It’s January. You’re on that New Year’s resolution grind. You’re working out, eating salads, and drinking so much water people assume you’re severely hungover 24/7. It’s rough. The roughest part, however, might be the fact that knocking back a cold one doesn’t really align with your goals. While a 10% ABV barrel-aged stout might be against doctor’s orders, it doesn’t mean you’re relegated to the macro section of your local liquor store. If you still want to drink something crafty and delicious, here are the 10 best beers under 150 calories each.
Just to note, many of these calorie counts are estimates from different sources. Seeing as how beer doesn’t need to come with nutritional information, these health stats can be tricky to find.
Not only is Founders All Day IPA easy on the wallet, but it’s easy on the ole waistline too. Available in relatively affordable 15-packs, the session IPA from Founders is an easy-drinking beer we often reach for when we’re trying to save a buck and don’t need anything flashly. It offers up enough of a citrus aroma to inform you you’re enjoying an IPA and enough of a malt backbone to keep you from thinking it’s just flavored water. Everything is fairly mild and a bit of bitterness caps off each sip. When it comes to session IPAs, you could do far worse. Link
If you love big, hoppy IPAs and velvety smooth bourbon barrel-aged stouts, you’re gonna be out of luck in the low-cal department. If you’re willing to venture into the funky world of goses, however, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. A low ABV style that packs a salty kick, the gose is a flavorful number that won’t leave you questioning how many squats you’ll need to do to burn a can off. Few are better than Westbrook’s offering. With a citrusy, salty taste, it will remind you of licking the side of a margarita glass. While Founders All Day IPA is good for a low calorie IPA, Westbrook Gose is just straight up good. Link
The English Bitter is a style rarely played with by craft brewers in the States. That’s too bad, because when done right, an English Bitter is a flavorful, easy-drinking beer that won’t hurt your gains. One killer brewery doing it justice is Surly, who cranks out cans of Bitter Brewer, their take on the style that’s amplified by the marmalade qualities of the Mandarina Bavaria hop. It’s a bit of an Americanized version of the classic bitter, but we’re big fans of its flavor and bite. Link
Okay, as with any beer from Tree House, you’re not going to have an easy time getting this one. That said, if you’re looking for a low-calorie beer that doesn’t drink like one, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Eureka. The hoppy blonde ale is released randomly by the Massachusetts-based powerhouse, often with a different hop being featured, and routinely it’s a grand slam. It’s the best blonde ale we’ve ever had—even if that’s because it drinks like an IPA. The beer clocks in at 4.1% and has been released with Galaxy hops, Citra hops, and many others. If you find yourself in Monson (we’re not sure why you would) and Tree House has cans for sale, you’d be more than wise to stop in. Link
Pucker up health nuts, Fierce is one of the beers you want in your fridge at all times. If you dig a little tartness, Fierce packs just the right punch, and it does it without expanding your waistline like a bag of Warheads. The sourness is balanced out by some sweetness to make Fierce a lively, fun beer perfect for knocking back when you’re watching calories but still want some unique flavor. Link
If you’re willing to make the jump to 165 calories and want something from Ballast Point, we’d highly recommend Grunion, the San Diego-based brewery’s exceedingly delicious pale ale. If, however, you’re strict about your diet (a good thing), go with Even Keel, Ballast Point’s session IPA that packs an aroma reminiscent of far more powerful beers. Thanks to the dry-hopping, Even Keel packs a pungent aroma, full of mango and citrus fruit. Unlike bigger IPAs, however, the body is light and bubbly, making for a refreshing but full-flavored brew. Want to go a little crazy? Pick up Mango Even Keel for an added dose of fruitiness. Link
Here’s a little secret: J. Wakefield is brewing some of the most flavorful, fun beers you’ve never tried. If you have the opportunity, head to Miami and taste for yourself. For this list, none of their beers are more perfect than Miami Madness, one of their standout Berliner Weisses. With layer upon layer of passion fruit and guava, you’ll feel like you’re on an island the minute you crack a bottle. It’s very acidic and more sweet than traditional Berliner Weisses, but it also has way more flavor. Seriously, hunt this down. Just one word of caution: There appear to have been some tweaks and the ABV has changed over time. You’ll obviously be looking for vintages where it clocks in between 3-4%. Link
If your goal is to get smashed, look elsewhere. Evil Twin’s Bikini Beer is more apt for easy beach drinking than a my-work-week-sucked-and-I-want-to-not-feel-my-face Friday. At just 2.7% ABV, it’s closer to an O’Doul’s than a Double IPA—but that doesn’t mean it’s not still delicious. You’ll get some cracker malts and some light hop spice in a package that shouldn’t be so flavorful. It’s bubbly and far more exciting than a glass of soda. It will be bikini season before you know it, gents. Link
For those who don’t have access to Boat Beer, a sessionable ale from New Jersey’s Carton Brewing, you don’t know what your missing. Not only is Boat a fantastic low-cal option, it’s a fantastic option period. One of our favorite beers, Boat Beer is pale ale that clocks in at 4.20%. Utilizing Kolsch yeast and German malts, Carton made a light beer that’s crisp and refreshing like a Pilsner but aromatic like an American IPA. Only “issue” is that Boat comes in a 16-ounce can, so sticking to a 12-ounce pour is kinda tough. Link
What we like most about Oatsmobile is that it solves one of our major issues with sessionable beers—the lack of body. Too many sessions drink like flavored water. Now we’re not going to proclaim Oatsmobile the creamiest beer ever, but for something so light, it’s impressive. Oats used in the mash bill give it a bit of body and the Pacific Northwest hop varieties give it a citrusy aroma. Stock up and keep the pounds off. Link