Stock your six-pack with these drinks for a side of health benefits with your buzz.
WHILE MANY WOULDN’T equate beer with a healthy diet, it’s been said that a few brews per serving/outing isn’t the worst thing for you—as long as they’re light beers, and hence, low in calories and carbs.
The problem, of course, is that most “light” beers tend to be “light” in flavor and therefore your enjoyment. Which begs the question: What’s the point of drinking two beers if they taste like watered-down crap? So here’s a list of beers—sans the “light label”—that are either surprisingly low in cals and carbs, or provide a nutritional/health kick that few know about. And as always, fellas, enjoy responsibly. Even a “healthy” beer has calories.
It’s becoming less and less of a secret at this point, but Guinness draught, everyone’s St. Pattys Daypint of choice, is not as filling as its thick, dark body would suggest. A serving of the stout beer boasts 126 calories, which is 19 less than a Budweiser and 24 less than a Heineken. Guinness also contains a shade under 10 carbs, which is less than, say, Sam Adams Boston Lager (18 carbs per serving). This is all partly due to Guinness’ low alcohol content (4.0)
2. Rolling Rock
While this one is a little more obvious, Rolling Rock is the non-light domestic of choice for health-conscious drinkers. At only 120 calories, the Missouri-brewed lager goes down easy like a light, while providing a refreshingly crisp taste that is lost in most sub-100 calorie beers. Just make sure to avoid Rock Green light, Rolling Rock’s 84-calorie offspring that sacrifices way too much in taste.
3. Abita Purple Haze
If you happen to find yourself journeying down to N’awlins for Mardi Gras this year, you’ll probably be drinking a lot of Abita, NOLA’s premier craft brewery. Abita offers a variety of flavorful brews, few as notable as Purple Haze, a raspberry-infused wheat beer. Purple Haze is brewed with fresh raspberry puree (providing nutrients and vitamins), added after filtration for a distinctive taste and aroma. What’s best, a serving of Purple Haze has only 128 calories and 11 carbs, pretty respectable stats for something so deliciously tasting. Hendrix would be proud.
4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
If you got a taste for hops, pale ales (usually known as India Pale Ales or IPAs) pack a hops punch that is usually 50 times stronger than your average beer. While more hops means more alcohol content, calories and carbs, it also means a higher content of polyphenols, an antioxidant that lowers cholesterol and fights cancer. Sierra Nevada is one of the most widely available pale ale brands on the market; just make sure to grab the standard edition, which contains a reasonable 175 calories, compared to Sierra Nevada IPA (231 calories) or worse, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (a whopping 330 calories).
5. Peak Organic Winter Session Ale
For those who thrive on all things organic, there’s a wide array of breweries across this great nation using ingredients from certified organic farms. That means the barley, wheat and hops are all fertilizer-, pesticide- and herbicide-free. While there are many different local options for organic beer (depending on your region), Peak Organic is a Maine-based brewery with selections usually found in Whole Foods and other high-end beer distributors. The brand’s Winter Session Ale makes for a warm and toasty seasonal, with a modest (at best) 150 calories per serving.