Low-calorie beer: 14 brands with fewer than 150 calories per serving
Low-calorie beer can be a great way to enjoy the classic drink without compromising on your goals
Low-calorie beer options can be a great way to enjoy a refreshing drink in the sunshine this summer, without having to compromise on your goals. From alcoholic options under 150 calories to the top-rated non-alcoholic alternatives, these are the ones to order at the bar and add to your grocery cart.
While many people believe that ditching alcohol is the first step to losing weight or maintaining any kind of health goals, that doesn't have to be the case. Food and drink is so much more than nutritional value. It's about picnics in the park, barbecues in the sunshine, and enjoying time with friends and family. Alcohol in moderation, just like anything else, can be included as part of a varied and balanced diet. Low-calorie beers are a good alternative for those looking to stay in a calorie deficit or keep their levels of sugar intake low during these events.
Low-calorie beers are also among the lowest-calorie alcoholic drinks. To help you find your pick of the best, we've revealed the calories in the most common types of beer and alternatives you might like to try instead.
The best low-calorie beer
1. Corona Extra
Corona Extra is the bestselling brand of imported beer in the US. As a pale lager, it's a refreshing and light beverage, it's typically served with a slice of lime in the top. With 44 calories per 3.5oz (100ml) and 148 calories per bottle (12oz), Corona is also one of the lowest-calorie beers out there.
2. Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer
Looking for a ginger beer to drink on a sunny day? Whether you use it as a mixer in low-calorie cocktails or drink it on its own as a low-calorie beer with a couple of ice cubes, Fever Tree's Naturally Light Ginger Beer is a deliciously fresh drink. At 19 calories per 3.5oz (100ml) as well, it's often the lowest non-alcoholic, low-calorie beer on the menu.
3. Coors Light
Coors Light is easily one of the best low-calorie alcoholic drinks in a can on this list. There are just 102 calories per standard 12oz serving, meaning there are only 28 calories per 3.5oz (100ml). Known for its crisp, light, and smooth flavor, clean malt notes, and low levels of bitterness, it's one of the best out there.
4. Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA
Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is much like a regular pale ale but made with more hops and often comes with a citrusy twist. Beavertown's Neck Oil Session IPA is frequently served in bars but you can buy it in grocery stores in cans. There are 36 calories per 3.5oz (100ml) and only 122 calories per standard can.
5. Bud Light Lager
Bud Light is an American-style pale lager, much like Corona, and perhaps the most famous low-calorie beer around. Available to buy in grocery stores and bars around the world, there are only 110 calories per standard bottle.
It may surprise you to know that Guinness, the classic Irish dark stout, is actually also one of the most naturally-low-calorie beers out there with just 126 calories per 12oz can serving. Great for those who love a rich, velvety, and dark beer.
7. Brooklyn Pilsner Lager Beer
Available across the US and in 30 countries around the world the Brooklyn Pilsner Lager is a great choice. It's a beer that features light, toasty flavors and a spicy but subtle citrus hop. It's a naturally low-calorie beer, offering 38 calories per 3.5oz and 125 calories per bottle.
8. Budweiser Lager
At 129 calories per bottle, the traditional Budweiser beer is a low-calorie option itself. While it doesn't quite compare to the 80 calories in Bud Light, it's more commonly available to buy. Much like its lower-calorie counterpart, Budweiser is a light American pale lager.
9. Brewdog Lightspeed
Brewdog's Lightspeed is the lowest-calorie IPA on this list with just 99 calories per can and 30 calories per 3.5oz (100ml). A favorite of the bestselling brewing company, this hazy, hoppy beverage has notes of apricot, peach, and citrus fruits.
10. Big Drop Brewing Co Paradiso Citra IPA
Big Drop Brewing Co's Paradiso Citra IPA is a fruity, citrus IPA beer and one of the tastiest alternatives to alcohol out there. It is also non-alcoholic, meaning it's one of the best low-calorie IPA beers for those upcoming summer picnics and barbecues. There are 3 calories per 3.5oz (100ml), meaning a standard can has an impressive 10 calories per serving.
Indian Pale Ale (IPA) beer is another popular type of beer served around the world. IPA beer differs from regular pale ales as it's made with more hops, giving it a stronger and often slightly fruitier flavor.
11. Peroni Nastro Azzuro
Peroni is an Italian pale lager, known for its crisp and refreshing taste. Most commonly served in glass bottles, there are 149 calories per bottle and 45 calories per 3.5oz (100ml). Per 16oz pint, as you might find in a bar, there are 231 calories.
9. Jubel Beer Cut with Peach
Jubel is a craft lager, perfectly designed for those who love the fruitness of a cider but want the crispness and freshness of beer. The brand is traditionally an apres beer, meaning it's made to be drunk post-skiing. However, no matter where you are, it's a delicious low-calorie option.
At 125 calories per can and 37 calories per 3.5oz (100ml) with multiple flavors available, including peach, grapefruit, elderflower, and blood orange, it's a good option for the summertime. Jubel is also vegan and gluten-free.
