5 Charlotte low-calorie craft beers that taste better than Bud Select 55

Summer is almost here, which means you might be thinking more about the amount of calories you’re drinking on those beautiful brewery patios.

No worries. I’m here to offer you some choices at local Charlotte breweries that’ll reduce your chances of expanding that beer belly.

Let it be known, though, that breweries operate differently than restaurants. Brewing establishments aren’t required to publish how much calories are in their craft beer and some brewers I talked to didn’t know the exact calorie count.

For fewer calories, stick to the brews that have a low ABV (alcohol by volume) level, the brewers said.  A 3-4.5% level is best to drink for a full afternoon out at a brewery, but if you love them strong — in the +7% range — just drink one … maybe two if you did your morning workout.

A look at some of the lower-calorie options at local breweries:

Legion Brewing – The Carolina Sparkle Party Berliner Weisse

Calories: 125

ABV: 4%

The Carolina Sparkle Party Berliner Weisse uses a “traditional Kettle Sour brewing method with a hint of Brettanomyces to add depth and tartness to this light German Wheat Beer,” according to the website. Sparkle Party has a refreshing, lemony-citric fruit taste with no hoppy bitterness.

Soon, Legion will be making “Beermosas” by adding orange juice to the Sparkle Party, so you can just stick with a few of these and skip that high calorie brunch meal.

NoDa Brewing – Par 4 Session IPA

Calories: ??

ABV: 4%

Par 4 Session IPA is a newer brew in the NoDa Brewing line of beers and it’s the lowest ABV beer they currently serve.  Par 4 is made with nearly four pounds of select West Coast hops per barrel and mashed with oats to have a smooth, balanced body.  Starting in mid-May, you can pick up Par 4 in cans before going to play some disc golf.

Birdsong Brewing — Doin’ Thyme Witbier

Calories: Fewer than 200

ABV: 4.3%

Doin’ Thyme Witbier is a Belgian-style witbier with fresh thyme, lemon peel and coriander, and it’s under 200 calories. Another option is the ever-popular Jalapeno Pale Ale that has slightly more than 200 calories.

Triple C Brewing — Golden Boy Blonde Ale

Calories: ??

ABV: 4.5%

The Golden Boy Blonde Ale conveniently comes in summer-friendly four-packs of 16-ounce cans. Also, the Light Rail Pale Ale (ABV 4.5%) is another lighter offering to choose in the taproom.

Join us tonight at 6:30 for the last Burn & Brew bootcamp of the month! It's absolutely FREE and hosted by our friends at Orange Theory Fitness! Stick around for a post workout beer and enjoy this awesome day on the patio. See you in the warehouse! #triplecbrewing | #knowyourcraft | #southendclt | #orangetheoryfitness | #cltbeer | #charlottesgotalot | #bloodsweatandbeers

A post shared by Triple C Brewing Co. (@triplecbrewing) on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:19am PDT

Sugar Creek Brewing – White Ale

Calories: About 160

ABV: 4.9%

The Sugar Creek White Ale six-pack is perfect for the pool and has approximately 160 calories per 12 ounce serving. (Master brewer Todd Franklin also estimates 11 grams of carbohydrates and about 70 calories from carbs.) The Sugar Creek beer engineers add a pinch of yeast right before the bottle is closed, kick starting a second fermentation process.

So remember: Drink in moderation and choose a lower-ABV craft beer if you’re looking for fewer calories.  And mix in some zero-calorie waters during your craft beer drinking afternoon to keep you hydrated and fill you up.

Photo: Courtesy of Sugar Creek Brewing Company