Close up focus view of waiter pouring draft beer in the sunny bar.

Close up focus view of waiter pouring draft beer in the sunny bar.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of person I’d be if I didn’t find beer so delicious.

Perhaps swimsuit season, and standing up, would be less traumatic. Maybe I would wake before dawn, do yoga, cancel Netflix, and stop wasting time worrying all my empties in the blue bin aren’t really getting recycled.

Yeah, sometimes I wonder about these things. Usually at the start of a new year, when the “r” word comes up.

Resolutions. Ugh.

Each year, my friend Michael does a “Dry January” and, on average, sheds about 8 pounds. Another friend dropped from 257 to 170 after giving up alcohol, changing his diet and taking up mountain biking.

“That doughiness of middle age isn’t age,” he tells me. “It’s alcohol.”

Also probably lack of exercise and bad diet, but I get his point.

When I reluctantly crunch the numbers, I’m reminded how even a moderate craft habit can make a dent in the scales if you’re not careful. Generally speaking, the higher the alcohol, the higher the calories. And — sessions aside — craft suds are known for their headiness. A 16-ounce glass of 7% ABV beer rings in at a little shy of 300 calories. Make it a 10%-er, (and you’re female) you’ve just dispatched with roughly one-fifth your daily recommended calorie intake.

Probably why most craft beers don’t list calorie content on the label.

But a resolve to tighten one’s belt doesn’t necessarily mean giving up a precious libation, full stop. Inspired in part by the recent boom in sales of spiked seltzers, which tend to hover around 5% ABV and 100 calories, more brewers are coming out with suds that proudly wear their calorie counts on their sleeves.

“It’s becoming more of a style people are doing to market towards the seltzer game that’s going on. It lets people know, you can still drink a beer and be around 100 calories or under,” said Coaltrain Wine & Spirits’ Mason Adkins.

If you’re in the market for some lighter-weight craft offerings, here are a few readily available at Coaltrain, and other spots around the southern Front Range:

Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery’s Slightly Mighty Lo-Cal IPA has just 95 calories. The addition of monk fruit extract helps maximize and balance the flavor the flavor of a brew hailed by Runner’s World as “a light beer that tastes like something besides light beer.”

Boulder’s Oskar Blues Brewery recently released its One-y 100 Calorie Hazy IPA, a mild 4% ABV that delivers the citrusy goods with additions of orange peel, tangerine and lemon zest. The price? Just 100 calories.

Another hazy IPA from Colorado, Avery Brewing Co.’s Pacer IPA, is 100 calories, and at 4.5% ABV allows you to do just what the name suggests.

And yet another Centennial State entry, from Fort Collins’ Odell Brewing, is Good Behavior Crushable IPA, with 110 calories and 4% ABV.

“There’s plenty of 100, 95, even 80 calorie options in the market right now,” COO Brendan McGivney said in a news release announcing the new flagship brew in October. “After a year of small-batch, R&D testing at both of our brewhouse taprooms, we realized we weren’t going to sacrifice the flavor and body for 10 calories. We think your tastebuds will agree.”


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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