Do you know what SPORT BEER is? Can it be a new norm?

Hello, it’s Masami.

Long winter has come to an end and now it’s turning into summer.

I don’t think it’s only me who enjoy drinking cold beer in summer, after cycling or any other athletic activity.

However, it is said that alcohol actually contributes to cause muscle weakness. That might worry those who train hard for athletic competitions.

That’s where “sport beer” comes in! This can be the saviour for fellow beer lovers who also happen to be serious athletes.

What is “sport beer”?

It’s a non-alcoholic beer

In fact, there’s no clear definition of “sport beer”, however, if we look at alcohol percentage, we can say it’s a non-alcoholic beer.

In Japan, beer with less than 1% of alcohol is considered as non-alcoholic beer. Each country has its own definition.

There’re beer with 0.00% alcohol sold in Japan, but usually non-alcoholic beer is not entirely alcohol free.

“Sport beer” I’m going to introduce in the article contains around 0~0.4% alcohol. All of them meet Japanese criteria of non-alcoholic beer.

Here’re list of “sport beer” with alcohol percentage.

Alcohol percentage for sport beer
  • ERDINGER(Germany)Alkoholfrei 0.39%
  • ZERO+(Australia)Zero+ Pale Ale 0.4%
  • THRIVE(Belguim)Recovery IPA 0.0%?
  • ABLOC(Netherlands)Pro Zero 0%?

For THRIVE and ABLOC, alcohol percentage is not explicitly mentioned in their websites.

Some of you might think “Oi! Is it nothing but non-alcoholic beer with fancier name?!”. Just wait a minute.

Non-alcoholic beer is so much more than just beer you put up with when you need to be sober.

Positive effect of non-alcoholic beer

The study published in the U.S. in 2012 says,

“Naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds present in food such as nonalcoholic beer (NAB) have strong antioxidant, antipathogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.”1

That means non-alcoholic beer itself has very positive effect on athletes.

It can help recovering from trainings and also reduce risk of getting cold after intensive exercise.

Then, why “sport beer”? Why not just ordinary non-alcoholic beer? What is the difference?

Non-alcoholic beer designed for athletes

Non-alcoholic beer can be good combination with athletic activities.

And “sport beer” is also non-alcoholic beer but it’s more tailored specifically for athletes!

Additional compounds tailored for athletes
  • ERDINGER Alkoholfrei: Vitamin B9 & B12
  • ZERO+ ZERO+ Pale Ale: Electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium
  • THRIVE Recovery IPA: BCAA >2g & Whey protein 10g
  • ABLOC Pro Zero: Alpine Minerals®︎

Personally, I’d like to try THRIVE Recovery IPA first.

People usually drink protein shake after exercise but it’s quite inspiring that the beer can be a substitute!

One more thing to highlight is that all “sport beer” listed here are craft beer.

Isn’t it kind of luxury to drink beer specially crafted for athletes by beer meisters worldwide?

How is the taste?

Unfortunately, most “sport beer” listed in the article cannot be purchased in Japan, except ERDINGER Alkoholfrei.

Alkoholfrei can be purchased through Amazon and is served at some restaurants as well.

My personal reflection is that it’s very fruity and light. ERDINGER describes that Alkoholfrei has strong bitterness, but I don’t quite agree.

It does taste different from normal beer (alcoholic beer), just like another craft beer with unique taste.

Alcohol percentage for 330ml bottle is 0.39%, almost nothing!

Be careful during a ride!

As you see, alcohol percentage is quite different per product.

Even with non-alcoholic beer, there’s still a chance to have higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than the limit of drunk driving, if you drink too much.

In Japan, it’s illegal to ride a bicycle when you’re drunk. That is also considered as drunk driving.

ERDINGER experiment result shows that after drinking 3 x 500ml bottles of Alkoholfrei in one hour, average BAC for total 67 test people was 0.0025% and the maximum was 0.0056%.2

As per German criteria of drunk driving, it seems this is fairly OK. But not in Japan, unfortunately.

In Japan, it’s measured by breath alcohol concentration.

0.0025%~0.0056% of BAC is equivalent to the range of breath alcohol concentration 0.143mg/L~0.286mg/L.3

As per Japanese criteria, breath alcohol concentration over 0.15% is considered to be the driving under the influence of alcohol.

If you’re stopped by the police under the state, the consequence could be serious (fine and/or license suspension).

Although there’s no license for bicycles, it’s still against the law so that there will still be a consequence (most likely the fine).

1.5 litres in one hour seems quite an amount for me, though…

Anyway, better be careful especially if you’re generally weak against alcohol.

Can sport beer be a saviour for beer lover athletes?

  • Sport beer is a non-alcoholic beer from alcohol percentage point of view.
  • Natural polyphenol in non-alcoholic beer has anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Definition of non-alcoholic beer is different from country to country.
  • Sport beer is designed specially for athletes with additional compounds.
  • Non-alcoholic beer is not entirely alcohol free, be careful not to drink too much.

Sport beer can be a great option for beer lover athletes, with minimized negative effect and compounds specially tailored for athletes.

I hope you find the article useful. Enjoy the sunshine with cold beer in hand!


  1. Nonalcoholic Beer Reduces Inflammation and Incidence of Respiratory Tract Illness:
  2. ERDINGER Harmless, minimal alcohol content:
  3. 東海電子株式会社 アルコール濃度単位:
  4. 政府広報オンライン 飲酒運転は絶対に「しない!」「させない!」:

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