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23 Low-Calorie Beer Options

23 Low-Calorie Beer Options

There is an exciting trend occurring in craft beer right now for those looking to shed a few pounds and still enjoy their craft beer obsession: craft brewers are offering up a low-calorie beer or two to appease health-conscious drinkers.

Some other good news is that low-calorie beers also tend to cover the lower-carb spectrum as well because carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients.

Macronutrients (or Macros) are what contribute calories in food and beverages. The three main macros in your diet are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Generally, beer tends to be higher in calories because it’s also moderately high in complex unfermented sugars as well as starches, both of which are carbohydrates. There are trace amounts of protein and generally no fat in beer, so a bulk of the calories are coming from carbohydrates.

Alcohol also carries a few calories, about 7 calories per gram of pure ethanol, which is the dominant type of alcohol produced during the fermentation of beer, wine and the mash in spirits. So, the less sugar, alcohol and carbohydrates you have in your beer, the lower the overall calorie count will be.

Now, the hurdle craft brewers have to overcome when brewing a low-calorie beer is they have to set themselves apart from the mass-produced, uber-cheap light lagers easily found on the shelves at every grocery store, gas station or liquor store. How do you produce a light beer with a calorie count less than 120 calories per 12 ounces and still entice the craft beer crowd, which is full of drinkers accustomed to big malt and hop flavors in their beer?

One trend I have noticed is complex grain bills and hop schedules. This complexity, when done right. can still produce a flavorful and satisfying craft beer without the waste-warping calories. One thing you will not see in any of these low-calorie beers is a high alcohol content. The big beer lovers will not find anything appealing about this genre of beer because all the low-calorie/low-carb beers fall below 5% ABV, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It means you can enjoy more beers over the course of a day without adding inches on that beer belly.

So, let’s get right into what you came for. This list of the best low-calorie beers I could find. This list serves as a partner to our previous list of the 20 Best Low-Carb Craft Beers for Keto Diets, so here are 23 of the lowest-calorie beers I could find for the health conscious craft beer lover.

saranac ipa 100 low-calorie beer

IPA 100
Saranac Brewery

100 Calories, 4% ABV, 30 IBU, 5g Carbs

According to Saranac, IPA 100 is an easy-drinking IPA that has half the calories of a standard American IPA. It’s remarkably full-flavored and smooth, brewed with flaked oats, pale and wheat malts and hopped with Citra, Centennial, Cascade and Columbus, which provide a tropical hop character.

flyjack firestone walker low-calorie beer

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

96 Calories, 4% ABV, 25 IBU, 5g Carbs

Flyjack has everything you want from a hazy IPA without the calories to weigh you down. Flyjack is Firestone Walker’s 96-calorie session IPA. Flyjack uses Two-Row barley, wheat, Munich, torrified wheat, bloade roasted oats to build malt complexity while blasting you with a variety of hops consisting of Cascade, Callista, Eldorado, Chinook, Mosaic, Strata, Sabro and Idaho 7… that’s quite the lineup.

wowza! deschutes brewery low-calorie beer

Deschutes Brewery

100 Calories, 4% ABV, 4g Carbs

Wowza! Is not Deschutes’s only venture into low-calorie beers as, they also have Da Shootz!. But Wowza brings a complex array of flavors to the table by combining Pilsner malt, wheat, oat, acidulated malt and chicory root along with a quartet punch of of Citra, Simcoe, Cashmere, and Callista hops. Wowza! Is a hazy sessionable pale ale that won’t bust your belt after you’ve crushed a few by the fire.

shiner beer weisse n' easy low-calorie beer

Weisse ‘N’ Easy
Spoetzl Brewery

95 Calories, 4% ABV,  10 IBU, 2.9g Carbs

Weisse ‘n’ Easy is a fruited wheat beer that is unfiltered, light and packed with flavor. Spoetzl Brewery add Texas Dewberries to give the beer a delicate sweetness. Dewberries are very similar to blackberries although a tad more tart. This is a great summer beer to enjoy outdoor in the warm sun.

good behavior odell brewing co. low-calorie beer

Good Behavior
Odell Brewing Co.

110 Calories, 4% ABV,  37 IBU, 7g Carbs

This beer is one of my personal favorite session beers. It’s bursting with tropical hop aroma and the malt flavor is delicate and lightly sweet with a dry finish.  The beer is well balanced, and it is honestly just a top-notch low-calorie IPA. For the hop heads, they use a combination of HBC 586, Citra and Amarillo hops.

so-lo goose island low-calorie beer

So-Lo India Pale Ale
Goose Island Beer Co.

