Beer: Making Sense of All the Choices
Marketing of beer has changed drastically in the past five years. No longer is it just about taste. Let's face it: United States domestic lagers taste pretty similar. Companies have realized this and have moved to advertising based on calories and carbs.
The first point to note is that carbs aren't really all that important. They help determine calories, but taken alone don't tell us anything interesting. What's more important to the drinker who would like to remain fit is how many calories he or she has to take in to get the desired effect of alcohol. This is why super-low calorie beers are not necessarily great choices. Generally, you will have to drink a lot more of them to take in the amount of alcohol that you get from fewer normal beers.
The Efficient Drinker has come up with a metric to determine how "efficient" a beer is. This means minimizing the calories for a given amount of alcohol consumption. Translated: how to get your buzz without gaining tons of fat. Here is the methodology: the efficiency ratio measures the percentage of a beer's calories from alcohol versus other (usually carbs). So, the efficiency ratio says nothing about price or taste -- it's simply a measure of which beers you should drink if you want to look good.
It's obviously worth noting that the most efficient beers aren't necessarily the best tasting. Let this serve as a guide if you're not into the trendiest microbrews or don't really feel like having 8 IPAs. For instance, Bud Light is a pretty bad choice when compared to similar domestic lights. And Bud is a pretty bad choice from any angle.
The efficiency rankings are sortable by any field. The calories and alcohol by volume (ABV) were compiled from various sources, often directly from the brewers. This site will do its best to adjust given new information and maybe one day sponsor an actual study of its own like this one from many years ago. Note that this may not apply to states with different beer regulations (CO, KS, OK, UT and some counties elsewhere). An international version is under development.
50 Select Beer Calories, ABV, Efficiency (see Extended for all 207)
|Brand||Calories (12 oz.)||ABV||Efficiency Ratio|
|Budweiser Select 55||55||2.50%||88.2%|
|Miller Genuine Draft 64||64||2.80%||84.9%|
|Bud Ice Light||115||5.00%||84.4%|
|Milwaukee's Best Light||98||4.20%||83.2%|
|Miller High Life Light||110||4.20%||74.1%|
|Rolling Rock Premium Beer||120||4.50%||72.8%|
|Bud Light Lime||116||4.20%||70.3%|
|Red Hook IPA||188||6.50%||67.1%|
|Sam Adams Light||119||4.05%||66.0%|
|Grolsch Premium Lager||147||5.00%||66.0%|
|Sam Adams Summer Ale||160||5.30%||64.3%|
|Miller High Life||143||4.70%||63.8%|
|Miller Genuine Draft||143||4.70%||63.8%|
|Blue Moon Belgian White||164||5.36%||63.4%|
|Pabst Blue Ribbon||153||5.00%||63.4%|
|Sierra Nevada Pale Ale||175||5.60%||62.1%|
|Newcastle Brown Ale||150||4.70%||60.8%|
|George Killian's Irish Red||162||4.98%||59.6%|
|Sam Adams Boston Lager||170||4.90%||55.9%|
|Sam Adams Boston Ale||180||5.10%||55.0%|
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