Lager||0.5||29||malty, sweet, dry||2.51||4.0|
|11||Fred Koch Brewery||Penn’s Best N.A.||Other||0.5||0||light, sweet, smooth||2.37||4.0|
|12||Anheuser-Busch||St. Pauli N.A.||Lager||0.5||0||malty, light, sweet, dry, smooth||2.18||4.0|
|13||Brauerei Beck||Beck’s Non-Alcoholic / Alkoholfrei / Blue||Lager||0.3||12||malty, sweet||2.34||3.0|
|14||Bravus Brewing Company||Oatmeal Dark||Porter / Stout||0.5||0||malty, roasty, metallic||2.74||2.8|
|15||Athletic Brewing Company||All Out Extra Dark||Porter / Stout||0.5||10||thin, coffee, metallic||3.37||2.5|
|16||Grüvi||Grüvi Stout||Porter / Stout||0.4||0||roasty, smoky, dry, flat||2.87||2.3|
As to what beer-and-pretzel games to play, I stopped rating games on Board Game Geek; it’s too hard to judge a game after just one play, and there’s a lot of games I don’t get the chance to play more than once. That said, I think beer-and-pretzel games, by definition, are lighter and shorter and therefore hit the table often. So here are my most played light games that I think fit the category:
For me, it seems, the prototypical beer-and-pretzel game is a “take that” card game or a secret-identity game. BANG! may be the perfect beer-and-pretzel game: take that, secret identities, and a beer card!
While not true a beer-and-pretzel game, Microbrewers, by Greater Than Games, makes my list, because of its beer theme. Formerly known as Brew Crafters: Travel Card Game, it’s my personal favorite game to take to a brewpub. It’s an elegant engine building game about creating the best microbrewer. It’s discontinued, but still available. Since it has a small deck, I encourage you to buy yourself two copies so that you don’t have to shuffle as often, and so that you can play with four players without needing to play as teams.
See these BGG pages for some other discussions:
- What are your favorite “Beer & Pretzel” games?
- Best Beer & Pretzels games
- Best beer and pretzels wargames?
And join the discussion on Dice.camp.
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