From the Beer Writer: When it comes to beer, I prescribe to a phrase on a t-shirt from Kearny Mesa’s O’Brien’s Pub: I didn’t come here to save money or lose weight. I feel the same way about food. While low-cal, vegan and vegetarian cuisine can be very good, I think it’s best to suspend dietary restrictions to achieve the unadulterated best version of a dish possible. All that said, today’s beer drinkers are displaying a growing thirst for low-cal, lower-carb options, and I tip my hat to the breweries that are working to provide these consumers something along those lines that still qualifies as quality craft beer versus something cheap, flimsy and counterproductive to artisanal ales and lagers. Enter Treading Lightly Keto-Friendly IPA from Thorn Brewing. While the name is a (clever) joke, it has calorie and carb stats that will scratch the itch of the health-conscious imbiber, but it still delivers where flavor and hop presence are concerned. Best of all, while the Thorn tribe could have lowered the caloric content even more, they didn’t, because doing so wouldn’t have produced a beer they were happy with. Meeting market demand without compromising values isn’t often easy, but it’s always commendable.
From the Brewer: “Last April at the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, I attended a panel centered around how craft beer could move into a space previously thought only for the Big Beer companies: lite beer. Low-calorie, low-carb, low-alcohol beer has long been synonymous with big breweries, along with a watered down taste. Using the same enzymes that the Big Beer companies use to make their lite beer, I opted to use 100% malt for the beer —instead of cheap sugar sources like corn syrup—as well as a large amount of Citra and Amarillo hops, which produce a really lovely bouquet of citrus and tropical fruit. I aimed for about 4.2% alcohol-by-volume, as well as a very dry—meaning low sugar/carb—finish. We have been very pleased with the results, with the beer being crisp, refreshing and deliciously hoppy, while the calorie and carb content—104 calories and 2.9 grams of carbs in 12 ounces—are similar to levels found in mainstream lite beer. We are proud to produce Treading Lightly, a ‘keto-friendly’ hoppy ale that just seems to fit the ‘California lifestyle.'”—Eric O’Connor, Head of Brewing Operations, Thorn Brewing