Calorie counting with beers

Should taking on the 365 beer challenge come with a health warning? Should I be concerned about my weight during the next year of beer drinking? My friend and colleague at work (and my partner, Conchi) seem to think so. In an important Skype message to me the other morning at work (easily more important than any other work related chemical calculations), Daniel pointed out to me, in a quick ‘on the back of a beer mat’ type calculation, how many calories that I may have drunk in January. He then went on to further say what this could mean for my weight gain over the the rest of the year. Although, I would like to point out that, being a man, I am allowed to take in up to 2500 kcal in a day to maintain my weight, so having a beer as part of my daily allowance means I should not put on extra weight. Well, maybe, perhaps! Here is the calculation that he performed:


‘Did you know a bottle of Hobgoblin is 156 kcals. So let’s say you drank 43 bottles of beer, some half pints and some pints were probably drunk, I know, but on average 43 x 156 kCal is 6700kcal extra in January, almost equivalent to 2kg of fat!! Eek! That means by the end of “Beer for the Year” your weight will go from 13 stone to 16 and a half wobbly stones!!!!’

Now, depending on which website you look at you will find different calorific values for different beers. Even if you look up the same beer on two different websites you will get different calorific values. For example, if you look at Sharp’s Doom Bar in a bottle at, the beer contains 128 kcals but if you look at then for the same bottle with the same ABV the beer contains 205 kcal. Quite a difference in the amount of calories. Incidentally, the drinkaware unit calculator has quite a few ales to choose from in their dropdown box, about 70 different ones! You should check it out. For his calculation Daniel used which could be a lot lower than the real amount. However, taking into account that I had various different beer strengths and varying amounts in January (as Daniel mentions above), from half pints to bottles to pints, I think that the 156kcal is a good average to take for any future calculations.

Whatever the exact calorie content of each beer, this does bring up an interesting point about how many calories will be consumed whilst drinking 365 beers during “Beer for the Year” (56,940 kcal in total, if you do the calculation based on 156 kcal!!). I would love to keep my muscular, svelte physique (ha ha) and not end up looking like Homer simpson. So presumably in order to do this I need to cut down on the eating of chocolate and biscuits and desserts and do some exercise and eat fruit and vegetables (cutting down on the beer would defeat the object of doing a 365 beer challenge). When I started this challenge, I really did not think that it would come to something as drastic as exercise and fruit!