In a recent article [20 Worst Drinks in America 2010], Men’s Health made the outlandish claim that “Americans have developed a severe drinking problem.” And by drinking problem, they are not referring to alcohol abuse. Oh no. Men’s Health is lashing out on beverages across the entire spectrum — from waters, to sodas, to beers. The argument is that Americans consume a damaging amount of “empty calories” from what Men’s Health considers to be unhealthy beverages.
The article details a list of the 20 Worst Drinks in America. It appears that the criteria that use to define “worst drinks” is caloric content, grams of carbohydrates, grams of sugar and alcohol content (if relevant). The organizations and method in the madness behind the list is perplexing. Whereas it is completely obvious that a 2,000 calorie milkshake and drinks produced from artificial flavors and colors with obscene amounts of additive and sugars are not the healthiest beverages on the planet, the argument against craft beer is just plain ludicrous.
Men’s Health has declared Sierra Nevada’s Big Foot the Worst Beer and Sam Adam’s Light Lager the Worst Light Beer. These allegations are farce. Both of these beers are artisanly crafted fine beverages, brewer with quality NATURAL ingredients. To put them in the same category as artificial sodas, teas, lemonades and other non-fine beverages is pretty damn ignorant.
Men’s Health called Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot “the undisputed beast of the beer jungle.” And why? Because it contains just about twice the amount of calories as most mass-produced yellow fizzy beers. They also admit that most of the calories come from its hefty 9.5% alcohol by volume content. Well, DUH. Big foot is a Barleywine. The style itself dictates a high malt content, high alcohol level, big bold, rich and flavorful beer.
Most consumers of fine beverages are not looking to drink flavorless, low quality, mass-produced products. We demand quality. We demand flavor. We will not settle for sub-par beverages.
Sure, you could consume a yellow fizzy corporate beer for less calories. But let’s be honest, anyone who is drinking mass-produced swill produced from adjunct ingredients is not drinking it for its taste. They are drinking it for the alcoholic side-effetcts (aka to get buzzed). And when it comes down to it, when it comes to total calories consumed in relation to alcohol content, there is no significant difference between drinking an adjunct lager and a barleywine. If you really want me to break it down, let us look at the numbers.
Bigfoot 12 oz. = 330 calories + 9.5% alcohol
Budweiser 12 oz. = 145 calories + 5% alcohol
In order to get the same buzz from Bigfoot, one must consume two of bottles Budweiser. Which essentially puts both drinking experiences around 300 calories — give or take 40 (and if you are worried about consuming 40 extra calories, you have more problems to worry about).
Now say, you aren’t looking for the buzz. Well, for the same amount of calories in a bottle of yellow fizzy lager, you could consume half a bottle of Bigfoot. It’s called portion control. You can either consume a lot of (what I argue to be the unhealthy option) an adjunct beer made with sub-par ingredients, or you can consume a smaller amount of a craft beer made with pure ingredients. Quality over quantity, folks. What a novel concept.