Calories in beer
After all, knowledge is power
Whilst we are not in the habit of endorsing 'diet' culture or labelling higher calories as ‘unhealthy' it’s always good to be informed.
It is often thought that beer is always high in calories, and can cause a 'beer belly' that is hard to shift. Although beer does have calories (we know it too well at Beerwulf), it isn't necessarily as bad as you might think. As with most things in life, it’s all about balance - as beer is a water-based beverage, a classic beer with 5% alcohol is no more calorific than fruit juice or cow's milk.
Of course, you can get stronger beers, so the answer becomes more nuanced in this case. Knowledge is power, just as long as you know what you’re drinking, you can make a judgement call and can’t go too far wrong.
Whilst beer labels are obliged to show appropriate allergen information and alcohol percentage, calories are not a requirement, so it can be difficult to track.
A pint of standard 5% lager will have around 239 calories, so equal to 150g of chicken breast according to Men's Health.
Of course, each beer style has a different ABV and brewing method. For example, it is highly likely that a strong spicy Quadrupel will contain more calories than a standard strength lager.
We have listed a few of our favourite beers and their estimated calories:
You might be surprised to know that a pint of Guinness, or 568ml, has 210 calories. People often expect darker beers to have a higher calorie count, however, with an ABV of 4.2%, it's on the light side.
In general, the higher the ABV, the more calories a beer is going to have. So if you are looking to reduce your calories, we recommend sticking to classic lagers and session beers (which also are easy on the day after as an added bonus).
And with that knowledge, you can only imagine the calories in the world's strongest beer, Snake Venom. The beer comes with a warning on the label to not consume more than one in any day as, not only does one 275ml bottle cost £50, but it contains a whopping 2025 calories.
Beer is not necessarily more calorific than any other alcoholic drinks, but we consume more of it than stronger ones. Especially when you compare a fresh, easy-drinking beer with a full-bodied red wine.
So, for example, the average pint of 568.26ml (or thereabouts depending on your pouring skills) is more than three times the average glass of wine at 175ml - so naturally, it adds up!
As we explained, a lot of the calories in beer come from alcohol. This means that low-alcohol beer tends to be much lower in calories. There are usually some calories though as they are brewed just like regular beer, so contain some carbs and sugars. But, as a general rule, the calorie content is less. Read more about alcohol-free beer here.