I’ve heard it said, “Light beer is for people who hate the taste of beer but like to pee.”
Despite the ads, light beer is not designed for flavor. Instead, light beers are designed to offend the least amount of palates. This means masking almost all malt or hop flavor that would normally shine through to make the beer taste… well, like a beer. Doing this makes it marketable to the widest possible audience.
Miller’s “Triple Hops Brewed” commercials always make me laugh. First of all, all that means is that hops are added at three different points during the brew process. This is pretty much the same for any beer. Hops added early provide bitterness, hops adding during the middle of the brew process provide some flavor and hops added at the end provide aroma.
What makes this marketing line so funny is that most Miller Lite drinkers hate hops. The reason they drink Miller and Bud is because there are practically no hops in the beer. If you actually liked the bitterness that hops provide you would be drinking a Pale Ale or an IPA.
This would be like if you sold pizza, but since your customers hated meat you only added one slice of pepperoni, one piece of sausage, and once slice of Canadian Bacon, and then proceeded to advertise your pizzas as Triple Meat Baked! It would be a pretty meaningless campaign.
I don’t really have a problem with anyone that wants to drink a Miller or a Bud, but you should know there are more flavorful options available to you that you would enjoy. Not every craft beer is incredibly bitter from hops or overly malty. There are a variety of options available to you if you would like to dabble in the world of flavorful beers without risking offending your palate.
Here are a few recommendations:
Widmer Hefeweizen – This is a cloudy wheat beer from Portland Oregon that will provide no bitterness. Instead the smooth flavor will yield some fruity notes, like banana (no, this is not a fruit beer). This can be purchased at Woodmans.
New Glarus Spotted Cow – This is a popular cream ale brewed right here in Wisconsin by one of the world’s top breweries, and is probably the gateway beer that got me into the world of craft beers. Though cloudy, this beer drinks very clean and smells faintly of grains. A perfect representation of Wisconsin, you can even pick up a bit of corn in the flavor among some fruiter flavors. This can be purchased at any local liquor store or gas station.
Hoegaarden (Pronounced ‘Who Garden’) - This witbier from Belgium pours cloudy but very pale. Brewed with coriander and orange peel, this very refreshing beer will provide some citrus flavor as well as a slight twang. This can be purchased at Woodmans and most well stocked liquor stores.
If I can inspire any of you to venture out of your comfort zone and give a new beer a try, I would love to hear about it. Let me know what you think and I’ll be happy to provide additional recommendations!