Difference between Light Beer and Regular Beer

If you had to choose between light beer and regular beer, what would you choose? Depending on what your goals are for the night (or day), you might want to know what their differences are before deciding.


Light Beer

light beer vs regular beer
A light beer with 2% alcohol

If you’re planning on binge drinking, then a light beer is probably the best choice to stay active or sober for a longer duration. This is because a light beer contains less alcohol compared to regular beers. Light beers also tend to be cheaper, but with the rising demand of light beers, prices vary according to location.

One other thing about light beers is that they are lower in carbohydrate (calorie source) content. In regular beers, a 12 fluid oz drink usually contains 150 calories, whereas a light beer of the same amount would have 110 calories. This makes a light beer perfect for the now health-conscious present-day society.

Regular Beer

regular beer
A regular beer with 5% alcohol

Regarded as the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, beer is a bitter drink that is processed mostly through the fermentation of starches; the hops used in the process adds to its flavor. The carbonation is a natural process during fermentation, but is often replaced with forced carbonation.

Ingredients of a beer

  • Water – As you may already know, beer is mostly water. With different mineral components of water in different regions, a certain type of beer is better suited to these different regions. In Dublin for instance, they have hard water (high in calcium and magnesium) that is well-suited to making stout (dark beer) such as Guinness.
  • Starch Source – The starch source is what provides the fermentable material and is the determinant of the strength and flavor. Malted grain is the most commonly used starch source.
  • Hops – It is a flower (also called seed cones or strobiles) that is used mainly for a beer’s flavor. It also acts as a preservative agent in nearly all beer made to this day.
  • Yeast – It is responsible for the fermentation in beer. It metabolises (process of metabolism) the sugars extracted from grains which produces the alcohol and carbon dioxide. It also adds to the character and flavor of the beer.
  • Clarifying Agent – These are added to the finished product which makes the beer appear bright and clean. Some examples would be isinglass (a form of collagen), Irish moss (a seaweed), and gelatin (flavorless food derived from collagen). It would also be an identifier to indicate whether the beer is suitable for Vegans (seaweed is added).

Light Beer vs Regular Beer

What’s the difference between a light beer and a regular beer? While it may seem to be just the alcohol and calorie content, there are other things to consider.

Since we have established that light beers have fewer calories and lower alcohol content, let’s talk about the flavor. Light beer tastes watered down compared to a regular beer, but looking at some stats (7 out of 10 beers sold in U.S. are light beers), it doesn’t matter that much. In regards to its prices, light beer is often sold cheaper.

To sum up, light beers are healthier, cheaper, but comparatively flavorless while regular beers have more calories and alcohol content, are more expensive, but have full flavor. Whichever you choose, always keep in mind that beer is still beer and will get you intoxicated, so drink responsibly.

Comparison Chart

Light Beer Regular Beer
12 fl. oz contains 110 calories 12 fl. oz contains 150 calories
Usually 2-3% alcohol (will depend on brand) Usually 5% alcohol (will depend on brand)
Costs less Costs more