Beer vs. Wine: What Are the Health Benefits of Both?

When you visit a bar nearby, you probably don't worry about the differences between beer and wine and how each one can significantly impact your health. However, it's still essential to understand the differences between both drinks, especially in terms of the level of calories and alcohol content.

Generally, not all beers and wines have the same number of calories and alcohol content. For instance, about 5 beers is equal to a bottle of wine if you want to normalize the alcohol content inside your body. But, despite their differences, drinking either beer or wine comes with essential benefits.

Here's everything you need to know about them and how drinking such beverages can be beneficial for your health.

Beer: How It Can Benefit You?
Before tackling the benefits of drinking beer, it's still essential to know what beer actually is. Typically, beer refers to the most commonly consumed alcoholic drink, which is brewed from cereal grains such as maize, malted barley and rice. Its nutritional content primarily includes alcohol, with 7kcal energy per gram. Not only that, but beer is also rich in vitamin B2, B6 and B9, which is good for one's health.

Considering the beer's nutritional content, below are the common benefits of drinking this alcoholic beverage.

Help Build Stronger Bones
Drinking beer is perfectly good for your bones, thanks to its high silicon content, which is essential for bone growth and development. When you consume beer, you're able to minimize the risk of developing the bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis.

Keep Your Heart Strong
Moderate intake of beer can help protect your heart from any cardiovascular disease. It contains lots of antioxidants that are beneficial for your heart health. In fact, people who drink beer are less likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack and other heart diseases.

That's why if you don't want to have a heart problem someday, having a beer keg in your own kitchen can be a good idea. Instead of going to the bar regularly, you can consume a glass of beer in moderation to protect your heart from possible illnesses.

Help Prevent and Fight Cancer
Another significant benefit of consuming beer is its ability to prevent and fight cancer. That's because of the Xanthohumol, an antioxidant contained in this alcoholic beverage. This antioxidant can help stop cancer-causing enzymes from damaging your health in the long run.

Keep Your Kidneys Working Properly
Moderate consumption of beer can also help prevent the risk of having kidney stones since it is about 93% water. This high water content is beneficial when it comes to eliminating harmful toxins from your body, resulting in keeping your kidneys working well.

Lower Cholesterol Levels
If you want to reduce the cholesterol level inside your body, then moderate drinking of beer may be a good option. This benefit is attributed to the barley used in the brewing process, which has beta-glucans, a soluble fiber that is excellent for reducing cholesterol levels.

Wine: How It Can Benefit You?
Now that you're aware of what beer can do to your body, it's time to get familiar with what wine is. In its simplest terms, wine refers to an alcoholic drink that is derived from fermented grapes. And just like beer, it also has a high nutritional content that includes chemical compounds such as natural phenols and polyphenols. These compounds, for instance, contain antioxidant properties and other nutrients that can promote good health.

Given wine's nutritional content, moderate intake of it comes with great benefits. These may include:

Lower Risk of Diabetes
Moderate drinking of wine can help ward off diabetes. It contains compounds that can minimize the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. However, it's important to note that alcohol consumption may cause low blood sugar, which is why you should talk to your doctor before drinking even a single glass of wine.

Boost Immune System
If you want to protect your immune system, consuming a glass of wine on a daily basis can be an excellent option. It has great nutritional content that's capable of fighting infections and keeping your immune system in good condition.

Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Wine, particularly red wine, is a powerful source of antioxidants. When consumed in moderation, it can lower blood pressure and, more importantly, keep your heart healthy against any risk of heart diseases. Also, the antioxidants found in wine can help reduce the bad cholesterol level inside your body.

Improve Bone Density
As you age and grow older, your bones start to weaken and become more brittle. While you can drink milk to improve your bone health, it's also good to consume wine moderately. That's because of its silicon content, which can help increase bone density and minimize the possibility of suffering from osteoporosis.

Final Thoughts
Any alcoholic drink—whether it's wine or beer—has an impact on your body. Despite their slight differences in how they're made or how they make you feel, both of them have similarities in terms of their health benefits.

