12 Local Lo-Cal Craft Beers That Won’t Ruin Your Health & Fitness Goals
Days are growing shorter, nights are growing longer, and we're STILL spending our time social distancing as we head into Winter 2020.
We're not sure about you, but the two things that have been keeping us sane through this crazy year have been exercise and beer.
"But those two things don't seem like they go together," naysayers may point out. "Psh," we'd reply. "We disagree!"
We work out so we can enjoy our favorite craft beverages without feeling guilty about it. It might surprise you, given that we named our company Work For Your Beer, but we're all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle without sacrificing the things we love.
Yes, we enjoy treating ourselves, and we do so regularly. But we're also huge fans of finding beers that support our health and fitness goals — without basically tasting like watered-down version of beers our dads used to drink.
That's why we rounded up this list of low-calorie beers that still taste amazing, so you can grab something a little lighter the next time you Untappd At Home and want to drink something local and lo-cal. (See what we did there?)
1). Light Hearted Ale - Bell's Brewery
We wrote a whole love story to this flavorful low-calorie IPA on the Work For Your Beer blog already, so we'll keep it short and simple here: Light Hearted is brewed with Centennial and Galaxy hops with only 110 calories per 12 oz. serving. Expect citrus and pine aromas from this easy-drinking ale, along with a fun, retro, "I'm going camping in the '70s and you're jealous" style can art.
2). Black Rice Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company
This brown ale was brewed with American two-row pale malt, a touch of chocolate malt, and black rice (also known as forbidden rice) for a lightly hopped ale with a tasty nutty flavor and just 97 calories per 12 oz. can.
3). Shred - Sufferfest Beer Company
At just 95 calories and 5 carbs per can, this kolsch-style beer was brewed with honey and cayenne for a flavorful kick without the guilt.
Oh, and heads up: Every Sufferfest beer is low in calories and high in flavor, including their Flyby Pilsner, Fastest Known Time (FKT) Pale Ale with salt and black currants, Head Start Stout with Equator coffee and coconut water, and Gut Check IPA with apple cider vinegar.
4). Rec League - Harpoon
If you're looking for a bright, tropical pale ale that will quench your thirst without busting your calorie budget, look no further. Rec League is bursting with citrus-y hop flavor and at just 120 calories, you'll be ready for another one after you finish up your next game of dodgeball. Or kickball. Or whatever requires a sweatband around your forehead, and maybe even on your wrists. Game on.
5). Lightpoint - New Holland Brewing
New Holland Brewing calls this a "functional white ale," and while we're not totally sure what that means, we are totally sure that this is a delicious brew despite its low calorie count. It's brewed with coconut water, raw honey and orange peel and rings in at only 86 calories. Toss 'em back.
6). Feather Light - The Unknown Brewing Company
Work For Your Beer was born out of Charlotte, so it's no surprise that we included this workout-inspired brew on this list! We've been to so many brewery bootcamps, yoga classes, and more at Unknown, so we were thrilled to craft the above video with them to demonstrate that this 123-calorie sour would make the perfect post-workout pint.
7). Slightly Mighty - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
You see it on every list of the top lo-cal craft beers for a reason! Slightly Mighty has all the character of a world-class IPA, but with only 95 calories, 3.6g carbs, 1g protein, and 0g fat per 12oz serving. Dogfish Head uses Chinese monk fruit to sweeten the beer — it's sweeter than sugar, but without the calories. That allows them to reduce the malt bill and avoid any unnecessary unfermentable sugars, and consequently deliver a balanced beer that is lower in calories and carbs without sacrificing taste.
8). Da Shootz! - Deschutes Brewery
We know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover or a beer by its can art, but we'll admit that the fun tropical design did have us leaning more toward this 99 calorie brew than Deschutes' other popular lo-cal option, the Wowza! Lo-Cal Hazy Pale Ale (which is also delicious and only 100 calories per 12 oz). Honestly, we would drink 'em both. And we have. And we'll continue to.
9). Easy Ringer - Victory Brewing Company
It's funny (or more likely, it's good marketing) that there are horseshoes on the can of these crisp 96 calorie IPA, because it's the perfect beer for day-drinking while tailgating or playing lawn games. You can throw back quite a few of them without feeling bad about it, thanks to the low ABV and calorie count. Not to mention the immeasurable "crushability," which in our expert opinion, is quite high here.
10). Shiner Weisse 'n' Easy - Spoetzl Brewery
Weisse 'n' Easy, nice and easy… Get it? We didn't at first, but in our defense, it's because we put back so many of cans of this unfiltered, full-flavored wheat beer. At first, we just wanted to see how great a 95 calorie wheat beer could really taste (spoiler: extremely). Then, we were trying to figure out exactly what type of berry we were tasting. Turns out the answer is dewberry, which is a type of blackberry, and which we had never heard of before. The more you know!
11). Guinness Draught - Guinness
We're including Guinness on this list because we feel like it gets overlooked as an OG low-calorie beer option a lot of the time, now that lo-cal IPAs are all the rage. But even though it's best known for its full body and balanced flavor profile, this stout has only 125 calories per 12 oz. pour. Now, all you have to worry about is pouring it right…
12). Low & Hazy IPA - Appalachian Mountain Brewery
We had to end with a beer brewed in our neck of the woods! Being from the Southeast, we're huge fans of Appalachian Mountain Brewery beers (and ciders!), as evidenced by our recent episode of We'll Take The Lot where we tasted everything they offer in cans on a glamping trip to Boone. This low-calorie session IPA was a favorite of ours then, and it still is now!
What are your favorite low-calorie beers?
Work For Your Beer was co-founded by best friends Alicia Valenski and Mel Fox in 2016 in Charlotte, NC.
Work For Your Beer is a digital directory of interactive events (think yoga classes, run clubs, bike rides, boot camps, and more) happening at breweries, cideries, wineries, and other boozeries in beer-centric cities across the U.S. The Work For Your Beer blog, Weekly Brewsletter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel are go-to resources for entertaining and educational content on the topics of booze, wellness, and travel. We also sell a variety of apparel and accessories in our Work For Your Beer, Work For Your Wine, Work For Your Booze, and I [Beer] City shops.
Alicia Valenski is a travel writer, editor, and content marketer who graduated from Penn State in 2015 with degrees in journalism and Spanish as well as a minor in international studies. She lives in Richmond, VA with her husband Andrew and their Great Pyrenees pup, Luna. Her preferred way to work for her beer is on her yoga mat — and she loves crisp, hoppy brews like Pilsners and West Coast IPAs.
Mel Fox is a digital marketer, professional photographer, and media designer who graduated from Penn State in 2012 a BS in Marketing and a BA in Advertising, and she completed a Mini-MBA™ at Rutgers in June 2017. She and her husband Alan live in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte, NC with their Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Sir Pancake Bacon. She's an aerialist who loves to work for her beer on her Lyra hoop — and her go-to order is a sour beer (the weirder, the better).