| Counting Calories
by Jeff Langdon Jr.
I recently went into a pub and ton their beer menu they listed the
style of each beer, its serving size, its alcohol level, and its calories.
Yes, calories. I tried to close one eye but couldn't ignore it. I'm not
on a diet but I watch what I eat, Now have to watch what I drink too?
If you love beer like I do is the dreaded beer belly in my future? After
all, alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram (almost as much as
fat, which contains 9 calories per gram). Those calories can add up
after a few bottles, with about 150 calories in your typical, 12-ounce
serving of 5 percent-alcohol beer.
Calorie-counting, gets a lot trickier in the world of craft beers. Many
imperial stouts, barley wines, IPAs, Belgian styles and bocks
measure 8 or 9 percent alcohol by volume — or even much more. In
addition, many of these beers — especially highly hopped, bitter
beers — tend to be sweeter, with extra calories from carbs (which
add another 4 calories per gram).
I realize that beer is lower in carbs compared with, say, bread, it has
lots more carbs than wine. A standard 5-ounce glass of wine
contains just 1 or 2 grams of carbohydrates. A 12-ounce serving of
a 5 percent-alcohol beer has between 10 and 20 grams of carbs —
or 40 to 80 extra calories.
Up the ABV, and your calories start to balloon. A 12-ounce bottle of
9.6 percent ABV Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, one of my
favorities, will contain roughly 300 calories, 200 of which come from
the alcohol. Right up there among the most calorie-packed beers is
Dogfish Head's 120-Minute IPA (another favorite - I have no luck),
which contains 20 percent alcohol — twice that of Bigfoot. One bottle
may contain more than 500 calories. That's about the same energy
as you'd get from a cup of granola — or four glasses of wine.
The way that the wine industry advertised red wine as healthy
making many think beer just causes beer bellies, was very clever but
not true. First let me say that the antioxidants in wine may not be as
readily absorbed as the ones in bee. And I hope most people
realize that you shouldn't blame big bellies on beer. Beer drinkers
who are overweight or obese are probably eating too much greasy
pub grub and spending too many hours on the bar stool. But the
brewers shot themselves in the foot when they came out with 'low-
carb' beer, implying that everything else they made was 'high-carb,
Don't get me wrong. My philosophy on drinking such hefty beers is
that the higher alcohol content boosts flavor — which makes the
extra calories worth it. And besides, I also enjoy many craft beers
that have about the same calorie counts as mainstream lagers.
Thanks for reading this.
Thanks Jeff for sending in your article. I enjoyed reading it and know
all of my readers will too. I agree with you that when it comes to beer
taste is what counts the most. Most people who drink in moderation
shouldn't be overly concerned about calories.
Many thanks for sharing with us - please write again!
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer in any way just as Jeff did. I select the best
and publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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