DENVER — Maybe Colorado’s craft culture and its fitness culture have begun to overlap. Or maybe people need something light for these heavy times — without it actually tasting light.
Whatever the reason, craft brewers across the state are starting to churn out a new style of beer that may have seemed a canned contradiction: The low-calorie IPA. From Denver to Durango and from legacy brewers to one of the hippest and hottest breweries in the U.S., companies are trying to get on board with what several brewers predict will be a long-lasting change in the industry rather than just a flash-in-the-pan trend.
This hybrid concoction combines the best-selling style in craft beer — the India pale ale, a hoppy and traditionally bitter beer — with the biggest trend to hit alcoholic beverages in the past decade: The search for lighter drinks like hard seltzers that allow you to consume multiple cans without losing your figure or your sobriety.
At first, the marriage seemed an unnatural one to many observers. IPA drinkers typically seek out beers with intense flavor and ignore calorie counts that usually range from 180 to 240 for a 12-ounce container. Meanwhile, consumers who sought out original low-calorie light beers didn’t look for flavor, and the recent wave of buyers that’s boosted spiked seltzer sales haven’t called in one voice for more bitterness in their beverages.
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