When the craft beer industry began to take off, bold and high-octane IPAs seemed to be the go-to for many breweries. And while these super hoppy brews still have quite a following, many in the industry are now producing more low ABV beverages. Well done beers with much less alcohol by volume (typically 5% or less) are increasing in popularity. They remain flavor-forward but don’t send you home stumbling—or cause you to crush your recommended daily calorie consumption—after just one or two glasses. The trend is catching on across the country, including in Virginia.

“We are seeing people gravitate towards beers that are easy to understand and easy to drink,” says Emily Sanfratella, chief operating officer for Waukeshaw Development, the creator of Beale’s Brewery in Bedford. “Double and triple IPAs and fruited sours are fun—we dabble in them occasionally—but light, refreshing lagers are timeless. Customers want beer they can share with their dad without having to explain it.”

While we firmly believe certain occasions call for a 10% stout, following are some of our Virginia low ABV favorites that can be enjoyed at any time or place:

Beale's Gold, Beale’s Brewery, Bedford, 4.8% ABV, is a crisp, smooth, Virginia take on the Munich Helles Lager.

Liquid Escape Tart Ale, The Virginia Beer Co., Williamsburg, 4.4% ABV, a slightly salty sour ale has bright flavors of citrus and melon. It lacks numerous calories but certainly not taste.

Neverending Haze IPA, Stone Brewing, Richmond, 4% ABV, is an IPA that’s still delightfully hoppy and hazy but with much less alcohol than other varieties.

Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Lexington and Roseland, 4% ABV, is a citrus-forward tart ale available year-round. With just two carbs per serving, you can share a six-pack while keeping your own in check.

Euphonia Pilsner, New Realm Brewing Company, Virginia Beach, 5% ABV, is incredibly refreshing no matter the occasion with hersbrucker, huell melon, saphir and sterling hops.

Written By

Melissa Stewart