GHOST TRAIN light lager
Photo | Ghost Train Brewing
Most people still identify craft beer with heavy, strong IPAs and stouts, as those were the mainstays of many independent breweries (and, thank goodness, still are, as I love them). Craft brewers, however, have for years been expanding their offerings to appeal to those whose palates don’t take to stronger beers. Now a number of craft brewers have ventured into producing what most craft beer drinkers often strive to avoid — light beer.
I’ll admit I was skeptical when I saw craft brewers marketing light beers, but when even some of my favorite breweries — including Abita and Dogfish Head — had introduced light beers, I thought I’d bite the bullet and give them a chance.
Unfortunately, neither the Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty IPA (95 calories, 3.6g carbs, 4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV)) nor the Abita Light (118 calories, 8g carbs, 4 percent ABV) are available in our area yet, but I was able to find a couple of light craft beers to try out and, for the most part, I was impressed.
Birmingham’s Ghost Train Light Lager (99 calories, 5g carbs, 4 percent ABV) is available at a number of places around Mobile and Baldwin counties, both in cans and on tap. I enjoyed it — it was crisp and sweet, with more flavor than one gets from a mass-market light beer. It was actually reminiscent of Pabst Blue Ribbon (144 calories), which, given the reaction I got from readers following my column on inexpensive beers, means people will either love or loathe Ghost Train Light.
Texas’ Shiner Light Blonde (99 calories, 3.8g carbs, 4.2 percent ABV) was similar: good, but not quite as sweet as the Ghost Train. I found it in cans at my local Publix. In comparison to these two craft lights, the best-selling beer in the U.S., Bud Light, has 110 calories, 6.6g of carbs and an ABV of 4.2 percent.
The only light craft beer I tried and didn’t like was the Big Creek Light Craft Beer from Alpharetta, Georgia’s Jekyll Brewing. A köslch, it was much more bitter than the others I tried, and not nearly as light. It also tasted a bit skunky — which may have been because it had been sitting on the grocery shelves too long. I couldn’t make out the date on this batch, as the last number of the year was obscured. I think I’ll give them another shot before passing final judgment, but it’s a reminder you should always check the date printed on the craft beer you buy, as it won’t keep very long on grocery store shelves.
Finally, you can enjoy some great (nonlight) beer for a great cause this Saturday, April 13, from 4-7 p.m. at Fairhope Brewing Co.’s annual “Putting the Pub in Public Radio” fundraiser. For $25 you get a T-shirt and a pint glass, and a portion of all pours goes to Alabama Public Radio. There will be live music by the Symone French Duo and food from Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill.
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