13. Lucky Saint Unfiltered Lager
Lucky Saint is often credited as being one of the leading brands in the mindful drinking trend. While there's a minimal amount of alcohol in each low-calorie beer (0.5%), it tastes much the same as a regular pale lager, with a light, energizing kick. There are also only 53 per bottle, making it a winner in our books, but higher in calories than the Big Drop Brewing Co. IPA option at just 10 calories per can.
14. Skinny Brands Beer
Brewed in the UK, Skinny Brands beer is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to cut back on calories while still enjoying great-tasting beer, with 4% ABV in each beer. The brand offers multiple varieties of beer, including lager at just 87 calories per bottle and IPA at 89 calories per can.
What beer has the least calories?
The beers that contain alcohol with the least number of calories are Bud Light (110 calories), Coors Light (102 calories), and Brewdog's Lightspeed (99 calories). Non-alcoholic beers with the least calories include the Big Drop Brewing Co.'s Citrus IPA (10 calories), Lucky Saint (53 calories), and Skinny Brands (87 - 89 calories).
"One of the main benefits of non-alcoholic, light beverages is that they contain fewer calories. For example, beer can range between ~140-170 kcal, low-calorie beer is about ~100 kcal, while non-alcoholic beers can be well below 100 kcal," says Gabi Zaromskyte, a registered nutritionist and holistic health coach.
"However, it’s not all just about calories," she warns, reminding us that there's no such thing as healthy alcohol after all. "The downside is that non-alcoholic drinks are made by separating the alcohol from the drink and adding more sugar to improve the taste. Overall, non-alcoholic drinks can be a better choice if you want to feel fresh the next day, but they should not be seen as something entirely healthy. Alcoholic or not, moderation remains the key aspect when it comes to caloric beverages."
Does alcohol free beer have fewer calories?
Yes, alcohol-free beer will have fewer calories than regular beer that contains alcohol. The highest-calorie part of any alcoholic drink does tend to be the alcohol itself as studies by the Eastern Ontario Research Institute reveal that alcohol contains 7.6 calories per gram, so once you cut this out, the calorie count immediately drops.
Overall, the best non-alcoholic low-calorie drinks in a can will have the least calories though, always. This includes seltzers, gin and tonic mixers, and mocktails, along with some beers.
Alcohol and weight loss
The impact of alcohol is often undervalued when it comes to learning how to lose weight without dieting excessively. Whether you're counting calories or trying to stick to a regime, ignoring the effect of alcohol (even aside from pure calories) on the body is one of the biggest weight loss mistakes out there.
"Alcoholic beverages are composed of ethanol, water, and different amounts of sugar. When it comes to weight loss, one needs to be aware that one shot of spirits or a glass of wine can range from ~100-150kcal, which is equivalent to a light snack. Sweeter cocktails amount to more," says Zaromskyte, who developed the Honesty Method, a framework for making non-diet lifestyle changes. "Considering that alcohol is often consumed in combination with some extra nibbles, which you wouldn’t always have if you weren’t drinking, it can all add up to a full meal’s worth of extra energy or more."
A systematic review and meta-analysis by the University of Cambridge also found that the additional calories consumed from alcohol are not compensated by eating less as a result. In fact, people were eating more when drinking, she adds.
Another one of the ways excessive drinking can prevent healthy, sustainable weight loss is blood sugar imbalance. "Many know the feeling of cravings kicking in when drinking. This is because sweet alcoholic drinks raise blood sugar levels, which is followed by a sharp decrease," explains the nutritionist.
However, that doesn't mean that alcohol needs to be off the table entirely if you're trying to lose weight. "As a non-diet nutritionist, I believe that nothing is off limits, meaning that no food or drink needs to be completely banned from the diet," says Zaromskyte. "Worrying about how bad a certain food or drink is can do more harm than the food or drink itself. When there is stress and guilt around food, your healthy choices are no longer that healthy. An 80/20 rule is something I apply myself and recommend to my clients, where 80% of the time you try to make nutritious and balanced choices, while the other 20% is for enjoyment, travel, or situations when you haven’t made a plan and reach for convenience."
Looking for more great low-calorie alternatives? "Some regular alcoholic beverages that are lower in sugar and calories include spirits, like whisky, gin, tequila, and low-calorie vodka. Pair it with soda water and fresh lime juice," says Zaromskyte.
"Then again, if you are enjoying a drink occasionally and are not having multiple drinks in a row, I wouldn’t worry too much about this and just pick something you truly fancy."
A digital health journalist with over five years experience writing and editing for UK publications, Grace has covered the world of health and wellbeing extensively for Cosmopolitan, The i Paper and more.
She started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness. Everything from the best protein powder to sleep technology, the latest health trend to nutrition essentials, Grace has a huge spectrum of interests in the wellness sphere. Having reported on the coronavirus pandemic since the very first swab, she now also counts public health among them.
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