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The Best Low-Alcohol Beers, According To Brewers


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In recent years, there’s been a trend of high-alcohol content barrel-aged stouts along with double, triple, and imperial IPAs. To give a reference point, an average beer is around 4.5 to 5 percent alcohol by volume. Some of these barrel-aged and over-the-top IPAs are sitting at 12 to 15 percent and above. These are the kinds of beers that deserve your respect (and require you to call an Uber). They’re also likely to be the only beer you imbibe in any given night.

Over the past year, companies have bucked this pattern by creating lower-alcohol content cocktails and beers. These sessionable, sometimes crushable low-ABV beers are perfect for summer drinking. That’s why we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us the best of what’s on the market.

Jester King Le Petite Prince

Justin Baccary, owner of Station 26 Brewing

Jester King Le Petit Prince — so much flavor packed into a 2.9% ABV beer! I don’t know how they do it, but I’m impressed.

Montucky Cold Snacks

Adrienne Templeton, brewer at Bonfire Brewing

Montucky Cold Snacks. Because sometimes you just want something that tastes like PBR, but much, much better. It’s easy drinking and fairly refreshing, and cheap. Plus, they give 8% back to local causes, so who wouldn’t want to support that?

Bell’s Oarsman Ale

Scott Francis, president, co-founder, CEO and co-owner of Santa Monica Brew Works

Oarsman Ale, Bell’s Brewery. I’m a Michigan Wolverines fan, so when I’m tailgating outside The Big House, I’m drinking a Bell’s Oarsman Ale. Tart, refreshing, and sessionable at 4.0% ABV. It’s a bright wheat ale that exudes citrus and lemony aromas. Prefect for enjoying during a game of cornhole – passing the time before a late kickoff.

Old Speckled Hen

Carl Heinz, Head Brewer at Breckenridge Brewery

Authentic, cask drawn “Old Speckled Hen” in a pub, watching football (soccer). This copper-colored and full-flavored ale blends caramel malts and herbal English hops with a distinct ester profile, yet is still low enough in ABV that one can remain upright after several imperial pints over the full 90 minutes.

Bitburger

Mark Theisen, head brewer at Coronado Brewing Company

My favorite low-alcohol beer is Bitburger – it’s a classic, super crisp, dry pilsner. It’s easy-to-drink and very refreshing.

Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba

Alex Coronado, Head Brewer at Nap Time Liquid Creation

Taras Boulba by Brasserie de la Senne. It’s ridiculously dry, hoppy, aggressive, simple, beautiful. Really a wonderful example of high flavor, low ABV. I heard the brewer Yvan de Baets, speak about this beer and his intention was something to the effect of “We made something delicious to drink while we’re working.” The crowd responded with laughter, once it subsided his response was “I’m not joking.” I love this.

Dry County Lechuza

Jason Santamaria, beer architect at Second Self Beer Company

Lechuza by Dry County has been my go-to Mexican lager any time I’m craving a lower ABV beer. It’s a solid beer with lots of flavor and a nice, dry finish.

Rohrbach Brewing Radle On

Dean Jones, brewmaster at the Genesee Brew House

Rohrbach Brewing Radler on Lemon Radler – At 4% ABV it’s super crisp with a perfect balance of lemon with no artificial flavor. It’s slammable.

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