If you are a beer lover, you likely associate hops with the art of brewing beer. You also likely associate beer with calories and alcohol. As society becomes more health conscious, however, a zero-alcohol, zero-carbohydrate, and zero-calorie alternative to traditional beer has emerged. Known as “hop water,” the team at Cheers All explains what hop water is and why it has recently become a popular alternative for traditional beer drinkers.
Hop Water vs. Non-Alcoholic Beer
A common misperception is that hop water is equivalent to non-alcoholic (NA) beer. NA beers, however, typically have between 80-100 calories along with traces of gluten from the grain used to brew the beer. Hop water, on the other hand, has neither and is billed as much easier to brew and as a healthier alternative to NA beer.
Hop water is essentially carbonated water infused with the flavoring of hops. Also referred to as “hop seltzer,” some hop water even includes a small amount of yeast to help biotransform any dry hops added to the water; however, no grains are used in this brew, so the alcohol content stays at zero percent. In fact, hop water is more sparkling water than craft brew.
One reason for the rapid rise in the popularity of hop water is that making a traditional NA beer requires you to remove alcohol from beer which requires a significant amount of water and electricity. Hop water offers similar benefits without the hassle and expense involved in brewing NA beer.
Hop Water Available on the Market
H2OPS -- started in 2013 by Paul Tecker, a long-time home brewer, craft beer enthusiast, and proponent of healthy food and beverages, H2OPS was originally introduced at various craft brew festivals. Tecker finally perfected the recipe and started distributing it nationwide. “We use aroma hops, not bittering hops, so it has complex citrus flavors,” Tecker says. “It’s not trying to mimic beer, it’s something entirely new.”
Lagunitas – sells a “Hoppy Refresher” inspired by their flagship IPA that is made with Citra, Ekuanot, and Centennial hops, natural flavors, and a pinch of yeast. It is full of hops with some yeast for added biotransformation. They also make cannabis-infused hoppy sparkling water called Hi-Fi Hops that’s available at dispensaries in Colorado and California.
HopTea – a carbonated, dry-hopped tea made in Boulder, Colorado, Hop Tea tastes like a cross between sparkling water, iced tea and a tasty IPA, but without the alcohol or the calories. There are a handful of hopped teas available, including black tea, green tea, chamomile, and white tea, some with caffeine and some without.
Snake River Seltzer -- a hoppy sparkling water from Snake River Brewing in Jackson, Wyoming made with just three ingredients: water, hops, and ascorbic acid. The brewery serves it with vodka and a grapefruit wedge at its taproom.
Hopster -- made in Germany, Hopster is brewed with mineral water, tea, lemon flavors, and four types of hops grown in Bavaria’s Hallertau region, the largest hop-growing area in the world. Tasting notes include rose, ginger, lychee, pineapple, lilac, elderflower, and plum.
UCBC Sparkling Hop Water -- Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis started making its sparkling hop water in 2018 to have something available for people at a local festival who did not want to drink alcohol. The brewery was blown away by how popular the beverage was and decided to start canning and distributing it. Today, they also make a hop water made with ginger and grapefruit flavors, as well one infused with CBD.
Hop Soda – although this is not technically a hop water, it is worth mentioning. Hop Soda, made by Proper Beverage Co. just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a non-alcoholic, hop-flavored soft drink. Because it includes cane sugar it is not a zero-calorie drink.
If you are a craft beer drinker, visit the Cheers All website to purchase glassware and other merchandise geared toward beer lovers.