From Coding to (NA) Craft Brewing

Plus Muri's Flavor Revolution and Relax the Calme Way

Wotcha! This week is a first at the ModSub with a guest recommendation from Victoria Watters from Dry Atlas, as she brings us her thoughts on Muri from Denmark. I’ve been planning on adding other voices to the mix for some time now, so I’m excited to get things kicked off with Victoria’s piece.

In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - NonAlcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: Bravus - Golden Light

  • 🍷 WINE: Muri - Yamilé

  • 🍹 SPIRIT: Aplós - Calme

P.S. If you have any questions about any of these drinks or you are looking for an NA drink that you have had a hard time finding, please hit reply and let me know. I’ll do what I can to help you.

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Read time: 6 mins 49 secs


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: A new limited edition Pilsner has just been announced by Partake Brewing. (link)

  • 🍷 WINE: La Cuvée Vintage Blanc de Blanc 2022 just launched by French Bloom becomes the most expensive NA wine across the globe at $119 a bottle. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAILS: Curious Elixir have added ‘slip in your pocket’ cans of their Curious Elixir No. 1 and Curious Elixir No. 4. to their line. (link)

  • 📖 READ: Looking for a non-alc glossary? Look no further than The ABCs of NA from Zero Proof Nation. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Portland’s own Heck has launched, and promptly sold out of, its new Silver Linings IPA. (link)


In each edition of The Modern Substitute, ON THE BAR focuses on three drinks you should be on the look out for. We’ll give you a quick rundown of our thoughts on the drink, who makes it, where to buy it or, in the case of mocktails, how to make it.

Please note: due to popularity or limited runs, some drinks may be out of stock - please check with the beverage companies for updates.

NA Beer


  • Santa Ana, CA

  • Calories: 65

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: • store locator • widely available online

  • Price: $15.99

The ModSub thoughts: As backstories go, Bravus Brewing Company is up there as one of the coolest, as far as I'm concerned. In 2013, a friend of Philip Brandes was given an uncomfortable ultimatum by his wife: it's either me or the beer. Not wanting to turn his back on his relationship but also not wanting to lose the enjoyment of drinking beer with his mates, he turned to non-alcoholic (NA) beers. That meant the likes of O'Doul's, Sharp, and Buckler. But it quickly became obvious to Brandes that his friend was struggling with this new chapter; replacing quality regular beer with a bland NA counterpart was just not working.

So he decided to figure out a solution. Brandes learned how to brew beer in his garage, and within seven months, he and his friend had created a West Coast IPA that was so authentic to a regular IPA that folks had a hard time telling the difference. With a nudge from his wife, Brandes quit his software company job and, in 2015, founded Bravus Brewing Company, the first American brewery fully dedicated to brewing NA beer.

While my own brewing knowledge is limited to making a decent cup of tea, I'm really intrigued by Bravus's proprietary brewing technique. Unlike typical NA beers that have alcohol removed via either distillation or reverse osmosis, Bravus's method begins with yeast control, preventing alcohol production from the start of the process.

I was tempted to jump straight into the IPA that started it all, but I'm going to save that for later in the year. Instead, I'm cracking open a can of the Golden Light. It's been sunny for five full days up here in the Pacific Northwest, and it's time to celebrate with a beach beer.

The Golden Light is pretty much what it says on the can: crisp, light, and super refreshing. The sweet maltiness gives it such a lovely depth of flavor that elevates it above its light beer peers. This is an excellent craft lager, and I'll be honest, it barely touched the sides. Certainly one I'll keep in regular rotation as we get closer to the warmer weather.

I do love a good story about someone going all out to help a friend. After all, in helping his friend, Brandes ended up helping us all. Cheers to that!

How does Bravus describe their Golden Light: With all the flavorful craft brews we make, it was time for a good ol' fashioned light ale. Crisp & clean with a touch of biscuit malt sweetness, this approachable brew tastes so much like one of those light beers from the big guys, you will find it hard to believe it is non-alcoholic.

Learn more about Bravus at


  • Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: 25.4 fl.oz.

