Beer is a beautiful thing, but if you drink too much of it, you end up “wasted” and “yelling at the elderly” and “ruining your sister’s rehearsal dinner.” Enter low-alcohol beers, providing just as much flavor and freshness with lower alcohol content. If you want to spend the spring and summer enjoying cold ones without as much alcoholic kick, here are the best low-alcohol beers to sample.
Brooklyn Summer Ale
This Brooklyn-brewed beer is an English-style pale ale with an ABV of 4.5 percent. It’s got a light, earthy taste with some hoppiness and malt flavors. This is a great beer for the summer months; it’s got a crisp and bright taste that will combat the heat.
For bonus points, drink this beer while complaining about the gentrification of Brooklyn, especially if you don’t live there and never have.
With an ABV of just 3.5 percent, the DuPont Avril has a tart lemon taste and an herbal aroma. It’s a traditional Belgian table beer, smooth and easy and great for enjoying outside in the sun.
For bonus points, use the bottle as a microphone and sing Avril Lavigne songs until your spouse threatens to leave you.
Another Belgian offering, Hoegaarden has an ABV of 4.9 percent and is perfect for fans of wheat beers (like myself). There are flavors of orange, banana and coriander to enjoy with this brew, along with a rich foamy head.
For bonus points, get through an entire party drinking this without making a “hoe” joke. Legend says it’s never been done.
Southern Tier Hop Sun
This beer is brewed in Lakewood, New York and has an ABV of 4.9 percent. You may not find it at your local liquor store, but if you happen upon it, you should definitely give it a try. This wheat beer has a nice balance of malt, hoppiness, and a hint of citrus. It’s perfect for a day on the lake or by the pool.
For bonus points, insist that Hop Sun was a Star Wars character with the fervor of someone who 100% knows they’re correct. Don’t let it go until somebody tentatively agrees with you.
Widmer Sunburn Summer Brew
This seasonal offering is brewed in Portland and has an ABV of 4.3 percent. It’s a smooth drink to cool off with in warmer weather, just a little hoppy with heavy citrus flavor.
For bonus points, shout “Widmer? I hardly know her!” every time you take a sip. Explain this joke to those who don’t laugh.
Victory Donnybrook Stout
Finally, an Irish-style stout among all these lighter offerings. Hailing from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the Victory stout has an ABV of 3.7 percent. It has some malty sweetness as well as earthy hops that blend quite smoothly. This creamy offering is a great low-alcohol option to help move you from winter to spring.
For bonus point, adopt an Irish accent that gets thicker the more you drink. If someone points it out, look concerned and ask them how much they’ve had.
Stone Levitation Ale
This ale is brewed in San Diego, California and has an ABV of 4.4 percent. It’s got a nice dark color, floral hoppy notes, and a mixture of bitterness and citrus that packs a significant punch despite its low alcohol content.
For bonus points, take a vote on whether people think David Blaine is really levitating. If anyone thinks it’s legit, call them a witch.
Reissdorf Kölsch is made in Cologne, Germany and has an ABV of 4.8 percent. If you’re a fan of hops, this beer offers a smooth combination of refreshing lightness and a hint of bitterness.
For bonus points, tell a dramatic and complicated story about how you once had a cat named Reissdorf who met a sudden and unfortunate end. Make the story longer than it needs to be. Add an intermission. Tell it in a British accent. Go with your instincts.
Dogfish Head Festina Pêche
This beer is brewed in Milton, Delaware with an ABV of 4.5%. It’s a Berliner Weisse-style beer, which are known for their sour and tart tastes. The Festina Pêche is brewed with peach sugars, so the lingering fruity flavor helps to balance out the acidity and makes for a unique, refreshing beer.
For bonus points, pretend to suddenly notice that this brewery’s in Delaware, then lovingly refer to it as “the 52nd state.” Laugh condescendingly at anyone who tries to correct you.
Anchor Steam hails from San Francisco and has an ABV of 4.9 percent. Anchor Brewing got into the craft beer movement in its early days, so they really know what they’re doing. This beer has a lovely amber color, floral notes and a smooth combination of bitter and malty-sweet tastes.
For bonus points, shout “Anchor? I hardly know her!” every time you take a sip. That's right, just like before. Make this your new thing. Do it with any word that ends in an “er” sound. Refuse to back down. It’s funny. It will always be funny.
For the record, if you do any of the stuff I mentioned above at a party, people are going to hate you, so follow my advice at your own risk. But now that the weather is becoming more tolerable, you can kick back, flirt with a sunburn, and enjoy some of these low-alcohol beers, without running the risk of overindulging. (Or, you know what? Go ahead and overindulge. I’m not the boss of you.)