We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Light Beer?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Light beer is beer that has been brewed in a special way to reduce the overall alcohol or caloric content, and in some cases both. Many people drink it because they enjoy the flavor, or because they believe that it is less unhealthy than regular beer. Other beer consumers are dismissive of light beer, arguing that it has a disagreeably thin flavor and it is not, in actuality, that much healthier than ordinary beers.

Most light beers are brewed as pale lagers like Pilsner, a traditional Czech lager. Originally, these beers were meant to have a lower alcohol content so that people could enjoy several without feeling intoxicated. They were often designed for casual drinking; some people call them “lawnmower beers” in a reference to the habit of drinking one or two after a day working in the yard. Over time, people began to demand low calorie versions of beer, and those in the sense of “light on calories” arose.

There are several ways to make beer light. Higher fermentation temperatures tend to cut down on alcohol content, as will various techniques for handling the barley mash that is fermented to make the beer in the first place. Some brewers also use ingredients like rice and wheat in their beers to make them lighter. The other option is the addition of enzymes that will break down substances in the beer known as dextrins. Dextrins are not fermentable; they retain their structure through the brewing process, adding mouthfeel, texture, and a rich aroma. By breaking the dextrins down, brewers can reduce the caloric content of the beer.

These steps may not always make much of a difference in the caloric content of beer. As a result, some brewers actually water down their beers to dilute the caloric value and alcohol content. Nutritional comparison between regular pale lagers and light beers as they are brewed reveals little difference between the two, in many cases. As one might expect, however, the practice of watering down the beer causes the flavor to become watered down as well, giving the brews a bad reputation.

Critics claim that the flavor of this type of beer is often lacking as a result of the practices used to make it light in the first place. Light beers can seem very watery, especially when they actually are watered down, and their flavors tend to be more subtle and less brassy than those of more conventional ales and lagers. Some people do genuinely enjoy this flavor, however, and drink the beer out of personal preference, rather than the perceived health value. For people who want a low-calorie alternative to beer, simply cutting down on beer consumption might be a better way to go.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon292367 — On Sep 19, 2012

If you consider Bud Light a beer, than you have no clue what drinking beer is all about. And if that's the case then you should continue on drinking the pseudo beers. In order to lower calorie content, a chemical process is used, thus not making a light beer any more healthy to drink.

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 23, 2010

For me, drinking light beer is all about the taste and doesn't have anything to do with the low-calorie content. Beer is a very strong beverage I've never liked the darker beers. Many of my friends tried before, and have never been successful in getting me to drink consistently dark or stout ales.

I like the taste of light beer, it goes down easy, and it's cheap. These three reasons are probably why I will always stick to drinking light beer and I suggest that other people do to.

By spreadsheet — On Oct 23, 2010

Hands down, the best light beer that is available on the market is Bud Light. This classic all-American beer has been consumed for a long time and the light version of it is just as good.

Why do you think there are other tasty beers available on the market, I always drink Bud Light because it is consistently tasty. It doesn't have anything to do with the amount of advertisements that they put basically in every sport and everywhere we look, in is truly the taste of the light beer that I enjoy.

By thumbtack — On Oct 23, 2010

Because of the calories than regular beer has contained inside of it, I always drink light beer. While some beer aficionados will say that light beer is a diluted and watered-down version of the real thing, in order to save myself from getting a beer belly is the only option available to.

When it comes to the best kind of light beer I've always turned to light beer reviews that are available in different types of brewing magazines period. While some light beers have the best options are looking for the lowest amount of calories, there are other light beer that are still low in calories but they actually taste a lot better than other light beer.

By IceCarver — On Oct 23, 2010

When I was younger and in my days of youthful indiscretion, one could say that I was known for drinking beer. My favorite beer of yonder years was always the heaviest dark stout beers that were on the market. I always wanted something with a kick that could actually get me intoxicated in a couple of beers.

When I moved in with some other guys I found out that they were all light beer drinkers and I just shook my head. Finally I convinced them to try a dark beer and most were disgusted by the taste. By making a few smart selections on the beer isle, I was able to identify some quality beers that would still fit the taste that they could handle and we gradually worked toward darker beers. Light beers are a was of time and despite any benefit low carb light beer might give you, you can never go wrong with a dark beer.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.