You can now count Northern California-based craft power Lagunitas among the breweries jumping in on the latest craze in craft beer—low-carb and low-calorie. While Lagunitas session IPA DayTime may not quite be the skinniest on the list at 98 calories, it’s plenty close when compared to other craft beers that can run up into the range of a light lunch. Less than 100 calories for a full 12 ounces of beer? I had to see what those precious units of energy bought me.
Lagunitas DayTime pours from a minimalistic white and yellow can that sports only a hammered nail—not sure I get the reference since the whole point of this beer is that it won’t get you hammered. The beer itself is an extra pale straw yellow that might be even clearer than most tap water. A frothy white head, some rising bubbles, and that ever so slight yellow hue are the only characteristics distinguishing DayTime from a glass of water.
While it may not look like one, DayTime does actually smell like an IPA. Sure, it’s more the aroma of a session IPA than a hopped up double, but to have any aroma at all is a nice change of pace from other low-cal offerings. DayTime smells grassy, with hints of citrus and pine. The portion I left in the can packs even more aroma with extra dank, resinous hops drawing me in for a taste.
A taste of DayTime is like strolling through a beautiful field of fruit trees and flowers before abruptly tumbling off a cliff.”
At 4% alcohol and 98 calories, you can’t expect a ton of flavor. DayTime squashes that notion early in each sip as the hops briefly shine with all of their fruity, earthy, and herbal qualities. Unfortunately, that’s when everything comes to a screeching halt. DayTime’s finish is like a sip from a glass of water that sat out for several days—faintly musty and well, watery. It’s a shame that’s how the beer leaves you, because the initial wave of flavor puts most session IPAs to shame, let alone one in this low-ABV, low-calorie category.
A taste of DayTime is like strolling through a beautiful field of fruit trees and flowers before abruptly tumbling off a cliff. That walk sure is nice, but the fall is equally jarring. It’s not a finish that makes you want to dive right back in for more, which is problematic for a beer that’s best quality is quaffability. Maybe this is the ceiling for an IPA that has fewer calories and less alcohol than a Bud Light, but I’m fine spending a little longer at the gym and drinking something I enjoy for the entire sip.