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  • Writer's pictureMcGoo

Battle Low Carb Beer

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

So tell me, are you a soft body hottie? Got dad bod for days?

It seems I've put on a few pounds over the holidays with my all pastry stout, kettle chips and Lindor diet. It's time to change my act, turn a new leaf, straighten up, fly right and not dip everything in ranch dressing. But give up beer like most diets "strongly recommend"? Not happening!

There are many reasons why people drink low carbs beers, none of which are for the taste. They may be looking for a low calorie option or adopting a low carb diet. Personally, I followed a keto diet for the first half of 2020. There were many days I just needed a beer, but those hazy DIPAs weren't on the keto menu. I needed to find a low carb beer that I could have a couple of and still stay within my daily carb allowance. But most importantly that beer needed to taste like a beer! If you look at the shelves of the Beerstore, or should I say beer listings, there seems to be a growing market for ultra light and low carb beers. Given the massive popularity of seltzers, macro breweries and even some Ontario breweries are answering the call for this style of beer.

So how do they make low carb beer other than removing all the taste? Just add exogenous enzymes into the mash so that virtually all the carbohydrates are broken down to fermentable sugars. The sugars are then fermented by the yeast to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Mmmm....exogenous enzymes.

The Competitors

While on keto I made my rounds tasting through the low carb beer options available at the time. So I was familiar with what was on the market, but was happy to find a few new options. I consider any beer under 5 grams of carbohydrates per 473ml serving low carb. The typical keto diet limits daily net carbohydrates to under 20 grams. Meaning if I ate clean during the day I could have a beer or two. In case you're wondering Muskoka's Tread Lightly while an excellent light beer has 11g carbs per 355ml and Moosehead Cracked Canoe has 6g carbs per 341ml bottle.

I know...I forgot the pic of the PC 2.5g....I was just so excited to drink it!

Battle Low Carb Beer Results

Once again we had our craft beer loving friends taste and rate these beers virtually along with us. Because misery loves company. In a typical tasting, we would score a beer based on aroma, mouthfeel, taste and impression. But is all that really necessary here? We simply assigned each beer a score out of 10 and indicated whether we would purchase again should we be in the market for a low carb beer.

8th: Sleeman Clear - $2.75 - 4% abv - 110 Calories - 3g carbs per 473m

Quickly dissipating head with aromas of light apple cider vinegar and cereal. Subtle flavours of apple, cereal grains and just a hint of burnt rubber.

"Easily the worst tasting beer I've ever had" - Paul

All of us agree that we would not buy again.

7th: PC Low Carb - $1.83 (6 pack only) - 90 Calories - 2.5g carbs per 355ml

Quickly receding head with very light aromas of apple and cereal. Subtle flavours of apple, cereal grains, and sort of how you think sand would taste. Dry and crisp finish.

"Mop water after cleaning the brew house" - Mrs. McGoo

All of us agree that we would not buy again.

6th: Busch Light - $2.20 - 4% abv - 126 Calories - 4g carbs per 473ml

Sweat cereal grain aromas with an acrid granny smith apple flavour and baking soda bitterness. Crisp, peppery finish with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

"This tastes as if a Coors Light peed in a glass" - McGoo

2 of 4 would buy again, which is making me question our friendship.

5th: Molson Ultra - $2.75 - 3% abv - 90 Calories - 3g carbs per 473ml

Good head retention compared to others. Bready, sweet cereal and corn aromas. Slightly sweet pale malt flavour but so subtle its really hard to conjure up tasting notes. Crisp with a peppery earthy finish.

1 of 4 would by again.

4th: Michelob Ultra - $3 - 4% abv - 120 Calories - 4g carbs per 473ml

Ultra fast receding head with light apple and lemon aromas. Slight apple and bready flavour, crisp finish.

"If Bubly had a beer flavoured water" - Mrs. McGoo

2 of 4 would buy again

3rd: Miller Lite - $2.85 - 4% abv - 130 Calories - 4g carbs per 473ml

Medium head retention with a bready peppery aroma. On the sip you actually get some pale malt bready flavour and there is some light hop bitterness. Crisp and dry peppery finish. Overall a decent representation of a low carb American light pilsner.

All four of us agree that we would buy again.

2nd: Belgian Moon Light Sky - $2.90 - 4% abv - 130 Calories - 5g carbs per 473ml

Aromas of orange citrus flavouring. On the sip, bright orange citrus wheat hefe flavour which seems to evaporate quickly to a clean crisp finish. Easy drinking and refreshing.

All four of us agree that we would buy again.

1st: Mill Street Big Little Lager - $3.10 - 3.5% abv - 110 Calories - 4g carbs per 473ml

Bright and floral hop aroma with tastes of light bready pale malts and a floral hop flavour. This hop flavour, while pleasant, is leaning a bit vegetal similar to wet hopping. Clean and crisp finish. A complete savior in this battle!

All four of us agree that we would buy again.

Scoring and writing tasting notes for these beers is like helping your spouse pick the perfect shade of grey for the family room, they're all boring, just pick one. At least Mill Street is offering a low carb option that is good value and actually tastes like more than bubbles. If you love big IPAs and stouts there really are no options for you, drink bourbon.

Stay positive and drink good beer

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