At some point you may have heard or read about the alcohol comparison of beer, wine, and liquor; probably something along the lines of “a bottle of beer is the same as a five ounce glass of wine is the same as a shot of liquor.” This is called Alcohol Equivalence, and it helps people determine how much alcohol they have consumed. But as many of you have found out, not all drinks are created equal; red wines are stronger than whites, liquor varies from brand to brand, and mixed drinks can be all over the place. But beer must be the constant, right? Not anymore.
With the recent boom in craft beer, microbreweries and homebrews, consumers now have a large selection of beers to choose from; even your local grocery stores have started to stock up on these formerly unknown beers.
However, keep in mind that the alcohol content in these beers can be significantly higher from one brand to the next and this is important to remember if you are going to try them. In fact, some craft beers are so high in alcohol content that a single twelve ounce bottle can render almost anybody intoxicated.
Most popular beers, like a Heineken or Budweiser, have an alcohol content of around 5.0%. By contrast, local craft beers or microbrews can have alcohol content exceeding 10.0% . Double the alcohol means double the impact. Three of these stouts are the equivalent to drinking a 6-pack of Budweiser.
The best thing you can do to make sure you aren’t consuming too much alcohol with different beers is to know what you’re drinking in advance. Most breweries have their own websites and there are even independent websites like alcoholcontents.com that list the alcohol content of most brands.
For local craft beers, the menu will tell you how much alcohol is in each beer, and they may even offer smaller sizes for stronger beers to prevent a customer from being over served.
Here is a short list of alcohol contents for some common beers and for some locally popular options:
Amstel Light: 3.5%
Bud Light: 4.2%
Coors Light: 4.2%
Michelob Ultra: 4.1%
Miller Lite: 4.2%
Sam Adams Boston Lager: 4.8%
Browns Cherry Raspberry: 6.5%
Browns Brown Ale: 5.0%
Browns Whiskey Porter: 5.75%
Browns Oatmeal Stout: 5.25%
Albany Pump Station Pale Ale: 5.4%
Albany Pump Station Quackenbush Blond: 4.9%
Albany Pump Station Knickerbocker Keller: 5.8%
Albany Pump Station Irish Potato Red Ale: 6.1%
As always please be safe, and if you plan on consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant, think about taking a cab or designating a sober driver.