Editors’ Picks: Low-Calorie IPAs

Here are five flavor- and aroma-forward IPAs that scratch the hops itch without loading up on calories.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Feb 3, 2021 - 3 min read

Editors’ Picks: Low-Calorie IPAs Primary Image

Deschutes Wowza!

With a decided light and juicy bent, the nose offers copious amounts of tangerine, peach, guava, and passionfruit with a soft herbal note underneath. If you’re expecting sweet on the sip, think again—this is a low-calorie IPA after all, and that first sip is mildly jarring for those accustomed to its calorie-dense cousins. But three or four sips in, it hits its stride and the fruit aromas sweeten up the pale body for a satisfyingly drinkable dry, fruity, “crushable” beer.
ABV: 4.0% Cal: 100 (12 oz) Location: Bend, Oregon

Bell’s Light Hearted

Sweet orange-peel nose with creamy, vanilla-like touch. A gulp’s light initial sweetness is immediately enveloped in smooth, dusty bitterness indistinguishable from the clean, dry finish. It all happens fast—quenching, then you need another gulp to pay closer attention. This is a light beer that drinks like one, but with boosted aroma and thoughtful malty touches that help give a fleeting impression of heft.
ABV: 3.7% Cal: 110 (12 oz) Location: Comstock, Michigan

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty

Peach-forward, fuzzy-navel hop nose. Brief impression of sweetness in the flavor—flash of tangerine—then a low, steady wave of smooth, earthy bitterness guiding you to a dry finish. Some bitterness lingers to remind you: This is supposed to be an IPA. Has that DFH liveliness, with an impression of weight despite what must be a feather-light grist.
ABV: 4.0% Cal: 95 (12 oz) Location: Milton, Delaware

Weldwerks Fit Bits

Light yet creamy tropical fruit notes on the nose with an almost coconut and almond note. This much flavor in a beer with five grams of carbs seems like cheating. The sip is less overtly fruity with a more complex light tannic and tropical funk notes pushing forward, but the dry finish despite the relatively substantial body makes for extra drinkability.
ABV: 4.2% Cal: 130 (16 oz) Location: Greeley, Colorado

Two Roads Wee Demon

Rewind to “session IPA” a few years ago, and you had ragged bitter beers with thin body that were unpleasant all around. Today, incredibly light beers like Wee Demon have embraced softer modern hopping techniques to provide satisfying hop experiences without the rough edge. Its polished and thoroughly well-integrated hops character is perfectly balanced by the light malt. The nose is a bit understated, but the sip brings it home.
ABV: 3.8% Cal: 95 (12 oz) Location: Stratford, Connecticut