Beer & Whiskey: Similarities, Differences, and Which is Better


    Wine for mom and beer or whiskey for dad—you’ve probably seen the stereotypes before and noticed the wide eyes that pop open when you order an IPA or a whiskey, neat, at the bar. Luckily, it’s 2022 and someone’s alcohol preferences aren’t determined by their parental role. And while both beer and whiskey involve a combination of water, malted barley, and yeast, they’re definitely not the same thing. 

    We’ll compare the two drinks below so you can better understand the famous relationship between these two delicious beverages before your next girl’s night.

    Beer and Whiskey: Similarities and Differences

    Beer & Whiskey: Similarities, Differences, and Which is Better
    Beer & Whiskey: Similarities, Differences, and Which is Better

    What is Beer?

    Beer is the fermented, alcoholic product of water, barley, and yeast. Its alcoholic content often varies from four to nearly eleven percent for double hopped pale ales, depending on the type you favor. It often comes in different flavors and lightness, including fruity sours, hoppy IPAs, or heavy stouts. 


    While it may seem like there’s plenty of options on tap, there are really only two types of beer—lager and ale. In the lager category, you’ll find pale lagers, pilsners, and bocks. These are typically lighter, crisper beers that feature a slightly hoppy flavor but are more often replaced by fruit-forward notes, made possible by the use of fruit purees. Ales, on the other hand, are typically quite hoppy, with heavier flavors like chocolate or caramel, and they are typically quite bitter.

    What is Whiskey?

    Whiskey is a distilled spirit made out of fermented barley (just like beer!). They’re typically aged in wooden cases before bottling, which contributes to their amazing flavor, and they often have a high ABV of over 40%. Different types of whiskeys are distinguished by their place of origin, aging process, or the types of grain they use. You can find several different flavors at the bar, but most are marked by notes of caramel, spice, and a slight sweetness.

    There are nine types of whiskey, but some of the most common you’ll find are bourbon, scotch, and single malt whiskey. These types vary slightly in flavor—it’s all up to your personal preference!

    What are the Similarities?

    The biggest similarity between beer and whiskey is that both beverages include the same three ingredients: water, barley, and yeast. Although the flavors of each drink vary, these basic ingredients are what ferment the beverage, producing an alcoholic product. Because of this, you can find distilled whiskey from beer. After all, they’re almost identical until the end of the fermentation phase.

    What are the Differences?

    Beer and whiskey have several key differences but are most differentiated by their production process: in whiskey, yeast is added to wort for fermentation; while in beer production, hops are added to yeast for fermentation. This creates the higher ABV of whiskey, as well as its unique taste. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that one shot of whiskey does contain about the same amount of alcohol as a can of your favorite beer.

    Which One’s Healthier?

    For health-conscious moms (or just those curious), you may be wondering which of the two drinks has a better nutritional value. From a caloric standpoint, whiskey is definitely the winner. A shot of whiskey contains about 100 calories, while a beer will typically have upwards of 200. Whiskey also works to reduce your appetite and has fewer carbohydrates than its hoppy relative. Of course, if you’re mixing your whiskey with sugary additives, like Coke, they’ll probably end up being about the same.



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