Texas breweries are banking on the hop water trend outlasting Dry January

From Saint Arnold in Houston to St. Elmo in Austin, the state's producers—and drinkers—are going crazy for this non-alcoholic drink that's perfect for hop heads.

St. Elmo Brewing in Austin makes a hop water, a non-alcoholic drink that's gained popularity in recent years.

St. Elmo Brewing in Austin makes a hop water, a non-alcoholic drink that's gained popularity in recent years.

St. Elmo Brewing

With more Americans taking part in Dry January every year, the search is on for the best alcohol-free beverages to socialize with while abstaining from booze. Breweries across Texas have found a way to compete with the growing number of non-alcoholic products by offering up their own housemade drink: hop water.

Hop water is exactly what it sounds like: sparkling water flavored with hops. Unlike non-alcoholic beer, hop water is naturally alcohol free, is not fermented, and does not contain grain or sugar. While non-alcoholic beer averages 80 to 100 calories per serving, hop water is calorie-free, making it a much healthier choice for consumers.

Initially popularized by national brands like Lagunitas and HOP WTR, hop water is now being locally produced around the state, so you can buy Texan while staying sober.

Houston's own Saint Arnold Brewing were ahead of the trend when they began making their own hop water back in 2018, but they only served the then-named Hop2O out of their taproom. It's proven so popular that they've finally canned it this year as Hop Spring, available now at local stores like H-E-B, as well as their beer garden.

"We would always get great reception from the Beer Garden customers and it sold enough over there so it made sense to try it wider," says Saint Arnold chief marketing officer Lennie Ambrose. And they're not alone. Breweries from Amarillo's Pondaseta to Austin's Independence are creating their own hop water for both on- and off-site consumption.

Saint Arnold Brewing in Houston just released Hop Spring, based on the hop water they've sold at the taproom for five years.

Saint Arnold Brewing in Houston just released Hop Spring, based on the hop water they've sold at the taproom for five years.

Saint Arnold Brewing

For breweries wanting to reach out to customers who don't drink alcohol or are just sober-curious, hop water is ideal, because it doesn't require specialist equipment or the high levels of electricity and water needed to dealcoholize beer. But it does include one of beer's key ingredients, which brewers always have on hand: hops.

Flavors vary depending on the hops the brewery chooses, but the most common varieties used, such as Citra and Mosaic, offer tangy, citrusy or tropical fruit flavors, with some bitterness. Because no grains are used in hop water, the hop flavors have space to shine without competition.

Offering an alcohol-free hoppy drinking experience is as much about inclusivity as it is about flavor. "People have myriad reasons they don't want a beer and we wanted to provide something that allowed them to feel included in our welcoming community without a beer in hand," says RoadMap Brewing co-owner and brewer Dustin Baker.

Whether you're a beer lover craving a hoppy hit or curious about trying new zero-proof drinks, hop water's appeal is bound to last long after dry January is over. Here are 10 Texas-made hop waters to try.

Austin Beerworks Hop Well!

Austin Beerworks is launching their first hop water at the end of January. "[We've] always been a hop-forward brewery, and we want to be able to experience their amazing character all the time," says co-owner Michael Graham. It's made with Citra, Centennial and El Dorado hops and hop products, and will be available at the taproom and in select Austin stores.

Celestial Beerworks Sparkle Water

"Sometimes you just want to have something in your hand but not have to partake," says co-founder and creative director Molly Reynolds. Celestial Beerworks' hop water is made with Strata hop terpenes. You'll need to make a trip to Dallas-Fort Worth to pick this one up from the Celestial taproom or select stores.

Independence Brewing KAW!

"Hoppy beers are our pride and joy, so naturally we gravitated toward using real hops to achieve our target flavors naturally," says co-owner Amy Cartwright. KAW! is made with Citra and Mosaic freeze-dried hops and vitamin C-rich organic acerola cherries. You can find it at stores around Austin, or have it shipped to you from their website, but be quick—their first batch has already sold out.

Pondaseta Brewing PondWater

You'll need to head up to northwest Texas to try this Citra-Mosaic-hopped water. Pick it up from the Pondaseta taproom and select locations in Amarillo and Lubbock.

Roadmap Brewing in San Antonio makes a hop water

Roadmap Brewing in San Antonio makes a hop water

Roadmap Brewing

Roadmap Brewing Hop Water

If you're in San Antonio, be sure to stop by the Roadmap Brewing taproom to pick up some of their 100 percent El Dorado-hopped hop water.

Saint Arnold Brewing Hop Spring

Made with Citra and Amarillo hops, this Houston original can be found at their beer garden and at stores around the city.

Southern Star Brewing Hoppy Elixir

This Mosaic-hopped water with berries and stone fruit is available in cans at the Conroe taproom and most major supermarkets and liquor stores. It even has its own Instagram account.

Southern Star Brewing in Conroe makes a hop water called Hoppy Elixir.

Southern Star Brewing in Conroe makes a hop water called Hoppy Elixir.

Southern Star Brewing

St. Elmo Brewing Hop Water!

Made out of Austin, this hop water features Citra and Simcoe hops and is available at select Spec's in the greater Houston area. St Elmo's Alexia Brown Genitempo describes it as "bright and refreshing with a crisp bitterness from the hops right up front, followed by citrus tang on the back end."

Whitestone Brewing HopWater

Dry-hopped with Centennial and Cascade, with raspberry and lime additions, you can pick this up at your local store, and check out their dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts with booze-free cocktail recipe suggestions.

Zilker Brewing Hop Water

Newly launched this January, Austin hop heads Zilker have created their hop water with Cryo Pop and Idaho 7 hops, resulting in a fresh and floral version with citrusy notes. It's available at their taproom and at H-E-Bs in the greater Austin area.

More Food & Drink

Awards | 2023 Houston James Beard semifinalists
News | Beloved Houston restaurant catches fire, closes location
Scene | Is 2023 the year of the sushi in Houston?
Receipts | Houston's Turkey Leg Hut sued over $1.3 million grocery bill

For more food news and features from Chron, sign up for The Feed newsletter here.