Whether you’re on a health kick and cutting back your alcohol, or playing it safe because you’re driving, or perhaps you’re just over forty; whatever your reason for keeping it light, there’s a strong case to be made for low alcohol beer. Here we’ve corralled South Africa’s top (bottom?) lightest craft beers.
With words like big, bold and imperial frequently associated with “exciting” when launching the newest beers, it’s easy to forget that the craft beer industry also caters to the lighter end of the craft drinker spectrum.
After failing late last year to find a zero alcohol beer that still tastes like beer, light beer stepped to the fore as an option. When somebody asked me recently about beers less than 3% ABV, I could, off the top of my head, only think of one. So I set out to find South Africa’s lightest craft beers.
In order from high to low starting at under 3% ABV, the list below is South Africa’s lightest craft beers that are brewed regularly. Radlers and once-offs/mystery tanks have been excluded.
Sun Gazer, Darling Brew
2.6% ABV. From Darling in the Western Cape, Darling Brew’s beer is named for a heavily armoured lizard. Sun Gazer is a light lager, and the brewery says it’s flavourful and light, exhibiting medium aromas and faint floral undertones. Like many of the light craft beers, it’s positioned as an ideal sporting beer.
Kristal Weizz, Berg River Brewery
2.5% ABV. A tiny rung lower on the light craft beer ladder is Berg River Brewery’s Kristal Weizz. A very light German-style beer, it’s low in alcohol, but you might not even notice unless you’re tasting it alongside other beers. Produced using a traditional brewing method with barley, wheat malt, water, the subtle fresh-n-fruity hops makes it a popular refresher especially among cyclists frequenting the brewery in Paarl.
Country Light Blond Ale, Robertson Brewing Co
2.5% ABV.For a light libation while traveling down the Garden Route, stop in at Robertson Brewing Co in George for a sip of their Country Light Blonde Ale. Described as a crisp, refreshingly light golden ale it exhibits notable malty sweetness and a lingering mild hop bitterness.
Arid Light, Boston Breweries
2% ABV. At the top of the pile of South Africa’s lightest craft beers, you’ll find the exceptionally low-alcohol Arid Light. Crafted by Boston Breweries’ owner for himself and his friends, this 2-percenter was meant to be enjoyed during the day, while allowing them to stay sharp into the night, where they would spend long hours behind the camera taking time-lapses of the night-skies.
Below 3.5% ABV
Special mention to the following light beers that still clock in at 3.5% ABV or under:
- My Sweetie, Buchanan’s Brewery (3%)
- Capitalist, Beer Masons (3%)
- No 101, Brewhogs (3.5%)
- Acid Queen Granadilla Sour, Woodstock Brewery (3.5%)
- Wale Tale Ale, Boston Breweries (3.5%)
- Saison, Bernie’s Brewery (3.5%)
- Umduni Gold & Befreckled Red (both 3.5%), Basset Breweries
If your favourite light isn’t on the list, if it’s an SA local, let me know in the comments or send a photo and description through the contact page.
If you thumb your nose at light beers, then perhaps you’ll enjoy our look at the opposite end of the scale in our article about South Africa’s strongest craft beers.