Taking the Low-Carb Test
The All About Beer Magazine staff conducted blind tastings of 11 low-carb beers on the market. The tasters found striking differences between the samples. Although one taster confessed “All of these beers are just so thin, I can’t see myself drinking any,” three stood out for their balance and drinkability: interestingly, they were the three importer German beers: Rhinebecker Extra, Diät Pils, and Bitburger Light.
Marten’s Low Carbohydrate Beer, Brouwerij Martens, Belgium
Light straw/blonde in color, nearly clear. Pale, thin head. Grainy/corn aroma; generic beer smell. Light taste, very fizzy, not too sweet, refreshing, grainy, a little hoppy. Clean finish, no after taste. no residual flavor.
Michelob Ultra, Anheuser-Busch
Very pale, nearly clear. Almost no head. Hardly any smell. No taste upfront, sweeter aftertaste at top and back of mouth. Thin, fizzy with a can-y taste.
Rolling Rock Green Light, Latrobe Brewing Co.
Golden straw color. Light spice smell, soapy. Heavier flavor and more body than first two, but less fizzy. Spiced and hearty, cilantro/ coriander, “I taste bananas.” Sweetish finish, no aftertaste.
IC Light, Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
Golden straw color. .Lambic/gueuze rubbery-tire smell. Good head retention. German flavor in the hops (Hallertauer); great balance, hoppy and sweet. “I could drink this one!” Taste lingers on tongue, more body, not as fizzy, more flavor, nice finish.
Rhinebecker Extra, Karlsberg Brauerei, Germany
Darker golden color, more gold than straw. Good hop aroma and sweet malt, smells like Rolling Rock. Nice body, bitterness on top palette, most drinkable. Saaz, Styrian Gold hops? Hoppy, nice, with a bitter finish. “I wouldn’t know it was low carb.”
Miller Lite, Miller Brewing Co.
Light yellow, nearly clear. Generic beery smell: domestic. Adjunct, cereal flavor and aroma. Typical everyday beer flavor, tastes like your regular domestic light, very fizzy, low hops, thin. No aftertaste.
Pils Diät, Dortmunder-Actien Brauerei, Germany
Golden straw color. Light, grainy smell. “Wow! flavorful, nice mouth feel, body, bitter, hoppy.” Nice hop character, metallic, not the malt balance of 4 or 5. Weird aftertaste on back of tongue. “I wouldn’t know it was low carb.”
Berkeley Sound Honey Almond Light, Gluek Brewing Co.
Butterscotch/tea color. Vanilla, cider, banana, butterscotch aroma: “candy jar, like at my old grandma’s house.” Tastes like butterscotch, vanilla, not bitter and not malty, low carbonation, body is thin but there is something there, this one is drinkable if you like vanilla. Different than the rest.
Sleeman Clear, Sleeman Breweries, Canada
Clear yellow-straw color (greenish tint). Faint apple, rubber/fruit smell. Light, green apple taste, medium-low carbonation, very thin body, not hoppy, not malty. A little bit of fruit up front, but other than that, not much taste. adjunct flavor like domestics, no aftertaste.
Accel, F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
.Gold-green color, no smell, sharper taste, fruit on front of tongue, no after taste.
Bitburger Light, Bitburger Brewery, Germany
Yellow-blonde in color. Light noble hop aroma, fresh. Strong (German) hop flavor for its strength, decent body, good carbonation, creamy texture. A bit light; hops settle on front of tongue. Nice bitter aftertaste. “Hey, it’s a beer.”