Ahead of a holiday season rife with cocktails and celebratory drinking, “Iron Chef”-winner Chris Cosentino and Stratford’s Athletic Brewing Company have teamed up to craft AfterShift, a new non-alcoholic IPA flavored with a blend of lemon verbena and bay leaves.

Athletic Brewing is Connecticut’s only non-alcoholic brewery and will have the new IPA available in its Stratford taproom for a limited release, beginning Nov. 16. According to Athletic Brewing’s announcement, AfterShift is “a delicate malt profile made of triticale and organic Vienna varieties plays backup to the assertive and aromatic symphony of the hops and herbs. The finish is a bright and effervescent burst of freshness and is both fragrant and mouth-watering.”

Cosentino’s collaboration with Athletic Brewing was inspired by the endless cycle of long days and nights working in the kitchen and his busy schedule as a former professional mountain biker. Cosentino is the co-owner and chef of San Francisco’s Cockscomb restaurant.

“The after-shift in a restaurant is a very unique time. The rush is over and people are starting to get lax. It’s all about taking a break. For me, to have the after-shift be non-alcoholic is even more powerful because mixing alcohol with mental health meds was like adding gas to a fire,” Cosentino said. “I always have these crazy ideas about mixing flavors in an effort to create taste memories. AfterShift smashes together the botanicals you have in gin, the effervescence of champagne and the hoppy bitterness of a great IPA to create flavor that works really well with food. A great beer should complement the food not mask it.”

Athletic Brewing co-founder John Walker worked with Cosentino to create the recipe. “When I am not brewing, I am cooking. It was an incredible experience to work with a chef of Chris’s talent,” Walker said. “He knew exactly how to communicate the flavor profile that he was thirsting for in this collaboration, and his input made AfterShift something truly different than other Athletic beers available.”

The non-alcoholic beer industry has grown in recent years, with the “sober-curious” trend gaining traction, as individuals seek out more health-conscious beverages or seek to avoid hangovers. Athletic Brewing expanded to add a second location in San Diego, which allows them to brew an additional 125,000 barrels of their product.

“Everything about non-alcoholic beer is aligned with modern health trends — low calories, organic, refreshing, delicious and functional,” said Bill Shufelt, Athletic Brewing co-founder. “You don’t have to compromise and deal with a hangover, being tired, or less healthy options to enjoy great taste. People are loving having a healthy, mindful option to enjoy at any occasion.”

Cosentino said he loves the flavor of beer but finds a better balance during his after-shifts with non-alcoholic beer after a long day in the kitchen.

“It is amazing to give an option to people because nobody should feel ostracized because they don’t drink,” Cosentino said. “AfterShift offers the flavor that beer lovers recognize and want without regret.”

For more information, visit athleticbrewing.com.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com