Top 5 Best-Selling Domestic Beers That Are Making You Fat

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True story: Beer started out as food. Big Beer has trained us moderns to think of it as light and refreshing—almost like a tall, cold, zero-calorie glass of water. But beer, in its essence, has never been much more than a felicitously tasty delivery mechanism for lots of calories and carbs. Take one of the carbier beers out there, Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Ale. A bottle of that brew has the same amount of carbs as half a large potato, skin and all. So how can you satisfy your craving without adding to your waistline? The key is steering clear of the worst offenders. Of the top 20 best-selling domestic beers in America, here are the ones that are surreptitiously going straight to your gut.

5 Yuengling Lager – 12 g of carbs, 135 calories, 4.4% ABV per 12 fl oz

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If you live on the West Coast, breathe easy, because it’s hard to find this beer west of Kentucky unless you have a friend who’s willing to transport it across state lines. This malty, slightly hoppy lager is the 16th best-selling beer in the nation, and unlike most top sellers, Yuengling is also minimally acceptable to beer snobs. It gets a 78 out of 100 from beer rating site Beer Advocate, which makes it a tie with Blue Moon for Top-Rated Best-Selling Beer That Makes You Fat. Yum.

4 Pabst Blue Ribbon – 12 g of carbs, 153 calories, 5% ABV per 12 fl oz

Hipsters may love themselves some PBR, but they don’t get skinny drinking it, because this is the fourth carbiest of the most-drunk beers in America. Basically, it has lots of carbs, not very much alcohol and doesn’t taste very good. Pretty much the only defensible reason to pick up this beer is to complete a hipster Halloween costume and win a costume contest. (True story. Ask my Facebook friends.)

3 Miller High Life – 13 g of carbs, 143 calories, 4.7% ABV per 12 fl oz

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It’s “high” as in “high-carb,” didn’t you know? Now, as carby beers go, you could do worse than this American-style lager. We’re only talking about half a small potato here. However, the Champagne of Beers has a hell of a lot more carbs than real champagne, not to mention less alcohol (champagne has about 1 g carbs, 90 calories, 12% ABV. Now that’s a rap sheet to drink to!), so you could make a more strategic choice than this mild, bubbly but overall inoffensive brew.

2 Blue Moon – 14 g of carbs per bottle, 171 calories, 5.4% ABV per 12 fl oz

Sweet, sweet Blue Moon. This Belgian-style wheat ale may be easy on the palate, but not so much on the waistline. However, given that the only proper way to drink Blue Moon is schooner style (i.e., in a glass that looks like a goblet), we’re talking medium-sized potato territory. Despite its significant carb count, Americans guzzle 11.7 million gallons of the brew in a year, or 110,000 tons of potatoes worth. (But who’s counting when it tastes so good? Certainly not me.)

1 Steel Reserve 211 – 15 g of carbs, 211 calories, 8.1% ABV per 12 fl oz

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“Headache juice,” as Urban Dictionary would have it, has quite a rap sheet, as you can see. This California-born lager’s claim to fame is it gets you drunk on the cheap: High alcohol content (a typical wine has 9-16%) and a low price. But keep in mind that this malty, sweet beer often comes in a 40 oz, as all classy beers do, which puts you in the large potato realm of carb consumption. Also keep in mind: in other countries, malt beers (which typically have lower alcohol content), are marketed for their nutritional value, and even given to nursing moms as a source of additional calories.


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