Here at BeerWhere, the official holiday season runs from Thanksgiving through the Superbowl. During this time, a lot of beer and tasty snacks are consumed, more snacks that are good for us (or a moderately sized horse, for that matter). Now is the time to cut back the out-of-control consumption but no way does that mean giving up beer or even good beer.
To help you and help ourselves, we’ve compiled this list of eight craft beers that are low in calories and that aren’t IPAs. We’re leaving off IPAs because they seem to be one of the most common formats for low-calorie craft beer. After all, the easiest way to pump up the flavor without adding carbs or calories is to add hops. We’ll save an IPA list for another time.
Nobody beats Big Beer when it comes to low-calorie brews. Budweiser has its Select 55 down to 55 calories. MillerCoors offers its 64 calorie Miller 64. Michelob Ultra (95 calories), born in 2002, has come on like a freight train to challenge category leaders Bud Light (110 calories), Coors Light (102 calories) and Miller Lite (96 calories) as one of the best-selling beers in America. MillerCoors launched Saint Archer Gold (95 calories, 2.6g carbs) to take on the Mich Ultra monster. (Saint Archer was the first craft brewery bought by MillerCoors.)
Low-Calorie Craft Beers
If you find the big brews to be lacking, you’ll be pleased that craft brewers aren’t blindly devoted to chocolate stouts and milkshake IPAs. They see beer drinkers’ desire for lighter offerings and have responded by offering brews that are drier (less sugar) and lower in alcohol content. Alcohol and sugar are the main sources of calories and carbohydrates in beer. Here are a few brews worth trying.
Note that this isn’t a beer review. We haven’t tried these beers with the exception of 26.2 Brew, which we like. All the information about the taste profile and nutritional content comes from the breweries.
98 calories 3.5% ABV
Let’s start with the lightweight of the group. At only 98 calories, Resolution is an electrolyte infused, blueberry acai golden ale designed to help you manage some of your leftover holiday guilt.
99 calories 4.2% ABV
Ballast Point calls its Lager “the quintessential cooler beer.” Ballast Point Lager is brewed with 100% two-row barley (instead of six-row but that matters more to the brewer than the drinker) and a light touch of Apollo hops, which pack a punch of lime, grapefruit and pine aromas.
99 calories 4.1% ABV
Easy Sport is a bright ale with a hint of tangerine that comes in at 99 calories and 4.1% ABV. Beginning with a simple blonde ale recipe, Boulevard adds electrolytes (potassium, magnesium and salt) to an extended mash and again during the boil. At the end of fermentation, they add more electrolytes and a touch of tangerine peel resulting in a slightly tart, subtly salty, super dry, low calorie and low carb (4.1g) beer.
99 calories 4% ABV
Dechutes used this opportunity to teach you how to pronounce its name and brew a “clean, lightly toasted, light citrus, bubbly, and refreshing” American pilsner brewed with Tettnang, Lemondrop and Azacca hops. According to the brewery, the flavor profile is bright and citrus, and the beer comes in at 4.2g of carbs.
99 Calories 4.2% ABV
Kona is part of Craft Brew Alliance, which was recently bought by ABInBev. This technically moves them out of the craft brewer category, but we’re going to give them a pass given how recent a change this is. Kanaha has 4g of carbs.
110 calories 4% ABV
According to New Belgium, Mural is inspired by agua fresca, a refreshing, fruit-infused drink popular throughout Mexico. This crisp beer is brewed with hibiscus, agave, watermelon juice and whole lime puree and weighs in at 9g of carbs.
Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza pours a bright amber with a light pinkish white head. Watermelon, lime, lemon and fresh green apple aromas complement a sweet, slightly tart taste with a light mouthfeel and crisp finish. It was originally released in 2018 only in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas but should be more widely available now.
110 cal 4.0% ABV
Swipe Light is a light ale that pours a pale gold color. It has low bitterness and a citrus character and a taste that’s “clean with subtle yet bright citra and mosaic hop character and a touch of malt sweetness,” according to the brewery. Swipe Light packs 6.5g of carbs.
120 calories 4.0% ABV
Marathon Brewing is the Boston Beer Company, brewers of Sam Adams. 26.2 Brew is a golden, hazy ale brewed with Himalayan sea salt and coriander with a crisp body and refreshing finish with 9g of carbs.
The new 26.2 Brew evolved from the original Boston 26.2 Brew, available for the past seven years in and around Boston during the Boston Marathon. You’ll notice the Boston Athletic Association unicorn logo, the symbol of the Boston Marathon, on the packaging.
You can also find lower calorie option in beers that are flavorful (if not necessarily craft) and easier to find than those listed here.
Guinness Extra Stout, a dark Irish dry stout, has only 125 calories and 10 grams of carbs (4% ABV). Yuengling Lager will set you back just 140 calories as would New Belgium’s Dayblazer Easygoing Ale.