I feel an urge to briefly address my transition from drinker of exclusively craft beers to drinker of (almost) exclusively Miller Lite.
Over four years of college, I became a bit of a beer snob. Not to the degree that I started making home-brew. Not to the degree that I judged people based on their beer orders (not verbally, at least). Not to the degree that I wouldn’t drink, say, a Bud heavy if it was handed to me. But with $25 bucks in my pocket I’d have gone and spent it on quality, not quantity.
You’d sooner see me spend more than I should’ve on a 4-pack of Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, which looks more like tar than a beverage (though it is good), than walk out of Safeway lugging 30 cold Miller Lites like Radio Raheem lugs his boom box with a few extra dollars in my pocket. How cool it was to drink double IPAs! How worth the flatulent consequences to polish off six bottles of a beer infused with hop oil, as if traditional hops weren’t enough! The bitterness puts hair on your chest and heft in your sack. So I felt.
But how the times have changed. I can’t remember the last time I’ve walked out of the liquor store with something other than Miller Lites. Why? Because I’m trying to take myself less seriously. And that cold white can is a surefire way to do so.
It’s refreshing to be able to have a six pack and not feel monstrously bloated or more buzzed than I should be. Six Lagunitas IPAs, and I’d be slurring, burping up hops in the face of anybody who’d be willing to talk to me, gently leaning left and right to raise my ass cheek enough to let some gas seep out.
Six Miller Lites and I’m fine. Happy. Coherent. Just right.
But beyond that, being a beer snob makes the beer the main event. Which can be fun, but can also easily become too much. All other proceedings become less important. Who you’re with, where you are, what you’re doing–but what are you drinking? And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a craft beer with friends. But Miller Lite is so pleasantly negligible that I find when I’m drinking with friends that I’m more attentive to my friends, rather than to my Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, my Magic Hat whatever–you get the picture.
And isn’t that what alcohol is meant to be? An enhancer? Not the end-all-be-all highlight of the night? I’m entering a phase of life where I’d rather recall what I did over what I drank.
Miller Lite advertises itself as “A Fine Pilsner Beer.” That’s exactly what it is. It’s fine. It’s there. It does what it’s expected to do. It won’t break the bank. (I’d go so far as to call it the Matt Beleskey of beers, but that allusion appeals to a very niche audience and also has the potential to be considered a negation of my argument.)
Nobody is going to dislike a Miller Lite so much that they won’t even drink it if offered one. This is not the case with many craft beers and their nuanced hints of such and such. And the very averageness and Lite-ness of Miller Lite is the necessary foil to the greatness and uniqueness of craft beers. Without a nice, cold, perfectly Millerish Miller Lite, you’d never be able to recognize truly great beer. Though Miller Lite is itself a great beer.
Author’s Note: I am fully aware of the fact that Beer Advocate considers Miller Lite “awful.” Frequent complaint in comments: “can’t tell difference between Miller Lite and other light beers.” Poppycock. That’s on you, pal. Just the other night I was given a Coors Light in lieu of a Miller Lite and you bet that sweet-sugar ass of yours I could tell the difference.
The author is willing to do a blind taste test à la Barstool to prove that Miller Lite is the superior light beer–the only “Lite” beer.