I don’t care, I really don’t. You can mock me, you can ridicule me, you can call me a hypocrite and a fraud. It really doesn’t matter. I drink good beer, really good beer in fact, so I don’t need to defend myself when I’m chugging away on something less than savory. I know better and know that I’m trolling the bottom of the barrel when I’m picking up a sixer of tallboys from an “evil” conglomerate of a brewing operation such as SAB Miller. So what? Sometimes I just want some shitty beer.
Miller High Life, the “Champagne of Beers”, is not a good beer. No one will ever argue that point (At least no one that reads our site on a regular basis). I’m not defending High Life in comparison to other beers on the market. If you have a mediocre beer from one of over 1,700 independent brewers in this country, chances are you’re holding something that’s better than High Life. As an adjunct lager, we’re talking about a beer that’s brewed with some derivative of corn sugars and other less desirable brewing ingredients. Corn is a nice cheap and consistent ingredient, but not something I generally want in my beer. Again, I want to be very clear that High Life is not a good beer. Does that mean it’s bad? Not exactly.
Beer doesn’t always have to be extraordinarily well made to be considered drinkable. There’s other aspects at play. Carbonation, mouthfeel, finish – All of these other aspects outside of actual “Taste” influence the overall character of a beer. You may have a hatred for all things Bud/Miller/Coors, and I certainly share that sentiment to some extent, but most of their products aim at one direction. Crisp, refreshing, approachable beers. That’s all these brewers want (And your money of course). Every once in a while, when I’m sitting outside painting my steps or pushing a mower around my yard, all I really want is something crisp, refreshing, and approachable. I also want it to be cheap, so I can justify why I’m passing by the good beer aisles and reaching into the ulta-cold cooler door that holds all the macros.
I drink cheap macro lagers on occasion. I hate most of them, as I’m sure most of you do too. I refuse to drink light beer, just for the simple matter that it’s fucking disgusting. I refuse to drink PBR due to the hipster, wanna-be cool aspects that surround the brand. It’s shit beer, which I don’t have a problem with, but I feel like I’m caving in by buying it. The reason I drink High Life is pretty simple. As I said above, it’s crisp, refreshing, approachable, and cheap. That doesn’t put it in a unique position though. There’s a ton of beers on the market that fit that profile, but again most of them are shit. Why I like High Life above all the other macros on the market is because of the carbonation and the bottle. Check that, I like the shape of the bottle as it screams “Drink me!” straight from the top, but I’ll buy pounder cans for the golf course too. It’s really the carbonation that brings me back for more. I don’t drink soda, you know because it’s bad for you, but I drink beer on hot Summer days for much of the same reason. That carbonation is freakin’ refreshing. At the end of the day, Miller High Life really is just an alcoholic soda and that’s fine by me.
So, go ahead and mock me. I know there’s plenty reading this that would never touch a macro lager. That’s okay, I don’t blame you. If you’re not drinking macro lagers on a hot day you’re probably drinking Pale Ales and Hefes and enjoying yourself just as much. 99% of what I drink falls into the good beer category and anyone who has ever read my stuff knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with Imperial IPA’s and West Coast hops. Sometimes though, I just need cheap beer and as much as I’d love a pint of Lagunita’s Maximus when I’m walking 18 it just doesn’t seem appropriate to have an IPA in one hand and a putter in the other. A bag full of High Life on the other hand seems to do the trick.
Craft beer still only represents 5% of the overall beer market in the US. Drink more craft and drink it often, I’m not telling anyone to change their ways. If Victory or Stone or Great Divide would come up with a cheap, refreshing bubbly lager that I could drink out in the yard I would grab that over High Life in a heat beat. Last time I checked though, there aren’t too many craft brewers offering up sixers for under $5. Until that day, High Life it is (In moderation, as long as it still only represents a fraction of your overall beer consumption and doesn’t cut into your overall love of delicious, hoppy IPA’s and bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Stouts. We clear on that? Drink good beer, but don’t be ashamed to whore yourself out a little between the hours of 9AM and 3PM on Saturdays between the months of April and September when the temperature is above 60 degrees and you’re outside).