98 Calories, 3% ABV,  23 IBU, 9g Carbs

I currently have this beer in my fridge as I write this. This beer does pack a lot into a small frame. Not only is it one of the smallest beers on our panel at 3% ABV, but it also stands up to the flavor one would want from a light IPA. So-Lo India Pale ale uses Pilsner malt, flaked oats, carafoam, and carapils copper malt in conjunction with Idaho 7, Kohatu, and Chinook hops to trick you into thinking you are drinking a much bigger beer than you really are.

smallmouth wallenpaupack low-calorie beer

Smallmouth Session IPA
Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. 

102 Calories, 4.4% ABV,  25 IBU, 3g Carbs

Wallenpaupack’s Smallmouth Session IPA may not be as widely distributed as some of the others on the list., but if you can get your hands on it, it’s a smooth and refreshing low-calorie session IPA coming out of Pennsylvania.  Smallmouth boasts flavors of citrus and berry coming from their choice of select hops.

light hearted ale bell's brewery low-calorie beer

Light Hearted Ale
Bell’s Brewery

110 Calories, 3.7% ABV, 8.7g Carbs

Fans of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale will rejoice in knowing that Bell’s has offered up a contender in the low-calorie arena with their Light Hearted Ale. You can expect to find Bell’s classic signature hop profile of citrus and pine notes coming from Centennial and Galaxy hops in this 110-calorie IPA.

new belgium the purist low-calorie beer

The Purist
New Belgium Brewing Co.

95 Calories, 3.8% ABV, 3g Carbs

In what seems to be a sea of low-calorie IPAs and Pale Ales it’s nice to see a lager toss their hat in the ring. The Purist from New Belgium not only boasts a low calorie count, but also lays claim to being an organic beer taking advantage of organic hops and malts that they can track back to a source in Oregon. 

pacer ipa avery brewing co. low-calorie beer

Pacer IPA
Avery Brewing Co.

100 Calories, 4.5% ABV, 3.5g Carbs

Pacer IPA is a dry-hopped session IPA with a very low calorie count. Adam Avery, co-founder and CEO of Avery Brewing states on its website that “Pacer is an extremely selfish brewing endeavor. A beer brewed for me- an aging, wannabe athlete who ‘drinks’ for a living and desperately needs to start setting a new and healthier pace in life.”  What more needs to be said? That pretty much sums up the goal for many of us.

lager ballast point low-calorie beer

Ballast Point Brewing Co.

99 Calories, 4.2% ABV, 3.5g Carbs

The name is simple and to the point. Just “Lager” would tell you that this beer is most likely an American standard light lager, but this is Ballast Point. Expect the unexpected. This lager is brewed with Two-Row and barley and Apollo hops – there’s the twist! You can expect some hop flavor and aroma to be detected unlike many standard American light lagers. A bonus is this beer is also brewed to be lower in gluten as well. While not gluten-free,  the lower gluten content will help you avoid that “full” feeling. 

black rice anderson valley low-calorie beer

Black Rice Ale
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

97 Calories, 3.8% ABV, 18 IBU, 8g Carbs

This year-round brown ale offering from Anderson valley will satisfy your low-calorie (and carb) craving for a darker ale with a nutty, roasty flavor. This is one of, if not the only dark beer on this list. It’s a pretty traditional brown ale, just dialed back. It boasts the use of pale two-row and chocolate malts, along with midnight wheat and black rice. The hops used are Northern Brewer, which are pretty traditional in English style ales. They impart a light woody note to the beer.

nite lite night shift low-calorie beer

Nite Lite
Night Shift Brewing

120 Calories, 4.3% ABV, 8.1g Carbs

Nite Lite is a light lager brewed for the craft beer lover who wants a good solid stand-by lager for tailgating or on the beach, but they wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a macro-brewed lager. Nite Lite sips crisp and refreshing and claims hints of biscuit and citrus. Weighing in at 120 calories and only 8.1 carbs, it’s certainly a good alternative to other “lite” lagers on the market. 

low light motorworks brewing low-calorie beer

Low Light
Motorworks Brewing

99 Calories, 4.3% ABV, 4g carbs

Low Light is a light lager brewed with lemon and lime. It sounds like an excellent summer crusher to enjoy at the beach. The beer is a brilliantly clear light yellow with crisp lemon and lime notes. The malt flavors are light and faintly sweet.

lightpoint new holland low-calorie beer

New Holland Brewing Co.

