Many of you who know me are aware of the fact that I have been working on shedding a few pounds this year. I’ve had varying levels of success, mostly when I pay attention and focus. My theory has been that cutting back on total calories consumed for the day … staying under a certain number of calories … leads to weight loss. And it works.
Now, this is a beer blog, and you’re wondering what on Earth I’m talking about. I cannot tell you how many people have said, “I guess your new weight loss plan has made you give up the beer, right?” No. Never. If I budget my calories correctly, I can still enjoy beer at night. (And maybe have an occasional cheat day.) It’s all about planning. And that’s where this post comes into play.
There are several apps that I have used that will help you track your calories. Think MyFitnessPal, et al. Enter a food item (or even scan its barcode), and the app will list the calories associated with it. Easy peasy. But what about beer? New beers, special releases, and barrel-aged one-offs come up every few minutes; it’s essentially impossible for a database to track all of those. So how can you know how bad you’re being? If only there were a handy-dandy rule of thumb that could give you nice ballpark estimates …
There’s a great article from Beer of Tomorrow that really gets into detail laying out the science behind how to calculate the exact calories in a beer. The problem here is that most people don’t run around bars with slide rules or a TI Graphing Calculator. So we have taken the in-depth info (and subsequent table) to give you the following.
Without getting too math-y on you … for every 1% in ABV, a 12-ounce serving will have 30* calories. A 16-ounce serving will have 40* calories. Some examples:
- 12 ounces of a 4.5% beer will have approximately 135 calories (4.5 x 30 = 135)
- 16 ounces of a 9% beer will pack roughly 360 calories (9 x 40 = 360)
- Another way to look at it … (ABV) x (# ounces) x 2.5 = calories