Whilst the craft beer revolution has reached most of the corners of the U.S., have we considered its impact on the old standbys of frat parties, beach bonfires, and backyard barbecues? We’re talking about the distinctly American everyman beers of yore: Milwaukee’s Best, Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon, etc. Slate‘s resident critic of all things televisual, Troy Patterson, decided to indulge in one reader’s request for him to critique the cheapest of the brews.
Patterson defines cheap beer as ‘subpremium’ and this does not include Bud Light, Budweiser, Coors Light, or Miller Lite. And cheap beer doesn’t always taste, well, cheap. There is the 1996 Consumer Reports blind taste test that found Old Milwaukee and Stroh’s “were superior to all the premiums and superpremiums (such as Michelob) that they tasted.”
He proceeds to dissect a few subpremiums like Natural Light and Busch, relearning that ‘Natty Light’ is not a suitable one-beer beer. For the critic, the taste test is mostly about unfolding parts of the “complicated terrain of class markers, class solidarity, and classiness indices.”