Welcome to Like A Virgin, a new column in which we’ll recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at email@example.com.
At the moment, there are (and I swear I am not making this up) over 100 cans and bottles of fancy-pants non-alcoholic beverages in my living room, because when you’re a fancy-pants non-alcoholic beverage writer, the act of ingesting fluids is serious business. And these 100+ drinks are the good ones! The n/a drink biz is (finally!) booming.
Normally when I spotlight a beverage brand in this column, I do an initial taste test to judge its worthiness, drink every one of its offerings while writing, and then save the rest to enjoy whenever the mood strikes me. The hidden corners of my living room are filled to the gills with some Like a Virgin’s greatest hits—Casamara Club, Athletic Brewery, and of course, my beloved Recess—and I do my best to make them last. When I was recently sent a case of Hop Wtr to check out, I cleaned out a little space below my bookshelf to store the extras. I ended up blowing through the whole damn case in three days.
Hop Wtr isn’t a “special occasion” or “in the mood” drink; it’s an every day, “toss a cold one back after a hard day” drink. That’s not to say that it’s not tasty enough to be savored (it is!); it’s just that Hop Wtr takes a little bit of everything I like, and mixes it together in a single can. It has the lightness of a spritzer, but is still bursting with flavor: a slight bitter tinge of Centennial and Columbus hops, a crisp-yet-mellow kiss of citrus with a subtle herbaceousness—it’s almost like a top-notch flavored seltzer, but better. Plus, it’s got stress-reducing adaptogens and nootropics, which in too many beverage brands is total bullshit. But as a person who knocked off an entire case of Hop Wtr in less than a week, I can 100% confirm that whatever buzzy “wellness” stuff is in these cans works, and reduced my latent levels of unbridled rage by at least 40%.
Hop Wtr currently comes in three flavors: Blood Orange, Mango, and Classic. The latter is my favorite; like a whispery IPA, it’s hop forward without getting bogged down with excessive bitterness. At $36.99 for a 12-pack, I wouldn’t suggest blindly polishing off a case. (Though if you have a robust beverage budget, this would be a fantastic everyday indulgence.) But I do suggest that you check out Hop Wtr at least once, and do your best to make it last. Even if you fail miserably like I did, at least you’ll be able to say you tried, and will have a nice clean space under your bookshelf ready for next time.