Therefore, if you can't decide which one to drink, keep all the information above in mind to help you choose the perfect alcoholic beverage that suits your needs. And whatever your choice is, make sure

you consume it in moderation to avoid its harmful effects on your health.

Special Ingredient: Sweet Potato

Had enough pumpkin beer?

It’s obvious, really. There are thousands of pumpkin beers out there; it’s been done. Who’s ready to brew with a different holiday staple that is every bit as American and, as a bonus, has a sweeter, more intense flavor? I yam.

“A lot of people do pumpkin beer,” says Bror Welander, senior shift brewer at Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven, Michigan. “We actually don’t do any pumpkin beers. But we thought it would be cool to do something for Thanksgiving and release it on Black Friday. And what do people like to enjoy on Thanksgiving?”

Sweet potatoes

Behold, Odd Side’s Sweet Potato Soufflé. It’s a big, dark, dessert-like strong ale that usually gets some barrel-aging. The version that won gold for Specialty Beer at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival spent time in rye whiskey barrels.

“It’s barrel-aged and a bigger beer,” Welander says. “It’s got a little more cachet in late fall, early winter.”

But there are all sorts of barrel-aged strong ales out there. Precious few are made with yams. In this case, the brewers add fully cooked mashed sweet potato to the whirlpool—almost 40 pounds of it go into a 10-barrel batch of beer.

“In the past, we have used sweet potatoes that we cooked ourselves, but that was many years back,” Welander says. “Now we use our local food service. The sweet potatoes come mashed already. There are no additives or anything. It is straight-up mashed sweet potatoes.”

At whirlpool, he says, “we take the same pot, and obviously with rubber gloves on and everything, we just add it handful after handful. One handful at a time, so it really gets blended in well.” In other words, don’t just dump it all in at once. “It dissolves nicely into the whirlpool.”

Odd Side has a 15-barrel brewhouse, but this is a beer with a lot of stuff in it, including the yams. “We can’t fit in all the grain we’d want and hit our final gravity,” Welander says. The beer also gets some lactose and malt extract to kick up the body, sweetness, and strength. The grain bill is big, though, and gives a lot of body—enough that the beer remains weighty despite a relatively low mash temperature. “You would think that a big ale like this would be mashed at 156°F (69°C) or something. But no, this one’s mashed at 149°F (65°C).”

The beer also gets modest dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, which are added after fermentation is complete. They mix the spices in a bit of 195°F (91°C) water from the hot liquor tank to sanitize them, then add them to the fermentor or barrel. As with pumpkin beers, the spices help to evoke that sweet-potato-pie/casserole/soufflé flavor.

The barrel aging has been a hit but is not strictly necessary. “You certainly could get a really nice final product without the whiskey barrel,” Welander says. Odd Side has been making Sweet Potato Soufflé since 2012, but the recipe has changed over time—though its current incarnation is more or less unchanged since it won a gold medal.

The changes have mainly been with the barrels, including two different versions aged in Traverse City Whiskey casks. For one, the barrels had previously held honey; for the other, maple syrup.
“We like to tweak and skew it toward our endgame.”

By: Joe Stange

Recipe: Odd Side Ales Sweet Potato Soufflé Rye Ale
Here is a homebrew-scale recipe for the beer that won a Specialty Beer gold medal at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 67%
OG: 1.118
FG: 1.031
IBUs: 41
ABV: 11.4%

6.2 lb (2.8 kg) Munich 10L
4.2 lb (1.9 kg) pale
2 lb (907 g) Vienna
1.4 lb (624 g) Briess Carabrown
1.4 lb (624 g) caramel/crystal 60L
1.4 lb (624 g) flaked oats
1 lb (454 g) rye malt
11 oz (312 g) flaked barley
11 oz (312 g) rice hulls

2.75 lb (1.25 kg) Briess Golden Light DME at 90 minutes
1 lb (454 g) lactose at 90 minutes
1 oz (28 g) CTZ [16% AA] at 90 minutes
0.75 oz (21 g) U.S. Goldings [4.5% AA] at 10 minutes
8 oz (14 g) mashed sweet potato at whirlpool
1.6 g cinnamon after fermentation
0.5 g nutmeg after fermentation
0.5 g allspice after fermentation

