We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Near Beer?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Near beer is a malt beverage which does not contain enough alcohol to be considered a true beer. This beverage arose during the Prohibition in the United States, when alcohol was not permitted, but people still had a taste for it. It is not the same thing as small beer, a low-alcohol beer which has been brewed for centuries. Many markets sell near beer, and because it is not a true alcoholic beverage, purchase is generally not restricted, although in some regions people must reach a certain age before being allowed to buy these beverages.

The alcohol by volume (ABV) in a near beer can vary, depending on how it is brewed and handled. Generally, the ABV hovers around .5%; in many places, if the ABV is below .5%, it can be sold as “non-alcoholic.” Many near beers are brewed in the lager style, although some are made as ales. All of them tend to be light and a bit watery. Beverages with a slightly higher ABV are sold as “low-alcohol beer” in some regions.

During Prohibition, people often added a little extra illicit alcohol to their near beer, turning it into so-called “spiked” or “needle” beer, a reference to punching a small hole into a keg for the purpose of adding alcohol. After Prohibition, of course, it was no longer necessary for breweries to make near beer, since they could return to regular production. However, some people had acquired a taste for it, creating a small market for the product which lives on to this day.

People should be cautious with near beer, since it does contain some alcohol, even when it is labeled as non-alcoholic. Alcoholics and people who struggle with substance abuse may want to avoid near beer, since it can trigger cravings, as it tastes a lot like beer, looks like beer, and is packaged like beer. These associations can be difficult for people who have experienced alcohol addiction.

In case you're wondering, small beer, also called small ale, is a completely different beverage. It is made by adding water to hops which have already been fermented to create beer once. The hops and water are heated, creating a weaker brew which tends to be slightly bitter. Small beer was used historically in regions where water was unsafe to drink, and it has a long and illustrious brewing history. It can be difficult to track down small ale, as only a few breweries continue to make it. Small ale can also be made from the materials used to ferment hard alcohol, which case there's nothing small about it; it can pack a formidable alcoholic punch, in fact.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon70467 — On Mar 14, 2010

how many calories are in, say, a busch near beer?

By anon39574 — On Aug 03, 2009

how many carbs are in near beer?

By Davjohn — On Apr 05, 2009

Is it possible to home brew Near Beer/Very Low alcohol beers?

By anon14578 — On Jun 19, 2008

How does near beer affect your blood sugars. How many carbs?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.