How is Non-Alcoholic Beer Even Brewed?
Unless you're a recovering alcoholic, have a health issue, or are religious, you might be wondering what the point of non-alcoholic beer even is. All the flavor with none of the buzz? Isn't that why we drink beer instead of, say, water?
But in addition to the "why" would you, there's also the "how" do you?
How do you even make non-alcoholic beer when beer is alcohol-flavored?
To find the answer, we go to a very reliable source and a bathroom-staple: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
Non-alcoholic beer starts out as regular alcoholic beer. There are a couple of directions it can take from booze to near beer.
#1: HOT! HOT! HOT!
- Water's boiling point is approximately 212°F. Beer's boiling point is 173°F. The boozy beer is heated to 173°F and kept there until enough alcohol burns off to lower the ABV (alcohol by volume) to no more than 0.5%.
#2 LESS HOT! LESS HOT! LESS HOT!
- Vacuum Distilling is a way to eliminate alcohol without killing the flavor, which is what heating it will do. The beer is locked into a vacuum chamber, which lowers the boiling point to 120°F. Less heat = more flavor!
- This is how you get the alcohol out without heat, which leaves Dat Flavor intact. It's a kind of "reverse-osmosis" where the booze is passed through a filter to separate the alcohol and water (plus trace amounts of acids) from the sugar and flavor agents. Then they chemically distill (...uh...) the alcohol out of the liquid, then mix it back in with the sugar and flavor stuffs.
And then brewers inject the concoction with carbon dioxide to get the bubbles. Voilà! Alcohol-less beer!