There are many reasons why I don’t read women’s lifestyle magazines. Most of them insult me in some sort of fashion as well as frustrate me to no end. Same goes for a lot of the men’s lifestyle magazines. The random studies and articles completely perplex me. For someone who studied statistics and social epidemiology, the methods of research and how they analyze and determine the results make no sense at all.
In a recent internet-based article, Men’sHealth 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’sHealth 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’sHealth 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 organization 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.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Alcohol, when consumed in excess, is extremely unhealthy, if not deadly. If you find yourself in this situation, here is a list of specialists who can help people with drinking problems. However, when consumed in moderation, craft beer actually has health benefits.
Men’sHealth 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 or drunk). 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 issues 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.
And as for Men’sHealth, next time you want to make such outlandish claims and attack the craft beer industry, do some freaking research. In no parallel universe does a craft beer produced with natural ingredients and natural sugars even come close to being as unhealthy as artificial sodas made in a laboratory with chemicals or fatty milkshakes with 2,000 calories.
Viva La Beer Revolution! Cheers!