When it comes to beer, many people believe that the only way to enjoy the drink is to consume high-calorie options. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are now several low-calorie beers on the market that offer the same great taste without all of the extra calories.
If you’re looking for a low-calorie beer, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, check the label to see how many calories are in each serving.
Regular beers can range from around 100 calories per serving all the way up to over 300 calories, but a light beer should have no more than around 100.
Second, consider the alcohol content. Lower calorie beers tend to have a lower alcohol content as well, but they can range from around 2.4% – 5%.
In the beers we have chosen here, most are around the 100 calories mark with the exception of Budweiser Select 55 and Miller Genuine Draft 64, which have significantly fewer calories.
The Top Ten Low Calorie Beers
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start shopping. Here are ten of the best low calorie beers currently on the market.
We should say up front, these aren’t beers to impress the bearded craft-brewing hipster in your life, but if you are camping on a hot day or have just finished mowing the lawns and have put a football game on, these lights are going to be your best friends.
The Best Low Calorie Beers Available: Table
In the section below we provide a short review of all 10 of the lowest calories beers, but here is the detail on them in a simple table (see here for an even more comprehensive look at the amount of calories in the leading beers in the US).
|Beer||Calories||ABV (%)||Carbs (g)|
|Miller Genuine Draft 64||64||2.8||2.4|
1. Budweiser Select 55
This low-calorie beer from Budweiser has just 55 calories per 12-ounce serving – thats fewer calories than any competing beer. It’s also one of the lowest alcohol content light beers available, with only 2.4% ABV.
Select 55 is also a low carb beer with just 1.9 grams of carbohydrate per 12oz bottle or can.
Budweiser Select 55 is an even lower calorie variant of Budweiser’s flagship low carb beer, Budwesier Select.
Style-wise, Budweiser Select and Select 55 are golden lagers (different to a golden ale). So expect a more malty, earthy flavor than Bud or Bud Light.
This is a beer that will appeal to calorie and carb conscious drinkers, but isn’t likely to excite the purists.
This review from Beer Advocate is probably a fair reflection on Budweiser Select 55:
“A decent example of a low calorie, low carb beer. Pours a pale yellow color with little head. Aroma is of malt and something vaguely off-putting. The taste is thin and watery, but it is a 55 calorie beer. Mouthfeel is light. With a clean, thin finish. Not a great beer, but it beats drinking water”
2. Coors Light
Coors Light is another low-calorie option, with 102 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s a bit higher in alcohol content than Budweiser Select 55, however, at 5% ABV.
Like most light lager beers, Coors Light is not known for big bold flavors, but our beer judge Andy Sparhawk’s review of Coors light found it to be a crisp, easy drinking refreshing beer that is a good example of a premium light beer.
One would be relatively hard pressed for anyone to parse specific flavors in Coors Light. The beer is watery; many would describe it as having a crisp taste, but crispness isn’t a flavor. Crispness is more appropriately discussed in mouthfeel because it is a tertiary sense within the palate.
“I struggled to describe flavors in the beer, but here’s what I was able to perceive. Remember that the style itself is not meant to have strong flavors. So these descriptors are not meant to be a criticism; simply what I got: ‘light sand color, very light grain character, slightly sweet flavor (malt), very low grassy hop note, and mild bitterness’.”
3. Miller Genuine Draft 64
Miller Genuine Draft 64 has just 64 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s a low-calorie and low-carb option that’s also low in alcohol, with only 2.8% ABV.
For some drinkers, this is their favorite light beer and fans recommend you drink it well chilled.
It’s never going to tantalise your taste buds with strong flavors or a bitter taste, but it is a solid beer.
4. Heineken Light
Heineken Light is a great option if you’re looking for a low-calorie beer that still has a bit of flavor. It has 99 calories per 12-ounce serving and 3.3% ABV.
This European light lager is more a full flavored lager than its US brewed counterparts. Expect a little more malt flavor and a bit more hop driven bitterness than the beers above with an overall smooth taste.
It’s still a light lager though and is unlikely to offend drinkers looking for a crisp and inoffensive beer taste.
5. Amstel Light
Amstel Light is another low-calorie beer that’s also low in alcohol, with 3.5% ABV. It has 95 calories per 12-ounce serving.
I like Amstel’s standard lager and the European brewer does a good job with this light, which – like Heineken Light – is known for being a bit more hop driven than American light lagers.
Tasters get notes of grains and bread or cracker biscuits in the flavor profile.
6. Corona Light
Corona Light is a light beer with 98 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s a refreshing option with 4.1% ABV.
Corona’s light offering is often compared to a German Pilsnener in style with just the right amount of hop bitterness for the category.
Our beer judge Andy Sparhawk found it to be hop-forward, refreshing light that was ideal for enjoying at the end of a hot day in his review of Corona Light.
7. Michelob Ultra
Michelob Ultra is a low-calorie beer with only 95 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s perfect for those who are looking to cut down on calories but still enjoy the taste of beer.
This beer is a bit of a dark horse with Andy preferring it to Coors Light (see here for the Michelob Ultra vs Coors Light showdown) in terms of offering a bit more in the flavor department while staying true to the light beer format.
Andy’s full review of Michelob Ultra found that it “threads the needle of one common denominator both low-calorie beer and craft beer drinkers can appreciate; refreshment”
“Frankly, Michelob Ultra crushes at this. So, whether you’re a marathon runner with nightmares about your thighs chafing or a crispy boi with a slow pour tat and a neckbeard, you’ll appreciate this superior light beer.”
8. Busch Light
Busch Light is a refreshing, low-calorie beer with only 95 calories per 12-ounce serving. It’s brewed with a combination of malt and corn to provide a pleasant balanced flavor.
Andy found Busch Light was actually a better beer than Busch in his analysis of the two.
“Busch Light was clean and an excellent example of a well-made bargain light; Busch Light was crisp and effervescent, and balanced. “
9. Natural Light
Another low-calorie beer with only 95 calories per 12-ounce serving, Natural Light (also known as Natty Light) is brewed with a blend of imported hops, giving it a distinct taste.
Natty Light tends to divide people with some finding it watery and flavorless, but for those who like the American light beer category it has enough flavor and the mild hop finish and slightly sweet hint of malt is exactly what they want in a refreshing beer.
10. Miller Lite
Although Miller Lite is a light beer with only 96 calories per 12-ounce serving, it also has one of the higher ABVs on this list at 4.2%. It won “Best American Style Lager or Lite Lager” at the Great American Beer Festival in both 2010 and 2014.
Final Thoughts On The Best Low Calorie Beers
These are just a few of the low-calorie beers currently on the market – when we update this article we will add in Bud Light, Yuengling Light and Keystone light, three of the more popular choices in this category.
These beers certainly don’t delight the beer purists, but people who love light beers – and this is now the largest single category in beer sales in the US – can’t speak highly enough of these low calorie and low carb brews.
Some have the advantage of being lower in ABV than conventional beers, so you can enjoy a few more of these over the course of a day without getting too drunk
With so many options available, you’re sure to find one that you enjoy. So next time you’re in the mood for a beer, don’t feel guilty about indulging. Instead, choose one of these low-calorie options and enjoy. Cheers!
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