In my undergrad years, I became used to a certain quality of beer that usually followed this criteria: free or cheap. Back in those days, I would drink anything from natty light (I fully regret this as I am typing it) to bud light. My tastes have changed since those days and in a way I am glad.
Now, my husband and I go out to breweries and craft brew shops and look at the hops levels, how malty a beer is, if orange or lemon peel was added, if it was brewed local and other criteria when we pick out a beer. My beer knowledge has definitely grown in the past year since my husband has started making his own craft beers and as his wife, I am all too happy to be his taste taster of his new brews.
Yes, I can now pick out citrus notes in a beer, if a beer was made with cinnamon and chocolate, and if spices were added. But a side effect of this is the heaviness. Many craft beers are not made “light” by any standard of the word. So when you are drinking a craft brew – that is full of sugars, wheat and malts – its like drinking liquid bread. There isn’t anything wrong with this unless you are like me and your favorite beers are Hefewiezens (Beer made with malted wheat, usually in combination with malted barley, or from unmalted wheat and malted barley). Thank goodness I’m not allergic to gluten or else it would be even more bad news bears, but I digress.
Beer can be deceptively high in calories and carbs. The reasons for the beer’s caloric content is the alcohol – every gram of alcohol equals near 7 calories and the carbohydrates – due to the sugars that are left from the fermentation process . You can’t take out the alcohol because, well, no one wants an unalcoholic beer and you can’t take out the sugars because it helps with balancing the hops flavor. They are both necessary items that add to the quality and taste of the beer.
The issue I have is that as an avid weight watcher member (on and off if we’re being honest) is that by having one pint of a craft brewed ale is the same amount of calories as having a couple cookies. And as someone who works 9-5 in an office setting, happy hours happen occasionally – or more than occasionally – and 1 pint turns into 4.
Moderation of course is the key in keeping healthy and still drinking my favorite brews. A lot of breweries now offer half pints (6 oz portions if the abv isn’t too high) and flights (3-4 sample size portions). As the craft beer movement continues to grow, we will see more and more 20 somethings looking to how a beer tastes over how many it takes to get drunk for cheap. Good beer is worth the money. And honestly, I would much rather enjoy a Lonerider Brewing Shotgun Betty in a smaller portion than drinking a couple cans of PBR. But, to each their own.