Welcome back to The Beer Idiot, where the only thing dumber than the person drinking the beer is the amount of beer he drinks. Mirroring my own reentry into Suds Country, the first bubbly beverage in our series is a titan of the industry: Miller Lite.
(Pictured: Try not to be intimidated)
So, the vortex bottle was dumb and bad. But you know what wasn't? Inventing light beer! That's basically what Miller did in the 1970s, and now that I'm writing this I'm realizing that fact is probably in one of their ads. Another interesting fact: Miller Lite has great taste, but it's also less filling! Oh dammit, let's just move on.
Miller Lite does have the moderately impressive distinction of being the least calorically burdensome formulation of the Big Three, which counts for more in this particular segment than it might if we were discussing the relative merits of Trappiste vintages. It's a handful of calories short of Coors Light and Bud Light, and maybe this is not strictly above-board accounting, but I round everything under triple digits to 0. I'm actually losing weight by walking to the fridge and cracking a cold one! My dedication to fitness is finally paying off.
But the thing about beer is that in order to digest it, use it as fuel, and expel it in such a way as to trace dirty words in the snow, you must consume it. The best way to consume liquid, in my opinion anyway, is to drink it. So when Miller Lite is roiling around in your chughole, before it wanders down the old gullet, how's it taste?
The first thing that hits you when you're about to toast one of these bad boys is, hopefully, how fucking cold it is. It needs to be cold. Damn cold. Witch's titty in a brass bra cold, please and thank you. After that, while you're doing the deed, the overall sensation of a liquidy wetness is apparent, followed prominently by a flavor reminiscent of brewing. The tongue detects carbon and possibly other elements as well. This is a beverage you're drinking, and that is obvious throughout.
....Okay, so Miller Lite doesn't have an incredibly complex flavor profile. So sue 'em! (No, don't! I'm a shareholder!) It tastes of beer. There's corn and malt, and it's something like 120% water, so it's refreshing as all get out. It's harder to make the case now, as the frozen tundra below my deck ices over for a second time, that the light American lager is a perfect beer to drink outdoors, and that Miller Lite embodies that style as well as anyone. But it is true. People do not think it is cool that you brought a liter of 12% ABV IPA to the cookout. It is not good to drink while eating a hot dog, we do not have any chalices to pour it in, and you are not welcome back any time. By the way, your cigarette case makes you look like Cruella DeVille.
And while we're at it, we might as well get the "session beer" thing out of the way now. "Session beer" is a term beloved by Beer Wieners the world over to denote, mostly insincerely, a high drinkability. Unfortunately, the logical progression of any sufficiently popular-among-men activity is that if it is easy to do, it is not good. Take for instance the absurdist performance art project Man Vs. Food. Or, if you have body image issues, the sudden emergence of Nashville Hot Chicken. A highly drinkable beer is pedestrian because, well, anyone can do it. Much better to struggle and grimace through some bitter caramel dip spit the factory forgot to carbonate. This is what we've become.
Miller Lite is good because well, yes, anyone can do it. If talking to high schoolers for more than 5 minutes were even slightly more tolerable than nudely riding a 10 speed, I bet those little turds would tell you they love ML. So what?! I don't know if 5SOS is a band or a Castaway post-credits scene, but I love it too. The ties that bind, man. The ties that bind.
That goes both directions. My banner experience with Miller Lite was on a trip to visit my wife's bio-dad. He lived in rural Pennsylvania, and made your average Steelers fan look like an investment banker. One night the two of us were hanging out in his football shed, having a few belts. He had a six pack of odds and ends — Labatt, Beers with Lime For Some Reason — totally untouched. I obliged. Meanwhile he pulled Miller after Miller out of a PT Cruiser-sized fridge that seemingly replaced each can removed from the shelf like we were at a Giant Eagle. Next man up! The pull tabs went into an enormous bucket on the floor. Granted, this was before they launched their disgraceful modern blue color scheme into the void, but there was still a sort of beautiful harmony to it: a fridge full of promises, a bucket full of memories. It would be wrong to ask more of a beer.
Rating: Good enough for me
Next Week: Mike's Hard Lemonade