86 Calories, 3.7% ABV, 2.3g carbs

Billed as a white ale but brewed with coconut water, raw honey and orange peel, Lightpoint is certainly not your standard white ale or Belgian Witbier. One of the fun things about craft beer is tasting various flavor combinations and creative ingredients and Lightpoint certainly delivers in that regard.  

swipe light southern tier low-calorie beer

Swipe Light
Southern Tier Brewing Co.

110 Calories, 4% ABV, 15 IBU, 6.5g carbs

Southern Tier offers up Swipe Light into the low-calorie beer category. This light-bodied beer pours a pale gold with a fresh citrus hop appeal featuring Mosaic and Citra hops making itself known via the aroma and, later, the distinctive flavor.

harpoon rec. league low-calorie beer

Rec. League
Harpoon Brewery

120 Calories, 3.8% ABV, 35 IBU, 10g carbs

Rec. League from Harpoon just makes the cut of low-calorie beers at 120 calories per 12oz, which was the gauge I was using for the cutoff. Rec. League offers up a bountiful hop profile with grapefruit, orange, mango and papaya. Brewed with two row pale malt, oat malt, carapils, buckwheat kasha and chia seeds, you can bet there is some depth to this beer. Harpoon throws in a pinch of Mediterranean Sea salt to round everything out.

easy ringer victory brewing co. low-calorie beer

East Ringer Low-Cal IPA
Victory Brewing Co.

96 Calories, 4.3% ABV, 25 IBU, 3g carbs

Yet another session IPA (I swear I’m not just seeking out session IPAs here) that you can hopefully get your hands on if you’re looking for low-calorie brews. Victory claims this beer to be crisp and light with a mild bitterness with tones of hop character consisting of passion fruit and citrus. I’m obliged to agree with description.

sixpoint brewery trail haze low-calorie beer

Trail Haze
Sixpoint Brewery

99 Calories, 4% ABV, 10 IBU

Sixpoint Brewery says that this beer is heavily dry hopped just like the bigger hazy IPA bombs that you are used to from them. With only 10 IBUs I don’t doubt that almost all the hop character is coming post-boil. Trail Haze will finish dry and hoppy leaving you ready for your next sip pretty quickly.

hop 99 abita brewing co. low-calorie beer

Hop 99
Abita Brewing Co.

99 Calories, 4.2% ABV, 25 IBU 2.7g Carbs

Loaded with Mosaic and Citra hops, Hop 99 delivers big hop flavors, without the big heavy grain bill. The beer is light-bodied and crisp with ad ry finish. You can expect clean citrusy hop flavor and aroma, with just a moderate level of bitterness. Exactly what you would expect from a low-calorie American Pale Ale.

triumphant summit brewing co. low-calorie beer

Summit Brewing Co.

95 Calories, 4.5% ABV, 40 IBU 3.5g Carbs

Triumphant seems to be a fitting name for any beer that can successfully deliver rich flavor and aroma, and still keep the calories below 100 such as this session IPA from Summit. You should experience a complex malt profile with 2 types of pale malt, malted wheat, dark crystal malt, carafoam and victory malt. Summit brewers dry hop this beer with cascade, Amarillo, Azacca, as well as experimental hops.

one-y oskar blues brewery low-calorie beer

Oskar Blues Brewery

100 Calories, 4% ABV, 5g Carbs

One-y IPA from Oskar Blues delivers citrusy hop flavor along with a biscuity malt backbone. This hazy IPA offers flavors of orange peel, tangerine and lemon zest with such intensity that  it makes you forget it’s a low-calorie beer.

1/2 ale brooklyn brewery low-calorie beer

½ Ale
Brooklyn Brewery

102 Calories, 3.4% ABV, 8.5g Carbs

This light and sessionable Saison from Brooklyn brewery is an unfiltered farmhouse ale, but does not carry the funk sometimes associated with farmhouse ales. Basically, historically this strength of Saison was called a table beer. It was a beer to be enjoyed out in the fields as a pick-me-up, not one that would leave you sleeping it off under the table. This lower-ABV style works well as a low-calorie beer, and Brooklyn’s brewers understood this when crafting this recipe.


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