So you want to cut back on carbs and be a little healthier. But just because you want to live a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean you have to give up life's pleasures. If you're a fan of craft beer, you can still indulge wisely with low carb craft beer.
Low calorie beer, or light beer, has been around since the 1940s, though it didn't gain popularity until the 1970s when Coors Light and Miller Lite were introduced. Since then, the beer giants have leaned into low carb beers as well as low calorie beers and U.S. beer drinkers have responded by making the top four beer brands all light beers (Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra and Miller Lite, respectively). But more and more craft brewers are getting into the low carb game, too, which means if you're into craft beer, you've got some excellent options.
A low carb beer generally means a beer that's lower in alcohol content, since the higher the alcohol content, the more sugar (and thus more carbs) you get in the beer. Getting beer to its lowest carb level tends to mean sacrificing taste and body, so craft brewmasters are looking for innovative ways to keep the flavor in their beers while making them appeal to a more health-conscious crowd. That mostly means focusing on session beers and using fruit to brew a flavorful beer with less sugar.
With craft breweries in almost every part of the country and many beer brands being distributed across their local regions, you should be able to find several beer options with a low carb count. Here are 15 of the best low carb craft beers in the country right now.
1. Devils Backbone Bright Pineapple
Devils Backbone Brewing Company makes an insanely good line of beer. If you've never been to their Base Camp located in the Virginia mountains, put it on your road trip list. But you can find their beer at bars and stores across much of the East Coast, including a Pineapple Sparkling Ale that comes in at 85 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates and a 4.1% ABV. DB also makes a Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale.
2. Shiner Ruby Redbird
Shiner is a local Texas favorite, made now by the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Ruby Redbird is a low carb craft beer brewed with Texas grapefruit for a light, refreshing taste and comes in 95 calories and 3.1 grams of carbs. It's definitely a poolside sipper, but it's perfect year-round, too. Here's to drinking beer without the carbs.
3. Shiner Light Blonde
If fruity beers aren't your thing and you really just want a low-carb lager, Shiner has another option with Shiner Light Blonde. A 12-ounce serving clocks in at 99 calories, 3.8 grams of carbs and 4.2% ABV, which makes it an easy-drinking, low carb diet-friendly choice.
4. Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty
It's tough to make a good low calorie pale ale, but Delaware brewery Dogfish Head has figured out the secret for their low carb craft beer. Their Slightly Mighty IPA uses monk fruit to brew a beer that balances hoppy bitterness with malty sweetness but doesn't add extra sugar. A 12-ounce serving has only 95 calories and 3.6 grams of carbs.
5. Lagunitas DayTime IPA
California-based brewery Lagunitas revamped their session IPA in 2019 specifically to bring it in under the 100-calorie count mark. It now features 98 calories, a 4% ABV and 3 grams of carbs.
6. Deschutes Brewery Da Shootz
Another West Coast pilsner, the Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery offers Da Shootz with 99 calories, 4.2 grams of carbs and 4% ABV. The brew is a little spicy, a little citrusy and all tasty low carb goodness.
7. Kona Brewing Co. Kahana Blonde
Hawaii's own Kona Brewing Co. offers a lovely blonde ale with 4 grams of carbs, 99 calories and 4.4% ABV. The mango gives it a light tropical taste without being a too-fruity beer.
8. Surly Brewing Co. Rosé Lager
Surly describes their Rosé Lager as "crisp, refreshing, and pink as hell." Brewed with strawberries, currants and champagne yeast, it's a fruit-forward light lager that drinks like a glass of rosé with 127 calories and 2.25 grams of carbs per a 12 ounce serving, with a 5.2% ABV.
9. Southbound Brewing Company Light Lager
A session lager, this low carb craft beer brewed in Atlanta, Georgia, comes in right at 100 calories, 3.5 grams of carbs and 4.2% ABV. The taste of the beer is as advertised, a light and crisp pilsner lager. You can easily drink more than one, though, like any good treat, they do add up.
10. Brewery Ommegang Brut IPA
The Cooperstown, New York, brewery debuted their low carb Brut IPA in 2018. This dry-hopped bubbly IPA is one of the more calorie-heavy on our low carb craft beer list, with 140 calories, but it still qualifies as low carb with 3.9 grams. It is also one of the boozier brews, coming in at 6.3% ABV.
11. Boulevard Brewing Co. Easy Sport
This Kansas City, Missouri, brewery offers a beer designed for people who like to be active. Easy Sport is finished with electrolytes and tangerine peel and comes in at 99 calories, 4.5 grams of carbs and 4.1% ABV. We're not saying you should make this brew your post-workout recovery drink, but you could probably do worse.
12. Allagash Brewing Co. Allagash Saison
This beer definitely counts as low carb, with only 4.8 grams of carbs, but it is a little higher on the calorie side, with 183 calories for a 12-ounce bottle. Count this tasty beer as an extra treat that still isn't cheating on your low carb or keto diet.
13. Omission Brewing Co. Ultimate Light Golden Ale
Omission's Ultimate Light Golden Ale is more than just low carb and low cal; it's also gluten-free. That means the world to beer drinkers who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. This full-flavored beer comes in at 99 calories, 5 grams of carbs and 4.2% ABV.
14. Pittsburgh Brewing Co. IC Light
Pittsburgh Brewing Co., which is also known in its hometown as Iron City Brewing, makes a super-low carb light lager that's tasty and easy to drink. It comes in at 95 calories and only 2.8 grams of carbs, with a 4.2% ABV. This is a low carb craft beer you can definitely indulge in.
This article was originally published on January 31, 2020.