Whether you're training for your next ultramarathon or just want to finish a 5K in one piece, there's one question that many of us have at some point in our wellness journey: Can I have a drink every once in a while without derailing all the progress I've been making?
As both a craft beer lover and a personal trainer, this dilemma has plagued me for years (even sparking some heated in-office debates along the way). In the past, my solution has often been non-alcoholic beer. But until recently, the only options I had tasted like drinking a glass of water while someone whispered the word "hops" into my ear.
Then I discovered Athletic Brewing Co.—the beer that lets you enjoy the experience of drinking craft beer without the whole "drinking alcohol" part. When a friend brought a six-pack of their Run Wild IPA to our virtual happy hour, we were...skeptical (I may have asked him if his taste buds were still functioning). So what if it was only 70 calories; there was no way it tasted like the IPAs I know and love (until the next morning).
Then I tried it.
If there's anything I take more seriously than my (borderline snobby) taste in beer, it's my fitness. And let me tell you, this stuff lets me have my delicious, hoppy cake and eat it too.
I've mentioned before that when it comes to staying on track with your fitness goals, alcohol isn't inherently the problem—intoxicated you is the problem. Your inhibitions are lowered, you're more likely to deviate from your normal diet (hello, late-night pizza), and—lest we forget—the dreaded morning-after lack of motivation to do anything that requires standing.
None of these are issues with non-alcoholic beer, but Athletic Brewing is the only one I've found so far that doesn't force me to compromise taste or quality (seriously, they've got a closet full of awards to prove it) in favor of my active lifestyle. Naturally, I had to try their other options: A golden ale and a Mexican lager, both of which will be making their debut at the beach with me this summer (not to mention that with free shipping on orders of two or more six-packs, they're also the cheapest craft beer you can find).
In the end, though, drinking to me (and I'm sure many of you) has always been about the experience (and not just because hauling my gigantic cooler onto the beach is a workout itself). Grabbing an ice-cold can and cracking it open among friends is a sacred tradition that I don't see going away for a long time. Thankfully these days, I can partake in this time-honored ritual without having to worry about hangovers, excess calories, or—worst of all—beer that tastes like stale tap water.