Before the recent craft beer revolution, many people thought the difference between light and dark beers was calories and alcohol content. Based on the market back in the day, that was true to some degree. Dark, rich stouts and porters were generally higher in calories when compared to the popular macro brews such as Budweiser and Coors. The “less calories” notion was even more true when you counted in “Lite Beers,” which tended to be lower in calories and alcohol. But the vast beer opportunities at today’s package store are far more about taste than ABV and calories.
This class of brew isn’t necessarily tied to calories or ABV. It’s just about color and flavor. Light beers range from yellow-tinted to cloudy golden ambrosia. Take, for example, Victory Brewing’s Golden Monkey. This popular Belgium-Style Triple loads some serious Tettnang hops that reaches an ABV of 9.5%. That’s a very strong light beer. On the calorie side, “The Monkey,” won’t make you a lean, mean beer drinking machine. A 12-ounce bottle averages 274 calories. By comparison, the original Guinness Extra Stout only hits an ABV rating of 6 percent. A serving of Guinness only has about 175 calories.
Casual drinkers find that many macro and “less-calorie” beers are easy to kick back and socialize over. On the craft side, beer aficionados are interested in rare, exciting flavors. Numerous American breweries are producing high caliber Belgians, IPAs, Pilsners and Lagers among others. The theme that runs through them all is unique flavor.
Now that we’ve dispelled the myth about calories and alcohol content, today’s dark beers have a renewed focus on flavor. While IPAs are far and away the most popular craft beer class, American micro breweries have taken up the dark cause by infusing Porters and Stouts with innovative flavors. It’s common to see Stouts infused with Chocolate, Coffee, Milk and in Rhode Island . . . wait for it . . . Coffee-Milk. Today’s dark beer trend parallels the flavor-chasing ideas on the light side, just with a thicker, richer palette.
B & K Distribution in Steamboat Springs, CO distributes a wide variety of beers to existing licensed retail businesses around Colorado and the U.S.
Whether you favor the Light or Dark Side, beer drinkers are enjoying a veritable Renaissance that’s rooted in personal preference. Sláinte.