HOP WTR is an interesting brand. It’s a non-alcoholic beverage made from hops, the same botanical used to make beer. However, unlike other non-alcoholic beer brands, HOP WTR positions itself as a health product because it’s “crafted with adaptogens and nootropics.”
But what nootropic and adaptogenic ingredients are in HOP WTR and will they actually have health effects? Are hops healthy or unhealthy? Does HOP WTR contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how does it taste?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in two flavors of HOP WTR to give our take on whether the drinks are actually likely to have nootropic and adaptogenic effects, or if this is just a marketing claim.
We’ll also share real, unsponsored user reviews including taste tests.
Is HOP WTR Actually Nootropic?
Nootropics are a category of compounds that enhance cognitive function. Adaptogens are a category of compounds that make the body more resilient to stress.
The nootropic ingredient included in HOP WTR is l-theanine, and the adaptogenic ingredient included is ashwagandha.
Our issue with HOP WTR is the doses of these active ingredients aren’t published. As shown in the ingredient label above, the brand simply lists them without a dosage.
It’s impossible to determine the effectiveness of an active ingredient without its dose.
As an example to prove our point, a 2021 clinical trial found that 300 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha extract improved mental acuity and reduced stress levels. But this doesn’t prove that ashwagandha at any level has those effects; just at that dose.
HOP WTR also uses the raw ashwagandha powder, while most of the clinical research we’ve reviewed uses ashwagandha extract, which is a more potent and standardized version.
While HOP WTR does contain nootropic and adaptogenic ingredients, we don’t have any evidence that these ingredients are effectively dosed, so we don’t have any reason to believe these drinks will have adaptogenic or nootropic effects.
We Tried HOP WTR – Our Take
As the author of this article, I wanted to purchase and try HOP WTR myself to share my thoughts on its taste and effects.
I bought both the Classic and the Blood Orange flavors.
The Classic flavor tastes like watered-down IPA beer and I found it to be disgusting. I would never purchase this, though I don't love the taste of beer so maybe I'm not the target market.
The Blood Orange flavor is much better in my opinion, and tastes like a slightly stronger version of a standard flavored seltzer like La Croix. There is still a faint taste and smell of hops that I dislike.
I did not notice any relaxing effects from either beverage, and I had consumed a significant amount of caffeine earlier in the day. My personal opinion is that there likely isn't enough of an active dose of adaptogens to have any substantial relaxing effect.
The price point of $3 is excessive in my opinion. If I wanted a healthy, relaxing drink for $3 I could get a small or medium matcha latte at a local coffee shop that would taste a lot better.
Overall, I would not purchase from this brand again and would rate it a 4/10. I'd rate the Classic flavor 2/10 and the Blood Orange flavor 6/10.
Is HOP WTR Healthy or Unhealthy?
Healthiness is subjective, but we typically recommend avoiding food products or supplements that contain questionable additive ingredients.
In the case of HOP WTR, there is only one such ingredient in our opinion: natural flavor.
A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented some toxicity concerns regarding natural flavoring compounds. The issue is that this is a broad categorical term, and fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used. Some natural flavoring compounds may be safe, but some may be unsafe.
We recommend avoiding HOP WTR due to the inclusion of natural flavor, but on our list of concerning additives this is low.
It appears that this ingredient is common in non-alcoholic beers. The ingredient list of Heineken 0.0, which is arguably the most popular non-alcoholic beverage on the market, also contains this ingredient as shown below.
Hops may have health benefits, as a medical review published in the Nutrients journal documented their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.
Overall we consider HOP WTR to be moderately healthy due to the hops, but we can’t recommend the product due to the inclusion of natural flavors.
How Does HOP WTR Taste?
A TikTok user named Lyndsay Mysior reviewed HOP WTR including a taste test:
@lindsaysjournal Trying Alcohol Alternatives, Part 3 feat. @hopwtr 🤗 #hopwater #hopwtr #ReTokforNature ♬ In Dreams - Sierra Ferrell
HOP WTR Real Customer Reviews
HOP WTR is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion. The brand’s most popular product on Amazon is a 12-pack which includes all of the flavors, and has been reviewed over 300 times.
The product has an average customer review rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Jeannette Baldwin” who claims the product is healthy and tastes good:
“I’m sober so I don’t drink alcohol ever… these have a great flavor and I love the hop taste and such a bonus that there’s no carbs sugar or calories. Definitely worth the money.”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Nicole” who claims the product had none of its claimed effects:
“Everything about this drink resembles just another canned seltzer water. Absolutely no zen or relaxing feeling that it claims to do. After 4 drinks in one evening I realized it was just a regular seltzer water. The flavors taste about the same as the other canned waters, which is the only good thing I have to say about this drink. It’s very expensive and did nothing for me.”
Our Healthy Non-Alcoholic Beer Recommendation
Athletic Brewing Company is our top pick for a healthy non-alcoholic beer.
The brand uses all whole food ingredients like organic vienna malt, oats and hops. Their cans have beautiful branding, and most importantly, their beers are entirely free of questionable additive ingredients like natural flavor.
Interested consumers can check out Athletic Brewing Company at this link to the brand’s official Amazon listing.