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The 14 Best Low-Calorie Beers to Drink This Summer

A before summer plea: forgo the White Claw and reach for one of these low-calorie beers that taste better, and are still better for you.

low calorie beers
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Within the Gear Patrol ranks, I'm known as the anti-hard seltzer guy. As a Certified Beer Server, I have a devotion to craft beer more than others. But my philosophy has always been that every beer has a time and place to shine, because I am not a beer snob — if the situation calls for it, I'll drink Miller Lite or a good non-alcoholic beer 'till the cows come home.

While hard seltzers just aren’t my thing (it's really that sugary aftertaste — I’m not a fan of soda, either) I recognize there is probably a time and place for them for most people, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to settle for hard seltzer – there are uber-low-cal beers, too, and with more flavor backbone (including IPAs) than the White Claws and Trulys of the world. The following 120-calorie-and-below beers will keep you as refreshed as that case of Claws in your fridge this summer.

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Firestone Walker Mind Haze Light
Firestone Walker
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Brewery Location: Paso Robles, CA

A light version of the beloved Mind Haze is just a beer we all deserve. And Firestone Walker delivers on that promise: it's got plenty of mouthfeel, hop character and body to trick you into thinking it's just a solid Hazy IPA. Mind Haze Light is a beer we're going to be drinking a lot of this summer, and if you're looking for a lo-cal IPA that doesn't sacrifice on taste then stock your cooler when you find it.

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty
Dogfish Head
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 95
  • Carbs: 3.6 grams
  • Brewery Location: Rehobeth, DE

By utilizing monk fruit (which has no calories), Dogfish Head was able to reduce the malt bill in Slightly Mighty to cut down on calories without sacrificing an IPA's balancing sweetness. The result is a full-bodied, Lo-Cal IPA with loads of tropical hop notes.

Bell’s Brewery Light Hearted Ale
Bell's
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 3.7%
  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 8.7 grams
  • Brewery Location: Comstock, MI

It’d be an honest mistake to think that Bell’s Light Hearted Ale is just a lighter version of the legendary Two Hearted Ale. Instead, Light Hearted is more like a cousin that packs its own hop character (with the addition of Galaxy to go along with Centennial) yet still offers a full body. The 8.7 grams of carbs are the third-highest on this list, but Light Hearted also tastes the most like a really good IPA.

Cigar City Jai Low
Cigar City Brewing
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 14.9 grams
  • Brewery Location: Tampa Bay, FL

Jai Low is Cigar City's low-calorie version of its flagship Jai Alai. While Jai Alai is an iconic 7.5-percent ABV IPA, Jai Low drops the volume but still packs a flavor punch. It has the most grams of carbs of any beer on this list, and that's probably why it more or less tastes like a regular IPA — and I mean that in a good way.

Wallenpaupack Brewing Smallmouth
Wallenpaupack
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 4.4%
  • Calories: 102
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Brewery Location: Hawley, PA

Wallenpaupack Brewing may be the one brewery on this list you haven’t heard of before. But that doesn’t mean they’re not making some solid beers out in Pennsylvania. Its newest offering is Small Mouth Session IPA, a very clean Session IPA that’s a refreshing welcome in the sea of Hazy IPAs these days.

Night Shift Nite Lite
Night Shift Brewing
  • Beer Style: Light Lager
  • ABV: 4.3%
  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 8.1 grams
  • Brewery Location: Everett, MA

Many local and regional craft breweries have started brewing Light Lagers in the past few years, which we're very much in favor of as a trend. But Night Shift's Nite Lite was an inspiration for others (having been released in 2016) and was a leader in a revived commitment to light sippers. The malt bill is delicately balanced with a decent hop character for a light lager, providing a crisp and clean finish.

Evil Twin Brewing Bikini Beer
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  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 2.7%
  • Calories: 81
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Brewery Location: Queens, NY

Well ahead of its time, Bikini Beer came along in 2012 and arguably led the way for all the other beers on this list. It's extremely light-bodied and drinkable, being the lowest ABV beer on this list. Despite that, it still offers your typical IPA notes of citrus. If you're looking for a beach beer, look no further.

Deschutes Brewery Wowza
Deschutes
  • Beer Style: Session Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Brewery Location: Bend, OR

Another Lo-Cal Hazy, Deschutes employed chicory root to help cut down on the malt bill while continuing to balance out the hop combination of Simcoe, Citra and Cashmere. Not as full-bodied as some of the others on this list, Wowza still does a tremendous job of passing as a Session Pale Ale thanks to its tropical notes and ability to refresh on a hot day.

Bell's Brewery LoSun
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  • Beer Style: Wheat Ale
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 7.5 grams
  • Brewery Location: Comstock, MI

Let's be clear: LoSun is no Oberon. Then again, it's hard to live up to one of the best wheat beers out there. What LoSun is though is a lo-cal wheat ale that packs a bit more hop character than the typical wheat beer. Smooth and a bit of citrus taste, LoSun is a beer that'll be a great refresher on a sweltering day.

Harpoon Rec League
Harpoon
  • Beer Style: New England IPA
  • ABV: 3.8%
  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Brewery Location: Boston, MA

Harpoon recognized the emergence of two trends and was one of the first breweries to put out a Lo-Cal NEIPA when it released Rec League in early 2019. Being ahead of that curve is part of the reason why Rec League has the most calories and most carbs of any beer on this list. But it's very much akin to a NEIPA — (mostly) pillowy-soft mouthfeel and tropical juiciness with the faintest bit of watered-down quality as you go through it. But at 3.8 percent ABV that's not really a dealbreaker.

Lagunitas DayTime
Lagunitas
  • Beer Style: Session IPA
  • ABV: 4%Calories: 98
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Brewery Location: Petaluma, CA

Tied for the least amount of carbs on this list, DayTime punches above its weight. That's thanks to the use of Centennial and Citra hops, as well as oats in the malt bill — all of which give this one a close-to-normal-IPA taste. Its straw color appearance is a bit deceiving in this regard, as it's a tropical hop-forward beer that you can pound all day long.

Ballast Point Lager
Ballast Point
  • Beer Style: Light Lager
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Calories: 99
  • Carbs: 3.5 grams
  • Brewery Location: San Diego, CA

Is there a more modern fall-from-grace story in craft beer than that of Ballast Point? The cautionary tale of selling out aside, Lager from Ballast Point is one of its beers that has remained unchanged. This light lager packs more taste and flavor than most others in the category and doesn't give you the feeling that you're drinking something low in calories or carbs. And at the end of the day, that's what a good low-calorie beer does.

New Holland Brewing Lightpoint
New Holland Brewing
  • Beer Style: White Ale
  • ABV: 3.7%
  • Calories: 86
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Brewery Location: Holland, MI

A white ale is not typically a beer style you'd expect to see as "low calorie." Additionally, the brewers of one of the most accessible bourbon barrel-aged stouts (Dragon's Milk) are not the ones you'd expect to also be doing a low-calorie summer beer. But Lightpoint is refreshing and has just the right amount of Belgian spice to it. It's not overwhelming in any way, but has enough of the required flavors to pass as not low calorie. It's an under-the-radar non-IPA on this list.

Southern Tier Swipe Light
Southern Tier
  • Beer Style: Light Lager
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 6.5 grams
  • Brewery Location: Lakewood, NY

Southern Tier tends to get overlooked as a New York export among the vast array of hyped NYC and Hudson Valley breweries. But its Swipe Light is a complex yet crisp light lager that's an ideal pairing for any summer day spent outdoors. The use of go-to IPA hops Citra and Mosaic give Swipe Light more hop character and taste than most other light lagers on this list.

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