Yesterday the Today Show (admittedly one of my favorite shows and one that I hate saying anything negative against, but they forced my hand) aired Drink This, Not That, a variation of one of their regular segments Eat This, Not That, during which author Dave Zinczenko explains healthier substitutes for high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods. Yesterday they focused on the worst summer drinks. I was only half listening, since I never drink ice cream shakes (although it was interesting to learn that 32 oz of Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shake is equivalent to 8.5 Krispy Kreme donuts!); however, I really paid attention when they got to the subject of beer.
Dave, author of the book Eat This, Not That and an editor at Men's Health, suggested - with a straight face - substituting Michelob Ultra for Goose Island IPA. I was actually enraged and tweeted about it immediately. To me it spoke to everything that is wrong with people who don't get what craft beer is all about. It's not about calories, it's about enjoying what you're drinking. Enjoying flavor. Enjoying variety. Not throwing something back just because it happens to only have 95 flavorless calories.
Now, I'm not trying to suggest that calories don't matter. Of course they do. Especially in the summer when we're wearing less and showing more. I just think that there are better ways to watch calories than skimping on beer. For instance, I rarely eat buns with burgers or sandwiches, and I'll usually order a side salad instead of fries. To me it's worth it, because I'm drinking a beer that I'm actually enjoying (it's also a reason that I rarely order dessert; I prefer drinking my calories to eating them).
You can also look for great-tasting, low calorie beer. Yes, they do exist! The calories in beer come from sugars that are responsible for the alcohol in the beer; therefore, higher ABV beers have higher caloric content. Lucky for us, it's not just summer that these "light" brews are available; the return to more sessionable beers that many brewers are embracing assures us that delicious, lower calorie beers are always easily found.
What are some of your favorite "light" beers and what do you do (if anything) to save for beer calories?