Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

November 11, 2009

Beer Diary:

This Water Is Making Me Thirsty

Faithful readers, you probably know some dumb asshole who willingly drinks ultra-light “beer.”
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
Unless your circle of acquaintances is smaller than mine (let’s count ‘em: my six or so co-workers and my parents) then you probably know more than a few people who drink not only shit beer, but light shit beer. And my guess is that more than a few of these light shit beer drinkers (well, I should say light shit premium beer drinkers—you know, your Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light drinkers—to differentiate from those regularly drinking Natty Light, Blue Smoothie, and [gak!] Milwaukee’s Best Light) are at least intrigued by, if not sold on, Miller MGD 64 and A-B’s new Bud Select 55.

Everyone knows that these “beers” have 64 and 55 calories, respectively. But not everyone knows that those low, low calorie counts come with low, low alcohol content. MGD 64 has 2.8 percent ABV and Bud Select 55 has 2.4. That’s not a typo. Two. Point. Four.

But contrary to what you’re probably thinking, I’m not going to rip on the low alcohol content of these “beers.” One of the more memorable beers I’ve ever had was a Belgian style table beer at the Goose Island Brewpub that was less than 3 percent ABV. The difference between it and Bud Select 55 and MGD 64 is that the one I had was packed with flavor despite its diminished schnockering power. And, frankly, the craft beer industry could really use a few low ABV brews now and then. Making a huge imperial stout is great and all, but it’s child’s play compared to making a two-and-half percent ale that’s got enough going on to make you forget about all the wateriness.

No, what I’m going to rip on about these ultra-light, more-tasteless-than-water “beers” is the people who drink them. First off, these beers (I assume, because I’d rather let dog shit touch my tongue than either one of these industrialized concoctions) have a little less body than thickened water and a little more flavor than the stuff in a typical toilet tank. So no one is drinking this shit because of the taste. Hell, even Miller and A-B aren’t even trying to lie about the lack of taste—they’re touting that their “beer” is “as light as it gets” and “the lightest beer in the world” respectively. And if you like your “beer” like that—i.e. tasteless—then why not just drink a dram of schnapps mixed with a little carbonated water? At least it’d be cheaper (more on that later).

Secondly, if you’re drinking this “beer” because you are on a diet, you’re not just fat, you’re an idiot. Because while I’m taking a good hour to enjoy my Founders Breakfast Stout—and not just drink it, but savor it—you’re pounding down four of these “beers,” because, as we’ve already established, they’re basically water.

Despite the fact that ultra light “beers” cost the same to the consumer as any other regular beer, they’re far cheaper to make than their full-bodied breathren.
Even if you’re on a mega-strict diet and you’re only going to have one beer because that’s the only calories you can spare, or you’ll vow to just take your time and only drink one an hour … why even drink beer then? You’re not going to even feel the alcohol unless you’re six foot and ninety five pounds, in which case WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DIETING? And if you don’t care about feeling the alcohol, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DRINKING SOMETHING ALCOHOLIC AT ALL? Get a goddamn diet soda pop. Christ, even non-alcoholic beer has more body and flavor than this crap.

And now, the best part about these ultra-light “beers.” Despite the fact that they cost the same to the consumer as any other regular beer, they’re far cheaper to make than their full-bodied breathren. Less alcohol means less fermentable material, which means less yeast and less malt and less corn sugar and less rice syrup and less hops (and I doubt the average drinker would even notice if these “beers” didn’t have hops at all—Miller and A-B probably only put them in there for marketing purposes). Essentially, what the brewers are doing is adding water to their beer. Then selling it at the same price as the non-watered beer.

So if you know any dumb assholes who willingly drink this shit and call it “beer,” use the above rant to point out why they should think again about their choice (but I’d suggest using a little more tact than my rant, unless you like getting punched in the nose). At the very least you could appeal to their wallets and try to convince them that they’re throwing a chunk of their money away every time they buy a Bud Select 55 or MGD 64. And if that doesn’t work, well … maybe you should think about shrinking your circle of acquaintances. Just try not to let it get as small as Eddie Glick’s. That’s just pathetic.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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