Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA Review

Drink Reviews craft beer
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA Review

Even though I continue to write about non-alcoholic craft beer (and spirits, and wine, etc.) on a regular basis, there are still moments when it feels odd to just affirm that yes, all of the country’s biggest craft brewers can largely be expected to produce their own NA beer brands these days. Only five years ago or so, that probably would have seemed improbable if not ludicrous–non-alcoholic beer was seen as being a Big Beer fiefdom, not that they paid much attention of their own to it. Certainly, you wouldn’t have expected to see pioneering American breweries like Deschutes making their own version of alcohol-free beers, particularly after they had spent decades helping to establish the idea of “better beer” in the first place. And yet, that’s where we now find ourselves in 2024, and as a mid-30s person who can’t drink as he once did, I’m not upset about it.

Those new NA entries have included beers like the recent release of Sierra Nevada’s Trail Pass NA IPA, which surely hopes to become a category leader in an industry currently dominated by the likes of Athletic Brewing Co. But don’t look past Deschutes, either–rather than starting from scratch with an entirely new brand like Trail Pass, they instead sought to transcribe their own well-loved flagship IPA Fresh Squeezed into non-alcoholic form. And as with the non-alcoholic take on Deschutes Black Butte Porter that I reviewed last year, they’ve pulled it off admirably.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA seems like a pretty standard construction for the style, perhaps with a touch more malt, considering a grain bill of 2 row, Munich and Crystal. That feels on brand for Deschutes, a company founded in 1988 that has seen the full rise and retraction of the American craft beer wave–if anyone was going to keep at least a modicum of malt in their beer, contrary to current tastes, I would expect it to be them. Hops, meanwhile, are provided in the form of Citra and Mosaic. Like other traditional NA IPAs, this weighs in at less than .5% ABV, but is not entirely devoid of any traces of alcohol.

So with that said, let’s get to tasting this new NA beer.

On the nose, Fresh Squeezed NA IPA displays some distinctly “fresh hopped”-type aromatics, the type of nose that you tend to find in that brief window in September or October when breweries still occasionally roll out their fresh-hopped IPAs, when they’re not releasing the 12th hazy IPA in their permanent lineups. It’s actually quite floral here, somewhat grassy and a touch resinous, with a backbone of mildly toasty, biscuity, black tea-like maltiness. A ribbon of citrus runs through things, evoking ruby red grapefruit. What it reminds me of more than anything is old-school American pale ale, which sort of makes sense to me–Deschutes has always highlighted the more citrus heavy or “juicy” aspects of Fresh Squeezed in their marketing, but to me it has always had more of a floral/grassy/lightly fruity type of profile. That carries over nicely to this version.

On the palate, mild maltiness stands out to me first, with a low level of residual sweetness, supported by somewhat subtle grassy and floral hops. The citrus of the nose carries over, though fruit once again doesn’t really take center stage here in my opinion. Rather, the prevailing impression is how nicely balanced this all is, in a delicate sort of way–nothing is very assertive, but it’s all dialed in to be quite harmonious. Mild bitterness rounds everything out, making for an extremely easy drinking NA IPA. Mouthfeel is actually rather nice as well, fairly full for a non-alcoholic beer, without seeming either watery or “unfermented.”

All in all, the impression here is perfectly pleasant, but overall somewhat more on the subtle side, and not as dramatically hoppy as say, the recent Sierra Nevada release. That’s not a bad thing; this reminds me of nothing so much as the sort of pale ale I might have been happily sessioning at some brewpub in the late 2000s, which is the sort of description that is more difficult than ever to replicate these days when every release is striving to describe itself as “THE MOST JUICY THING IN EXISTENCE,” etc.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA becomes yet another quality entry in the rapidly growing NA field, a segment that is in a better position now than it ever has been before. For those of us willing to give these beers a chance, the drinking is good.

Brewery: Deschutes Brewing Co.
City: Bend, OR
Style: Non-alcoholic IPA
ABV: Less than .5%
Availability: 12 oz cans

Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident craft beer and spirits geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.

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