7 Low-Calorie Craft Beers That Are Delicious & Satisfying

Lew Bryson
by Lew Bryson
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Losing weight and getting fitter isn’t easy — at the end of the day, it’s about adjusting your habits so you can establish a pattern that’s healthier for you. But life is also a celebration, not a chore. That means there’s room in those habits for some fun: grilled salmon, an occasional piece of cake … and beer.

That’s where I can help you. I wrote a piece last year about how I fit my job — tasting and writing about craft beer and whiskey — into my own personal weight-loss program, aided by MyFitnessPal. I’m still doing that, and I’m always looking for rare beers that have the flavor I crave while not blowing my daily logging goals.


If you want to fit those small celebrations into your life with the kind of flavor that makes the sacrifice worthwhile, the following craft beers are winners. They’re all 120 calories or less per 12-ounce serving, and offer a wide variety of flavors.

Keep in mind that while there are health benefits to moderate drinking, the key word is “moderate.” It’s still alcohol, which means you need to approach it responsibly. So try a few of these, in moderation.

(All calorie counts are based on a 12-ounce serving, the standard bottle or can. Draft beer pours at bars vary widely; consume and record with caution.)

Cervesa Guineu; Barcelona
84 calories, 2.5% ABV
With a calorie count that rivals the lightest of light beers, this Spanish pale ale surprises with deliciously bright and zesty hop character. It can be hard to find, but rewards with easy drinking pleasure.

Evil Twin Brewing; Brooklyn, New York
88 calories, 2.7% ABV
The name’s no lie: With that calorie count, this is bikini-season beer. Hopped right to the edge of balance with the light body, the lemony citrus character is briskly refreshing.

Brooklyn Brewery; Brooklyn, New York
102 calories, 3.4% ABV
The tongue-in-cheek name clues you in that this is a lighter version of the spicy, refreshing season type that’s growing in popularity. The flavors center on spices, malt and fruit. It’s well-balanced and never heavy.

Sly Fox Brewing Co.; Pottstown, Pennsylvania
108 calories, 3.6% ABV
Regionally available around New York and Philadelphia, O’Reilly’s manages to be as tasty as the king of stouts — Guinness — with less alcohol and calories. It’s a popular local (and fresh) alternative.     

Ballast Point Brewing Co.; San Diego
114 calories, 3.8% ABV
Widely available, tasty and nicely balanced between hops and a bit of malt sweetness, this is an easy choice. It comes in convenient cans, safe for poolside afternoons or hiking.

Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, Michigan
120 calories, 4.0% ABV
Similar to a Berliner Weisse, Oarsman is less assertively tart, but still wildly refreshing. It’s also widely available (year-round in 23 states) and comes in these stylish cans. 

Uinta Brewing; Salt Lake City
120 calories, 4.0% ABV
Utah’s restrictive alcohol laws have made the state’s brewers masters of low-alcohol, low-calorie beers. Baba (like the nursery rhyme sheep) is black in color, but mellow, roasty and great with simple grilled meats and vegetables.

About the Author

Lew Bryson
Lew Bryson

Lew has been writing about beer and spirits full-time since 1995. He was the managing editor of Whisky Advocate from 1996 through 2015, and is a frequent feature writer. He is currently a columnist for All About Beer, a regular writer for the Daily Beast and the American correspondent for Scotchwhisky.com. He lives north of Philadelphia with his wife and two Welsh Corgis. Follow him on Twitter @LewBryson.


10 responses to “7 Low-Calorie Craft Beers That Are Delicious & Satisfying”

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  4. Avatar Michelle Anderson says:

    Thanks for this list! I love IPAs but not their calorie counts. With summer bike season coming up I thought I was going to be stuck drinking domestic ‘light’ beers for their lower calorie counts. Hopefully I can find something from this list locally. If not I will grab another session IPA (I hadn’t thought to look at those for lower calories). Thanks again!

    • Avatar Leslie Carson says:

      I love IPA’s and cut calories somewhere else. I go for the taste and the alcohol content. I live in Flagstaff, AZ, a huge craft beer town.

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  8. Avatar Glenn Nelson says:

    I always enjoy a cold glass of beer and while craft beers are great I don’t always have the pleasure of finding the listed beers. So I end up drinking a domestic beer. I found that Miller Light has the least calories at 96 while Bud Light is at 110 calories. These calories are for a 12 oz bottle. So beware if you order draft where most bars offer a small 16 oz glass or larger 22 oz glass of draft which increases your calorie count. I have found that most Happy Hour menu items provide less calories then a standard menu because at a lower price you also receive smaller portions. For me that is perfect. I can order my Miller Light and a small salad or light fish plate.

  9. Avatar Melissa says:

    This article seems to have broken off so I can only see the first beer on the list. Thought you might like to know since this is great info what with summer BBQs right around the corner.
    ; >

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