Beer Review 0008: Miller High Life

It is with great hesitation that I review this American adjunct lager, because, well… this beer will not be anywhere near the quality of other beers you will see me review.

However, because of the intense pride and loyalty I feel towards the High Life, it must be done.

Miller Brewing Company was founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller and the company started making High Life in 1903, making this beer Miller’s oldest brand. It’s a pilsner with 4.7% alcohol by volume (ABV) and carries the classic marketing slogan “The Champagne of Beers.” The bottle itself is ubiquitously distinctive and every self-respecting beer drinker should recognize the girl in the moon logo with no effort.

This was one of the very first beers I ever tried. It’s a great drink for a budding beer connoisseur; easy to drink, refreshing, crisp and clean. It’s easy on the wallet with twelve packs found most everywhere for under eight dollars. And if you’re an American like me, the High Life should make you swell with pride if you feel any love for your country. This is an olde beer, my friends — it’s unpretentious, simple and causes you to make friends with your enemies.

While it might not be the most complex drink or the best looking liquid out there, I can think of no other beer that I’d want just after mowing the lawn or running a marathon (if I ran them). It’s because of this esteemed status that the Champagne of Beers gets special clemency on this website, and that’s why if High Life isn’t in your drinking rotation, it should be.

I’ve probably drank thousands of bottles of Miller High Life. I could do this review nearly by heart, but that’s not the task I’m charged with. On January 17, I reached for a bottle of my go-to and put it through its paces.

I normally don’t pour this beer into a glass, so naturally this is where the most surprising part of the review comes. The pour produced a large, awe-inspiring head that wasn’t quick to go away. Frothy and rocky in nature, this baby hung around for a bit, which surprised the hell out of me. The color was a pale straw yellow, very clear and clean looking. All hail the lacing: the High Life has got it, all the way down the glass, thick, foamy goodness. The little beer that could is quite a looker!

Aromatically, different story. Line up for that light corn husky-ness. Yeah, that’s what I thought, you’re not lining up. That’s all that’s there — in fact, my beer review sheet looks blank and I actually noted “really, that’s all.” The corniness is faint, to give it some credit, and it’s actually a very clean smell.

Ready for the cornucopia of flavors? Well, guess again. All that’s here is some solid grain, with a hint of that corn aroma. There’s a slight sweetness on the very short finish, but not much. The carbonation is high, very lively; after all, this is the “champagne of beers.” Sometimes I swear I taste a citrus flavor in High Life, but this particular sample didn’t have any. It was actually a tad steely.

Look. This beer is incredibly mass produced. But for a mass produced beer, this is a very good drink. It’s easy, it’s refreshing and it goes great with just about anything you are eating with it. I swear, the High Life has supernatural qualities, too — this liquid is the best problem solver I’ve encountered. President Obama should have served this at his “beer summit” a couple years ago. Need some father/son bonding time? Here’s your beverage.

The High Life was a surprise on the appearance scale, scoring a solid 13 points. But the bottom fell out on the aromatics, scoring a scant 5 points. Flavor and palate come in at 25, with me giving this an overall experience score of 31, recognizing the unique qualities this beverage carries.

If you’ve never had a High Life, I implore… nay, beg… you to go get one. Like I said on my beer review sheet, “Technically not the best … but technically, who cares.”

Miller High Life, 74 points. Price: $7.49 US for twelve pack.

If you find yourself into the High Life, be sure to check out the 7 oz. pony bottles — yep, they still make them, and they’re available at select locations. Lowes Foods tends to stock them around my parts.


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