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Hill Street Brewing Company Lager – NA Craft Beer Review

Updated: Jan 16

This review is brought to you by Sam Reinhart, moderator of the Non-Alcoholic Beer Facebook group. If you have a NA beer review you'd like featured, send us an email.


Introducing Hill Street’s newest Craft Lager, the defining characteristics of which seem to be its complete lack of flaws rather than any distinctive trait.

This beer reminds me of my truck.


Let me explain.



I’ve gone through a few cars. My first vehicle was a Dodge Ram 1500. Bare bones, it was fancy because it had a CD player. It also rode like it didn’t have shocks and compressed my spine in ways not appropriate for a 16-year-old who was still growing. It got me from point A to point B, and the bed was great for hauling my road bike to some cool places. It met its end when I got hit by two unrelated drunk drivers at once, effectively killing my first date with my college girlfriend and introducing me to a group of cops who were the real world version of Super Troopers. From there I briefly flirted with a hand-me-down Land Rover, and I quickly understood why my sister was happy to get it off her plate.


While the vehicle was sexy as hell, it was in the shop as much as it was on the road. The engine compartment was also clearly designed by someone who had no intention of working on it, and the mechanics of thing emphasized looks over function. Great car for the driveway, not to drive. So I thought I made the smart decision getting into a Chevy Tahoe. It seduced me with its whistles and bells and bucket seats in the back.


Unfortunately, bells and whistles only make noise when they are turned on, and I quickly learned that a vehicle which relies on electronics becomes a very expensive paper weight when you do not understand the wiring schematics.


Which brought me to my Ford truck. The thing just works. It’s not terribly fancy, but it turns on every time I insert the key, from the 110 degree heat of Texas to the negative temps in the Rocky Mountains. The tool box has become my mobile workshop, and the cab has protected myself and my boys during more than one hit-and-run. It’s not sexy. But I beat it to death and love it all the same.


With beer, it’s easy to get caught up in the different types of hops, the bells and whistles of exotic adjuncts and malts. But sometimes, you just want something that’s cold, refreshing, clean and beer-y. You want to be able to turn the key and hear the engine roar to life without also the tv coming down from the ceiling, the automated voice reminding you that you have five new voicemails and the heads up display showing your estimated “distance to empty” which you were going to ignore anyway.


Sometimes you just want to open the fridge and not worry about having to make a decision. You just want a beer.


Non-alcoholic Hill Street Lager


This would be the first option I would hand to someone who is interested in what craft non-alcoholic beer can be, in the sense that it doesn’t really taste “non-alcoholic” at all.

Introducing Hill Street’s newest Craft Lager, the defining characteristics of which seem to be its complete lack of flaws rather than any distinctive trait.


It is clean and crisp and refreshing. It is exactly what you want on Saturday night as much as it is what you crave on Wednesday. It’s a lake beer and a winter beer (note that it is currently 52 degrees and 9:45 am as I’m typing this), equally at home in a Styrofoam Walmart cooler as in a Yeti.


This would be the first option I would hand to someone who is interested in what craft non-alcoholic beer can be, in the sense that it doesn’t really taste “non-alcoholic” at all. With the caveat that I haven’t had alcohol in almost two years, this is exactly what I remember a craft lager tasting like. And I’m not referring to the macros – those all have distinct tastes. Coors had some bananas thing going on, and Miller was always a bit sharp with that pilsner vibe. Natty tasted like bad decisions, Keystone tasted like freshman year, and Budweiser tasted like NASCAR. So not all macro lagers taste the same. But they were circling the same idea.


Hill Street’s Craft Lager filters that taste down to the essence, does away with the off-flavors and associations of the big-name brethren, and delivers you the epitome of craft refinement in a pint can.


What’s interesting is there’s no discernible difference in taste when drinking this out of a glass versus a can. It smells, simply, like beer, and the color is what I would expect when you combine water, malt, barley, yeast, and hops.


"Sometimes I Just Want a Beer"

Sometimes I don’t want to think about whether I’m in the mood for a dark stout or a hoppy IPA. Sometimes I just want a beer.

If I had one critique, it would be on the design of the can itself, which is an update on their old craft lager design. That lager, while still good, did have a bit of malty sweetness to it which I understand could be off-putting for some, whereas this lager is so different as to be a new brew. If I didn’t know better, I would assume the new look was due to either a small change or just a can re-design. But this brew is different and, I think, intended for a different audience as well.


At 59 calories and 15 grams of carbs for a pint can, I am enjoying one now to hydrate for a long physical therapy session. Which is where I believe this brew will truly shine: those who live an active lifestyle, and seek a guilt-free and hydrating refreshment before, during, after exercise, or all of the above.


We have also learned that this brew will serve as the base for Hill Street’s upcoming cannabis-infused beer, and where legal I imagine will be met with equally resounding success.


My overall impression of Hill Street’s Craft Lager is that it’s simple, and for that reason alone it is one of the best NA’s I have tried. Currently my fridge is full of ABC (Athletic Brewing Company), Ceria, Surreal, and Wellbeing, with Two Roots and BrewDog on the way. And I love the offerings by all of those, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I don’t want to think about whether I’m in the mood for a dark stout or a hoppy IPA.


Sometimes I just want a beer.


Like my Ford truck that gets me safely everywhere and always starts when I turn the key, this beer might not have curb appeal, but it doesn’t need to.


It just works. Every time.



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