John Smith’s is one of the most popular ales in the UK and is still going strong despite increased competition. But how many calories are there in a pint of John Smith’s? How much alcohol? Is John Smith’s gluten-free? Or vegan?
There are 176 calories in a pint of John Smith’s Original, and the same in John Smith’s Extra Smooth. There are 182 calories in John Smith’s Original Cask. John Smith’s Original and Extra Smooth are 3.6% alcohol, while Original Cask is 3.8%. John Smith’s bitter is not gluten-free. It is also not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
In this article, I am going to fully answer each question about John Smith’s, and I will also list some beers that are similar in case you fancy something a little different.
According to the John Smith website, there are 31 calories for every 100ml for John Smith’s Original (can and keg) and John Smith’s Extra Smooth. If you are drinking John Smith’s Original from a cask then it is 32 calories per 100ml.
As we saw with the calorie content, everything is the same except for the cask version of John Smith’s Original. A pint of John Smith’s Extra Smooth is 3.6% and it is the same in a can. John Smith’s Original is also 3.6% when it is poured from a keg or in a can, but it is 3.8% when it is poured from a cask.
With some beers, the question of whether they are gluten-free or not becomes quite complicated. But John Smith’s is very clear. Their beer is absolutely NOT gluten-free. Not only does it contain malted barley, but it also contains wheat. Both malted barley and wheat contain gluten. This is one beer to avoid if you are gluten-intolerant.
I’m afraid not, as is the case with many English ales, John Smith’s almost certainly uses isinglass (or similar) to clarify their beer. Making it unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans as isinglass comes from fish. To learn more about isinglass, check out my article here.
There are many beers that are very similar to John Smith’s. Tetley’s Bitter is very similar, from Yorkshire, similar alcohol content, similar beer style. Then there are other creamy bitters such as Boddington’s and Worthingtons.
But as I wrote in my Tetley’s bitter article, these type of beers tend to be a bit lacking in flavour. If you fancy something with a little more punch, then Black Sheep Ale, Fuller’s London Pride, Greene King’s Abbot Ale, and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord are great shouts.
Or you can go even further, and try a Hobgoblin from Wychwood brewery. In fact, why not check out my article on what beer to drink in England where I lay out my top ten English beers (and some craft breweries that I like).
It’s not like I dislike John Smith’s beer. It serves a purpose. If the pub is well run, and the beer lines are clean, then a pint of John Smith’s can go down a treat. Thanks to its low alcohol content it is a great beer for having at lunchtime! Compare that to a Belgian beer that is 7% or something, and you can see why I’d stick to the former if I planned on doing any work afterwards.