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Liquid calories can creep up on us, especially in the summer months when we’re reaching for anything to quench our thirst. One drink where liquid calories kill us is good ole cold beer. A 12-ounce glass alone can have over hundred calories, and all that carbonation can leave you feeling bloated.
So, how can you enjoy the tasty treat without upsetting your gut? If your first instinct is to search for the nutrition label, you probably won’t find it. Alcohol isn’t regulated by the FDA, which is why beer cans often lack important information. But this doesn’t mean you can’t consciously indulge. Our best tip? If you can’t find a full ingredient list, look out for the things that are written on the can or bottle, like low alcohol by volume (ABV) and low calorie count. Hint: most of the better-for-you options will always have these two important bits of info. Beers low in both will help you keep down your calorie and alcohol consumption without having to overthink it.
There are some amazing brands out there with refreshingly light versions of beer, even some low-calorie IPAs. Some even have unexpected natural ingredients like monk fruit and bee pollen that add a flavorful and healthier twist. We’ve rounded up 10 of our most refreshing — and lightest — favorites, from pale ales to ciders, all under 150 calories and some as low as 3% ABV.
4% ABV. 98 calories, 3g carbs per 12. oz. serving
This hoppy IPA is light in the things that weigh you down — and instead, overflowing with flavorful ingredients like fruit. It tastes like a perfect mix of passion fruit, mango, citrus and cedar.
4% ABV, 95 calories. 3.6 carbs per 12. oz. serving
Another India Pale Ale that won’t leave you puffy, this beer is low in just about everything, from carbs to calories. What makes it truly special? It’s brewed with monk fruit extract, which has 300 times the sweetness of raw sugar without any extra calories or carbs.
3.0% ABV, 98 calories, 9g carbs per 12. oz. serving
It’s all in the name with this beer. With an extremely low ABV, you’ll be able to enjoy Goose Island’s So-Lo without overdoing it. As for flavor, it wows with a bright citrus and herbal aroma with a balanced bitter hoppy taste. It’s big on hops but low on calories.
4% ABV, 100 calories, 4g carbs per 12. oz. serving
This citrusy hazy pale ale has a crisp, light finish. A surprisingly unexpected ingredient, chicory root, brings some balance to the body of the beer without affecting the calorie count.
3.5% ABV, 95 calories, 5g carbs per 12. oz. serving
With floral aromas of honeysuckle, this kolsch-style beer brings flavor and body, but without lots of extra calories and carbs. It’s even enhanced with the added ingredient of the superfood bee pollen.
4.0% ABV, 110 calories, 9g carbs per 12. oz. serving
If your tastebuds are looking for an adventure, they’ll find it in this colorful can. Infused with fresh watermelon, hibiscus, lime and agave, this beer brings a natural twist without any artificial flavors.
3.8% ABV, 85 calories, 2.5g carbs per 12. oz. serving
Perhaps the most popular light beer is Michelob Ultra. Aside from being low in calories and ABV, the refreshing sipper is also USDA certified organic and free of artificial additives.
4.2% ABV, 100 calories, 2g sugar per 12. oz. serving
This Brut Super Dry Cider is truly one of a kind. The super light concoction offers both a cidery taste and the sensory experience of a dry champagne, along with an orange aroma and other citrus notes. Made from real fruit, it truly has it all. Well, not the bad stuff of course. It’s free of gluten and artificial flavors.
5% ABV, 150 calories, 9g sugar per 12. oz. serving
This organic cider tastes like a sip of fresh fruit, which is exactly what it’s made from. Crafted with organic apple concentrate, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly, this is the perfect thirst-quenching drink to take you from summer into autumn.
5.5% ABV, 140 calories, 1g sugar per 12. oz. serving
This cider features an intense raspberry flavor with a crisp, dry finish. At just 1 gram of sugar per serving, it’ll satisfy your cider fix without imparting any overly sweet, artificial tastes.