I was nervous to test out non-alcoholic beer. As someone with alcohol-use disorder, who has been sober since 2010, I was worried that the taste of non-alcoholic beer or wine might trigger me to start drinking. But after a decade in recovery, and seeking something special to sip during lockdown, I took the plunge. That was a year ago—I’m still sober, and enjoying exploring the world of non-alcoholic beer, which is becoming increasingly more interesting with time. So when Libra reached out last month to see if I’d be interested in trying their non-alcoholic beer, I was excited to work with the east-coast brewery.

People choose to drink non-alcoholic beverages for numerous reasons. I have been drilled by both friends and strangers, in countless social situations, about why I don’t drink. I have different replies depending on the situation and how much I feel like getting into, but my go-to response is typically, “I used to drink alcohol, but it didn’t serve me well, so I stopped many years ago.” 

Because I’ve been answering that question since 2007, I’m confident responding to it, but I wasn’t always, and it’s never cool or comfy to corner people and ask them why they aren’t drinking, in the same vein why it’s not appropriate to ask someone why they aren’t married or why they don’t have kids. But it certainly is a question that people are curious about. Partnering with Libra presented an opportunity to share a variety of reasons why people not only choose non-alcoholic beer, but prefer it.

Natalie Goldenberg-Fife is a Culinary Experience Conductor who is known to throw the most memorable food and drink experiences; she’s executed over 500 events in restaurants and vineyards all across Canada (I attended an especially memorable one in Niagara). Natalie loves wine and beer, but also enjoys having great tasting non-alcoholic options. “Exploring & witnessing more & more QUALITY non-alcoholic options hitting the shelves is becoming increasingly interesting to me,” says Natalie.“Libra is the best beer I have tried. Highly satisfying and super crisp, refreshing, and light.” She’s tried a lot.

Like Natalie, Trae Nguyen and Rachel Bies are also leaders in the culinary arts industry. Trae is the founder of The Hustler’s Cookbook, an incredible Instagram feed dedicated to rice cooker recipes, and Rachel is a Nutritionist and Chef who is always game for an epicurean adventure. Both were keen to try Libra, because they love trying new things, and enjoy pairing good food with good drink. 

“I loved the taste, I liked how light it was. I had it with a little cheese plate and on its own,” says Rachel, who was inspired to get a little experimental, “I added a little lime and grapefruit juice. I’m always a fan of fresh drink sans alcohol, especially on those hot summer days!!” 

Trae also prefers non-alcoholic drinks on hot days, when hydration and refreshment are what the body needs. “I love beer so Libra is a great option for me when I’m always on the go but still want some quality beer.I’ve been working a lot this summer, but once I cracked this can open and took a sip it instantly made me feel relaxed.” 

For a long time, we’ve been fed this idea that it is the alcohol in the drink that makes one feel relaxed, but that feeling of taking a break to enjoy something can be achieved with a tasty non-alcoholic drink just as well, if not more so, because, for a lot of people, alcohol can actually cause anxiety, especially if consumption comes with a feeling of guilt.

Like millions of others, Tamara Robbins Griffith had moments over the past year and a half, where she questioned her relationship with alcohol. “My alcohol consumption went up during COVID for a variety of reasons including more stress, working from home and wanting to create a distinction between ‘work time’ and ‘family time’ when your surroundings stay the same,” she says, sharing that she’s currently taking a break from alcohol, as a mini health reset. “I really just want to feel my best and I loved the Libra tagline about balance because many of us are on a spectrum and just trying to find balance in our lives (it rang true!). I think non-alcoholic beer is a refreshing alternative, has a very similar taste to “real” beer and gives you the satisfaction of a cold can and a light effervescent drink on a hot day.”

Nicole Edwards also wanted to take a break from booze, and discovered that her life was better without it. “I stopped drinking alcohol about a year and a half ago as part of an effort to take better care of my mental and physical health. I genuinely love beer, so it’s been so nice to see more and more craft NA beers on the market. I can drink as many as I want and feel fine the next day, and there are lots of low carb options that taste great. The Libra IPA was my favourite. I’d definitely recommend it!”

We haven’t even got to the countless other health reasons. There are so many. For Bryanna Nicole Collier, an astrology writer we adore, the change to non-alcoholic beer started during pregnancy. “It was a great way to enjoy the taste of a favourite drink. Now I like to drink non-alcoholic beer because it allows me to stay sharp and avoid hangovers, which is very essential as a new mom!” she jests, but it’s true. Hangovers, even mild ones, were bad enough when we had to deal with them on our own, lying in bed.  To combine a splitting headache, and/or nausea while juggling a screaming baby, or chasing an energetic toddler through a playground, is some other type of hell. And that’s not even including the sense of guilt that is sometimes more painful than the physical effects of alcohol. 

For me, I crack open a Libra on a Friday night. For many years, I have missed the ritual of signing off for the weekend. Despite enjoying all sorts of sparkling waters, nothing really felt like a treat, or a signal to unwind, if that makes sense. Knowing how I used to drink, I also feel a sense of pride with the fact that I can have one or two Libras without the urge to guzzle more. It doesn’t trigger me in the same way that a beer with alcohol would, and is a satisfying slow sip.

From wanting a refreshing drink that won’t give you a hangover to enjoying Libra for its refreshing taste, or simply wanting to commit to a healthier lifestyle, there are so many reasons why women are choosing non-alcoholic beer. Hopefully we’re finally at a place where sipping a great tasting non-alcoholic beverage doesn’t come with a series of questions as to why, because truly, the answers are both personal and obvious. If there’s going to be a question, it really should be why not?

Libra Non-Alcoholic Beer is available through online retailers Well.ca,  Soberdry.com and afbev.ca. You can also check this map to find a retailer close to you. This post was generously sponsored by Upstreet Craft Brewing, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.