Per “DryGuy’s” request, here is an article about N/A beers. Usually, for me, the N/A stands for not applicable when it comes to non-alcoholic beers, but this was very applicable for many during prohibition. As you might have guessed, N/A beers got their start during prohibition when alcoholic beers were banned in the USA. One could obtain whiskey and other spirits via a doctor’s prescription, but for all intents and purposes, alcohol was illegal. Consequently (and tellingly), this caused organized crime to flourish in the U.S. (not a very good trade off in my opinion).
Because of the ban on alcoholic beers, “near beer” was created. A popular and pithy saying during prohibition was, “Near beer sold here.” However, where there was “near beer,” there was always real alcohol for sale in close proximity. For this reason, another popular slogan was created, “Near beer sold here, real beer sold real near here.” Near beer and other malt products were the brewery’s way of trying to stay afloat during the era. One more thing ought to be mentioned. Prohibition also choked out many smaller breweries in the U.S. This happened to such an extent that we Americans got used to the inferior beer of the brewing giants. Not only is this true for real beer but also for “near beers.”
So how is a “near beer” made? There is no need to cover the ground of brewing (I’ve already posted 5 or 6 articles on this site to explain the process). The process for non-alcoholic brews is exactly the same as traditional methods with one exception; at the end of fermentation the beer is heated. Since water and alcohol evaporate at different points, the heated alcohol leaves the beer. The temperature that achieves this is in the neighborhood of the 170s-80s F. There is also a process that is used which involves filtering out the alcohol, but this is less common. So the primary means of taking out the alcohol or most of it (there is still one half of one percent) is to heat it. As a side note, alcohol freezes at different temps than water, and one particular style of beer is partially frozen (and the ice taken out) to give the beer added strength. This is called an Eisbock. What a difference between hot and cold.
One might be inclined to think that N/A beers are few and far between, but this is not the case. There is an increasingly large market for these beers. All of the major breweries make a N/A beer. This is not the end, however. Guinness makes a N/A beer called Kaliber, and I expect that other major importers will come out with their own versions. So for those who drink N/As there are many more viable options coming around the bend. Cheers to my peers who sip near beers. Here is a link to find some of the best N/A beers, including Kaliber. That link is to purchase Kaliber and learn a little. Here is another link to find out about more N/A beers. This link is an article and list of good N/A beers. This is simply a list.