Sunday, March 15, 2009

Miller Lite, Sam Adams, and Happy Hops

We triple hops brew Miller Lite.

Triple hops Miller Lite?
This is SABMiller's new promotion for Miller Lite. But why?

Hops, in case you've wondered, are herbs, flavoring agents like basil, parsley, or oregano. Hops are not found much in food, but are a common aromatic ingredient in beer.

Additionally, just as the acidity of lemons 'balance' the residual sweetness in lemonade, so do the alpha acids in hops add 'balancing structure' to the residual sweetness in beer, which in light beer is almost nil. A surfeit of hops yields a bitter finish; a deficit of hops, an insipid or sweet finish; just right, a balance and 'dryness'.

That being said, Miller Lite doesn't show much of an herbal character or finishing bitterness. It is, in fact, touted as being 'smooth', that is, not bitter.

There may indeed be three hops added into the kettle and fermenter; or the process may occur three times, or whatever. But the amount of hops is not triple some prodigious quantity. Rather, an inverse ratio might be the reality.

SABMiller runs the risk of fooling buyers into believing that it has changed the recipe for Lite (as Anheuser-Busch InBev has indeed done with its beers). And if drinkers do think that Lite tastes different, the sales consequences could be disastrous.

Contrast that advertisement with this one from Boston Beer Company, maker of the Samuel Adams line of beers.

Its motif —the employees' jobs are constant happy lifestyles rather than factory drudgery— might stretch credulity .... but one wants to believe.

After all, they are making beer.

P.S. Comparing the flavor of Miller Lite to that of a Pilsner is like comparing a veggie patty to a prime rib.

1 comment:

  1. "Comparing the flavor of Miller Lite to that of a Pilsner is like comparing a veggie patty to a prime rib."

    That's a strange analogy coming from a vegetarian. <;-)


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