In the name of health and well-being, so many beverages have suffered the fate of flavor sacrifice when it comes to lowering the carb count, calories and even alcohol content of the drink itself. But say “no more” to said relinquishment of refreshment and taste. The Northwest has a few contenders for low-ABV beers that are full of flavor, just with less booze, to the tune of 2.5 to 4 percent in most cases.
This means you can actually enjoy the drink that will take just the edge off, and maybe have a few more pints to boot. Here are five low-ABV beers from five local brewers currently slinging these suds.
Totally Radler Grapefruit | HUB
Perfect for the casual drinker, Portland’s Hopworks Urban Brewery blends its organic lager with grapefruit juice in this traditional German sip, totaling in at only 3 percent ABV. Easy drinking with cycling in mind — to be enjoyed before or after a ride — this citrusy beer also donates 1 percent of its proceeds to environmental nonprofits.
Garden City Lite | Crooked Fence Brewing
The Idaho brewery tags this offering as an “American lite” beer. According to Beer Advocate, an American light beer is a “lighter version of a brewery’s premium [beer], some are lower in alcohol, but all are lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to other beers.” Named for the brewery’s hometown, Garden City Lite sits at 3.7 percent ABV, balancing its hop character with cereal maltiness and a refreshing finish.
Ethan’s Table Saison | Chuckanut Brewery
Never to be outdone when it comes to setting standards, Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham, Washington, has put out a low-ABV beer that also falls into its “Namesake Series,” in which each brewer creates a unique recipe for their beer. This one a bit lighter than the rest, Ethan’s features a Belgian saison yeast and puts out classic characteristics of peppercorn, baking spices, bread and citrus zest with a bubbly close and only 2.7 percent ABV.
Summit | Rainier
If you thought regular Rainier lager was light (it sits at around 4.5 percent ABV), you were wrong. Enter Summit, the locally rooted brewing giant’s American light lager answer. The sessionable, refreshing beer sports just as much flavor as regular Rainier, but with 110 calories and 3.8 percent ABV, making it ideal for crushing cans on a boat. Especially considering it is available in 12 packs of 12-ounce cans.
Teensy Micro Hazy | Deschutes Brewery
Other than having maybe the best name of the lot, this beer from Oregon’s Deschutes is only currently available at the Portland Public House in NW Portland, making it extra special and warranting the ordering of several pints. Technically an ale, the hazy beer is fruity and soft, yet full of flavor and bounce at 2.7 percent ABV and 30 IBUs.