• Dane Jerous

Low Calorie Beer That Actually Tastes Good


If you’re trying to eat better and maybe ditch a few pesky pounds but you also love to kick back with a cold one after a long day, low calorie beers just might be your solution. By swapping one traditional brew for a low calorie beer, you can save more than 100 empty calories per drink. That can really add up when you’re trying to eat better or slim down!

When they first made it to market, many low calorie beers got a bad rap. Beer purists described them as watered-down and tasteless. But things have changed dramatically since those days. Now, with so many competitive low calorie beers on the market, they have to taste good to stay in business. However, having so many low calorie beers to choose from can also be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to the scene.

We caught up with Registered Dietitian and beer enthusiast, Mandi Knowles, to find out which low calorie beers she would recommend. Mandi took a look (OK, and a taste) of several low calorie beers to determine which 10 we would most recommend.

“While there has been a good selection of low calorie beers on the market from the large beer companies, many in my opinion have lacked that small crafted taste,” says Mandi. “If you are a beer lover like me, you are probably no stranger to the craft beer boom over the past 10 years. Small craft breweries have constantly been innovating on new flavors, hop varieties and recipes that have surely changed the beer scene.”



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Unfortunately, these amazingly delicious beers are often higher in calories (200+ per 12 ounces) than your big named beer staples. When looking at the top beer brands in America, it’s clear that lower calorie options are HOT and consumers are setting the demand, potentially forcing craft breweries to take a look at this opportunity. (Can I get a ‘OH YEAH’?)

Since 2019, there has been a boom of nationally available low calorie craft beers and 2020 may be dubbed “the Year of the Low-Cal IPA,” says CraftBeer.com. “Good news for me (us) since IPAs are my favorite type of beer,” says Mandi. “I was surely skeptical, so I put them to the test and was extremely surprised to find some delicious options. In fact, a few will surely remain in my rotation of beers, especially during the summer months.”

Our criteria were simple. The beers had to:

  1. Be 100 calories or less

  2. Taste delicious

  3. Come from a nationally available craft brewery

So how did we do? We were pleasantly surprised to discover that there are plenty of options that fit the bill. Landing on 10 recommendations proved extremely easy (almost too easy).

Here are 10 low calorie craft beers that Mandi recommends:

1. Hop 99 by Abita (Mandi’s favorite!)

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 4.2%

  3. Carbs: 2.7 grams

2. Lagunitas Daytime

  1. Calories: 98

  2. ABV: 4%

  3. Carbs: 3 grams

3. Avery Pacer IPA

  1. Calories: 100

  2. ABV: 4.5%

  3. Carbs: 3.5 grams



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4. Oskar Blues One-y

  1. Calories: 100

  2. ABV: 4%

  3. Carbs: 5 grams

5. Goose Island So Lo

  1. Calories: 98

  2. ABV: 3%

  3. Carbs: 8.4 grams

6. Dogfish Head Slighty Mighty

  1. Calories: 95

  2. ABV: 4 %

  3. Carbs: 3.6 grams

7. Blue Moon Light Sky

  1. Calories: 95

  2. ABV: 4%

  3. Carbs: 3.6 grams

8. Shiner Light Blonde

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 4.2%

  3. Carbs: 3.8 grams

9. EvilTwin Bikini Beer

  1. Calories: 81

  2. ABV: 2.7%

  3. Carbs: Not disclosed

10. Saint Archer Gold

  1. Calories: 95

  2. ABV: 4.2%

  3. Carbs: 2.6 grams



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If you are looking for low calorie beers from the big brands, here are 10 additional options that are less than 100 calories:

1. Corona Light

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 4%

  3. Carbs: 5 grams

2. Michelob Ultra

  1. Calories: 95

  2. ABV: 4.2

  3. Carbs: 2.6 grams

3. Miller64

  1. Calories: 64

  2. ABV: 2.8%

  3. Carbs: 2.4 grams

4. Miller Light

  1. Calories: 96

  2. ABV: 4.2%

  3. Carbs: 3.2 grams

5. Yuengling Light Lager

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 3.8%

  3. Carbs: 8.5 grams



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6. Milwaukee’s Best Light

  1. Calories: 96

  2. ABV: 4.1%

  3. Carbs: 3.5 grams

7. Molson Canadian 67

  1. Calories: 70

  2. ABV: 3%

  3. Carbs: 2.6 grams

8. Budweiser Select

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 4.3%

  3. Carbs: 3.1 grams

9. Busch Light

  1. Calories: 95

  2. ABV: 4.1%

  3. Carbs: 3.2 grams

10. Heineken Light

  1. Calories: 99

  2. ABV: 3.3%

  3. Carbs: 7 grams



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Mandi answers some frequently asked questions about beer on Nutrisystem. Read on to find out what she looks for in a low calorie beer and how your brew can impact weight loss:

1. What criteria should I look for when selecting a low calorie beer?

With so many delicious mainstream options, it’s no longer difficult to find a tasty, refreshing beer for around 100 calories at the store. Since this is a selling point for these beers, they typically call out the calories on the package or on the label. This makes them easier to identify. Here are a few things to consider when trying to select a low calorie beer if the nutrition information is not available:

  1. Since all alcohol provides approximately seven calories per gram, the lower the alcohol by volume (ABV), the lower the calories. So, look for beers that provide a lower ABV. This information is typically available, especially at craft breweries.

  2. Sweeter tasting beers most likely have more calories.

  3. It’s a myth that dark beers have more calories than lighter beers. It’s all based on the ABV.

  4. Look for words like “low” or “light” in the name.

2. What do these beers count as on the Nutrisystem program?

One beer should be counted as one SmartCarb or three Extras on the Nutrisystem program. We recommend a maximum of two servings of alcohol per week. Try to spread them out and don’t have them on the day.



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3. What are some things to consider when you’re trying to lose weight but also love beer?

  1. Calories. I think it’s important to be aware that beer or alcohol in general does provide calories. Typically, a serving of alcohol (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor) provides around 100 to 150 calories on average, depending on the type. So, having a drink or three can really add up to a significant portion of calories that can surely impact weight loss progress if done frequently.

  2. Empty Calories. You may have heard alcohol referred to as empty calories. The reason for this is that alcohol doesn’t provide much nutritive value beyond calories from alcohol and some carbs. There is no protein, fat or fiber to help keep you full and satisfied while providing these calories.

  3. Poor Decision making. Excess alcohol can impede your decision-making ability and often leads to eating disinhibition and making poor diet decisions. Have you ever craved a salad after drinking a few cocktails? Nah, pizza or fried food is often the go-to, even the morning after. So, it’s important to have a plan in place prior to a night out on the town to help you make goal supported choices while imbibing.

  4. Alcohol dehydrates the body. It’s important to hydrate with water while you’re drinking. Try alternating between one beer and one glass of water. You should also drink more water the next day to help rehydrate the body and minimize water retention and bloating.

4. Is a low calorie beer the best option when I’m on Nutrisystem, or should I consider dry wines or mixed drinks?

If low calorie beer is what you will enjoy, then I think it’s the best option for you at that moment. If you choose to have a drink, it’s best that you fully enjoy it then choosing something that you don’t really want. Dry wines provide around 120 calories, so having a low calorie beer is surprisingly a better option. Additionally, a mixed beverage with a no calorie mixer is still going to be around 100 calories, so it’s wash. Choose what you like but keep in mind that moderation is key. Drinking 10 light beers to get a buzz is counterproductive.

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