North Carolina is home to 74 craft breweries (according to this map), the most of any state in the southeast, earning us the title — “State of Southern Beer.” And the beers brewed at these local watering holes are good. Really good. Incorporating chocolate, ginger and other creative ingredients, craft beer generally tastes better than beer mass-produced by big companies like Budweiser and Coors. And they’re transforming the state’s beer landscape.

No longer is the only option at grocery stores cases of 4% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) beers in 12 ounce cans. This means more than a greater variety of tasty beers to choose from. Typical craft beers can range in ABV from 5-10%. And the explosion in popularity of craft beer in North Carolina over the last 3-5 years has completely changed the game. Once widely accepted theories regarding how much is safe to drink before driving (i.e. two drink limit, one drink per hour, etc) have gone completely out the window.

Craft Beer And ABV

Let’s say you’re a 175 pound male with an average metabolism rate. Based on this Blood Alcohol Calculator, you could drink four cans of Bud Light (4.2% ABV) and still be under the legal limit. Now let’s pretend that a friend invites you to go check out Boylan Bridge Brewpub in Raleigh, NC and you drink two Hopped off the Tracks IPAs (7% ABV) in an hour. You’re BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is now at .075. And this is assuming that you have eaten recently enough, you’re metabolism rate isn’t lower than average, you’re adequately hydrated and you’re not in a strange mood. All of which can determine how alcohol affects you. If any of these factors is a bit off, you may be over the legal limit after just two beers. A 130 pound female would have a BAC of .127 after the same amount.

But let’s say you’re a bigger guy. National male weight averages are trending up after all. At 190 pounds, if you drink the same two IPAs as our 175 pound friend, you’re BAC would be .68, below the legal limit, but still high enough that if a few biological factors are a bit off, you may be in trouble if you were to get pulled over. But for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume you’re BAC is .68. You’ll pretty much need to call it a night if you plan to drive home. Even a Bud Light would put you over the legal limit at this point. And the odds of you finding a Bud Light at a craft brewery are slim to none, so you’re only options would be more high ABV beers.

Listen, the point of this post is not to bash craft beer. In fact, there are a lot of reasons to drink craft beer exclusively. Just remember to be mindful of the ABV of the beers you’re drinking and careful not to push your limits by assuming all beers will have the same effect on you. Cheers.

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