Friday, August 2, 2019

The Most Drinkable 4% ABV Beers

For those who enjoy beer but want to cut calories and stay sober, 4.0% ABV beer can be a great option. Many states have had laws requiring beer sold in grocery stores or gas stations to be 4% or less by ABV (alcohol by volume). This corresponds to what many know as "3.2 beer". 3.2% ABW (alcohol by weight) is the same as 4.0% ABV. These beers can be enjoyed with less worry of becoming intoxicated or gaining too much weight.
For example, a typical 6% ABV craft beer has .72 ounces of pure alcohol. A 4% ABV beer only has .48 ounces (or about one third less). This means that for the same alcohol in three craft beers you can drink almost five low-alcohol beers. This can be helpful if one is enjoying several beers over the course of an afternoon boating or doing yard work. It's also worth noting you'd be getting almost 24 oz. more water, which helps with hydration.
The problem has been that most companies do not make 4% ABV beers, especially now that the 3.2 laws have been reversed in most states. Finding a good-tasting, low-alcohol beer isn't easy.
Fortunately there are some good options. I'll rank the top 5 brands I've found in my local beer market.
  • 1. Yuengling Light lager (3.8% ABV). Ok, this beer isn't available in my local market (Colorado) because Yuengling doesn't distribute there. However, on a recent trip down south I picked some up. It's a crisp, pale lager with a decent malty body. This is really refreshing on a hot day at the beach.
  • 2. Deschutes Da Shootz ale (4% ABV). This is a session-style ale with a nice hoppy character. I like it when I want a more full-bodied low-alcohol beer.
  • 3. Guinness Draft Stout (4.0% ABV). Yes, the dark and full-bodied Guinness is only 4%. I enjoy this in 16 oz. cans, especially during the colder months. Its low carbonation makes it easy to enjoy cool or cold. Note, Guinness Extra Stout is higher than 4%.
  • 4. Montucky Cold Snacks lager (4.0% ABV). This is a slightly sweet lager from Montana brewer Montucky. As the name suggests, it's best enjoyed cold. The low carbonation makes this an easy drinker.
  • 5. Labatt Blue Light lager (4.0% ABV). Blue Light is a Canadian lager and it's been around since the early 1980s. It's a lot like most megabrew light lagers. Clear and crisp, it's not a sipping beer so much as a drinking brew.