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10 Insanely Good Craft Beers Under 150 Calories

author image John M. Verive
John Verive is Southern California native and freelance writer dedicated to growing the craft beer scene in Los Angeles. He’s is a Certified Cicerone®, the founder of Beer of Tomorrow (www.BeerofTomorrow.com), and he covers the beer-beat for the Los Angeles Times.

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10 Insanely Good Craft Beers Under 150 Calories
Drink craft beers that taste fantastic and won’t sabotage your waistline. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@wiesmannnn

If you're craving beer, but trying to avoid the emergence of a dreaded beer belly, don't turn to the watered-down lifestyle brands like Michelob Ultra and Miller64. Sure, those beers are low in calories, but they also have little to no flavor. The good news is craft brewers have their own lower-calorie options, they just go by a different name: session beers. Loosely defined as beer with less than 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), session beers are brewed to be flavorful and interesting while remaining low in alcohol and calories.

Whether you’re a hop lover looking for something less filling than a big IPA or someone who hasn’t yet explored all the flavors craft beer has to offer, here are 10 low-calorie craft brews that are sure to satisfy.

Bell’s Brewery Oarsman Ale
Oarsman Ale is a crisp, thirst-quenching drink with a hint of citrus. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Bell’s Brewery Oarsman Ale

Oarsman squeezes a lot of flavor into a light and bright beer that’s imminently refreshing. A wheat beer inspired by the tart Berliner Weisse style from Germany, there’s a crisp acidity and a whiff of classic Cascade hops that adds flavor without much bitterness. Oarsman is built to quench thirsts, so stock your cooler with cans of the ale for those warm-weather excursions and you’re sure to make some new friends. The low bitterness and citrusy tartness make the brew a hit even with people who haven’t yet fallen in love with craft beer.

ABV: 4 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 137
What you’ll taste: Refreshing tartness

Abita Brewing Company’s Light
Abita Light has a barley pop taste that is light and effervescent. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Abita Brewing Company’s Light

The variety of flavors available in craft beer is wonderfully wide, but sometimes you just want a pint that tastes like the olden days of beer. Abita Light blurs the line between commodity “lite” beers and the craft-brewing ethos of flavor first. Light is reminiscent of Coors Banquet: crisp like a green apple, a lingering sweetness, a hint of bready barley and citrusy hops, a “barely there” body and lively effervescence. The Louisiana brew is no-frills, no-fuss and as refreshing as it is unchallenging.

ABV: 4 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 116
What you’ll taste: Barley pop

Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale
Sea Quench Ale’s acidic and lime flavors make it perfect for pairing with citrus-friendly foods like fish tacos. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale

Developed by the madcap Delaware brewery to be as thirst-quenching as a beer can possibly be, Sea Quench blends a trio of classic German beer styles with some uncommon ingredients into one brightly tart and deeply complex brew. It’s the type of out-there alchemy that shouldn’t work, but somehow all those elements (sour ales, sea salt, black limes) create a beautiful harmony. It’s not hard to see why Sea Quench is the fastest-growing beer in the history of the brewery: It’s brilliantly bizarre and crave-worthy. The acidity and lime flavors make it a perfect pairing for anything that you’d usually squeeze lime juice on (especially fish tacos).

ABV: 4.9 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 140
What you’ll taste: Stylistic alchemy (and limes)

Founders Brewing All Day IPA
All Day IPA comes in at only 140 calories per 12-ounce can. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Founders Brewing All Day IPA

One of the first (and most popular) session IPAs, this easy-drinking brew from Michigan isn’t flashy. It’s just a solid beer and a perennial crowd-pleaser. Approachable enough for even new beer drinkers, yet flavorful enough to satiate the hop-heads, with a bright punch of pine-and-citrus hop aroma, you’ll be happy that All Day IPA comes in generous 15-packs. It’s easy to stack up a bunch of empty All Day IPA cans, but you don’t have to feel too guilty — it’s under 12 calories per ounce. That is a good thing, because the beer is also available in tailgate-friendly 19.2-ounce cans!

ABV: 4.7 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 140
What you’ll taste: Piney refreshment

Allagash Brewing Hoppy Tale Beer
Full of flavor, but still light on calories, Allagash has varying notes of fruit and spice. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Allagash Brewing Hoppy Tale Beer

Drawing inspiration from the low-alcohol “table beers” of Belgium, this hopped-up American take from Maine’s Allagash Brewing is packed full of flavor, yet still light as a feather. If you’re within the brewery’s 17-state distribution area, it may be the best flavor-to-calorie ratio you’ll find. English barley and oats add texture, and the aroma is complex, with pear, banana, clove-like spice and citrusy hops all vying for attention. There’s also a dose of coriander (a classic Belgian brewing spice) to bring even more to this uncommonly pretty beer. Pour one carefully into a tulip glass and you’ll see for yourself as pillowy foam rises to the top of the hazy, golden beer.