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: • widely available online

  • Price: $29.00-$38.00

The ModSub thoughts: Emerging from Denmark’s dynamic gastronomy scene, Muri stands as a testament to the country’s relentless food and beverage innovation. In Copenhagen last summer, I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Muri’s production facility and meet Ioakeim Goulidis, their Head of Research and Development. A food scientist and chef, Ioakeim embodies the spirit of Denmark’s culinary revolution. What drew him to this space? “There’s no limitation on what we can do.” Don’t you love that?

At Muri, the team doesn’t seek to create wine alternatives or even remotely familiar beverages. “We used to call ourselves wine alternatives, but the term just sounds so sad and didn’t do justice to the amount of craft and innovation we were putting into each bottle,” explained founder Murray Paterson in our interview. Instead, they craft complex blends typically inspired by an unusual ingredient (e.g., pickled pine cones). They’ll sometimes spend weeks identifying one key ingredient (e.g., smoked rhubarb).

That smoked rhubarb is what makes my favorite blend, Yamilé so special. It’s a central flavor that somehow doesn’t overpower the crispier raspberry and gooseberry notes. Muri calls Yamilé “aromatic, funky, and smokey.” I’d say that’s spot on, with an emphasis on funky. It’s not for everyone, but that’s precisely why I love it. It takes a stand. If you are partial to smokiness—and you have a more adventurous palate—this one is definitely worth a try.

Victoria Watters is Co-Founder of Dry Atlas, a media company dedicated to alcohol alternatives. She writes a weekly newsletter full of non-alcoholic beverage news, insights, and recs.

How does Muri describe Yamilé: Soft red fruits and creamy smokiness, with a delicate aromatic finish. Yamilé is refreshingly dry, bubbly and approachable with playful flavour complexities and vinous funkiness.

Learn more about Muri at

NA Cocktail


  • Miami, FL

  • Calories: 15

  • Sugar: 0g

  • Serving: 19.4 fl.oz. (10 individual servings)

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: aplos.worldstore locator • widely availble online

  • Price: $48.00

The ModSub thoughts: Calme from Aplós has become one of my new favorite evening indulgences. While I'm always partial to a spirit that allows me to replicate some of my go-to tipples of the past, there’s nothing that gets my attention quicker than a beverage company creating a truly unique drink. Calme was launched in December 2020 as a super-premium non-alcoholic spirit and, most notably, the first that was hemp-based.

Functional botanicals are part of the recipe, included for the purpose of replicating the relaxing qualities of that glass of wine at the end of the day vibe but without the negative side effects. Much of the relaxing effects come from broad-spectrum hemp containing cannabinoids and associated compounds but, most importantly, no THC. There are no psychoactive properties, and Aplós has all batches tested by a third party to ensure that no THC is present. I wasn’t sure I felt anything the first time I tried the spirit; the second time, however, I did seem to feel a little more relaxed than usual. Perhaps a placebo effect, perhaps not. To be honest, I’m far more interested in the taste, and with good reason.

One of the things I love about these NA spirits is diving into the recipe sections on their websites and trying out the cocktail suggestions. So far, "A Few Good Things" has been my favorite. Muddled cucumber and mint, lime juice to give it a lift, simple syrup to do its sweet thing, all amongst the backdrop of the citrus and botanical herbiness from the Calme. It’s unusual, but it’s like summer in a glass. 

Perhaps, of even greater importance, is that Calme is in the rare club of NA spirits that are just as delicious served neat or over a little ice, as they are in a cocktail. In fact, it's arguably the better way to enjoy it.

It’s a premium spirit with, let’s be honest, a premium price. But if non-alcoholic spirits that try to replicate traditional spirits aren’t working for you, and you are after something completely different, Aplós Calme is really a treat in every sense of the word. This is a spirit that will very likely make me a repeat customer, but I may just have to hide the bottle when my friends come around. 

(Side note: This is the first hemp-infused drink I have recommended and I do not pretend to have any in-depth knowledge on the subject. If you have any concerns at all, please do your own research on whether this is a good fit for you.)

How does Aplós describe their Calme: A complex blend of citrus and herbal botanicals is infused with broad-spectrum hemp to calm and relax without the negative effects of alcohol.

Learn more about Aplós at

If you enjoyed this edition of The Modern Substitute then please forward it to a friend who might be interested in NA drinks.

Cheers! See you next week!

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