Make It One Worth Drinking Though
I have a vivid memory of the day I had the most satisfying, thirst quenching beer of my life. It was July of 2019, and I had just completed a Spartan race in Asheville, NC. After two hours and twenty minutes, 30 obstacles, 10 miles of undulating terrain and a severely cramped right calf, I had my reward. I redeemed my drink ticket for a pint of White Zombie Ale from Catawba Brewing.
I found a shady spot and plopped to the ground with all the grace of a toddler after attempting their first steps. I was exhausted, hot and thirsty. I slowly brought the cup to my lips, being careful not to spill any of the liquid gold within. I took a sip, and then fought the urge to chug the entire pint. At that moment, I felt that the entirety of the physical rigors I had submitted myself to was worth it. The beer tasted amazing. It was refreshing, crisp and kept inviting me back for another sip. I sat for 10 minutes or so slowly sipping and just trying to enjoy the moment and all that led to it.
To be fair, my thirst and fatigue being in such an extreme state, I would have drank almost anything at that moment. But that’s why we’re here, to talk about what to drink at the moment you’ll enjoy it the most.
The previous decade has given rise to a new trend in the beer world. Low calorie, ultra light beers and now seltzers are the must have beverage for those who still want to drink, but don’t want the calories. Unfortunately, most of these beers have sacrificed flavor, mouthfeel and body in service of cutting out the calories. They suck, quite honestly, and you can do much better while still keeping the calories at bay. Let’s examine a few options.
Guinness Irish Stout
Sadly, dark beers have a rep for being heavy, sweet and loaded with calories, so you’ll be pleased to know Guinness Irish Stout is none of these things. A 12 ounce serving clocks in at 125 calories and 4.2% ABV. That’s just 30 calories more than a Michelob Ultra, but infinitely more flavor. The assertive bitterness, roasted malt character, along with a crisp and dry finish behooves you to take it slow and savor every sip. Another benefit on the roasted grains the beer is made of is that they contain more antioxidants than light colored beers. Beer is also a source of B vitamins and iron, which are also supplied by the malt used in the brewing process.
Founders All Day IPA
For those who prefer more hop forward styles, this is a must try. At 4.7% ABV and 140 calories per 12 ounces, this packs in the flavor you’d expect from an IPA but without the extra calories. This was one of the first attempts from a big craft brewery at making a session IPA, and the best in my opinion. However, most breweries now have their own version of a session IPA as well, so finding one near you shouldn’t be a problem.
Abita Purple Haze
Coming in at 4.2% ABV and only 128 calories, this beer is refreshing, slightly tart and imminently drinkable. The addition of raspberry puree gives it a slightly purple hue and tangy flavor. The low hop bitterness allows the raspberry to shine without causing your lips to pucker.
Originally brewed in Bohemia in 1842, this beer has stood the test of time. Bud Light, Miller Lite and Michelob Ultra are all cheap imitations of the original pilsner, which quickly became the most popular style of beer the world over when it was introduced over 150 years ago. At 4.4% ABV and 156 calories, the small increase in the number of calories is well worth it when you consider the superior flavor you get in return.
Your Local Craft Brewery
There are roughly 8,000 craft breweries currently in the United States. While the U.S. certainly leads the way in craft brewing, their popularity is growing the world over as well. Any brewery worth their salt has a low calorie offering available. Support your local brewery and give one a try. You didn’t half ass your workout, so don’t half ass your beery reward either, slàinte!