How many calories in a Sierra Nevada?

Quick Answer

A 12 ounce serving of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale contains 175 calories. Sierra Nevada beers range from 140-250 calories per 12 ounce serving depending on the style. Their lower calorie options include Sierra Nevada Lightshine at 140 calories and Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing at 150 calories per 12 oz bottle. Their higher calorie beers include Sierra Nevada Celebration at 210 calories and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot at 250 calories per 12 oz serving.

Calories in Sierra Nevada Beers

Here is a breakdown of the calorie content in some popular Sierra Nevada beers:

Beer Calories (12 oz)
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 175
Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing 150
Sierra Nevada Torpedo 200
Sierra Nevada Lightshine 140
Sierra Nevada Celebration 210
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 250

As you can see, Sierra Nevada’s core lineup of beers ranges from 140-200 calories per 12 oz serving. Their seasonal and specialty releases tend to be higher in calories, with beers like Celebration and Bigfoot topping 200-250 calories per bottle.

What Influences Beer Calories?

There are a few key factors that contribute to the calorie content in beer:

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of a beer impacts its calorie count. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates and protein. Stronger beers with higher ABV will typically have more calories than lower alcohol beers.

For example, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has an ABV of 5.6% and 175 calories per 12oz. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is 9.6% ABV and has 250 calories for the same serving size. The higher alcohol Bigfoot has nearly 50% more calories than the standard Pale Ale.

Carbohydrates from Malt

The grains used to make beer, primarily malted barley, provide a significant source of carbohydrates and calories. Standard American lagers are often higher in carbohydrates, while some low carb beer styles use alternative grains like wheat or rice to reduce the carbs.

In general, the fuller bodied and sweeter the beer, the higher the carbohydrate content. IPAs like Sierra Nevada’s flagship Pale Ale tend to be drier and lighter in carbs than sweeter styles like stouts and bocks.

Residual Sugars

The residual sugar content also impacts the calorie count. During fermentation, the sugars in the wort are converted to alcohol by the yeast. However, some sugars remain unfermented in the final beer, adding to the calorie count.

Sweeter beers that are less attenuated (meaning less sugar was fermented) are higher in calories than drier beers with fewer residual sugars. For example, an imperial stout can have 50-100 more calories than a dry Irish stout.


The types of ingredients and adjuncts used in a beer recipe also influence the calorie content. Fruity styles that use large amounts of sugars, hops, and other adjuncts tend to be higher in calories than traditional lagers and ales.

For example, Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA has 150 calories while their flagship Pale Ale has 175 calories. The New England style Hazy Little Thing likely uses less carbs and sugars compared to the fuller bodied Pale Ale.

Low Calorie Beer Options

For beer drinkers watching their waistlines, there are a few low calorie beer options to consider:

Light Beers

The big macro-breweries produce several popular light beer options, including Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. These light lagers have around 100 calories per 12oz serving. While not the most flavorful options, they are the lowest in calories.

Low Carb Beer

There are a growing number of low carb craft beers made with alternative grains and fewer carbs than traditional recipes. Brands like Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty and Lagunitas DayTime use ingredients like monkfruit extract to reduce the carbs and calories compared to regular IPAs.

Session Beers

Session beers are lower in alcohol, typically under 5% ABV. The lower alcohol provides a noticeable reduction in calories compared to higher alcohol beers. Great examples are Founders All Day IPA and Sierra Nevada Summerfest lager.

Light Versions from Craft Breweries

Some craft breweries are releasing lighter versions of their flagships, such as Sierra Nevada Lightshine and Lagunitas DayTime mentioned earlier. These provide craft quality and flavor with fewer calories than the originals.

Comparing Sierra Nevada Calories to Other Beers

How does the calorie count of Sierra Nevada’s beers compare to other popular national brands? Here’s a look:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: 175 calories
Samuel Adams Boston Lager: 175 calories
Fat Tire Amber Ale: 160 calories

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing: 150 calories
Lagunitas IPA: 215 calories
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: 200 calories

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: 330 calories
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout: 300 calories
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout: 315 calories

As you can see, Sierra Nevada’s calorie counts are very comparable to other popular craft and import beers. Their core Pale Ale and Little Hazy Thing have similar or lower calories than comparable styles from other breweries. And their high gravity specialty releases like Bigfoot are right in line calorie-wise with other boozy craft beers.

Low Calorie Sierra Nevada Options

While Sierra Nevada doesn’t have a dedicated low-calorie or light beer line, there are a few good options for lowering calories:

Sierra Nevada Lightshine

Sierra Nevada Lightshine is a low calorie lager that clocks in at just 140 calories per 12oz bottle. It has a crisp, easy-drinking flavor profile.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Summerfest is Sierra Nevada’s Czech-style pilsner. At 150 calories and 5.0% ABV, it’s a great lower calorie summer beer option.

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

Hazy Little Thing is Sierra Nevada’s juicy New England-style IPA. It has a moderate calorie count of 150 per bottle while still packing great hop flavor.

Tips for Drinking Beer without the Calories

Here are some tips if you want to enjoy beer while reducing the calorie intake:

– Stick to 12oz servings rather than pint glasses to control portion sizes. Or pour your beer into a 12-16oz glass rather than 20oz pint.

– Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Have a glass of water or seltzer in between each beer.

– Choose lower alcohol session beers around 5% ABV rather than higher alcohol options.

– Opt for lighter beer styles like lagers, wheat beers, and IPAs which typically have lower carbs and calories than stouts or bocks.

– Look for craft light beers which provide more flavor at around 100 calories per serving.

– Share beers in flights and sampler packs rather than drinking full pints. This allows you to enjoy a variety while controlling calories.

– Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat a filling meal before or while consuming beer to help control appetite and overconsumption.


In summary, most Sierra Nevada beers range from about 140-250 calories per 12 oz serving depending on the style. Lighter lagers and IPAs are at the lower end while high gravity beers like Stout and Bigfoot are higher in calories. Drinking in moderation and choosing lighter beer styles can help reduce caloric intake. But with a rich variety to choose from, you can enjoy the great flavors of Sierra Nevada beers while still minding your calorie budget. Just remember that drinking alcohol should always be done responsibly.

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