Looking for a low-calorie beer that actually has some flavor? Don’t look for something with “Light” in the title (or “Lite”). Direct your gaze to the Guinness.
That’s right. Ireland’s most popular export has a lot fewer calories than you’d think for a beer that’s so dark and creamy: 125 calories in a Guinness Draught, to be exact. If you grab a Guinness Extra Stout, you’ll be drinking 175 calories. If you’re keeping score at home, Bud Light has 110 calories and Miller Lite 96. Guinness isn’t far from that at all.
Surprised? Well, for starters, the color of the beer has little to nothing to do with the calorie content. Dark beers come from heavily roasted grains. The longer the grains that go into the beer are roasted, the darker they get and the darker the resulting beer gets. Longer roasts also add chocolate and coffee notes to a beer.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
As for the texture, Guinness relies on nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide for their beers. Nitrogen is to thank for that cascade of foam and off-white head that contrasts oh so perfectly with the dark beer underneath. Nitrogen bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide bubbles, so the carbonation is more subtle, making it feel creamy.
One of the main culprits calorie-wise is alcohol. Each gram of alcohol has seven calories, which is just two calories fewer than each gram of fat. Guinness sits at a sessionable 4 percent alcohol by volume, whereas Guinness Extra Stout is 6 percent alcohol by volume. Compare that to some of the bigger craft beers you might find one tap over, and you can see where the discrepancy lies.
So when it comes to calorie counting, look for a properly poured Guinness. There’s a good chance that it’s one of the lowest-calorie options available.