Few economic success stories can rival that of the craft beer boom of the last decade. In 2010, there were around 1,813 craft breweries in the U.S. In 2022, that number had ballooned to 9,552 breweries, pumping out a total of 24.3 million barrels of beer a year. Both those numbers are all-time highs.
In recent years, the adult beverage world has also seen a stark rise in non-alcoholic beers hitting the market. The sales of these booze-free suds grew 20% from 2021 to 2022, with the market topping $22 billion in 2022.
As more and more people reach for alcohol-free beverages that remind them of their favorite beer, more and more companies are getting in on the action. And that’s where HOP WTR comes in.
HOP WTR has created a line of non-alcoholic sparkling water (not non-alcoholic beers) flavored with the same hops found in the most popular IPAs on the market. But HOP WTR differentiates itself by axing sugar and calories from its drinks while also adding nootropics (l-theanine) and adaptogens (ashwagandha) to bolster its wellness-minded wares.
So, to celebrate Sober October, BarBend has teamed up with HOP WTR to detail the company’s Classic-flavored hop water and give you the rundown on this alcohol-free craft beer alternative.
Tasting HOP WTR Classic
Every craft brewery worth its salt has a flagship beer available year-round that appeals to (mostly) everyone’s taste. In the case of HOP WTR, that flavor is its Classic variety.
Unlike the company’s other offerings — Lime, Mango, and Blood Orange — Classic is solely about the hops. To get the flavor just right, the company uses a blend of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Azacca hops, which, for the uninitiated, is the secret sauce that gives many modern IPAs their pleasantly bitter kick. Here’s how the Classic breaks down:
HOP WTR’s Classic hop water gives off aromas familiar to any beer fan: It’s fruity (think lime more than anything) and piney without the strong boozy smells of some of the 8% ABV beers on the market. These notes open up once you pour some into a glass.
The Classic isn’t 1:1 to beer in terms of appearance. It’s far lighter in color than an IPA, looking almost like champagne, and has a head more reminiscent of soda. Don’t expect pilsner-esque froth here. And since this is hop-flavored sparkling water and not a standard non-alcoholic beer, you’ll find more carbonation bubbling up from the bottom of every glass.
HOP WTR is a non-alcoholic sparkling hop water made with a combination of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Azacca hops, along with nootropics and adaptogens.
Taste and Mouthfeel
That same citrus-lime flavor from the aroma comes through in the taste. It’s also joined by the pine notes, likely from the mosaic hops. There’s little to no bitterness, though, and it lacks any cloying sweetness.
The mouthfeel is just like a seltzer, meaning it’s thinner than typical beer and leaves a floral aftertaste. While this isn’t a completely faithful recreation of your go-to pale ale, the hop flavors should conjure up familiar notes for beer drinkers.
Though HOP WTR Classic is appropriate to drink on its own as you would any other sparkling water, it can also be paired with seafood, poultry, fish tacos, and anything else you would eat with a session IPA (or a lime seltzer). And since it’s free from sugar, grains, and other adjunct ingredients that you’d find in a craft beer, you might not find yourself as bloated afterward.
What Else Is in HOP WTR?
Beyond finding an alcohol-free way to enjoy those classic hop flavors, HOP WTR also packs each flavor variety with ashwagandha and l-theanine for some added potential wellness benefits.
There is evidence that ashwagandha — an adaptogen — may help reduce stress and anxiety while improving cardiorespiratory endurance among athletes. (1) L-theanine has also been shown to improve cognitive performance and focus, especially when combined with caffeine. (2)
To top off its wellness objectives, HOP WTR Classic also contains 108mg (or 120%) of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C.
A Sparkling Alternative
HOP WTR Classic touts a crisp, hoppy flavor with wellness in mind. It’s an alternative even to non-alcoholic beers, which still contain sugars and can come in at around 80 calories per can.
Whether you’re looking to celebrate “Sober October” by simply cutting back or forgoing traditional beer altogether, HOP WTR Classic allows you to enjoy the flavor of hops without the alcohol. Head here to learn more about what HOP WTR has to offer.
- Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 2019 Dec 25;11(12):e6466. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6466. PMID: 32021735; PMCID: PMC6979308.
- Giesbrecht T, Rycroft JA, Rowson MJ, De Bruin EA. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283-90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840. PMID: 21040626.