Beer (Extended) | Malt Liquor


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%
Bud Ice 123 5.50% 86.8%
Natural Light 95 4.20% 85.8%
Michelob Ultra 95 4.20% 85.8%
Miller Lite 96 4.20% 84.9%
Miller Genuine Draft 64 64 2.80% 84.9%
Bud Ice Light 115 5.00% 84.4%
Budweiser Select 99 4.30% 84.3%
Busch Light 95 4.10% 83.7%
Milwaukee's Best Light 98 4.20% 83.2%
Coors Light 102 4.20% 79.9%
Heineken Light 99 4.00% 78.4%
Keystone Light 104 4.13% 77.1%
Corona Light 105 4.10% 75.8%
Miller High Life Light 110 4.20% 74.1%
Bud Light 110 4.20% 74.1%
Natural Ice 157 5.90% 72.9%
Rolling Rock Premium Beer 120 4.50% 72.8%
Molson XXX 201 7.30% 70.5%
Bud Light Lime 116 4.20% 70.3%
Amstel Light 99 3.50% 68.6%
Michelob Light 123 4.30% 67.8%
Busch 132 4.60% 67.6%
Red Hook IPA 188 6.50% 67.1%
Busch Ice 171 5.90% 66.9%
Budweiser 145 5.00% 66.9%
Guinness Stout 125 4.27% 66.3%
Sam Adams Light 119 4.05% 66.0%
Grolsch Premium Lager 147 5.00% 66.0%
Stella Artois 154 5.20% 65.5%
Milwaukee's Best 128 4.30% 65.2%
Coors Banquet 149 5.00% 65.1%
Harp Lager 155 5.20% 65.1%
Heineken 150 5.00% 64.7%
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%
Yuengling Lager 135 4.40% 63.2%
Schlitz Beer 146 4.70% 62.5%
Anchor Steam 153 4.90% 62.1%
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 175 5.60% 62.1%
Boddington's Ale 148 4.70% 61.6%
Newcastle Brown Ale 150 4.70% 60.8%
Corona 148 4.60% 60.3%
George Killian's Irish Red 162 4.98% 59.6%
Smithwick's 150 4.50% 58.2%
Sam Adams Boston Lager 170 4.90% 55.9%
Sam Adams Boston Ale 180 5.10% 55.0%

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