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Light Beer Taste-Test Winners

By Matthew Thompson, March 9, 2012 - 1:39pm

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Nine times out of 10, when I reach for a beer it's something dark, hoppy and (lets be honest) packed with calories. For me, beer is a treat—something to enjoy instead of dessert after a long day of work—and I want one with enough flavor to leave me satisfied. But every once in a while, the thought of something lighter just sounds perfect. It's not that my taste suddenly changes, it's just that the situation does; you know,if you're already enjoying pizza or chips, it's probably a good time to cut back on other extra calories.

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For all those situations, I'll definitely think about reaching for the winners in EatingWell's Light Beer Taste Test. We took a look at light craft beers from breweries that also make the dark-as-molasses pints I usually favor and found out which ones made the grade, taste-wise.

The findings were interesting. The first thing I was intrigued to learn was that while "light" beer is the fastest-growing beer category in the U.S., that designation doesn't actually mean anything. Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate alcohol labels, "light" means pretty much whatever a brewer wants it to. Calorie counts can range from a slim 64 to a bloated 175. Yikes!

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Now, without further ado, here are our favorites, in no particular order:

*Nutrition information is for a 12-ounce bottle. | ABV = alcohol by volume

Michelob Ultra Amber
ABV 4.0%, 95 calories,
3.2 grams carbohydrate
Tasting notes: Dark golden color and malty, sweet flavor.

Sam Adams Light
ABV 4.3%,
119 calories, 9.6 grams carbohydrate
Tasting notes: Crisp, malty and smooth.

Shipyard Light
ABV 3.2%,
97 calories,
7.4 grams carbohydrate
Tasting notes: Nicely balanced beer was the most mild of the batch.

New Belgium Brewing Skinny Dip
ABV 4.2%,
110 calories,
7 grams carbohydrate
Tasting notes: Bright golden color and delicious citrus notes.

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What's your favorite light beer? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Matthew Thompson, Healthy Cooking Blog, Diet, Entertaining, Product reviews

Matthew Thompson
Matthew Thompson is a former associate food editor for EatingWell Magazine.

Matthew asks: What's your favorite light beer?

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