In America’s ever-expanding brewing scene, here’s what you should know to prevent your waistline from expanding too.  
Credit: Scott Olson. 2017 Getty Images.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a “craft beer kind of person,” you may still wonder how many calories are in that pint of craft beer ("craft" = from a brewery that produces 6 million barrels or less per year) you ordered on a whim at the bar last night. I hate to be a buzz kill, but probably more than you expected.

There are two main contributors to the calorie content in beer: Calories come from alcohol (7 per gram) and carbohydrates (4 per gram). A higher alcohol content = more calories.

High-gravity is synonymous with a high alcohol percentage. Though the semantics of what is considered “high-gravity” in terms of alcohol percentage may be ambiguous (gravity has to do with the density of fermentable and unfermentable sugar in the beer), expect most high-gravity brews to be above 7% ABV.

Also be aware that pints are 16 ounces, not 12, like the typical can or bottle. A pint of 7% ABV beer is going to deliver between 250 to 280 calories, an 8% around 300 to 320 calories, 9% up to 350 calories, and anything above 10% you’re heading into the 400 calorie zone.

My advice is if you’re going to be sipping on a higher calorie brew, think of it as your appetizer or dessert for the evening. Sure, you could go for a light beer instead, which tend to have 100 to 120 calories per bottle, but if you’re looking to take the edge off, it might take a few of those, whereas it may only take one IPA to get you to your happy place.

Credit: M. Okimoto & G. Kaye

Bottom line:

Practice moderation and be mindful that you may be drinking a meals’ worth of calories in your beloved high-gravity brew. If you’re a devout craft beer lover, perhaps ignorance is bliss in this case, but if you are calorie conscious, the higher-alcohol brews are indeed hefty hitters.