There’s no denying us Aussies are living in a beer culture – perhaps even more so since the recent designer brew boom. In fact, the latest ABS data reveals our nation consumes a startling 1.7 billion litres per year.
Whether you’re a casual or avid beer enthusiast, the beverage is so thoroughly planted in our social landscape that it’s easy to underestimate the effect it has on the waistline. Sure, weight gain from alcohol differs depending on one’s metabolism, but on the whole, a couple of beers can be just as fattening as an entire meal.
As SBS VICELAND is currently screening Beerland, we thought it fitting to give you the skinny on the caloric content of some of your favourite starchy bevvies.
But first, here’s the relationship between beer and fat
The internet provides a wide array of opinions (surprise!) on alcohol's impact on weight gain, but a few hard facts strongly suggest that impact is significant. To put it simply, our bodies prioritise the burning of alcohol over the burning of fat, which means the more booze that enters your system, the more food-induced kilo-burning is inhibited.
Not only does a single gram of alcohol contain seven calories, but heady beverages like beer are nutrient-poor and packed with unnecessary carbs, and many popular brands are riddled with sugar. Plus, drinking stimulates the appetite and can result in questionable food choices.
Now, to the beers
Boag’s Draught (375ml) – 135 calories
Carlton Draft (375ml) – 139 calories
Cascade Draught (375ml) – 143 calories
Coopers Pale Ale (375ml) – 131 calories
Corona (355ml) – 148 calories
Crown Lager (375ml) – 150 calories
Guinness (375ml) – 135 calories
Hahn SuperDry (330ml) – 99 calories
Heineken (300ml) – 139 calories
James Squire 150 Lashes Pale Ale (345ml) – 140 calories
Little Creatures Pale Ale (330ml) – 156 calories
Melbourne Bitter (375ml) – 143 calories
Peroni (330ml) – 139 calories
Pure Blonde (355ml) – 92 calories
Stella Artois (330ml) – 135 calories
Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (330ml) - 132 calories
Tooheys Extra Dry (345ml) 131 calories
Tooheys New (375ml) – 146 calories
VB (375ml) - 146 calories
XXXX Bitter (375ml) – 131 calories
Young Henry’s Newtowner (375ml) – 144 calories
Let’s put that in perspective
On average, a single beer can contain as many calories as a standard-sized Mars Bar (136 calories) and almost as many as a plain Krispy Kreme donut (190 calories). Calories in a couple of tinnies quite quickly overtake those in a McDonald’s Big Mac (244 calories), while three beers' worth easily equates to those in your average serving of hot chips (350-400 calories) or a nasty, processed Four'n Twenty meat pie (400-odd calories, depending on the ingredients). The fact that estimates say it takes 40 minutes of brisk walking to burn roughly 150 calories should speak louder than any beer ad can.
What about craft beer?
When it comes to counting calories in your favourite bottle of signature suds, things get a little, well, cloudy. After contacting a handful of Australia’s most popular local brewers, it became pretty clear they aren’t totally sure themselves (although Batch Brewing Company kindly and rather hilariously offered for us to pick up a few samples to run over “to the lab”).
The closest resource we have to estimating the calories in a boutique bottle comes out of the LA blog Beer Of Tomorrow. Beer enthusiast John Michael Verive constructed this handy chart that might give you a sense of how much craft beer is too much:
Stream Beerland at SBS On Demand, like this one which takes us to New York for bagel-flavoured beer and a man who brews beer with a log he found in the park: