Posted on October 1st, 2009
Thanks to their ubiquitous advertising and numerous sponsorship deals, light lagers are by far the most well known beers in America. While everyone knows their catchy jingles and funny commercials there is plenty that the average consumer doesn’t know about light lagers. Today we’re going to take a look at a few things those commercials leave out.
1.There are fish guts in your beer.
Isinglass is an ingredient made from the swim bladder of fish (specifically the beluga sturgeon) that has been traditionally been used by brewers as a clarifying and finning agent in beer. Although most of the major macro brewers in America have discontinued to use of this product, plenty of other notable brewers such as Guinness, Red Stripe, Foster’s and Newcastle still put it in your beer. For a more complete list of what brewers still use this and other animal-derived products check barnivore.com.
2. All lagers are brewed cold, it’s nothing to brag about.
Many different brewers over the years have bragged about how cold their beer is brewed. As we’ve pointed out before though, all lagers are brewed cold, that’s just how lager beer is made, so bragging about it in commercials doesn’t really mean much, all you’re saying is that you followed directions.
3. Drinking light lager isn’t saving you money.
A common defense among folks that prefer light lagers is that it’s cheap and they’re just drinking it for the alcohol. We happen to think that beer should be enjoyed for its flavor, but if you feel otherwise that’s cool too. It’s true that light lagers like Coors and Miller have some of the lowest prices on the market but they also have some of the lowest alcohol content as well. Miller Light, Coors Light and Bud Light all clock in just above 4%, while the average for the style is usually at least 5%, so you’re hardly getting your money’s worth.
4. Light lagers aren’t made with barley, they’re made with corn and rice.
As we’ve explained many times on this blog, barley is one of the main ingredients of beer, and probably the ingredient which defines beer the most. While other traditional grains such as rye and wheat are sometimes used, barley is the ingredient which really makes beer what it is. The Germans even passed a law in1516, the Reinheitsgebot, that forbade the brewing of beer with anything other than barley. Don’t tell this to Miller, Coors or Budweiser though, as there’s hardly any barley in their beer at all. They mostly use rice and corn because it’s cheaper, and they think you can’t tell the difference. Miller has been even known to use high fructose corn syrup in their beers, the same stuff that sweetens Kool-Aid. I doubt that would past the Reinheitsgebot.
5. There aren’t real hops in your light lager.
As we’ve mentioned before, the reason beer can get ‘skunked’ after being left out for awhile is due to a reaction between the hops in beer and sunlight. How can some breweries like Miller and Newcastle get away with clear bottles? Because they don’t use real hops. Thanks to the miracle of modern science there is a synthetic chemical known as Tetrahop available to brewers that mimics hop flavor, while being immune to the adverse effects of the sun. A downside is that Tetrahop has no aroma, which is too bad as aroma is a major component to perceived hop flavor.