All hail the celebratory beer! Never has an icy cold brew tasted so good as when you’ve just crossed the finish line at a goal race or completed a big training session.
“The celebratory beer is an undeniable force, with social power,” said Joshua Loyal, sales and marketing specialist for St. Louis-based WellBeing Brewing Co. “The reason why people have a celebratory beer is an interesting topic. Is it because they earned it, because of the taste or because of the alcohol?”
WellBeing, which is dedicated solely to non-alcoholic (NA) craft beer, has been spotted at events like the Alpine Shop Trail Run Series and Shawnee Hills 100. This is purposeful. The latest study on post-race beverages says that, while beer does have some beneficial electrolytes and plant-based nutrients, the alcohol content can hinder muscle recovery because it can leave you further dehydrated.
One of the reasons we exist…is to provide an alternative of the celebratory beer
“One of our major points, one of the reasons we exist as a company, is to provide an alternative of the celebratory beer,” said Loyal. “What we’re offering is an option for people that don’t want the alcohol. If you’re looking for hydration and celebration, we’re an alternative. If you want alcohol and celebration, that’s another choice.”
As much as the outdoor recreation community favors health and fitness, there’s also a heavy interest in craft beer, which makes it interesting that WellBeing is one of the few NA craft beers on the market — not just here but anywhere in the U.S.
“Germany and other areas in Europe have been experiencing [an upsurge of NA beer] in the last five years. The category represents over 10 percent of the beer market there. Here, it’s like 0.2 percent,” said Loyal. “As soon as I tasted my first NA craft beer, I learned something about myself. I was satisfied by that beer even thought there was no alcohol. That’s a whole new thing for people to wrap their head around.”
After that first taste, says Loyal, it’s not hard to rationalize why to choose an NA alternative. “The body, the bubbles, the taste, it’s all there. And it’s hydrating and replenishing your system,” he said.
WellBeing’s offerings also have less calories than traditional craft beers and contain less sugar. Two of the company’s flagship beers, Heavenly Body Golden Wheat and Hellraiser Dark Amber, are vegan and 100-percent non-GMO.
“Beer is absolutely a draw [to outdoor recreation events],” said Loyal. “People just have never had an NA choice. In the craft category, NA beers didn’t exist. Our challenge is to let people know there’s an option. Once they realize there’s a good-tasting alternative without alcohol, it gets a lot of interest.”
WellBeing currently offers three beers: the two previously mentioned styles and Intrepid Traveler Coffee Cream Stout, the world’s first NA coffee stout. A fourth is on the way soon. “It’s a secret for now, but it’s going to be a game changer,” said Loyal.
You can find WellBeing Brewing Co. at area supermarkets, craft beer stores and, fittingly, Alpine Shop in St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri.
Hold the Alcohol
They may be harder to find in our area (try Total Wine), but here are four other craft breweries that proudly purge the alcohol.
Athletic Brewing Co.
Brewed in: Stratford, Connecticut
Styles: Upside Dawn Golden Ale, Run Wild IPA, All Out Stout
Brewed in: Toronto, Canada
Styles: Pale, IPA, Blonde
Surreal Brewing Company
Brewed in: Campbell, California
Styles: Chandelier Red IPA, 17 Mile Porter
Bravus Brewing Co.
Brewed in: Newport Beach, California
Styles: Amber Ale, India Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine
Photo credit: Genevieve Barlow / WellBeing Brewing