Breaking Dry January: Your Guide to Choosing a Healthy(-er) Craft Beer

Congratulations! You survived January, the longest month of the year ­­– because you gave up drinking. Now that your detox from the holidays is over, let’s talk about how you’re going to survive the next eleven months – and without gaining a beer belly.

As a dedicated craft beer drinker, “healthy” and “beer” don’t always go hand-in-hand. But, good news: Hops are vegetables, and hops are in IPAs. So, we’re basically drinking green juice, right? Wrong. (But I tried.)

Craft beer drinkers are (obviously) the smarter drinkers. Most, if not all, craft beer is made with the best local ingredients brewers can get their hands on. Aside from the basics of yeast, grains, water and hops, brewers are adding additional deliciousness like spices, herbs and even fruit! Hello diet food! (Okay again, not really. But a girl can dream.)

So, when trying to choose the healthiest beer option, what should you look for?


While evaluating a taproom list, take a look at the ABV percentage listed next to the beer. If a beer is higher than 6-7% ABV, the calorie count can get pretty high as more alcohol (a.k.a. sugar) means more calories.

If you’re grabbing a four-pack, most labels should show nutritional information. If not, stick to the lower ABV rule.

Beer Styles:

Remember this: SLAP! That stands for “stout,” “lager,” “ale,” “pilsner” – all you need to know when choosing from these beer styles to complement your #fitnessgoals, #skinnygoals, #nottryingtogetabeerbelllygoals.

Stouts: A darker beer means the ingredients are roasted. They usually have a lower ABV and a coffee-like flavor. Drinker beware here: A lot of breweries are getting super creative with sugary stouts upping the ABV to crazy (but awesome) 20+% levels, so choose wisely if you’re looking to be health conscious.

Lagers: These clean tasting, crushable beers are super crisp. They have low ABV ranges – from 2-6%, which means they keep your caloric intake low, too.

Ales: These are your fruity, sweeter, full-bodied brews. With ABVs ranging from 3-7%, you can sip on these with less guilt.

Pilsners: A light, slightly hoppy pale beer with a malty flavor. At an ABV range of 3-7% ABV, you’ll be making a healthier beer choice for sure.

Gluten-Free Beers:

Aside from the obvious allergen, gluten generally isn’t great for you. Many drinkers have decided, however, to jump on the gluten-free train as a healthier lifestyle choice. Gluten-free beers are becoming more popular, and breweries are getting on board by developing recipes for these specialty beers. Beers can call themselves “gluten-free” (GF) in the US if they have less than 20ppm (parts per million) gluten. Odds are these GF beers will leave you feeling less bloated after throwing a few back. 

At EGC Group, one of our specialties is craft beer marketing. Our Craft Beer Division has been in the industry for over 21 years, so we know a thing or two about beer. Interested in learning more? Check out our craft beer marketing page.