Somewhere along the way, watching pro sports became synonymous with drinking light beers. Stadium concession stands are full of light beer options. Cases of light beer are the go-to option for tailgating parties around the country. The largest advertisers on the Super Bowl, the biggest advertising platform on television, are consistently light beers. Even though in recent years A-B InBev reports slipping slaes, Bud Light is still the official beer sponsor of the NFL, a title it shelled out millions for each year. Prior to Bud Light the game's official sponsor was Coors Light.
There’s an easy but circular logic that explains this light-leaning phenomenon: light beers are marketed to game watchers, who buy and get used to them, so beer companies advertise to them, so drinkers buy them... and so on.
There is also a more reasoned explanation for the preference, which also allows us to suggest alternatives to the relatively flavorless swill that makes up most of those brews. Sports fans want to be able to keep sipping throughout the main event without getting too sloshed to appreciate the game.
Light beers intrinsically have lower alcohol content than regular beers – for the most part, that’s how they achieve a lower calorie count. Bud Light has 4.2% alcohol by volume, while regular Bud rings in at 5% ABV. Coors Light? 4.15%, versus Coors’ 4.9%. This might not seem like a huge separation, compared to a hearty IPA that sports a 7% ABV, but over the course of a six- (or twelve-) pack, it can make a difference.
To that end, there are plenty of craft brews now on the market that make perfect stand-ins for the “lights.” Lagers and pale ales are going to be your best bets. For example, Victory Prima Pils is crisp and flavorful at 5.3% ABV. Founders All Day IPA comes in just slightly lower, at 4.7%. This goal of replacing boring gameday brews is exactly what led Wes Keegan to found Tailgate Brewing, all of whose offerings are session-ready.
So when you’re getting ready for gametime, instead of reaching for the same old light brew, check out our list below and try one of these options instead. (Have suggestions for our list? Please send them our way via Twitter or Facebook.)
Victory Prima Pils (5.3% ABV; Downingtown, PA)
Brooklyn Lager (5.2% ABV; Brooklyn, NY)
Founders All Day IPA (4.7% ABV; Grand Rapids, MI)
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils (4.9% ABV; Pottstown, PA)
Stone Levitation (4.4% ABV; Escondido, CA)
Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale (5.5% ABV; Frederick, MD)
Avery Joe's Premium American Pilsner (4.7% ABV; Boulder, CO)
21st Amendment Bitter American (4.4% ABV; San Francisco, CA)
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils (5.3% ABV; Longmont, CO)
Deschutes River Ale (4% ABV; Bend, OR)
Photo: Flickr user fincher69
Guinness Stout is world famous for its creamy, smooth body, and now the brewery is bringing those same attributes to its IPA....read more ›
Just in case you weren't yet tired of pictures of cats on the Internet (and really, nobody is), we have a new Instagram account for you to check out. ...read more ›
Michael McConaughey named his son after his favorite beer, and after nine years, it finally paid off. ...read more ›
This year's Great American Beer Festival was larger and more delicious than ever....read more ›
First, a Harry Potter-themed bar opens up, and now, you can enjoy a Christmas feast in the Great Hall itself. What a time for Potter fans!...read more ›
Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›
Dogfish Head announced today they have sold a 15% stake in the company to a private equity company....read more ›
Make your cocktails shimmer and shine by mixing in some Unicorn Tears. ...read more ›
Big things are happening at Boston Beer Company as proved by founder Jim Koch over the weekend....read more ›
This past weekend saw the 29th Annual Great American Beer Festival come and go. Cheers to all the great beers shared at the festival and congrats to t...read more ›
The Sunland Baobab is one of the world's largest trees. Inside its hollow trunks, patrons can enjoy a drink or two at a specially crafted bar....read more ›
The world's largest commercial beer competition, the Great American Beer Festival, took place over the weekend in Denver....read more ›