Low-calorie beer used to mean going with a cheap domestic lager, but 2019 was the year of low-calorie craft beer, and I don’t see this trend going away anytime soon. One of the latest entries into this increasingly crowded market is Goose Island’s So-Lo IPA. It’s a 98-calorie IPA that, thanks to Goose Island’s vast distribution, may become the most widely available low-calorie craft beer in America.
Appearance and Aroma
It didn’t take long after cracking the can for So-Lo to make an impression. This may be a low-calorie and low-ABV IPA, but I’d never guess that based on the strength and intensity of the aroma. While the beer appears to be on the thin side, and a tinge darker than most domestic light lagers, it smells like a full-bodied IPA with big hits of citrus and tropical fruit balanced by bitter hops.
It’s citrusy, floral, and dry with clean hop flavor and bitterness. The carbonation adds to the dryness and makes So-Lo feel spritzy.”
I always try to temper my expectations for these low-calorie IPAs. Despite what brewers say, these things never taste or feel like true IPAs—I mean, how could they? So-Lo is no different, drinking more like an IPA-flavored seltzer than a full-bodied IPA. Even still, the hoppy flavor that’s here packs a punch. It’s citrusy, floral, and dry with clean hop flavor and bitterness. The carbonation adds to the dryness and makes So-Lo feel spritzy. It’s extremely thirst-quenching, and it is how the beer drinks that makes it more interesting than most watered-down IPAs.
This is a pretty strong entry into the low-calorie IPA category. In fact, it’s in the running for the best low-calorie IPA I’ve had, and certainly one I’ll buy again when calories or ABV are a chief concern.