From Totally Dry to Totally Not, Drinks for Your Kind of January

Each year, it comes. With more fervor each time. The #DryJanuary debate. Is it something that feels essential for the average imbiber? Is it just a good and healthy idea to take a beat? Is it a helpful reminder to indulge more mindfully, maybe not totally going booze-free but going booze-less? Is it all a big, ol’ hullabaloo and it’s better for every individual to feel out when they want to lighten up or take a break, any time of the year?

Where we stand: January should be whatever you want and need it to be. Don’t listen to PBR (iykyk); Dry January, Wet January, and everything in between is valid, and up to you. We support a full-stop break if that’s what floats your boat; we support you totally ignoring the conversation if that’s what makes you feel best. The point of this month is that it’s a reminder to think about what is going to best serve your life, yourself, your well-being. And that includes every level of dry or not-at-all dry under the sun. So, with that in mind, we’re rounding up the options we’re most excited about that are perfect for whatever kind of January you want to have.

 

Totally Dry: Athletic Brewing Co.

The buzz around Athletic Brewing Co. has been building and building--the Stratford, Connecticut-based brewery is credited with making non-alcoholic beer cool and a real, viable option by proving that it can actually be good, and that you can brew excellent examples of multiple styles sans booze, and that it can be a true craft beer experience. (Athletic Brewing even has its own Oktoberfest celebration at the brewery.) In other words, there is no better place to start a booze break than this trailblazing brewery. These brews are a dream if you’ve got an entire month ahead of 0% ABV imbibing, and they’re just as perfect to have in your fridge for when you just want a break, or have a friend over who wants an alcohol-free option.

The Run Wild IPA, which is also just 70 calories, by the way, packs the malty, hop-bitter punch of a classic IPA, except it’s especially and refreshingly geared toward a wellness boost. And for another fresh twist, there’s the Sun Stroke Red IPA. This beer proves how innovative brewers can be without having to add the booze--it’s malty, hoppy, balanced, and complex yet easy-drinking.

 

Dry-Ish: Sunday Beer Company’s Light & Tight Anytime Lager

Sunday Beer Company brewed the Light & Tight Anytime Lager to be oh so light, crisp, and easy-drinking without sacrificing an ounce of flavor or quality. It’s a beautifully balanced and refined craft lager, boasting a clean finish and just 3.8% ABV. This is the kind of beer you want for long, leisurely afternoons hanging out with friends, and also for when you want to kick back with an adult beverage but are mindfully taking it easy when it comes to alcohol. Stocking up on the Light & Tight is key for the kind of January where you’re not planning on strictly sticking to zero booze, but want a much lighter option to thoughtfully consume with the goal of an almost-dry January.

 

Damp: Owl’s Brew’s Spiced Chai Cranberry Hard Tea Seltzer

Okay, we know, we hate the term “damp January” too. It’s admittedly…yucky in name. But what it means could be the perfect approach to this time of year for some. This approach involves more mindfulness and less booze without any strict bans. It’s about having the option to imbibe if you’d like--from being able to toast with pals or unwind after a stressful day--while still thinking about your alcohol intake and keeping things a bit lighter. 

The beautiful botanical flavors and aromas of tea, complex yet easy-drinking, are tailor-made for cutting back on alcohol and working other, intriguing beverages into your repertoire. Owl’s Brew just so happens to take advantage of tea’s magic to make hard tea seltzers that are actually, truly, literally naturally flavored. Their spiked teas are lighter than most alcoholic options, and will inspire a love of tea that might have you sometimes reaching for a soothing cup of herbal, floral, or fruity, alcohol-free tea when you want a little break. The Spiced Chai Cranberry variety is a warm, spicy, tart must-have especially on chilly days. It will cozy you right up but with only 4.8% ABV.

 

Subdued Imbibing: Osena’s Pure Original Spiked Coconut Water

Where this type of January falls is that you’re not really paying attention to the whole “dry” conversation, but you’re also thinking, maybe it’d be nice to ease up a bit after all those double-digit-ABV beers around the holidays, beers that were loaded with spices and adjuncts, beers that tasted like melted ice cream and had a similar mouthfeel, to boot. January obviously has built-in reset vibes, so even if that doesn’t mean you’re drastically modifying your drinking habits, it might mean you just want to keep things light and refreshing. Maybe it’s drinking one less when you do imbibe, or less days per week, or just experimenting with different, lighter styles and categories.

Osena’s Pure Original Spiked Coconut Water is the pro move here. Because it’s coconut water, this beverage has that covetable effect of rejuvenation and refreshment. It won’t weigh you down even a little, even for a second. And because it’s spiked, it’s this easy-going, good-feeling approach to kicking back. You can keep up your usual routine, but with a lighter approach that just seems auspicious to start a new year with.

 

Business as Usual: Oslo Brewing Company’s Kveik IPA

This one is for the people who aren’t even all that interested in a lighter approach. You’re already happy with your habits and when and how you imbibe--the rest is just noise. Maybe you believe more in emphasizing balance 365 days a year and think any one-month focus mitigates that, or maybe you just don’t get bogged down in the discussion. To you, January is just like any other month, and you’re looking for a new favorite beer.

May we suggest the Kveik IPA from Oslo Brewing Company? Get to know a new beer; get to know a whole new brewery! Oslo Brewing is super exciting, bringing Scandi-cool influence to beloved beer styles for a fresh take on the hits. Norwegian farmhouse yeast Kveik boosts the IPA’s citrus and fruit flavors here, creating an irresistibly complex, interesting, and yet crushable beer. If anything, this brew will jumpstart your January, another great way to kick off a new year. You know what they we say, “New year, new beer!”

 

Wet January: The Virginia Beer Company’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double Evil Santa

We see you, rebels. They say “Dry January” so you say “WET January.” You’ve decided to make January a special month, but for the opposite reason. Maybe you’ll quietly do Dry February, or Damp March, or whatever infinite combination of possibilities you prefer. But January? January is about going big or going home, or going home to go big with big beers.

You march to the beat of a different drummer, Wet January enthusiasts, and you want a beer to crank up the volume to 11. Try The Virginia Beer Company’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double Evil Santa. Christmas may be over, but now it’s even colder, and arguably even more perfect time to cozy up with something warming, indulgent, and special. This beer is an imperial spiced milk stout aged in bourbon barrels, with notes of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, caramel, and vanilla. It weighs in at 11.3%. In other words, it’s ready to do this Wet January thing.

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