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The Best Low-Alcohol Beers For Your Coronavirus Lockdown

As we enter into the odd, edgy, frustrating middle-part of this coronavirus lockdown, we all need a little something to take the edge off. The thing is, you don’t want to get hammered right now. Getting drunk in a lockdown or quarantine is not ideal for various reasons but, most of all, it’s not great for your mental and physical health. Alcohol is a depressant, after all. It’s time to drink something that takes the edge to a “two hours of Mario Cart and posting a thirst trap”-level but not to a “breaking the quarantine and endangering humanity”-level.

Meaning: It’s time to start stocking up on low alcohol beer. Low alcohol beer (and hard seltzer) has two big pluses. One, the alcohol is lower, obviously. In this case, we’re talking beers under five percent ABV. Usually, these types of beers are called “session” beers, meaning you can drink them over a whole day-long drinking session without getting blackout, fall-down drunk. Two, lower alcohol means lower calories. If you’re looking to cut down on your beer calories, simply drink beers in the two to four percent ABV range. This is a big win, given that a lot of us are banned from hitting the gym or even going out to run.

The ten beers below are nationwide, regional, and international examples of low alcohol beers. You should be able to find most of these beers around the country fairly easily ( and via your favorite delivery channels). Some will be a little more niche, but still sourceable. All of them will be worth the hunt if you’re looking for the perfect beer to drink while you Netflix and quarantine.

Rainier Beer

Style: American Lager
ABV: 4.6%
Brewery Location: San Antonio, Texas (from Seattle, WA)

The Beer:

Rainier is a simple American lager with zero pretension. And, look, we’re not even saying you have to track down Rainier specifically. This slot is more about finding your local cans of lager and enjoying them. Still, Rainier is a pretty solid beer that’ll be inexpensive and tasty enough to drink all day.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear maltiness to the drink with a mild grassy hoppiness lurking in the background. The sip is dry and full of velvet malts with a light fizz that’s thirst-quenching. This is the ultimate easy-drinking can of suds.

Modern Times ICE

Style: Pils
ABV: 4.8%
Brewery Location: San Diego, CA

The Beer:

ICE is a smooth-drinking pilsner from a classic California brewer. The mix of German pilsner malts and Czech Saaz hops with that soft San Diego water makes for a very quaffable can of beer.

Tasting Notes:

Grassy hops greet you. There’s a clear sense of lightly-touched bitterness next to a solid malt foundation that leans towards yeasty bread with a hint of caramel. The finish is short and dry with a nice echo of hoppy earthiness.

Upslope Belgian Style Blonde

Style: Belgian Style Blonde Ale
ABV: 4%
Brewery Location: Boulder, CO

The Beer:

This Belgian Style Blonde is brewed with guava in the tank. The addition of wheat with pilsner malts creates a solid base to build a fruity and bold ale atop.

Tasting Notes:

This sip is crisp with hints of apples and champagne. Those notes lead to a clear sense of tropical fruit thanks to the guava puree. It’s slightly vinous, with an echo of hops in the distance.

Jester King Le Petit Prince

Style: Belgian Saison
ABV: 2.9%
Brewery Location: Austin, TX

The Beer:

Jester King’s Le Petit Prince is a shining example of a “table beer.” That’s the sort of beer you place on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner table for passive drinking all day long. The farmhouse yeasts and hops mingle to create something with enough sharpness to keep you reaching back for another pour.

Tasting Notes:

Wet wheat fields after a spring rain meet farmhouse funk and sour. There’s a real sense of tartness that leans into a wisp of lemon. The straw carries through with a note of spice, apple orchards, and minerality as the funk brings about a dry and refreshing end.

Bell’s Light Hearted Ale

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Style: American IPA
ABV: 3.7%
Brewery Location: Kalamazoo, MI

The Beer:

Light Hearted Ale is the low alcohol and low-calorie version of Bell’s classic Two Hearted Ale. It cuts the alcohol down without sacrificing the classic IPA flavor with a very clarified sense of hops.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a note of pine resin alongside hints of lemon, grass, and malty caramel. That caramel leads towards more citrus and stone fruit. There’s a real dryness to the end that bridges the resin, citrus, and caramel into a delicious sip.

Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Wheat

Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 4%
Brewery Location: Framingham, MA

The Beer:

Blood Orange Wheat is a juice bomb with a nice malt underpinning. The beer’s wheat base brings about a nice foundation to build big flavors on top of a clear sense of being refreshing first-and-foremost.

Tasting Notes:

Sweetened citrus from the blood orange greets you. There’s a light sense of wheat and malt underneath all the orange with a hint of grassiness and spice. Overall, this is a light beer that leans into bright orange, making it very drinkable all day long.

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty

Style: American IPA
ABV: 4%
Brewery Location: Milton, DE

The Beer:

Slightly Mighty is a masterful creation. By using monk fruit (which is calorie free) in the mash bill (recipe), Dogfish Head was able to lower this beer’s calorie count to 95 calories per 12-ounce can, beating most hard seltzers by about five calories per serving. Oh, and they did all of that without sacrificing the classic IPA flavor involved in the brew.

Tasting Notes:

Tropical hints of pineapple, mango, coconut, and citrus lead the way. The hops arrive as a grassy and juicy counterbalance to the slight malt (and monk fruit) backbone. This is a crushable beer for juicy IPA lovers.

Mikkeller Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse

Style: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 3.7%
Brewery Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

The Beer:

Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse is the perfect thirst-quencher. This old-school session beer is always meant to be low alcohol and low cal with huge flavors to keep you pouring glass after glass of this funky sour wheat beer from Berlin.

Tasting Notes:

Citrus and tart meet at the beginning. Yeasty wheat malts lead towards salted lemons with a note of lacto creaminess lurking in the background. It’s bright, tart, sour, salty, and very drinkable.

Samuel Adams Sam ’76

Style: American Lager
ABV: 4.7%
Brewery Location: Jamaica Plain, MA

The Beer:

Sam ’76 is a lager that just goes down easy. It’s a little more refined than your classic Rainier or PBR with a nice sense of both the malts and hops front-and-center in every sip.

Tasting Notes:

Citrus notes greet you alongside a clear sense of hops. Then the beer takes a left turn into malty-sweet bread with an underlying hint of caramel. The citrus cuts back through and brings about a crisp and fulfilling end.

Guinness

Style: Irish Dry Stout
ABV: 4.2%
Brewery Location: Dublin, Ireland

The Beer:

It’s Guinness. Need we say more? Okay, in case you’re wondering, Guinness is a classically sessionable beer with a deep red color and bold yet velvety taste. Plus, each 12-ounce serving is only 125 calories. That’s only 25 calories more than your average hard seltzer.

Tasting Notes:

Creamy notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans lead the way into a mild hop note lurking way down in the bottom of the taste. There’s a clear sense of caramel malts that have a slight edge of buttered crunchy bread fresh from the oven. There’s a hint of toffee with a wisp of sea salt. It’s surprisingly dry, yet velvety soft.

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