BOISE — The world isn’t making 2021 the easiest place to be alcohol-free.
But if you’re still hanging tough during dry January — or want to climb back on the wagon — an Idaho brewery wants to help.
Sawtooth Brewery in Hailey just released what co-owner and brewer Kevin Jones believes is the state’s first nonalcohol beer.
The brand? Ethos Brewing Co.
You’ll find it in four-packs of 16-ounce cans at places such as Boise Co-op and Albertsons. You also can order it online to be shipped to your door at ethosbrewco.com.
Technically, these non-alcohol craft brews contain a smidgen of alcohol. That’s how most “near beers” work. But all three Ethos varieties are less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. You’d need to crush 10 or more cans of Ethos to equal a single Budweiser tall boy.
Ethos comes in three NA flavors:
Alturas NA Golden: Ethos describes this golden ale as “light, refreshing with a touch of honey malt sweetness.” Suggested retail: $8.99 per four-pack.
Wayfarer NA IPA: “A classic, slightly malty, San Diego-style, very dank IPA. Just crack the can and the classic hop aroma pours out.” Suggested retail: $8.99 per four-pack.
Kora NA Double Hop IPA: “Double the hops, brewed with fruit-forward hops and yeast to give it a hazy appearance and aroma that immerses your senses.” Suggested retail: $9.99 per four-pack.
Non-alcohol beer doesn’t have quite the same body as normal beer. And Wayfarer IPA might be San Diego-style, but it won’t paint-strip your palate like, say, a classic Green Flash West Coast IPA. (At 65 IBU, Wayfarer has the highest International Bitterness Unit rating of the Ethos offerings.)
But if you’re looking for something beyond O’Doul’s? Ethos is on another level.
“The average beer drinker’s gonna try it and go, ‘This isn’t quite beer,’ “ Jones acknowledges. “Well, no, it’s not! But if you’ve had a handful of non-alcohol beers, you’ll try this one and go, ‘OK, this is a little bit closer to what I’m used to than some other options out there.’ “
Or have some alcohol
Sawtooth also has a new malt beverage for Idahoans not doing dry January.
Creekside Hard Seltzer (5 percent ABV) has been released simultaneously with Ethos. What’s cool is that their creation at the brewery is symbiotic.
“You basically get two products out of one,” Jones says. “... The process extracts clear liquid with alcohol to make seltzer and leaves behind the beer flavor compound to be reconstituted.”
Creekside Hard Seltzer is sold in 16-ounce four-packs that retail for $8.99. It comes in three flavors: Hopped, Blueberry Acai and Passionfruit Blood Orange Pink Guava.
“The Creekside is flavored with real fruit puree, giving it the color,” Jones says. “We didn’t want to just create another White Claw.”
With its fruity edge, Blueberry Acai probably has the most mainstream appeal of the three varieties. But beer geeks might be surprised by how much they enjoy a can or two of the Hopped style. The hoppy flavor is light, appealing and strangely addictive in the form of a bubbly seltzer.
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