Beer is good for you and can save you from having to go jogging, organizers insisted at the Great British Beer Festival this week.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which is behind the giant annual party, said beer had fewer calories than wine, and switching from the grape to the grain could save as many calories as are burned in a half-hour jog.
More than 350,000 pints were to be served up at Earls Court exhibition center in west London — temporarily the biggest pub in the world.
Among the 500 plus beers available during the five-day festival were some striking names.
They included Reverend Ray, Three Sisters, Milky Way, Punk IPA, Doff Cocker, Mexican Bandit, Dustin Hoffman, Old Legover, Staggering Genius, Gobble, Slovenian Rhapsody, Hip Hop, Village Bike, Old Stoatwobbler, and Naked Ladies.
Louise Ashworth, CAMRA head of marketing, said it was time to challenge stale perceptions of beer.
"Swapping a glass of wine for a glass of beer over seven days can actually lose you calories — equivalent to doing a half-hour jog — because beer is actually much less fattening than wine," she told AFP.
"Beer can be a very healthy alternative, and people should consider swapping.
"There's a misconception about beer bellies — you don't really hear about wine bellies. It's something of a misnomer or a stereotype."
Melissa Cole, a freelance beer writer and tasting expert, ran a special "girl's guide" to take groups of women through the variety of flavors on offer, from refreshing, golden ales to dark, chocolaty stouts.
"I want to provide an environment where women will learn about beer and won't be patronized," she told AFP.
Cole said female wine drinkers had quite developed palates, opening the way to exploring the world of ale.
"Women are really getting more confident around beer.
"There is something for everyone. It's not that you don't like real ale; it's just that you haven't met the right one for you yet."
Real ale is fresh beer brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask from which it is served, as opposed to lager, pasteurized and then fizzed up.
"Bad lager is the spawn of Satan!" Cole said.
German beer writer Sylvia Kopp said the Great British Beer Festival was much better than Munich's famous knees-up.
She said: "What does the Oktoberfest have to do with beer? Nothing! There are only five beers and it's more about quantity than about quality. It's not about tasting."