Opting out of alcohol consumption is a personal and multifaceted decision. Whether it stems from health concerns, personal reasons or simply desiring a clear head the next morning, there are now plentiful choices on the market and in the brewpub. Gone are the days of ordering a soda or settling for an orange juice while friends sip on a Serat.
Options range from non-alcoholic beer and wine to botanical mocktails and now... hop-infused water is becoming all the rage.
Washington hops account for an astounding 75% (and growing) of the nation's piney, citrusy, and tropical-infused botanical beverages. Our own Yakima Valley is the prime producer of hops, making Washington a brewer's paradise. More PNW brewers are catching on to the hop water trend.
Buzz Brewing for Hop Water
Why is hop water so popular? In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in how people approach their drinking habits, including their favorite brews.
The rise of non-alcoholic drinks often referred to as 'sober curious' or 'mindful drinking,' has gained significant momentum, most noticeably with Millennials and Gen-Z’ers, changing the way we socialize, unwind, and even celebrate. According to a recent poll, one in four Americans have heard the term 'sober curious,' and 34% say they're trying to be more mindful of their choices and drink less.
Hop water distinguishes itself from other non-alcoholic brews through a simple process. It involves steeping the hops leaves, which normally impart the favored citrusy flavor of beers such as IPAs and lagers, in water, followed by carbonation. That's it. The absence of a fermentation process ensures there is no alcohol present. Hop water shares similarities with seltzer and tonic waters but still holds its own, capturing the interest of beer enthusiasts searching for sober options.
In reply to this budding trend, which may be more like a cultural shift, PNW brewers have once again stepped up to the plate, with many makers offering their own brand of non-alcoholic (NA) lines. Consider these four breweries when shopping for hops water.
XOBC Cellars was founded in 2019 by multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Brandi Carlile, her wife Catherine and their good friends, Jeri and Amy Andrews.
The decision to add a non-alcoholic line of hop water to their already elevated wine selection stemmed from the idea of inclusivity, or as Jeri told me, "We saw the uptick in people being 'sober-curious' and wanted to next-level a beverage for people choosing not to drink for whatever reasons."
In the XOBC Cellars lineup, the Misfit Mist collection stands out as a unique offering, quickly becoming a fan favorite. The Citra harmoniously blends the zesty, citrus essence of lime and lemon, resembling an IPA in taste. These flavors are derived directly from the Citra hops, born and bred in the Yakima Valley. Its refreshing flavors evoke the freshness of the Pacific Northwest outdoors, while its sister, the Proud Water, resembles more of a rosé and the Lotus water rounds out with a sweeter flavor. These hoppy beverages ensure everyone an invitation to celebrate.
XOBC Cellars sells its waters through its club memberships and a few select stores around the area.
Using hops to create an extensive line called Self Care, Three Magnets Brewing offers roughly 40 varieties of craft NA beer, from hearty stouts and pilsners to hazy IPAs. The selection is truly impressive, as well as the taste!
Three Magnets launched their Self Care line in 2020, committing themselves to develop a beer line "that should taste just as great as any other traditional craft beer." From sampling one (ok, six), I can attest each beer is not just good but undeniably great, standing alongside its alcoholic counterpart.
Try out their award-winning Self Care brews at their tasting room in Olympia. They also ship to members within 41 states.
A little further north, in Bellingham, you can find hop water being created and offered at all three locations of Aslan Brewing. The water is made on-site using an infusion of organic Cascade and Chinook hops, which is then carbonated, leaving refreshing citrus and floral notes. Accompany it with any of their sandwiches or waffle fries for a perfect pairing.
Opening its doors in 1996, Elysian became known as an IPA-obsessed brewery. Now, they are taking that same passion for hoppy flavors to create their non-alcoholic line called Odd Water, a line they consider their most unique innovation to date.
Odd Water features Citra and Amarillo hops, giving it a rounder citrus flavor and sweet herbal characteristics. A bubbly water offering a clean, refreshing, and zero alcohol option. Odd Water can be found on Elysian's site here.
Hop water is a tasty option whether you're abstaining from alcohol or just want a refreshing drink. Now we all have a place at the table to raise a glass together. Cheers!
MaryRose Denton is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow more of her work here. While the products, services and/or accommodations in this story were provided without charge, the opinions within are those of the author and the Seattle Refined editorial board.