Fermentis Safale S-04 English Ale

Do a single-infusion mash at 149°F (65°C) for 75 minutes. Raise the temperature to 168°F (76°C) for mash-out; lauter and sparge to get about 6.8 gallons (25.7 l) of wort. Boil for 90 minutes and whirlpool, following the hops & additions schedule. Chill to about 68°F (20°C), aerate the wort, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 68°F (20°C). When fermentation is complete, add the spices to a small amount of 195°F (91°C) water to sanitize and add to the beer before packaging or wood-aging.

Try aging the beer with oak cubes that have soaked in whiskey combined with honey or maple syrup to approximate Odd Side’s barrel-aged version of the beer.

The Hop Report: Trending Hops for 2020


Hops are a defining factor in any beer, and also often dictate what styles of beer and modes of brewing will be popular in the future. When there are shortages, brewers band together to weather the storm and share wisdom on innovative ways to cram more hop aroma and flavor into a 12-ounce can.

This cycle of experimentation and discovery often means that hops that have fallen under the radar for decades suddenly rise to worldwide acclaim. Other times, genetic modifications lead to brand new varietals, which immediately take the brewing world by storm. Let’s take a look at how 2019 played out on the hop frontier. First, the big picture: According to the USDA’s forecasted hop harvest for 2019, Citra was the hop grown more than any other in Washington, Idaho and Oregon – America’s top hop growers. Among the other top contenders were the classics – Cascade and Centennial along with Mosaic and Simcoe and… Pahto? More on that in a minute.

Most would categorize the 2019 hop harvest as a solid year for hops, with decent returns on hop oils and alpha acids, the potency of which varies seasonally. Early spring, especially in the Yakima region, was tough for baby hop crops, resulting in somewhat lackluster yields. Oregon hop growers also saw some of the worst flooding in recent memory in April, further contributing to lower yields than were expected. However, what did grow performed quite well, especially breeds like Chinook, El Dorado and Cashmere, which was featured in last year’s hop report.

Below is a list of rising star hops – some of which were made to suit the public’s taste and some of which the public’s palate has evolved to crave. Some you may be familiar with, having recently caught a wave of interest among the public, while others might be brand new.

Each of these hops represent the culmination of years, if not decades, of research and testing. They have been found ideal not only in flavor, but in growth rate, yield capacity, cone size, disease and weather resistance, ease of harvest and storage life. Now they’re ready for their time in the brewer’s spotlight, each vying for the chance to change the tastes of the beer-drinking public. Success would allow these hops to sit securely alongside the most influential hops of all time by pushing the boundaries of what craft beer can be.

In an age where breeders can play God with hops by imbuing them with all sorts of fanciful flavors, you can expect them to pay very close attention to what sort of beer styles and characteristics are trending, and then to breed accordingly. The hops on this list reflect what’s hot in the market currently and also a sign of where things are headed.

Zappa - Origin: United States
To be frank, this is an oddball hop. A member of the Neomexicanus hop variety, its flavor has been described as everything from tropical fruit surrounded by notes of peppery mint, savory character and Fruity Pebbles to simply: “the color purple.” North America’s Neomexicanus hops are ripe for future exploration by breeders, as their properties differ significantly from European hops, so you might consider Zappa ahead of its time. Fitting, considering it’s named after the famously esoteric musician. If you were wondering, the Zappa estate has signed off on the naming rights.

Pahto - Origin: United States
Originally known as HBC 682, Pahto was renamed for the native name of Mt. Adams, Washington’s second-highest peak after Mt. Rainier. This hop is a high-yield, disease-resistant variety that is super high in alpha acid content – reaching up to 20 percent, making it great as a bittering hop. It is noted for its herbal, earthy and floral notes and smooth, clean bitterness. These characteristics make Pahto perfect for craft drinkers’ ongoing obsession with powerfully hopped brews with distinct flavors. As previously noted, this varietal was one of the most cultivated in 2019.