The Best Light Beer Brands, According to a Blind Test
What's the best light beer to stock in your fridge? Our team of pro foodies (and Brew City residents) found the best crisp, less filling beers to satisfy you and your friends.
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Searching for the Best Light Beer Options
While there are so many beers out there—everything from IPAs to craft brews to seasonal picks like pumpkin beers— there’s one type that we all seem to return to again and again: light beer. That’s because the best light beers are ideal for parties, tailgates, barbecues and everything in between.
But not every light beer is a winner. In fact, there are some pretty dedicated camps in the light beer world (ask any dad!). That’s why our Test Kitchen team decided to help put this debate to bed.
How We Found the Best Light Beer
Fun fact: The city of Milwaukee is home base for Taste of Home—yup, that’s the beer capital of the world! So you know when it comes to brews, our team knows their stuff.
In this taste test, our staffers sampled 10 different light beers from major breweries.
- Refreshment factor: One of the main reasons we turn to light beers (versus their heavier counterparts) is that they are just so darn refreshing! The top beers in our taste test must be refreshing and light.
- Sharability: Simply put: Is this a beer we’d share with friends or bring to a party? Good light beers should be people-pleasing.
- Flavor: Of course, if a beer is going to be called the best light beer, it has to taste great! American-style lagers tend to have mild flavors with just hints of grain.
This test was a challenge, but our beer fanatics feel good about their top picks. Check out if your favorite made our list of Test Kitchen-Preferred light beers.
Best Classic Light Beer
When you crack open a can of light beer, you expect a golden hue, some bubbles and a sippable flavor that might make you want to come back for another. That beer is Coors Light.
Open a can of Coors Light and you’ll find that it’s a nice pale color with some soft malty notes and slight minerality (is it that Rocky Mountain spring water?). There’s no bitterness or sourness to this beer—just easy drinking as you unwind on a Friday evening.
Because this beer is well-balanced and light (each can has 102 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates), you can bet that it’ll hit the spot with any guests you have at your patio party.
Best Refreshing Light Beer
In our tests, our team loves to tell stories in their notes. When it came to choosing the best ice cream sandwiches, several Test Kitchen staffers made mention of school picnics and field days. With Michelob Ultra, tester after tester said that this was the beer that they’d want to cool down with after a long day mowing the lawn and weeding the garden. In the words of Ellie Crowley from our Test Kitchen, “I would like this on a hot summer day after working in the yard.”
So what makes Michelob Ultra the choice for cooling down after doing some hard work and spending time in the sun? It’s incredibly refreshing! According to Deputy Editor Rachel Seis, “This one is the lightest with a crisp feel.”
Spend a little more time with this beer and you’ll pick up some very faint malt and citrus notes, but overall just expect something clean and crisp that’ll satisfy on a warm day. And if you want to expand the selection in your fridge, know that Michelob also has a line of infused beers for folks that want a hint of something else as they sip.
Best Budget Light Beer
Hosting a big backyard bash? You’ll want to keep your coolers full of something tasty without busting your party budget. The right beer for the job is Natural Light. Costing about $15 for a 30-pack, you can keep your fridge full and your guests happy.
So what do you get when you crack open a can of Natural Light? According to Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen, “a very easy-going, chill beer.” This American-style lager is perfectly carbonated and crisp with some very mild grain flavors. Essentially, it’s the sort of beer you want to enjoy on the back patio while flipping burgers and shooting the breeze with your besties.
And if you have a few cans left over at the end of the day, save ’em for your next shindig or add them to these recipes that use beer.
Best Light Beer for Non-Light Beer Drinkers
We understand that not everyone enjoys the lighter flavor of these low-cal beers. For many, beer should be robust and flavorful, not just refreshing. Well, with Corona Light, you get it all: a beer that’s flavor-forward, doesn’t taste watered down and is just 99 calories.
Corona Light tastes much like its full-bodied counterpart with hoppy notes and slight citrus flavors. In our lineup, no other beers delivered on these flavors in a big way, so they were much appreciated. Thanks to the hops, this beer does have a touch of bitterness but don’t worry about that. Once you add the signature Corona lime (Mark says this beer is screaming for it), you’ll be all set for your day at the beach. You can also fill your coolers with a few more summery beers.
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests:
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