6 “Better for You” Craft Beers for your 4th of July


6 “Better for You” Craft Beers for your 4th of July

Craft Beers That Offer Best of Both Worlds

Thumb through any app that rates craft beer and you will quickly come to realize that the highest rated beers in the industry are, more than likely, high ABV Double IPA’s and barrel aged stouts. This should come as no surprise – they’re delicious.

But it does come at a high price… to your waistline.

Beers falling into these categories, as tasty as they may be, are loaded with calories thanks to their abnormally high alcohol content and the sugars needed to make them.

All of the extra calories might not seem like a big deal when you are tossing back a Sip Of Sunshine while pounding nachos at après during ski season. (That’s why they built those little Velcro adjustment straps into the sides of your ski pants, right?)

However, with July 4th on the horizon and prime beach season along with it, board shorts and bikinis don’t really offer the same ‘layered forgiveness’ our winter garb does.

So what is a want-to-be-fit craft beer lover to do?

“Today’s average-aged Beer drinkers are more health and wellness oriented in their beverage choices than even a decade ago.  They are more focused on quality than quantity and looking for a lot of flavor without a lot of calories or carbs,” says founder of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione.

Dogfish Head pioneered this movement almost 12 years ago with their yoga themed Namaste White and have since added two more low cal options, Seaquench Ale and Slightly Mighty. Now other craft breweries around the country have also recognized the growing trend in wellness-conscious consumers and have responded by brewing flavorful beers whose calories match your desired waistline. 

“Consumers are seeking alternatives that are lower in calories, and that have nutritional value. At the same time, they still enjoy pleasant flavors, appreciate variety, and respect authenticity and craftsmanship. Whether it’s après ski or recovering from any brisk outdoor activity, everyone enjoys relaxing with a refreshing beverage, but no one wants to feel bloated or weighed down,” says Eric McKay, co-founder of Suncrush Beer.

“In my personal experience, I have been drinking craft beer for a couple of decades, but am also a “wellness” conscious consumer. There is an occasion for low cal, low ABV beers that fit in with a lot of our customer’s lifestyles,” says Veronica Vega, Brewmaster and Director of Product Development at Deschutes Brewery.

“We just hosted our 18th Harpoon 5 Miler,” says Chris Bonacci, a fundraiser for the Angel Fund, “and we have helped raise over 2 million dollars for the cause in those 18 years. So if anything, I think we’re just getting started making beer a part of an active lifestyle.”

From a personal experience, I have always lived by the “life is too short to drink crappy beers” motto, compensating for my vices by working out doubly as hard and maintaining healthy eating regimen. Now, as it turns out, I may no longer have to.

Breweries Hopping On the “Better-For-You” Trend

Suncrush Tangerine

Suncrush Beer – Richmond, Virginia

Photo Credit: Kate Magee

Made with matcha green tea, real crushed fruit and crafted to remove gluten, Suncrush is a rather flavorful alternative for the warmer summer months. Make no mistake about it though, this is less like a beer and more like a tangerine forward, sparkling, sweet tea. Suncrush is unique, though in its flavor profile and true to its name. You could definitely crush this one all day under the sun.  

Slightly Mighty

Dogfish Head Brewery – Milton, Delaware

Photo Credit: Dogfish Head Brewery

An IPA with only 95 calories is a rare find but don’t let those limited calories fool you, Slightly Mighty lives up to its name. One of the more flavorful light beers that I have had in this category thanks to the addition of the no calorie monk fruit. Used as the base for the beer, it is then balanced out perfectly with the hops to deliver a tropical pineapple citrus flavor. 

Rec League

Harpoon Brewery – Boston, Ma

Photo Credit: Harpoon Brewery

3.8% ABV and full of flavor. This is not a combination that you usually hear but with a mild hop presence that offers up notes of citrus and a fairly dry, crisp finish it delivers the tasty goods. So if you and your boys are regulars on the local cornhole circuit and want to drink all day and still hit the board, then this is the Rec League you need to join. 

Easy Sport Recreation Ale

Boulevard Brewing Company – Kansas City, Mo

Photo Credit: Boulevard Brewing Company

If Boulevard was going for the sports drink of the beer world, then I think they nailed it. Even the packaging would suggest it. This blonde ale is quite tasty with its bready, biscuity, citrus melange of flavors. It even has electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium and sea salt added during the brewing process, making this a full fledged post workout beverage option. 

Da Shootz 

Deschutes Brewery – Bend, Oregon

Photo Credit: Deschutes Brewery

There is nothing better than an easy drinking lager on a hot day, but one with only 4% ABV and 99 calories that actually tastes good, is even better. With just enough bready sweetness and a touch of a hoppy somewhat lemongrass finish this is an excellent post activity beer. Drink it ice cold from the can and you’ll be crushing them all day long. 

Eazy Teazy

Lakefront Brewery – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Photo Credit: Lakefront Brewery

What is better than iced tea in the summer? Iced tea that is turned into a beer, of course. That is exactly what Lakefront Brewery did with their Eazy Teazy. Using green tea and some Lemondrop hop they created a flavorful, light and low cal option for the summer. 

Rich Stoner

Rich Stoner is the founder of the multimedia and lifestyle clothing brand, All About Après. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres