The 12 Best Light Beers of 2023: Taste Test

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Light beers are the most popular beer style in the world. What they lack in a robust flavor profile, they make up with endless refreshment and fewer calories than typical beers.

Even craft beer drinkers have developed a taste for easy drinking beers, and craft breweries have released their own interpretation aimed at thirst quenching their niche followers while the brewery adds a product that appeals to the masses.

The United States has plenty of light beers, homegrown and imported. We look closely at some of the best light beer offerings available today.

1. Michelob Ultra

Type: Light Lager | ABV: 4.2% | Calories: 95

Michelob Ultra rules the high-end light beer category. The sleek packaging, celebrity endorsements, and hi-vis sponsorships have helped the brand grow, but the beer is actually quite tasty for beer drinkers.

This well-balanced beer has earned all of its limelight and is a fixture on the links or in your fridge.

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2. Corona Light

Type: Light Lager | ABV: 4.5% | Calories: 99

Light beer has a bad reputation for being thin, watery, and flavorless. They don’t taste like anything, let alone beer!

Not so with Corona Light. This low-calorie offering of the Corona brand tastes like an imported pilsner. Beer drinkers who feel stuck in a sea of light beers should know that if they need a lifesaver, they should grab a Corona Light.

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3. Cigar City Jai Low

Type: Low ABV IPA | ABV: 4% | Calories: 100

Craft beer and light beer didn’t used to occupy the same space. Not anymore. Florida’s Cigar City has found success by spinning off their craft beer drinker favorite, Jai Lai IPA, with a lower calorie, light IPA called Jai Low.

The beer offers the hoppy goodness of the brewer’s flagship IPA with few calories.

4. Bud Light

Type: Light Lager | ABV: 4.2% | Calories: 110

You know what’s a really good beer? Bud Light! What is it with mass appeal that makes you believe that a product is not good quality?

Bud Light is everywhere for a reason. It’s simply an exceptional drinking beer. Perfect for almost any situation. If you’re hunting for a crisp lager, try this classic again.

5. Corona Premier

Type: Light Beer| ABV: 4% | Calories: 90

I am practically certain that Corona Premier exists to compete with Michelob Ultra. A lot of large breweries have followed this MO.

However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; this ultra-premium beer is light tasting without being thin and flavorless.

Just because you’re cutting calories doesn’t mean you should have to cut out the taste.

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6. Busch Light

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 4.1% | Calories: 95

Light beer is part of Americana—the midwestern-y vibes of ice fishing, deer hunting, canoeing, or chopping wood.

I know I don’t get it, but plenty of people would be caught dead chopping wood without a light beer nearby, specifically Busch Light.

Busch Light is a sub-premium light beer (think the opposite of Michelob Ultra) that is a really refreshing lager without the need for a slick can or sponsorship at the Masters. It’s what light beer is about and should always be.

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7. Nite Lite

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 4.3%| Calories: 120

Mite Lite is an American light lager from Night Shift Brewing in Massachusetts.

The brewery was among the first craft brands to jump on the light beer bandwagon.

The beer has been very successful for them, and I think craft beer fans like it because it isn’t lightened with preservatives, corn syrup, or artificial flavors. It’s just a good quality crisp lager to enjoy on a hot day at the beach.

8. Miller Lite

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 4.2% | Calories: 96

Miller Lite is the original light beer. It was the first to find commercial success by using enzymes in the brewing process to brew a beer with fewer calories. In typical beers, the yeast can’t consume all of the sugar provided by malted barley.

By adding enzymes, long sugar chains are broken down further than is normal. This allows the yeast to consume these fermentable sugars, thereby reducing calories that would remain in the beer.

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9. Kona Light Blonde Ale

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 4.2% | Calories: 99

Light beer and the beach go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean you always want the same light lager when enjoying the beach.

Kona’s light beer is a blonde ale with mango added for a subtle tropical vibe, whether watching the waves crash or sitting out on your porch.

The blonde ale has the same light body as light lagers, but it’s brewed with an ale yeast that blends well with the added fruit.

10. Amstel Light

Type: Light Beer| ABV: 3.5% | Calories: 95

In the US, all of the big beer makers have decided the perfect alcohol content for light lagers is 4.2 percent, but Dutch beer maker Amstel has decided that less alcohol really helps make their Amstel Light even more thirst quenching.

At only 3.5 percent, you won’t feel full or too tipsy after a few Amstels, but that still doesn’t mean you can hop behind the wheel.

11. Heineken Light

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 3.3% | Calories: 90

Heineken knows a thing or two about brewing crisp lagers. Their flagship is for sure a classic and an effortlessly drinkable lager. For Heineken fans who prefer a few less calories with just the right amount of flavor, they have the option of grabbing a Heineken light.

Heineken Light clocks in at a sessionable 3.3 percent ABV and has only 90 calories. Its a pale golden lager with a crisp flavor and lighter body.

The beer is brilliantly clear and looks beautiful in a long fluted beer glass.

12. Coors Light

Type: Light Beer | ABV: 4.2% | Calories: 102

One of the knocks on light beer is that they are too watery. A case in point is Coors Light, which is a very watery light beer. I don’t care for this beer compared to other light beers, but that doesn’t mean others don’t look for that in a light brew.

That’s why if you’re putting together a list of the best light beers, one would be silly not to include Coors Light in the mix.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Light Beers

Light beer has taken the world by storm, so much so that when people ask for regular beer, chances are they are asking for a light lager.

Today, beer drinkers have plenty of options when choosing which low-cal beer they want to drink. From high-end to sub-premium, niche craft to commercial behemoths, the light beer category has found a way to offer something for everyone.

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Andy Sparhawk is an avid beer lover and the former editor-in-chief for CraftBeer.com. Andy is the lead writer for The Beer Babe and lives in Westminster, Colorado, with his family. As beer enthusiast and experienced beer judge, he loves sharing his experiences with The Beer Babe's dedicated audience of beer enthusiasts.