High octane was the status quo for craft brewers when the industry really began to boom. Massive amounts of hops and alcohol were the best way to differentiate their beer from those that taste like copulating in a canoe. Thankfully breweries have started to realize that they can pack a ton of flavor into a beer without having it be 9% ABV.

You can call them lawnmower beers, session beers, or patio pounders. The important thing is that you can spend all day drinking these beers without going into a booze coma. Here are ten great options for all day drinking that come in at less than 5% ABV.


The Down Low – Lagunitas

Copper ales don’t get nearly enough play, but The Down Low might just be the foot in the door the style needs. This newest offering is deliciously high on hops and carbonation. It’s only available in Lagunitas’ signature 22oz bottle so bring your drinking hat. Link


Copper Ale – 3.9% ABV

Wolf Pup IPA  - Golden Road

LA knows all about fun in the sun. And while the beer scene isn’t huge, great breweries like Golden Road are keeping the beaches stocked. Their Wolf Pup IPA packs plenty of citrus and a taste of tropics, making it a perfect for a sand session. Link


Session IPA – 4.5% ABV

Sour Bikini - Evil Twin

This dry-hopped sour is one of the few things on a beach more enjoyable than the titular bathing suit. It’s reminiscent of a radler but oh so much better. It houses a huge aroma and plenty of grapefruit and lemon at a mere 3% ABV. Link


Sour Pale Ale – 3% ABV

Yacht – Stillwater

Many of us anxiously await the mass arrival of great lagers. In the meantime, Yacht  shows everything that a crisp, clean pilsner can be. It’s light and refreshing but full of hop flavor. And no, you don’t need a fancy yacht to enjoy this tasty tallboy. Link


Dry-Hopped Session Lager – 4.2% ABV

Neon Prince - Hop Valley Brewing

A low ABV Oregon IPA is about as common as a beardless brewer, but Hop Valley made it happen. Don’t be fooled by the nod to neon. This isn’t a beer for the club kids. It’s definitely an all day every day drinker. Link


Session IPA – 4.5% ABV

Boat Beer - Carton

Boat might just be the most memorable session beer I’ve had. The Kolsch yeast and 8 different hops allow it to consistently change. If you chug, it tastes one way. If you slowly sip, it’s completely different. It might just be the perfect low-booze beer. Link


Session Ale – 4.2% ABV

JIBE - Green Flash

Jibe is the lowest IPA I can recall seeing, but it somehow manages to be as flavorful as beers nearly twice it’s size. It’s certainly some sort of sorcery. Call it interesting, complex, or any other words we writers bandy about… this beer is just plain good. Link


India Pale Ale – 4% ABV

Passion Fruit Pinner - Oskar Blues

OB already had a winner with their Pinner Throwback IPA, but the addition of pureed passion fruit and blood orange give it a unique kick that’s perfect for summer. It’s light, refreshing, and completely different than every other beer. Link


India Pale Ale – 4.9% ABV

Dead Pony Club - BrewDog

I’m not Bill Nye so I can’t back this with science, but Dead Pony Club might be the hoppiest sub-4% beer on the market. It’s big on citrus and tropical fruit and is probably the closest thing to a West Coast pale ale to come out of the UK. Link


Session Pale Ale – 3.8% ABV

Pop-Up Session I.P.A. – Boulevard

Boulvard’s Single and Double-Wide IPAs are two of my go-to’s, and their little brother Pop-Up does the family proud. I hate to use the cliché “well-balanced,” but it’s an apt description. It has the perfect level of hops vs. malt for an easy drinking bottle of happiness. Link


American IPA – 4.3% ABV

*Honorable Mention*

New Glarus – Wisconsin Belgian Red, Serendipity, Raspberry Tart

There are very few examples of why we should be jealous of people who live in Wisconsin, but New Glarus is a glaring one. Their fruit beers are low octane but taste better than just about every type in your local liquor store. Sadly they’re only available in the Badger State. Link


Fruit / Vegetable Beer – 4% ABV
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