In the land of the free and the home of the brave, we have no one supreme ruler. Instead, we have a president who serves as our leader — but the president’s role is certainly not that of a king.
Arguably, the closest thing to a king that Americans have is beer (which, incidentally, our current president has been known to enjoy, and even make himself). Many of us will blindly follow beer into any battle, supporting the decisions that it makes for us without hesitation. Have you ever woken up after a night out with a head-splitting hangover? If so, you may have followed King Beer a bit more blindly than others. Billy Currington nailed it when he sang, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”
If you were to look at a list of the most popular beers by state, you’d notice that our 50 United States bend the knee to a wide variety of stately sovereign brews. Each state has its own domestic, craft, or imported beer of choice, and you can learn a bit about the population of a state by seeing which beer it has decided reigns supreme.
As a nation, however, the United States favors a fairly standard selection of domestic and imported beers — there are no craft beers on our list of the 10 best-selling beers in America. While the beer snob inside of us is saddened by the fact that none of our 50 Best Craft Breweries in America 2016 produce nationwide best-sellers, we understand that there’s something to be said about the vast drinkability and availability of the beers our compatriots choose most. Instead of whiskey-barrel-aged Russian imperial stouts and lively, fruity barleywines, you’ll find that Americans are buying trusty, time-tested fridge-stockers like Coors Light and Corona, as well as frat-house favorites like Bud Light and Natural Light.
When looking at the 10 best-selling beers in America from a health standpoint (yes, there is a place for beer in a healthy diet), it’s important to note that each brew is relatively light and simple. More complex varieties tend to be heavier and higher in calories (if lighter beers are king, darker brews are the king’s sage advisory council). We’ve gone ahead and crunched some numbers to show you the total calorie, carb, and protein counts for a 12-ounce American standard serving size (standard serving sizes of booze are debated on a global scale) of the most popular brews in the United States.
Did you catch Bud Light’s recent makeover? While the packaging underwent a facelift, the contents of the beer itself remained the same. Each can or bottle has 110 calories, 6.6 grams of carbs, and 0.9 grams of protein. While you may be planning to throw Fido in the car for your trip to the liquor store this weekend, be warned: Driving with Bud Light and your dog can be dangerous.
Budweiser, David Chang’s new partner, is undeniably popular. We’ve estimated that out of all the wayward, crushed beer cans we’ve ever seen alongside the highway, Bud heavy has made the most appearances. Compared to Bud Light, Budweiser is heavier in every category. It has 145 calories, 10.6 grams of carbs, and 1.3 grams of protein. If you’re curious about ABV, Budweiser’s is five percent while Bud Light’s is 4.2 percent.
Other than Budweiser and Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch has a few more beers on the list of America’s 10 beer best-sellers. The first of these that we’ll highlight is Busch, the outdoorsman’s beer of choice. Why do manly men prefer Bush? They produce not only camouflage cans in hunter’s orange but also cans with Audubon Society-style images of fish like walleye and white crappie. A 12-ounce can of Busch has 114 calories, 6.9 grams of carbs, and 0.8 grams of protein. If you’re looking for a low-cal beer to drink while you’re foraging in the wilderness, Busch may be for you.
If 114 calories is too many, consider trying Busch Light. Bush Light has 95 calories, 3.2 grams of carbs, and 0.7 grams of protein per 12-ounce can. Strangely enough, Busch Light is boozier than regular Busch — Busch Light has an ABV of 4.5 percent while Bush is 4.3 percent. With fish art cans and a fairly boozy yet drinkable light beer option, part of us wants to say that Anheuser-Busch is on the road to world beer domination.
Coors Light, one of two MillerCoors brews on this list, is a favorite amongst beer-drinking dads who don’t want their beer to taste like beer. While it’s supposed to evoke the flavor of the Rocky Mountains, this beer tastes more like water, and a recent lawsuit has called to question the actual source of Coors. In a Light Beer Taste Test, The Daily Meal staffers felt that Coors Light tasted sweaty or horsey. Regardless, each sleek silver bullet contains 102 calories comprised of 5 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram of protein.
Corona Extra, one of the imports that Americans love drinking most, is an undeniably drinkable beer. If you can manage to avoid the bottles with shards of glass, a 12-ounce dose of Corona Extra won’t do too much irreversible damage to your health. At 14 grams of carbs, little-to-no protein, and 148 calories, though, Corona Extra is the second heaviest brew on this list.
The heaviest beer, by just one calorie, is another import. We all have a friend who exclusively drinks Heineken. There appears to be no concrete rhyme or reason why every crew has its own Heineken enthusiast, but a 2012 study in the National Journal found that republicans drink Sam Adams and democrats drink Heineken. Using the nutritional values provided by the Heineken website per 100-milliliters and some quick math, a 12-ounce bottle has about 149 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and zero grams of protein.
As they do with Coors Light, dads flock to Michelob Ultra. Described as having a “good non-flavor” and “no aroma” on The Daily Meal’s Light Beer Taste Test, Michelob Ultra is more like a heavy water than a light beer. Each can has an ABV of 4.2 percent, 95 calories, 2.6 grams of carbs, and 0.6 grams of protein, placing this beer in a three-way tie with Busch Light and another further down on the list for the lowest caloric brew on our list. If avoiding all carbohydrates, even the healthiest carbs, is part of your plan to ditch your dad bod, you’ll be happy to hear that Mich Ultra contains the fewest grams of carbohydrates out of America’s 10 Best-Selling Beers.
The second MillerCoors beer on the list, Miller Lite, is widely enjoyed in bars, backyards, and garages around America. This beer, oft endorsed by professional athletes, has an ABV of 4.17 percent, 96 calories, 3.2 grams of carbs, and less than 1 gram of protein per 12-ounce can, bottle, or pour. If you plan on going to one of The 25 Best Colleges for Tailgating any time soon, you’ll fit right in by carrying a 30 rack of the Champagne of Beers’ lighter counterpart.
If you survive the tailgate and wind up at a fraternity party (perhaps it’ll be one of the 11 Wildest Frat Parties), you better believe that you’ll be faced with a veritable sea of Natural Light. Another Anheuser-Busch special, Natty Light has 95 calories, 3.2 grams of carbs, and 0.7 grams of protein in every 12 ounces, making it nearly identical to Busch Light. These two popular beers differ in the fact that Natural Light has a lower ABV of 4.2 percent. Sure, one or two Natties can fit happily in a healthy diet, but slugging 10 of them in an hour will increase the likelihood of a blackout.