Hopt

All the hops, none of the alcohol – who couldn't love that combo?

For people who hate drinking hoppy beer, there's always the consolation: Well, at least there's alcohol in this.

"Höpt" removes that saving virtue and leaves in all the other stuff. It's a nonalcoholic soda designed to highlight the taste of hops, those resinous, weed-smelling flowers that are infecting the entire corpus of craft beer. Flavors come in pear/basil, elderberry/herb, watermelon/mint, and salted lychee – but don't worry, you'll still be able to detect the funky hops lurking underneaths, as if your soda had accidentally been bottled with a pine cone.

It's a frustrating beverage designed for frustrated people. Specifically, it is meant for those who want to hang with friends in a bar setting but don't personally want to imbibe, its makers explain:

Our research reveals a sense of effort is needed when socialising, to enable the feeling of being connected. When people don't want alcohol for health or lifestyle reasons (1 in 5 claim this regularly), existing drink choices (soft drinks, water) are seen as too sweet, childish, 'gassy' and boring. Hopt is designed to blend in socially while providing a crisp, clean, refreshing drink with delicious adult flavours, less sugar and lighter carbonation. Outside of socialising, Hopt is a clean soda for any time of the day.

To give the illusion that you're enjoying a normal beer, the "Höpt" packaging includes crown caps and small labels that are "coverable by the drinker's hand should they wish to conceal they're drinking a soda not alcohol." Which seems strange to me: If you're brave enough to try an inscrutable mixture of virgin IPA and Sierra Mist, you should own it, not cower in fear that your buddies will spray you with shaken-up cans of PBR if they find out.

"Höpt" hit the markets in New Zealand last month, should you want to track down this stuff for a personal tasting. Here are a couple photos of what to look for courtesy of the A' Design Award and Competition, which just gave the beverage makers kudos for its product design:

Images by Ross Brown via the A' Design and Award Competition

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