best light beers 2021
Welcome to the Drink in the Sights guide to the best light beers 2021. As you'll probably have gathered if you've spent any time on my site it's all about travel, pubs, and beers which are probably the three best things in life. Over the last few months I've been blogging about different beers I've tried so I thought it was about time I created a guide to the very best of them. Just to make life easier I've split this guide into the best light beers which you'll find on this page and you can visit my best dark beers page for the best dark beers stouts and porters. Anyway I've put the beers in alphabetical order for your reading pleasure. So enjoy the Drink in the Sights Guide to the best light beers 2021. Just so you know I'm going to allow everything up to and including red beers in this selection.
Best Light Beers
Citra from Oakham Ales
Citra from Oakham Ales comes in a very pretty 500ml bottle featuring what looks like a not particularly happy hop monster. The beer clocks in with a reasonably potent 4.6% alcohol content which makes it a quality session beer. Citra pours a very clear, very pale, light gold with a rubbish virtually none existent head. The aroma very much lives up to the Citra name with plenty of lemon and lime scents coming through. It's quite a nice smell, a bit like a fresh lemonade.
Citra tastes pretty much exactly how it smells. There's a nice pleasant lemon and lime citrus taste, but it's not as tart and in your face as some citrus based IPA's and I personally find this a bit of a relief. You'll probably find some elderflower and grapefruit tastes blended in too and they all work really well together. I can't think of many IPA's I'd rather drink than Citra and I can see why my light drinking friends love it.
Cold Stone Cream Austen Chocolate Orange Ice cream Pale Ale from Top Rope Brewery
Top Rope are a new Liverpool based brewery who started making beer in 2015 and use wrestling puns for their beers. Cold Stone Steve Austen pours a lovely cloudy pale yellow with a thick white head and contains 4.6% alcohol which makes it good for a session.
The beers aroma is full of fruit, vanilla and lactose, it's a really nice smell so exactly how it's vegan friendly I honestly don't know. Similarly the texture is wonderfully thick and smooth like a milkshake, but it's vegan friendly so it can't contain lactose, I don't know how Top Rope have made this so creamy, but whatever they've done it works. You'll be pleased to know that not only does this beer look good, smell good and feel good it also tastes great, honestly Top Rope are on to a winner here. The taste really is unique with oodles of creamy vanilla goodness mixed with some lovely fruit flavours and a little bit of chocolate thrown in just to keep those of us with a sweet tooth happy. It's a little like drinking a really nice fruity White Russian cocktail only much better. It's been a while since I've been really surprised by a beer but this one really is exceptional.
The beer comes with a very average 4.7% alcohol content and pours a nice amber gold with a pretty impressive head that leaves a decent level of lacing behind. It's a pretty good looking beer. The aroma is fruity with apple and maybe some grapes coming through. You can really smell the grain too, it's quite earthy and generally pleasant and light. The beers texture is quite light and relatively thirst quenching so it's all coming together quite nicely. You can really taste the grain combinations, it's still quite fruity though with just a little citrus coming through to keep things interesting. For all the complexities of Combined Harvest it's still a really well blended beer with plenty to offer, plus with that many different grains in it has to be good for you doesn't it?
Devon Amber from Salcombe Brewery
Having only started brewing in 2016 Salcombe Brewery in Devon must be one of the youngest breweries to get a mention on this list so it just goes to show experience isn't everything. I especially like that they've gone down the traditional ale route rather than jumping in to the hip craft beers market.
Devon Amber describes itself as 'a crisp great tasting bitter' and it really undersells itself. While the dark amber colouring, none existent head and the mild 3.8% alcohol content may make this look like a standard British bitter it's honestly so much more. I don't think I've ever tasted a beer which is so expertly led by its bitter toasted malts. It's incredibly refreshing for an amber ale, and the sweet fruits taste that back up the malts just add an extra dimension to the beer. There's not many genuinely great all year round beers but this has to be one of them.
