Two Roots Straight Drank IPA


Two Roots Straight Drank IPA

IPA / Two Roots NA / <0.5%

2020 Great American Beer Festival® Bronze Medal winner. For this hoppy, dank, resiny West Coast-style IPA, we used the dankest hops–tons of Eureka! and a splash of Comet–infused it with the finest botanically derived terpenes.

It seems pretty obvious that many consumers who end up turning toward non-alcoholic beer do so for health reasons. Perhaps they are attempting to cut alcohol out of their lives because it is negatively affecting their mind or body in some way. Or maybe it’s not even as simple as the alcohol. When you regularly drink beer, you are taking in a large number of calories, which makes it difficult to maintain a healthy bodyweight. This has motivated many NA breweries to do everything they can to reduce calories as much as possible, but sometimes that can backfire as it may result in a lack of flavor.

Two Roots Brewing Company, based out of San Diego, has decided to take a different approach. One of the first things that I noticed after picking up a six-pack is that a can of their beer contains 120 calories. While not extraordinarily high when compared to traditional craft brews, that may be the highest total that I have found in any non-alcoholic offering. While it may not end up being the healthiest option on the market, I am optimistic that it may contain a richer flavor profile than many of the other NA beers out there. Of course, there is no guarantee. But luckily for you, I will be diving in and letting you know the verdict through this Two Roots Straight Drank IPA review.

Two Roots Straight Drank IPA Review

I will start by saying that the label of this beer can isn’t particularly eye-catching. It has a bit of artistic nature, but the background is largely gray with some flourishes of dull green. It is also fairly busy – replete with marketing material and nutritional information in every spare corner. It does let us know that this brew won a bronze medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival

Poured into a glass is where the appearance begins to shine a bit more. A deep orange in color, this is perhaps the haziest non-alcoholic IPA that I have come across in my sampling experience. One negative is that there isn’t much of a head to speak of. But on the other hand, some NAs seem to try and make up for lack of flavor with heavy carbonation. Maybe they don’t need to rely on that here.

What I get most upon taking a big whiff is grass and pine. It seems to be attached to the hop character but actually overshadows the hop bitterness itself. Not totally, I do get some measure of hops, they are just very, very grassy. Also not as present as I expected is the citrus quality. A touch of orange but not nearly as much as the body suggests. I’m happy to find another element lacking, however, and that is the vegetal wort that poisons so many of these offerings. Less of that is a great sign as far as I’m concerned.

It is a beautiful looking beer, but the aroma leaves a fair amount to be desired. Neither of these things matter as much as the taste however, so it’s time to dig in and answer the question, “Is Two Roots Straight Drank IPA good?” 

Is Two Roots Straight Drank IPA Good?

My first impression upon putting this beer to my lips is that it follows the aroma pretty accurately, but for whatever reason, is more appealing on the tongue than it was to my nose. Right off the top, I don’t think that I can overstate how much this beer lacks the typical drawbacks of other NAs on the market. It has a full, rich flavor profile with absolutely no watery quality at all. In and of itself, this is impressive, and it should overshadow any other nitpicks that I come up with.

The grassy hop character is rather heavy on the grass and could use a little more hop. There is some pine that mixes in there as well, and it is pleasant enough, but I just wish there were a bit more bitterness. I don’t find much malt or wort to speak of, which is a good thing when sampling this style of IPA as far as I’m concerned. I still wish there was some more citrus juiciness, but I know that is also a turnoff for some, so I will settle for the light grapefruit and orange notes that do exist.

Overall, the body is a very nice medium, not filling but enough to remind you that you are drinking beer after all. The mouthfeel is actually a bit dry, perhaps from the strength of the pine and grass. The finish could be a bit sharper, and that is important to me, but the lingering hop on the tongue isn’t terrible and is about par for the course.

I do have some qualms with elements of this beer, but the total flavor profile is so full that I find it hard to complain too much. Let’s finish up and see just how high my final Two Roots Straight Drank IPA rating ends up being. 

Two Roots Straight Drank IPA Rating

I have found that there are a few major strategies that breweries have when crafting NA offerings. But I am not sure that I have ever encountered a company that seems to be going so far in the direction of mimicking an alcoholic craft brew. Not to say that they pull it off perfectly, but there is no hint of marketing this product as a “healthier” option, even though the simple lack of alcohol content makes that true. They went all in with elements that led to a higher calorie count in what I assume is an effort to maintain a rich fullness. And they largely succeeded in that mission.

There are definitely ways that this beer could be improved, and if they aren’t worried about nutritional value I think that they are probably achievable. But if their goal was to stand out from the competition in the industry, I will say that they have done just that for me. And that is enough for me to end this Two Roots Straight Drank IPA review by awarding it a full 5 out of 5 stars.


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