The Beer With The Lowest Calories Might Surprise You

Making low calorie beer is a balancing act: Find a way to bring down the calorie count without sacrificing too much of the taste. After all, if you're only interested in minimizing calories there are plenty of spiked seltzers on the market. Alcohol, it turns out, is loaded with calories. While straight carbohydrates have four calories per gram, alcohol contains seven (via UCLA). According to MedlinePlus, a rum and Diet Coke is definitely not a diet drink. It has 100 calories, all from the rum. The point is, beermakers have to work hard to reduce the calorie load in their products; but given consumers' interest in keeping their waistlines trim while still enjoying beer, breweries are making it happen (via The Drinks Business).

Any search for low calorie beers will likely lead you to Budweiser Select 55, as the number in the name tells you exactly how many calories are in each 12-ounce bottle. But the alcohol by volume (ABV) for this diet beer is just 2.4 percent, which is less than half the alcohol in Budweiser's standard beer. We must draw a line somewhere, so in our quest for the beer with the lowest calories we've decided to only consider beers with an ABV of 3 percent or more, following the lead of The Drinks Business.

The lowest calorie beer currently on the market was introduced in 2020

The lowest calorie beer that meets the 3 percent ABV threshold might not sound familiar to beer lovers in America, but it's pretty familiar across the pond. Tennent's in Scotland introduced a low calorie lager at the beginning of 2020 that approaches light or alcohol-free beer calorie levels according to The Drinks Business. Tennent's Light has 66 calories in the standard UK bottle (which is 330 ml) and would have around 71 calories in the 12-ounce bottles Americans are more familiar with.

Coming in a close second is Molson Ultra, which Molson Coors says is 70 calories per 341 ml (about 73 calories per 12 ounces). While the calorie count in Tennent's Light and Molson Ultra are almost the same, Tennent's has the advantage of being 3.5 percent ABV compared to Molson Ultra's 3 percent. Tennent's Light also happens to be gluten free, according to the Tennent's website.

Most of the lowest calorie beers on the market are lagers, which some beer fans find a little uninteresting. What about ales? IPAs are all the rage, but a lot of them don't enter the low calorie conversation because of their high alcohol content. Lagunitas (a subsidiarity of Heineken International), however, has an IPA called Lagunitas DayTime that is just 98 calories per 12 ounces, with an ABV of 4 percent. Lagunitas has also gone all the way to zero in its low calorie quest with Hop Water, which is exactly what its name implies — a sparkling, non-alcoholic, hop-infused water.