I grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s before the craft beer boom, so I spent a good bit of my time bitching about having to drink the dreaded 3.2% ABV beer that some states dictated. I always felt cheated by those beers that were half the booze that some other kid was drinking in some other part of the country. Oh, how the times have changed. These days, I get pretty psyched when I find a beer that won’t knock me on my ass after two pints. Session beers are great, but now there’s a wave of ultra session beers with ABVs so low, they border near beer status. Here are eight really low ABV beers that I actually enjoy.
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Mango Even Keel
You've got the regular Even Keel, a session IPA that's plenty hoppy in its own right, and then you've got the Mango Even Keel which has, well, mango. I like the idea of packing as much flavor into one of these session IPAs as possible.
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Bell's knows wheat beer (we're looking at you, Oberon), so you can trust that this tart, wheat beer is worthy of your time, even though it comes in soft at just 4%. Think light lemon, a little citrus on the nose, and just enough tart kick to keep things interesting.
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Kick Back Session IPA
Drake's Brewing Company
You probably know Drake's from their double IPA, Denoginizer. Kick Back goes in the opposite direction, but it's dry hopped for a robust aroma and loaded with half a dozen different hop strains so you're not missing much more than the booze. At 4.3%, it's the "heaviest" beer on this list, but it's still low enough on the ABV scale to be impressive.
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Evil Twin and Two Roads Brewing Company
This beer goes so low, you're bordering on near-beer status. It's a pale ale. It's light. And it's actually pretty good. So good, that Evil Twin started brewing a Sour Bikini with Westbrook.
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Le Petit Prince
Jester King Brewery
Jester King does a handful of ultra low ABV beers (their 2.9% Commercial Suicide hit 13 in our big blind tasting), but Le Petit Prince has become a benchmark for brewers looking to pack flavor into a tiny package. This old school table beer is funky thanks to the wild yeast strain and a bit tart from the hops.
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This is NOLA's take on an English Mild Ale. Or a brown ale that was built for the heat of New Orleans, so it's lighter than just about every other brown ale you've ever had.
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Hopworks Urban Brewery
Technically, a radler is only half a beer, since it's blended with lemon soda, but if it's tasty, and beer, and low ABV, I say it counts.
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Tropicmost Passionfruit Gose
Wicked Weed Brewing
When it comes to low ABV beers, there is nothing quite like the Gose—a style that's so damn flavorful, it's almost shocking. Tropicmost is actually less tart than some of its peers in the style, but packs plenty of fruit to make up for any loss in taste.