I tasted these for you, you're welcome
Do you drink beer or do you fear its carbs? Do you often find yourself drinking beer that tastes like crap simply because you don't want to consume the extra calories? Do you gaze longingly at others as they drink their crisp, refreshing beer with reckless abandon?
Friends, do not be afraid of beer. It's not beer's fault that its carby goodness is so appealing. It's not beer's fault that it's hard to drink just one. And in this heat, it's most certainly not beer's fault that it is both refreshing and delicious. And when it comes to light beers, you have options that reach beyond Bud Light and Coors Light.
tastin' ain't easy
As a very dedicated blogger, I decided to help you make a healthy-ish (and delicious) beer decision, so on Sunday I sent Jared to Bierkraft in Brooklyn to pick up as many light craft beers as he could find, along with a few well-known domestic brands. Then I invited several of my closest friends (and fellow beer aficionados) over to my apartment to taste beer and eat cheese and chocolate (this is where the "ish" in healthy-ish really comes in).
Now, before I get into the reviews - let me tell you a bit about our testers. Lauren and Christina are two of my best girlfriends. Lauren is actually the person who introduced me to the deliciousness of beer back in college - and since then, both of us still enjoy beers but really try to be more conscious about the food (and drink) that we put into our bodies. She's totally healthy-ish and you can trust her opinion. Christina is another college friend who is a fellow foodie and a walking guide to NYC. She'll actually be doing some guest-blogging for me later this summer. Jason is Lauren's husband - he's awesome - he loves the Yankees and beer and hates hummus and tofu (the perfect person to test healthy-ish recipes on - but I'm not saying no to cheese and chocolate - ever). Jared is my boyfriend - he eats whatever I cook, brews his own beer and was more than happy to provide his distinguished opinion.
So we blind taste-tested 13 light (and light-ish) beers. I won't bore you with the details of all 13 beers (for now, but I plan to post all reviews over the course of the summer), so I'll give you the top and bottom 3.
In general light beers have anywhere from 120-140 calories per beer (some have more, and some have less). We rated each beer on the following: Look, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel and Drinkability. And without further adieu, here are the results (warning, some of these results might shock you):
Drink These Beers This Summer:
1. Lake Placid Honey Rye: This was the hands down winner of the night. We all agreed that this beer can be considered light-ish, because while it's not a traditional light beer - it was light tasting, and didn't have a super high alcohol content. It's slightly hoppy and doesn't have a strong honey flavor (which is why it had great drinkability - the sweetness of honey doesn't get in the way). Lauren described it best and said it was, "excellent, with a full body and flavor - with a light taste."
2. Sam Adams Light: Sam Light got high ratings across the board. This beer has a great amber color, and Christina's feedback was that she could "drink a bunch of these in a row" (yay for Drinkability). I totally agree - this doesn't taste like a light beer, it's got a really full flavor and it's nice and refreshing.
3. Bud Light Golden Wheat: Ahhh the power of a blind taste test. This was our most shocking result. We were not expecting to enjoy this beer at all, but low and behold every one of our tasters found it refreshing. It's also a bit more carbonated than the other beers that we tried. It was light, it was tasty and surprisingly (to us at least) it actually was, according to Jason, "wheat-y"
Do NOT Drink These Beers This Summer:
1. Michelob Ultra: This stuff is the worst. Who cares that it's 95 calories, it's 95 calories wasted. It's odorless, colorless and tastes like water - in fact, you may as well drink water. In fact, Lauren described it's drinkability as "sick."
2. Amstel Light: When I'm out, I always order Amstel - and I honestly believed I liked it. Apparently this is false - considering my blind review said that it "tastes like college." Which really means that it tastes like bad decision making (ha!). So from here on out, just say no to Amstel Light. When you don't see the branding, the flavor is actually not so good.
3. Tire Bite Golden Ale from Flying Dog: This light-ish beer was a bit too heavy tasting for our liking. It wasn't super carbonated, and according to Jared (and agreed upon by all of us) it was "too creamy."
quality assurance team
What about the other 7 beers, you ask? Well, as I mentioned above, I'll roll those out over the course of the summer. I wanted to get you started on some light and delicious beers that you can buy today.
My takeaway from this experiment? Light beers can be really good - and if you find one you like - drink it. And let go of the crazy idea that healthy people can't drink beer. Swap in light beer when you can, and if you are planning to throw back a few - do it responsibly.
What's your favorite light beer? Let me know in the comments, and I'll wrangle up the crew to give it a try.
If the rumors (aka scientific studies) are true - then soda is going to kill us. It's going to rot our teeth, give us cancer and eat through our intestines. But honestly, you can't deny it - soda is refreshing and delicious. So we have to make choices, and obviously we choose diet soda (less calories, less sugar etc. etc.). Good choice? Wellll, here's where I tell you my cautionary tale.
A few months ago I was drinking about 2 liters of Diet Coke a day (gross, but true). When I decided to cut back I worried about the caffeine withdrawl, but what I actually dealt with was aspartame withdrawl. You guys, it wasn't pretty. Think headaches, nausea and aches. So if you are currently consuming aspartame on a regular basis - heed my warning. The stuff is NOT good for you. Want proof? Check it out here
So what do healthy-ish people do when they want delicious, carbonated diet coke but DO NOT want to put weird chemicals in their body? They find alternatives. Lately I taste-tested two diet coke alternatives, and here are my findings:
Don't Drink Me
First up: Jones Sugar-Free Cola. Guys, this stuff is gross. Yes, it has zero calories - and yes, it is sweetened with Splenda, but it's overly sweetened, not fizzy enough and 100% not worth drinking. Also the flavor wasn't crisp and clean, it left an after taste - and it definitely doesn't pair with food (the sugar just overpowers everything). Personally, I really respect Jones as a brand and they should stick with what they do best - making delicious natural sodas with cane sugar. Leave the diet stuff to the other guys.
Drink Me Instead
Next up was GuS Grown-up Soda in Dry Cola flavor. This is one of the best diet sodas I have ever had. It's so dry, crisp and light. It's perfectly carbonated with a subtle lightly sweet flavor. Yes, it is better than diet coke. But there's a catch...and that catch is that this is not a diet drink, it's a natural drink (which means, and don't panic...it has calories). In fact it has 95 calories per bottle. Worth it? I say yes, and here's why....
Calorie-free doesn't always mean healthy - in fact, many times it means "filled with chemicals". For 95 calories you can put something natural and satisfying into your body. So do that...and don't drive yourself insane. Just don't drink them all day everyday (I personally like to have one as a snack everyday at around 4pm). Now go forth, break free from the shackles of aspartame. It's a new, healthy-ish day my friends!
Have any recommendations for diet , sugar-free or low-calorie sodas for me to try?
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