Beer Review 0435: Miller Lite Adjunct Lager

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Editor’s note: Yes folks, do not adjust your sets. Today, we’ll be reviewing five different American adjunct lagers — while we normally focus on artisan beers, these beers deserve to be looked at, too. I’m not doing this as any sort of novelty — I’m actually reviewing the beers, so here’s an honest take at some of the beers that would normally get laughed at.

Miller Lite was the first mainstream “light” beer in the United States — originally developed by a biochemist named Blake L. Owades in 1967, he called the beer “Gablinger’s Diet Beer.” The recipe was given to a competitor of Miller, but several years later, Miller acquired the rival and reformulated the recipe. Miller Lite was then known as “Lite Beer From Miller,” and was only available in test markets where macho sports players advertised the brew in commercials, selling the idea of light beer to consumers.

MillerCoors, located in Chicago, Illinois, makes Miller Lite. The companies Miller and Coors announced a partnership in 2007. Miller Lite is the fourth most popular beer in the United States — it contains 4.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 96 calories per 12 ounce serving.

What else does it contain? In 1982, The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that Miller Lite contained such chemical additives as propylene glycol, corn syrup, liquid sugar, potassium metabisulfite, and food colorings. Doesn’t that just make you want a big sip?

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The pour issued up an average size had that had some retaining power; it didn’t last long, but did stick around enough to look good and maintained a thin glaze throughout drinking. The texture was soapy, and the lacing it left behind was actually pretty good, leaving patchy but fuzzy suds all around the glass. The color of the beer was pale straw yellow, and it nearly verged on golden; like all the other Adjunct Lagers, this had a ton of carbonation bubbles zooming to the surface.

On the nose, there’s the prerequisite grain and straw, some notes of grass, and really not much else other than corn, which is an adjunct ingredient. I think the corn gives this some sweetness; dig deep enough and you can find what might be a grapefruit hop scent; then again, it might not actually be. Ha.

Tasting offers lots of grain, a touch of the aforementioned grassy note, and surprise — that’s about it. The finish brings on notes of cornmeal, some wheat, and very, very, very mild bitterness that doesn’t linger; it finishes clean and refreshing. In and out. Light-bodied, thin, foamy mouthfeel.

Miller Lite has just a bit of flavor, just a bit of aroma, and is easily drinkable. But that doesn’t mean it is good — far from it, in fact. They say “tastes great, less filling,” I say: “easy drinking, less taste.”

Miller Lite Adjunct Lager, 53 points. Price: $1.79 US for one 24 oz. can.

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