As I have aged ever so gracefully into my 50’s, I find that most of my friends and I share the same two remaining life goals. Most of us have made a good living, raised a fine family, and been true to God. That leaves only two things to strive for: (1) drink more beer and (2) lose the beer belly. Sadly, as luck would have it, these two goals run in direct contradiction to each other. So, what’s a guy to do? Clearly he has to drink more efficiently. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that he must optimize the amount of actual alcohol consumed per calorie consumed. In layman’s terms, he needs the best buzz per inch of beer belly gained.
This is a complicated engineering problem, but fortunately there’s a website called The Efficient Drinker that has done all work for us. First, they carefully lay out their methodology, which for the math and engineering geeks amongst us, goes like this (skip to “Start Reading Here Again if You Suck at Math” if you suck at math):
To calculate the Beer Efficiency Ratio, we need to know the number of calories from alcohol (specifically ethanol). Here are the steps:
- Multiply the Alcohol by Volume (ABV) by 12 to get the volume of alcohol per 12 ounces
- Multiply by 29.5735 to get the millileters of ethanol per 12oz serving
- Multiply by ethanol’s density .789g/mL to get mass in grams
- Multiply the number of grams by 6.93 (ethanol’s calorie per gram)
- Now we have the calories resulting from alcohol in a 12 oz. serving. Divide that number by the total calories per 12oz for the Efficiency Ratio.
For Example: Miller Lite. Calories: 96 (per 12 oz). ABV: 4.20%
- Ethanol per 12 oz: 12 * .042 = .504 fluid oz
- Ethanol in mL: .504 * 29.5735 = 14.905 mL
- Ethanol in grams: 14.905 * .789 = 11.76 grams
- Calories from Ethanol: 11.76 * 6.93 = 81.5
- Efficiency Ratio: 81.5 / 96 = 84.9%
Start Reading Here Again if You Suck at Math
This is where it starts to get interesting, especially for all you dorks that make fun of me for drinking Coors Light. The good folks over at The Efficient Drinker were kind enough to publish a comprehensive list of the drinking efficiency of 254 different beers. It turns out that Coors Light is the #21 ranked most efficient beer, putting it in about the top 8% of all beers in terms of efficiency. When Coors Light is not available, my fallback beer is Miller Lite. Miller Lite is the #10 most efficient beer – top 4%!!
OK, so it’s clear that I’m drinking extremely efficiently. When I took a recent trip to Florida to play golf with my buddies, I posted this picture to Facebook, primarily so our wives would know we were taking our domestic duties seriously and went to the store to fill the fridge.
When I posted this picture, certain pretentious beer snobs made some pretty darn nasty remarks about our choice of beer, which included Miller Lite (#10), Corona Light (#19), Coors Light (#21), and Bud Light (#37). The inimitable Larry E. commented “Light beers…really?” Danny S. piled on with, “You are aware of the craft beer revolution right?” Andy B. snidely added, “Is that beer?” Finally, Andy H. topped off the Facebook criticism of our beer choices with, “Are you gonna make me lecture you again about drinking shitty beer.” Late to the party as always, Tom F. chimed in a week later with, “Why is there no real beer?”
When I posted the picture from Florida, I didn’t have all the data from The Efficient Drinker yet, but I intuitively knew we were right when I replied back to my derisive commenters with, “OK, all you craft beer losers. Let’s talk when you’re sitting there all bloated after your third nasty bitter craft beer and I’m on my 19th Coors Light.” Admittedly, I was on my 18th Coors Light when I wrote that, but now it’s clear that the data support me.
So, Larry, Danny, Andy, Andy, and Tom – as you enjoy your next Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, aside from ceding all semblance of masculinity, please also recognize that you’re drinking at a 62% efficiency, with a beer ranked 155th on the list. Or, if you get the urge for another Rock Bottom Illuminator Doppelback, you can enjoy the 45% efficiency of the beverage, almost half that of my beloved Coors Light. Please let this end the argument about these silly “craft beers” (really, who came up with this goofy term anyway). They taste like crap and they’re horribly inefficient. Now, please hand me another Coors Light. I think it’s my 20th.