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Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher Is Zero-Alcohol, Zero-Calorie, and Totally Delicious

July 17, 2019

By Tucker Anders, July 17, 2019

I’m always looking for beverage alternatives that capture the experience of drinking a beer, because let’s face it, you really shouldn’t have a beer every time you want one. After reading an article on this very site extolling the virtues of Hop Water, I knew it had a chance to be exactly what I was looking for. So when I saw Lagunitas’ zero-alcohol, zero-calorie Hoppy Refresher hit the shelves at my local store, I immediately snapped up a four-pack. Does it satisfy my beery needs? Let’s just say I went back and bought the rest of the case.


Other than the signature wide, tapered bottle, Hoppy Refresher’s appearance doesn’t have anything in common with Lagunitas’ more traditional, boozy offerings. The colorless bottle allows a look at the crystal-clear body. Upon closer inspection, what at first looks like a light greenish tint is actually just the label playing tricks on my eyes. Simply put, Hoppy Refresher looks like someone put seltzer water in a clear Lagunitas bottle, which is sort of exactly what happened.


The aroma, however, immediately lets you know this isn’t your typical sparkling water. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was smelling a crisp, fruity IPA. I wouldn’t describe the aroma as particularly pungent, but despite being on the lighter side, the delicate hop aromas shine unencumbered in a way they can’t when paired with malt. 

Hoppy Refresher hits the most important notes while bringing zero calories and zero booze.”


I’ve thought quite a bit about how to describe the taste of Hoppy Refresher because it’s not like anything I’ve had before. Imagine I gave you blocks with a single IPA characteristic written on each one—words like bitter, airy, citrus, sweet, floral, herbal, malt, and roasty. Then I asked you to stack them with the “higher” notes towards the top of the stack and the “lower” notes toward the bottom. Hoppy Refresher tastes like what is left when you eliminate the bottom half of that stack. It’s airy, fruity, and floral, but with none of the anchoring notes that balance the flavor. It’s reminiscent of an IPA while clearly incomplete as well—it is only water after all.


It’s amazing to me how much IPA character Lagunitas captured in Hoppy Refresher. While it obviously doesn’t totally satisfy in the same way as a beer, Hoppy Refresher hits the most important notes while bringing zero calories and zero booze. It’s perfect for those nights where you want something that feels different and interesting but don’t want alcohol, and even better for providing designated drivers a tasty and inclusive experience as everyone else imbibes.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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