Looking to cut down on calories, but still enjoy the taste of beer? You’re in luck – there are now many non-alcoholic beer options available that can help you stay on track. But how do these beers stack up calorie-wise?
In over 100 beers evaluated, non-alcoholic beer calories ranged widely from 0 to 129 calories. On average, there were 69 calories in pale non-alcoholic beers and 82 calories in dark non-alcoholic beers.
Like beer with alcohol, the caloric content in a can of non-alcoholic beer is highly variable and depends on style and ingredients, so measuring by average doesn’t really cut it.
In this post, you’ll see how varied the calories in non-alcoholic beers can be, how they compare to similar beer styles with alcohol, and some of the best brands to try.
If you love data like me, jump to the comparison tables:
- Calories in NA Beer vs Alcoholic Beer Chart
- Calories in Non-Alcoholic Beers Comparison Table
- Low Calorie Non-Alcoholic Beer
What is a Calorie?
A Calorie (kcal) is a measure of energy. We get most of our energy from the food and drink we consume, and this energy or “calories” is what we use for physical activity.
Calories in Beer with Alcohol
Beer with alcohol can have a wide range of calories depending on the brand and style. Generally speaking, most big brand pale ale and lager beers contain around 100 calories per 12 ounce can or bottle.
In a sampling of several styles of craft beer, most range between 140-190 calories per can (12-16 calories per ounce). However, double IPAs can reach nearly 300 calories per bottle.
You may be surprised to learn that a 12 oz serving of Guinness Draught has 125 calories. That’s because it only has 4.2% ABV. So, dark beer doesn’t necessarily mean higher calories. Generally, it’s the ABV – the higher the alcohol content, the more calories will be in the beer.
Calories in Non-Alcoholic Beers
It seems like non-alcoholic beers become more and more popular these days, yet do you know what you’re putting in your body when you drink it?
Non-alcoholic beers are lower in calories than their alcoholic counterparts. One reason for this is the lack of alcohol, because the higher the ABV, the more calories it will contain.
As stated above, averages aren’t that helpful, unless we’re talking about styles of beer. To recap, the pale styles average around 70 calories for a 12 ounce can (~6 calories per ounce). Stouts and dark styles averaged over 80 calories per can (~7 calories per ounce), but could easily have more.
On a per ounce basis, non-alcoholic beer has about half the calories of regular beer at 6-7 calories per ounce vs 12-16 calories per ounce.
Calories in NA Beer vs Alcoholic Beer Chart
After analyzing specific beer styles more closely, here are the results. Comparable alcoholic beers were used for comparison against non-alcoholic beers.
Calories in Non-Alcoholic Beers Comparison Table
Here are some of the most popular non-alcoholic beers with their calories compared against similar style beers with alcohol.
|Non-Alcoholic Beer||Calories||Calories in Comparable Beer with Alcohol|
|Partake Brewing Pale||10||160|
|Brew Dog Punk AF||37||190|
|Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn||45||140|
|Untitled Art Italian Pilsner||60||150|
|Athletic Brewing Run Wild IPA||65||180|
|O’Douls Golden Non-Alcoholic Brew||68||99|
|Wellbeing Brewing Victory Wheat Sports Brew||85||155|
|Rescue Club IPA||95||180|
Low Calorie Non-Alcoholic Beer
If you’re looking for a low calorie non-alcoholic beer, there are a few. Here are some brands that make alcohol free beers with little to no calories, and one of their low-calorie beers. Several breweries on this list have more than one low-calorie beer, so be sure to check them out.
|Surreal Brewing||Natural Bridges Kolsch Style||17|
|Drop Bear Beer||Tropical IPA||23|
|Athletic Brewing||Athletic Lite||25|
|Infinite session beer||Pale||36|
|Brew Dog||PunkAF IPA||37|
|Big Drop Brewing||Uptwon Craft Lager||42|
Where to Buy Non-Alcoholic Beer
There are several retailers with a good selection of non-alcoholic craft beer. One of the best options for non-alcoholic beer is ProofNoMore. They not only have a great selection, but I love that you can purchase beer by the can, which is an excellent way to try new things!
Check out all the non-alcoholic beers you can buy by the can. (link to check prices and available brands at ProofNoMore)
NA Beer vs Other Alcoholic Beverages
According to the USDA, pure alcohol (100 proof) has about 82 calories per ounce. Most spirits are not 100 proof. They list gin at 73 calories (90 proof), vodka with 64 calories (80 proof), and whiskey at 76 calories (86 proof per ounce.
Most cocktails have 2 ounces of spirit, so double those numbers. Plus, all the other calories in additional ingredients. Here are a few cocktails with their calories:
- Whisky Sour (w/egg white): 208 calories
- Gin & Tonic: 197 calories
- Mojito: 240 calories
- Margarita: 280 calories
The calorie content in cocktails is significantly more than most non-alcoholic beers.
The Benefits of Alcohol Free Beer
Despite what most people think, non-alcoholic beer isn’t only enjoyed by people who don’t drink. In fact, many beer enthusiasts enjoy it as an alternative to their regular brews, along with athletes, parents, and a whole range of others.
People have a few misconceptions about non-alcoholic beer; they may think its taste is watered down. This is completely untrue.
Many non-alcoholic beers are made with the same processes and ingredients as those beers with alcohol content and thus retain similar flavor and aroma. In addition, you don’t need to worry about any hangovers or other health risks that come with consuming alcohol.
Is it healthier to drink non-alcoholic beer? That depends on what you consider “healthy.” Besides containing fewer calories and alcohol, non-alcoholic beer has some other potential health benefits. Of course, always discuss issues pertaining to your health with your doctor, and that includes consuming new beverages.
The Disadvantages of Non-Alcoholic Beer
Depending on a couple of factors, non-alcoholic beer might not be for you.
Non-alcoholic beer is a beverage with calories, and drinking too many extra calories is potentially unhealthy for people trying to manage their weight.
Since it’s made with the same process, non-alcoholic craft beer is just as expensive as alcoholic craft beer.
When to Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer
People have their reasons for drinking non-alcoholic beer, and there are many. Consider having an alcohol free beer whenever you want a cold fizzy beverage. They are great for lunch on a work day or at brunch on the weekends.
Why not try one after a workout? Non-alcoholic beer has been known to rehydrate well due to electrolyte content.
Participating in Dry January is an excellent time to sample several non-alcoholic beers. Non-alcoholic beer can also work well with certain diets.
Substitute some of your usual beers with a non-alcoholic beer to lower your alcohol consumption in a single day or week.
Non-alcoholic beer is a great alternative to cocktails as well if you want a festive beverage at the end of the day, but are looking to cut the calories.
Of course, all these applications are wildly different. Consider all the health implications of drinking non-alcoholic beer and how they will affect your goals.
If you’re still wondering what non-alcoholic beer is, you’re not alone. In a separate article, I answered some FAQs about NA beer.
Non-alcoholic beer has less calories than comparable beers with alcohol, especially when compared by beer style. Not only that, alcohol free beer is one of the most practical alternatives to alcohol available. It tastes great and doesn’t require mixing like mocktails.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply reduce your alcohol intake, Athletic Brewing Run Wild IPA is a great choice if you’re trying non-alcoholic beer for the first time. Or grab several single cans to try different styles and brands.
All the listed nutrition facts are approximations and may be subject to change.