Do you know what low alcohol beer is all about? Why does it has less alcohol in it, and how is it brewed? Join us as we find out more about this great tasting brew that’s growing in popularity the world over.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is Low Alcohol Beer?
- What Is The History Of Low Alcohol Beer?
- What Is Considered Low Alcohol Beer?
- What Beer Has The Lowest Alcohol?
- How Is Low Alcohol Beer Made?
- What Are The Different Categories Of Low Alcohol Beer?
- How Does Low Alcohol Beer Taste?
- Is Low Alcohol Beer Healthier For You?
- Will Low Alcohol Beer Make You Fat?
- What Are The 30 Best Low Alcohol Beers To Try Right Now?
- Go Grab A Light Beer!
What Is Low Alcohol Beer?
Low alcohol beer is any beer that contains little to no alcohol content and furthermore aims to reproduce the taste and refreshing satisfaction of a regular, alcoholic beer.
Many variations and methods have come and gone over the years, all though with a steady march in improvement, as well as a need. Low alcohol beer is also known as light beer, non-alcoholic or alcohol-free beer, and also, less commonly, as near beer, or small beer.
What Is The History Of Low Alcohol Beer?
Beer brews containing low alcohol go back as far as mediaeval Europe. During this time they commonly served as an alternative to drinking from local water sources, which were often polluted and contained harmful bacteria and parasites. They were also generally less expensive to buy. As well as a handy way of lengthening beer supplies, or reserving the “good stuff” for events and festivals.
In more recent times though, our technological world of cars, machinery, medication, and a whole host of new stresses, risks, and health factors, has led to renewed interest in low alcohol beers.
During the 1980s and 1990s, concerns around alcoholism were particularly high, giving rise to the creation of “light” beers. As the world progressed into the 2000s, many independent craft breweries began to gain prominence. Often their craft beers had a lower alcohol content and were considered healthier, which added to their growing popularity. To secure their position in a quickly changing market, many big breweries began to sell their own new light or “lite” beers in hopes of getting in on the new trend.
A general decline in sales has steadily continued due to a more spread-out interest in new breweries and beers. There has also been a general increase in laws and restrictions involving alcohol use, and so low alcohol beers have only continued to become more popular and relevant.
The mass global beer market has created a variety of different labels and iterations for low alcohol beer, from “lite”, to “near beer”, and also “non-alcoholic” beer.
What Is Considered Low Alcohol Beer?
In the UK, the government recommends that a low alcohol beer should have no more than 1.2 percent ABV, alcohol by volume. This, however, is only a recommendation, and within the beer industry “low alcohol” beer can generally mean anything below 4-5 percent ABV.
In the US, low alcoholic beer is also usually considered to be 4-5 percent AVB and lower, as do most other parts of the world.
In Australia, the term “light beer” is commonly used, and refers to any beer lower than 3.5 percent AVB.
What Beer Has The Lowest Alcohol?
Non-alcoholic beers are literally the lowest you can go with many new varieties now containing zero percent AVB. In many places though, a small percentage, from 0.05 to 0.5 percent ABV, is still considered a non-alcoholic beer.
How Is Low Alcohol Beer Made?
Low alcohol beer is basically created the same way as any regular alcoholic beer. The only major difference is the end process for removing the alcohol.
In the past, many breweries would simply heat the beer to allow the alcohol to evaporate. In recent times though, most big breweries use a special vacuum evaporation method. This helps to reduce the temperature needed to evaporate the alcohol while maintaining the beer’s flavour.
Another alternative modern method is to use a process of reverse osmosis, which can avoid heating the beer altogether. The beer is sent under high pressure through a polymeric filter with tiny pores that only alcohol, water, and trace acids are able to pass through. The alcohol is then distilled from the water, which is then duly added back into the beer mixture.
In some instances, however, the beer is simply diluted with water until it has the desired alcohol level.
What Are The Different Categories Of Low Alcohol Beer?
In most countries around the world, the various different categories of low alcohol beer generally follow the same line of reasoning.
- Zero-alcohol or alcohol-free beer – no more than 0.05 percent ABV.
- Dealcoholized beer – anything over 0.05 percent, though less than 0.5 percent ABV.
- Other low alcohol beers – more than 1.2 percent, though less than 4-5 percent ABV.
In parts of the EU and US, any beer that contains less than 0.5 percent ABV is allowed to be called “alcohol-free” or “non-alcoholic” beer.
How Does Low Alcohol Beer Taste?
In the past, low alcohol beers have had a bad rap as being less flavoursome and generally unappealing in comparison to regular beer. Over time, however, and particularly during recent years, great strides have been made in improving the overall quality and taste. These days, many low alcohol beers have become a viable substitute, even for seasoned beer-drinkers.
Is Low Alcohol Beer Healthier For You?
Being able to drive after drinking is a no-brainer when it comes to the direct health benefits that come with low alcohol beer. Otherwise, it can also greatly aid in reducing the effects of alcohol-related disease, not to mention cause far less of a hangover.
Will Low Alcohol Beer Make You Fat?
Nowadays, with health ever more becoming a conscious trend, low-calories have also become a selling point with low alcohol beers. Having far fewer calories than full-strength beers makes them more appealing in a broader sense.
What Are The 30 Best Low Alcohol Beers To Try Right Now?
Best Low Alcohol Lagers
- Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Wheat – 4% ABV
- Shiner Ruby Redbird – 4% ABV
- Uinta Baba Black Lager – 4% ABV
- Full Sail Session Light Premium Lager – 3.6% ABV
- Zelus Beer Company Lyte Fest Festbier – 4.8% ABV
- The Purist – 3.8% ABV
- Deschutes Da Shootz! – 4% ABV
- Boston Beer Sam Light – 4.3% ABV
- Ballast Point Lager – 4.2% ABV
- Lucky Saint unfiltered lager – 0.5% ABV
Best Low Alcohol Ales
- Lagunitas Daytime Ale – 4% ABV
- Uinta Saddleback Brut IPA – 4% ABV
- Partake Brewing Mango Gose – 0.3% ABV
- Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA – 4% ABV
- Avery Brewing El Gose – 4.5% ABV
- Sufferfest Kolsch – 3.5% ABV
- Southern Tier Swipe Light – 4% ABV
- Little Grove Sparkling Session Ale – 3.6% ABV
- Harpoon Rec. League – 3.8% ABV
- Slightly Mighty IPA – 4% ABV
- Boulevard Easy Sport Recreation Ale – 4.1% ABV
- Bell’s Light-Hearted – 3.7% ABV
- Boston Beer Marathon Brewing 26.2 – 4% ABV
- Zelus Beer Company Long Run Apricot Pale Ale – 4.7% ABV
- Sufferfest Repeat Kolsch With Bee Pollen – 3.5% ABV
Other Low Alcohol Beers
- Blue Moon LightSky – 4% ABV
- Evil Twin Bikini Beer – 2.7% ABV
- Schofferhofer Grapefruit – 2.5% ABV
- Cerveza Atletica – 0.5% ABV
- Dry-Hopped Clausthaler – 0.5% ABV
- Infinite Session APA – 0.5% ABV
- Big Drop Galactic Milk Stout – 0.5% ABV
Go Grab A Light Beer!
Whether you drink low alcohol beer for the enjoyment or the health benefits, with their greatly improving quality and taste, this is almost becoming a moot point.
These days, low alcohol beers are becoming so good that they can be enjoyed in their own right, as delicious, refreshing beverages like any other.