All Beers Are Not Created Equal

It’s the 4th of July and you’re scrambling to get everything ready for the big BBQ. You’ve got the yard set up, the grill is ready, and it’s time to head to the supermarket to pickup some food and drinks. Everything is going smoothly until you get to the beer section of the store. Which one do you get? This problem gets even worse when you’re on a diet or have a clean eating lifestyle. With the average American drinking upwards of 21 gallons of beer per year, it’s important that we know what we are really getting.

When stocking up for a BBQ, most people go for the default brews. Light beers with huge advertising budgets, such as Miller, Coors, and Budweiser, may have fewer calories and go down smoothly, but they might be worst for you than you think. In fact, blogger Vani Hari ( has launched a petition requesting these massive beer manufacturers to release the ingredients used in their products. She claims (with credible evidence) that these beers use GMO corns, Propylene Glycol (used in airplane de-icing applications), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Fish Bladder, and other chemical compounds to get the taste of beer without using quality hops. This problem is compounded by the fact that the FDA doesn’t regulate beer companies; they are regulated by the US Treasury Department. (Since writing this post, Budweiser has responded with some minor details about two of their major beers. Check for updates!)

So we know that the popular beers are not so great for you, but you still need more reasons to switch to micro brews? Let’s break this down into what I call the “Session Theory”. Let’s face it, nobody (almost nobody?)  drinks just one beer. The Session Theory accounts for the calories, alcohol content, carbs, cost, and fluid ounces of beer consumed during an entire drinking session. This really helps to put things into perspective. For example, lets say you are out at a bar on a Friday night. A guy aged 21-30 is probably looking at around  4-9 light beers in one session. If that same guy is drinking quality micro brewed beer, he most likely will drink only 2-4 beers in that same time period.  Let’s break this down:

Light Beer (per beer) Light Beer (per average session 4-9 beers)
Ounces: 12 Ounces: 48-108
Calories: 103 Calories: 412-927
Carbohydrates: 5g Carbohydrates: 20-45g
Cost: $4 Cost: $16 – $58.50
Craft Beer (per beer) Craft Beer (per average session 2-4 beers)
Ounces: 12 Ounces: 24-48
Calories: 156 Calories: 312-624
Carbohydrates: 12g Carbohydrates: 24-48g
Cost: $6 Cost: $12 – $24

As you can see, drinking craft beer can actually save you some unwanted calories! Plus there is much more alcohol in a craft beer than typical light (average; light: 4.1%, craft: 6.7%). Now let’s look at specific craft beers and see which ones are the best for you to drink!


sierra-nevada-pale-aleSierra Nevada

Type: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol Percentage: 5.60% ABV 

Calories: 175

Benefits: IPA’s or India Pale Ale’s, use more hops. While this results in higher calorie and carb counts, it also means a higher alcohol percentage and a higher level of Polyphenols (an antioxidant shown to reduce cholesterol and possibly fight cancer cells).


gumballhead_6PackBottlesThree Floyds Gumball Head

Type: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol Percentage: 5.60% ABV 

Calories: 195

Benefits: Studies have shown that wheat beers can help distance runners and cyclers reduce muscle inflammation and respiratory issues.


downloadGuinness Draught

Type: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol Percentage: 4.20% ABV 

Calories: 126

Benefits: The University of Wisconsin did a study in which dogs with narrowed arteries were given Guinness stout beer. The results showed that a responsible amount of this beer might be just as effective as low dose aspirin in preventing heart clots and thus reducing the risks of heart attacks!


All-Day-IPA-6pack+bottle_webFounders Brewing All Day IPA

Type: American IPA 

Alcohol Percentage:  4.70% ABV

Calories: 147

Benefits: Did you know that drinking beer (1-2 per day) can help your bones? The silicon in beer has been shown to add a protective quality to your skeleton while stimulating your bone-building cells. In 2010, the University of California discovered that the highest levels of silicon are found in IPA beers. Drink up!


5701784240_23d53dd5c3_zLeft Hand Good Juju

Type: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol Percentage: 4.50% ABV 

Calories: 131

Benefits: This brew contains ginger, which has a history of relieving gastrointestinal distress.


IMG_6353Sam Adam’s Light Lager

Type: Light Lager

Alcohol Percentage: 4.00% ABV 

Calories: 119

Benefits: Sam Adam’s Light is heavy on taste and hops, yet easy on the calories. If you’re trying to shed some pounds, but still enjoy a drink on the weekend, this might be the beer for you.


new_belgium_blue_paddle_0New Belgium Blue Paddle

Type: Czech Pilsener

Alcohol Percentage: 4.80% ABV 

Calories: 145

Benefits: This beer made the list basically because it carries the quality of a hop filled micro brew without the calories. Enjoy two of these next to a bonfire and go to bed knowing you didn’t break the calorie bank.


fbf62e287918456f66be234f1add16eb_640x640Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale

Type: IPA

Alcohol Percentage: 6.4%

Calories: 201 (22 ounces)

Carbohydrates: 1.9 grams

Benefits: This beer is brewed using only organic materials and is free of dangerous chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides.




About Justin

Justin has reignited his obsession with fitness. This time, it’s for different reasons. He has realized how important being healthy is and has changed the way he works out, eats, and thinks. In addition to lifting weights in the gym, Justin enjoys long distance cycling.

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