Disco Forklift Truck has to be one of the weirdest named beers you'll come across, and exactly how Drygate Brewery came up with it is probably a mystery even to them. It is however one of the best Pale Ales I've ever tasted. I don't think it will have missed anyone's attention as they look down this list that most the beers are dark, and this is because most the best beers are dark beers. Sorry light ale drinkers. Regardless though as soon as I started doing beer reviews as part of Drink in the Sights I knew I had to try some stuff I might not enjoy, and I'm glad I did because every now and again you come across a treat like this.
Really this beer comes with a shock value. The can is uninspiring, especially as it's only a 330ml, the idea of a mango beer doesn't really inspire confidence, and the 5.1% alcohol content is pretty standard these days. What shocked me though was just how good a beer this is. By Pale Ale standards Disco Forklift Truck is really full bodied and while the aroma is overwhelmingly mango the hops really drive the flavour. It's a fantastic fruity drink which doesn't rely too much on the mango (thankfully) and has a nice satisfying bitter finish. This relaly is one of the best light beers.
Every now and again a beer really surprises me and Brewdog's Duopolis is one of them beers. When a friend left a couple for me after my BBQ I thought this guy doesn't really know me, I mean really a milkshake IPA? Surely everyone knows by now I'm a dark beer drinker by now. Well it turns out he knew me just fine. This is a seriously good beer, and certainly one of my all time favourite IPA's. Duopolis is much more full bodied and hazy than most IPA's and while it does had a fruity taste it's not so much that you forget you're drinking a beer. There's plenty of light fruits and hops in here, but really for me the texture is what makes Duopolis stand out. I usually find IPA's a bit too fruity, a bit too hoppy, and a bit too light in terms of texture, so it's really nice to find a well balanced full bodied IPA. I'm going to say this and I know a lot of you will disagree but this is Brewdog's best IPA, I know, I know a lot of people love Punk IPA, but really try Duoplis, it's just better.
Lets be honest there's a lot of things the Germans just do better than pretty much anyone else. Taking penalties is one, and wheat beer is certainly another. Franziskaner have been brewing their world famous weissbier almost since the dawn of time, and it's fair to say they have pretty much perfected it. Lets face it most wheat beers pour amazingly with magnificent white heads on top of light golden bodies, and this is no exception. The aroma is full of wheat and bananas, while the taste is truly exceptional. Because Franziskaner Weissbier is so readily available to often gets over looked and underrated, but just because something is widely available doesn't mean it's not a classic. The banana and wheat aroma very much matches the taste, and the texture is perfect for a wheat beer. So stop seeing Franziskaner on the shelf in supermarkets and thinking you know what I'll get it next time. Get it now.
Hope Commotion from Jennings is very much a beer for those of you with a sweet tooth. As a predominantly dark beer drinker I was far from excited about trying a strawberry flavoured blond beer, but surprisingly it really works. The aroma is pretty much identical to a packet of skittles, or starbursts, or just about any fruity, chewy treat. This is the kind of beer you expect from a trendy new craft beer brewer, not a nearly 200 year old stalwart of the industry, but Jennings really pull it off well. I've had raspberry and strawberry flavoured wheat beers before and not been impressed at all, but this blond somehow makes it work. The taste really is one of the sweetest you'll find in a beer, and I'm sure many traditional beer drinkers will be put off by the idea, but don't be it honestly works. Just imagine you've put several packs of skittles in a blender and added some alcohol and you'll get something close to the taste of Hop Commotion. It really is something a bit different, and at 4.1% it's extremely refreshing. This is certainly one of the best light beers in 2021.
I think this and the next beer are right on the edge of been classed as dark beers but I'm going to run with it. Whatever Just the Ticket lacks in head it makes up for in taste and the aroma is also lovely. There's hints of plum in there, and also a slight smoky scent. It really smells like a pleasant fruity bitter. The texture is nice and filling as a good darkish ale should be and the taste very much matches the smell. There's a very sweet, fruity plum taste with some caramel, and a tiny bit of smoke thrown in for good measure. The slightly more bitter aftertaste just helps to balance everything out really well. Maybe this beer really is Just The Ticket.
