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.

RankBreweryBeer NameTypeABVIBUFlavor ProfileGlobal RatingMy Rating
1Bravus Brewing CompanyBreakfast DarkPorter / Stout0.50sweet, molasses, coffee, syrupy3.394.5
2Anheuser-BuschO’Doul’s PremiumLager0.25malty, light, sweet, dry2.004.4
3Molson Coors CanadaCoors EdgeOther0.50malty2.404.3
4Surreal Brewing CompanyPastry PorterPorter / Stout0.50roasty, chocolate, bitter3.204.2
5GuinnessGuinness Draught 0.0Porter / Stout0.028roasty, dark, metallic3.134.2
6Partake BrewingDarkPorter / Stout0.00malty, roasty, coffee, chocolate2.884.2
7Athletic Brewing CompanyUpside Dawn GoldenLager0.515clean, light, bitter, crisp3.274.1
8HeinekenHeineken 0.0Lager0.00malty, clean, watery2.414.1
9Athletic Brewing CompanyCerveza Atletica Light CopperLager0.515malty, clean, refreshing3.304.0
10Radeberger GruppeClausthaler Original / PremiumLager0.529malty, sweet, dry2.514.0
11Fred Koch BreweryPenn’s Best N.A.Other0.50light, sweet, smooth2.374.0
12Anheuser-BuschSt. Pauli N.A.Lager0.50malty, light, sweet, dry, smooth2.184.0
13Brauerei BeckBeck’s Non-Alcoholic / Alkoholfrei / BlueLager0.312malty, sweet2.343.0
14Bravus Brewing CompanyOatmeal DarkPorter / Stout0.50malty, roasty, metallic2.742.8
15Athletic Brewing CompanyAll Out Extra DarkPorter / Stout0.510thin, coffee, metallic3.372.5
16GrüviGrüvi StoutPorter / Stout0.40roasty, smoky, dry, flat2.872.3

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:

54Star Fluxx
50One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak
38Family Fluxx
38Secret Hitler
27One Night Ultimate Werewolf
25Nature Fluxx
23King of Tokyo
23Time Breaker
17Martian Fluxx
15Pirate Fluxx
15Wings of War: Famous Aces
13Firefly Fluxx
13Light Speed
13Port Royal
12The Battle for Hill 218
12Early American Chrononauts
11Jump Drive
11Monty Python Fluxx
11Wiz-War (Eighth Edition)
10Doctor Who Fluxx
10Oz Fluxx

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!

Bang beer card
Source: The Daily SPUF

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:

And join the discussion on Dice.camp.