It’s the New Year, which means resolutions abound, making it tough to enjoy a night out and a few craft brews without that little asshole on your shoulder giving you the stink eye. For you: these five local beers. They’re your best (and best-tasting) options for low-cal, low-regret imbibing, all big on flavor but relatively low on calories, booze, and judgment.
LOW-CAL BEER: Jack’s Abby Jabby Brau
ESTIMATED CALORIES: 135
This is probably how most beers tasted 100 years ago: a delicious, no-fuss golden lager with crisp flavors of hops and malt. Nothing over the top, but certainly not lacking in taste. And at 4.5 percent alcohol-by-volume, this beer won’t make you overdo it in the calorie department. (A brew’s calories generally come from its alcohol content.)
LOW-CAL BEER: Notch Left of the Dial IPA
ESTIMATED CALORIES: 140
You won’t find many India Pale Ales that qualify as “low-cal.” But at just 4.3 percent ABV, this option from the first-ever session-focused brewery, Notch Brewing in Mass, is a guilt-free swill that packs lots of hops flavor and soft bitterness, alongside lighter citrus notes and an aroma of pine and resin.
LOW-CAL BEER: Peak Organic Winter Session Ale
ESTIMATED CALORIES: 150
This seasonal wheat beer brewed by Maine’s Peak Organic Brewing uses dark malt to provide subtle toasty notes, plus the hoppy kick reminds you that you’re drinking a real beer, not some watered-down imposter. At 5 percent ABV—but only 150 calories per bottle—it’s refreshing and flavor-jammed, but without the pangs of conscience.
LOW-CAL BEER: Rapscallion Honey Ale
ESTIMATED CALORIES: 135
The flagship brew of Mass-based Rapscallion is a pale ale infused with native wildflower honey from area farmers, which balances the hop bite with a kiss of sweetness. It’s crisp, clean, refreshing, and at a 4.5 percent ABV, it’s a sessionable brew that will keep you in check. At least until you say, “The hell with it!”
LOW-CAL BEER: Otter Creek Hop Session Ale
ESTIMATED CALORIES: 126
If you want something lighter, but still with a good hops kick, grab this. This easy sipper, crafted by Vermont’s Otter Creek Brewing, lies somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA, with a delightful punch of hops and aroma paired with a rich blend of malt. This is your reward for (kind of) sticking with your New Year’s resolution of health and wellness, by way of beer in this case.