FAB or Ferry Ales Brewery has nothing to do with Thunderbirds, I checked. They are however one of my local breweries, and probably my favourite from the shire. Lincoln Red, which is named after a very tasty cow, is an excellent red ale, in fact it's very possibly my favourite red ale. At 4.1% alcohol it's certainly not the strongest on this list, but it deserves its place for its wonderful malty taste which is expertly backed up by some nice fruity hops. When it comes to smooth, easy to drink, well balanced beers you wont find many better than this offering. I often find red ales a little dull, but there's just enough going on here to make it a really tasty treat. This really is one of the best light beers.
Delving back into the world of pale ales we have Loch Lomond Breweries Lost in Mosaic, a New World IPA. Sure this isn't the type of beer that I'd usually go for but every now and again even an IPA can surprise you, and this Scottish offering certainly did. Firstly the 440ml can is quite pretty, but more importantly the unfiltered beer inside pours an absolutely gorgeous cloudy orange, with a fantastic frothy white head. I don't usually eulogise about pale beers looks, but this one is a stunner. At 5% alcohol content Lost in Mosaic isn't going to do you too much damage, but you'll have some fun with it.
The smell is pretty nice too with lots of citrus scents including pineapple and orange. The texture is full bodied, which I love and struggle to find in pale drinks, so that gets a big thumbs up from me. Lost in Mosaic has a tremendous tropical fruit taste with plenty of hops, it's well balanced, and even the aftertaste is pleasant. I often find fruity IPA's leave a nasty twang in the back of my mouth, but this one avoids that nicely. This really is a beer that could turn the head of even the most ardent dark beer drinker.
Here's another one for the light beer drinkers. Nor ' Hop describes itself as an Ultra Pale Ale, and while I'm not convinced it's ultra pale, it's certainly ultra tasty. I have a bit of an affinity with unfiltered beers, they just have more taste to them don't they? Even the lagers seem to taste of something when they're unfiltered. But anyway, despite producing one of the smallest heads I've ever seen Nor ' Hop has a lovely hazy colour and floral peachy aroma. It's clearly full to the brim with hoppy goodness but Moor Beer Company manage to balance them out perfectly with just the right amount of malts to keep the hops under control. There's a lovely refreshing feel to the beer, and it's just unique enough to stand out in the sea of pale ales. I really enjoyed the peach and almost sweet candy like flavours which make this a beer you can enjoy plenty of without getting bored.
Old Empire IPA from Marton's
While I don't like to dwell on the days of the old Great British Empire as it just fills me with thoughts of slave ships, starving colonies, and our general mistreatment of other nations I do like to dwell on the exceptional taste of Marston's Old Empire IPA. This is a beer which really surprised me with its quality, not because it's from Marston's, who are a proper old English brewery, but rather because I'm not usually a big IPA fan.
Old Empire IPA doesn't have the horrible twang you get with a lot of IPA's. It's also more full bodied, well balanced and more flavoursome than many of its newer rivals. There's a lovely spiced taste to the beer, with caramel and bitter malts also coming through nicely, it's almost the perfect blend of an IPA, a traditional English bitter and a winter warmer, plus at 5.7% alcohol it really does pack a bit of a punch. Whether you're an IPA drinker, or a bitter lover this beer will tickle your pallet nicely.
Red from Castle Eden
Castle Eden Red New World Ale comes in a nice enough 500ml bottle with a really cool label featuring a guy on a horse looking out to a castle on a hill at sunset. OK I know it doesn't sound cool but it looks very scenic and given that my website is called Drink in the Sights you should appreciate I like scenic things, and beer. Where things start to get interesting is the aroma which is seriously malty with some lovely caramel and chocolate scents coming through.
This may look like a standard British bitter but it smells of something much more promising. Like the aroma the texture is extremely nice. It's thick, rich and creamy almost like a really good milk stout, and the taste is amazing. I love a malty beer, and this one is seriously malty with just the right amount of sweet caramel and hops to make it really interesting. This is a seriously good beer which you really should try if you get the chance.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best light beers and ales of 2021 now it's just down to you to try them all.