ABV: 4.8 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 132
What you’ll taste: Citrus and spice — very nice

Green Flash Brewing Sea to Sea Lager
Sea to Sea Lager is light-bodied and an easy pick for a casual go-to beer. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Green Flash Brewing Sea to Sea Lager

The brewery says this “Zwickel Lager” takes inspiration from the flavorful unfiltered lagers beloved by German brewers. The light body is bolstered by a pearlescent haze, and flowery European hops are balanced by the cracker-like snap of pilsner malt. It’s a beer that you don’t have to pay attention to, but it rewards a careful tasting nonetheless.There’s enough bitterness to offset the subtly off-dry finish, and you can pour two cans of Sea to Sea into a roomy mug and still drink fewer calories than are in a pint of IPA.

ABV: 4 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 126
What you’ll taste: Germany

Sierra Nevada Otra Vez
Fashioned after the German Gose style, this Sierra Nevada craft beer is dry with almost no bitterness. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Sierra Nevada Otra Vez

Also taking inspiration from old-world wheat beers, Otra Vez proves that the venerable California craft brewery still has some new tricks to show off. A take on the German Gose style, refreshing and tart brews built to slake a thirst, this modern version marries a clean, sour bite with a subtle salinity. And, as with Gatorade, that hint of salt helps quench your thirst even more. Otra Vez also features grapefruit and prickly pear cactus fruit (the latter lends a melon-like background note). Incredibly dry and with nearly no bitterness, but with lots of bright flavors, it’s another tart brew that appeals to people who don’t normally reach for a beer.

ABV: 4.5 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 138
What you’ll taste: Fruity tartness

Guinness Brewing Guinness Draught
Don’t feel guilty enjoying Guinness Draught: Shockingly, it has fewer calories than Bud Lite. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Guinness Brewing Guinness Draught

OK, so Guinness isn’t officially a “craft beer,” but don’t let that stop you from enjoying one of the classic imports. Rich and roasty, Guinness Draught is a paradox: It’s dark and it’s bold, but it isn’t strong, heavy or filling. In fact, at just 167 calories in a (U.S.) pint, It’s less caloric than Bud Light (192 calories per pint). It’s basically a diet beer. That whole “meal in a glass” cliche is nonsense! Guinness won’t give you that bloated feeling that other beers can because, instead of fizzy carbonation, the stout cascades with smaller, softer bubbles of nitrogen gas for a smooth and creamy feel. For best results, don’t drink it right out of a cold fridge — a warmer, “cellar temperature” glass will really show off the complex, chocolaty flavor.

ABV: 4.2 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 125 (167 in a 16-ounce U.S. pint)
What you’ll taste: Roasted cocoa and coffee comfort

Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA
Complex, bright and balanced, the Firestone Easy Jack IPA may be the best of them all. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA

There are a lot of Session IPAs to choose from. Some are all hops and no body; others are pale ales under a different name. But Easy Jack from California’s Firestone Walker might be the best of them all. Light but complex, bright with balanced bitterness, it has big flavor that belies its low alcohol content. The beer was designed as a showcase for the newest hop varieties from Germany. Hops with names like Bavarian Mandarina and Hallertau Melon that give you a sense of the citrusy, fruity flavors that they add to the brew. It’s a beer you’ll want to smell almost as much as you’ll want to sip.

ABV: 4.5 percent**
Calories per 12 ounces: 136
What you’ll taste: Cutting-edge hop flavors**

New Belgium Pilsener
New Belgium Pilsener is unpretentious but delicious. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Chloe Millar

New Belgium Pilsener

This balanced Bohemian-style pilsner is as straightforward as it is flavorful. It’s a golden lager that plays zesty hop aromas off a round and subtly sweet malt body that ends with just enough bitterness to balance it all out. Unpretentious but delicious, a blend of four malts and four hops (both American and European) provide the complexity to keep the beer interesting even after a couple of bottles. A great match for salads and grilled seafood, New Belgium Pilsener rounds out a light dinner with style, and at 140 calories per bottle, it won’t blow your calorie budget.

ABV: 4.8 percent
Calories per 12 ounces: 140
What you’ll taste: Beery beer

What Do YOU Think?
Craft beers don’t necessarily mean tons of calories. Photo Credit: Stocksy/Kayla Snell

What Do YOU Think?

Do you have any favorite low-calorie craft beers that didn't make our list? Have we inspired you to try a session beer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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