Strategies in Creating a Low Cal, Low ABV IPA

Following a summer of hard seltzers, a new trend has been emerging: low calorie beer, and specifically at Maui Brewing Company, a low cal/low ABV IPA.

January 7, the company announced the launch of its Mosaic Lite IPA, whose “bigger brother” is Maui’s Mosaic Mo Betta, a Double IPA with Mosaic hops.

The reason behind brewing this beer stemmed from Maui Brewing’s own Brewmaster, who personally likes hoppy beers but doesn’t normally go for high ABV beers.

“It’s a smaller version of that beer, mostly Mosaic, and a little bit of Simcoe is added in the background,” said Brewermaster Kim Brisson-Lutz. “But [Mosaic Mo Betta] is like an 8% Double IPA and has a bit more malt character to it.”

Mosaic Lite IPA comes in at 4.3%, and 100 calories.

“It actually hops pretty heavy for something that small,” Brisson-Lutz said.

The brewmaster said she typically drinks Maui’s Pueo Pale Ale, a Hawaiian-style Pale Ale dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe at a drinkable 5.6%.

“[Pueo] dries out but it still has some sweet sweetness to it on the back end, where in Mosaic Lite, we actually use an enzyme to get the beer to dry out close to 1°P,” Brisson-Lutz said. 

“With something that is gonna be already dry and trying to minimize bitter, I try to go for those hops that have more of a softer, fruity, juicy tropical notes rather than the floral or the earth or piney notes to it because that’s just going to add to the perception of bitterness. If you dry hop it properly and you don’t add too much bitterness it almost gives you a perception of fruity sweetness.”

Having this beer as well as hard seltzers at Maui give consumers options. Brisson-Lutz said some days she will even go for a hard seltzer, but having a hoppy, low ABV IPA gives consumers options if they’re trying to drink something a little healthier.


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