A very interesting article that is geared toward marketing light beers in summer time. I wonder what percentage of what is actually published is sponsored by the businesses versus legitimate worthy publications. All of these beers are garbage unless you are the exact person they were made for and that is tens of millions of people in America. Coors light description is great. Why not just call it water? It has no aroma, no flavor, no alcohol and nothing else. What about Sam Adams Light? It is cleverly kept out here probably because Sam Adams Light will blow every beer listed here away and also as a light beer, it does not taste like a water-down beverage made for quantity consumption. It actually has flavor and character. Does the wrong company own Sam Adams line?
Sooner or later, every beer drinker encounters the dilemma: Is it time to switch to a light beer to cut back on calories?
For many years, light beers have been sneered at by beer aficionados who cited the brews’ less-intense taste and watery impression. By and large, the criticism was justified. Early attempts at light beer paid far more attention to making the product lower in calories than they did to making it something that would be the first choice of someone looking for great flavor.
Occasionally, though, there were acknowledgements in the beer giants’ advertising campaigns that some light beer drinkers were searching for more than just reduced calories. Who over the age of 25 doesn’t remember the “tastes great, less filling” ad campaign, which originally starred Dick Butkus and Bubba Smith?
Here’s a toughie: What beer was being advertised? Don’t kick yourself if you don’t remember. Many ad campaigns run afoul of the trap of having a memorable message that fails to identify the product. Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” campaign is the most notable of these.
So, which of these light beers manages to identify itself in terms of taste and aroma? Do any of them make a dent in the tasting panel’s universal preference for full-strength beer enjoyment?
For this test, a tasting panel of 10 adults, seven men and three women, sampled the beers. Each was evaluated on aroma, taste and overall impression and each tester awarded from one to 10 points to each brew, for a possible perfect score of 100.
No one on the panel was a beer expert. We were ordinary beer-drinking folks with varying degrees of sophistication when it came to beer and food in general. If you’re looking for the sort of exhaustive, highly technical analyses available on outstanding sites like BeerAdvocate, you’ll be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for the beer-drinking equivalent of a “man on the street” review, you’re in luck.
Calorie and carbohydrate counts are given for each beer.
Corona Light: 99 calories, 5 grams carbs.
This came the closest of any in the test to tasting exactly like its full-strength version. For those of you used to very light lagers this will be fine, but the testers were not overly impressed with either the aroma or the flavor, which had a faint and inexplicable note of corn. As one tester put it, “There’s nothing terrible about it, but if that’s the best thing you can say, it’s not great.” Final grade: 74.
Heineken Light: 99 calories, 6.8 grams carbs.
You would expect that the Heineken folks would do their homework before turning out a light beer, and you’d be exactly right. This beer has a very nice aroma, lightly hoppy and sweet, and the taste follows suit, with an almost honey-like note detected by several testers. Several testers said that this one could easily convert them to light beer drinkers. Final score: 93.
Coors Light: 102 calories, 5 grams carbs.
This one was almost completely aroma-free, with just a very light beery whiff. The flavor was just as light, barely making an impression on the taste buds as it passed along. One tester hit the nail on the head, describing this as the sort of beer you’d want to have on hand after being outside on a hot day, when you wanted a cold brew you could pound down in a hurry. Final score: 68.
Michelob Light: 123 calories, 8.8 grams carbs.
For many young men, Michelob is that first foray into “upper-class” beers, even though it’s brewed by the same folks who bring you Budweiser. Its light version is quite good, with a good, clean, grain-tinged aroma and a very smooth mouth feel and taste. There wasn’t any one flavor note beyond corn that leaped out at any of the testers, but all of them would have gladly accepted a second taste purely in the interest of science. Final score: 89.
Miller Lite: 96 calories, 3.2 grams carbs.
This is a beer best consumed, as one tester put it, “When you’re in the middle of an all-day tailgate party before a night game and you want to drink steadily.” It goes down almost like ice water, and there’s not much in the way of flavor or aroma to differentiate it. It’s almost completely bland. Final score: 55.
Natural Light 96 calories, 3.2 grams carbs.
You’ll note that this one is identical to Miller Lite in calories and carbs. It’s also almost identical in the testers’ assessment of its worth. However, it managed to have even less actual flavor than the Miller Lite, with an aroma that reminded two testers of stale bread. Final score: 48.
Bud Light: 110 calories, 6.6 grams carbs.
Bud Light’s latest ad campaign touts the drinkability of the beer, and it’s actually quite accurate. Whereas the other lower-priced entries in this category become almost undrinkable when anything but ice cold, Bud Light doesn’t falter as the temperature rises. That’s not to say it’s outstanding; the flavor is still very weak and the aroma is almost nonexistent, but it does earn a solid final score of 81.
Michelob Ultra: 95 calories, 2.6 grams carbs. This beer, the lone one in the test marketed as a low-carb brew, is almost nonexistent on the palate. There’s really very little at all in the way of an identifying flavor and no aroma whatsoever even when poured into a pilsner glass. One tester’s opinion: “Take the carb hit and drink something that won’t send you after a keg of ale just to get some flavor.” Final score: 41.
So Anheuser-Busch produces both one of the best and the absolute lowest-rated of the beers in our light beer comparison. What does this say about the state of the business as far as gigantic brewers go? We’ll leave that to the beer experts. But note that a brewer in the Netherlands, Heineken, that’s tiny compared to the A-B or Miller goliaths tops the ratings.