Mass Market Beers


By Kerry Cyganiewicz

Whether it’s being tight on cash or grabbing something on the way to a holiday party, there’s a reason people turn to the old standbys this time of year. So, here are some tips on the beers you can buy just about anywhere at a reasonable price. And since I believe there’s a place for everyone at the table, I won’t be bashing non-craft beers. After tasting them all, I was not full and actually felt somewhat rejuvenated.

Bud Light 4.2% ABV

This is the best-selling beer in America; you have to look hard to find a place where it isn’t available. It pours a pale yellow, with a decent-sized head that subsides quickly and forms a ring around the glass. It is very well carbonated. It is easy to drink, with a thin mouthfeel. I pick up a light rice and yeast taste and not much else. Is it bad? No. I find it to be quite neutral and inoffensive. I think it would go well with ballpark-type food.

Coors Light 4.2% ABV

I remember when I was young, Coors products were not shipped to the East Coast. Now, they are everywhere. Coors Light is pale yellow, with a head that disappears quickly. It has more of a cereal aroma than the other beers I checked out. It goes down smooth, with a slight aftertaste that I would describe as faint grain. Again, it follows the neutral and inoffensive profile common to this beer style.

Miller Light 4.17% ABV

This beer is a little different from the other American beers tested here. There is a little more of the aroma of grain and faint hops. As it warmed, I picked up light notes of cooked corn. This had an ever-so-slightly heavier mouthfeel. I picked up a light citrus aftertaste, as well.

Corona 4.6% ABV

This is the only imported beer here. I included it because of how much of it is sold, as well as how much it boosts the profits of lime growers. I rated it without the lime. I picked up many peculiar aromas … sulphur, mixed vegetables, cooked corn and a slight hop aroma, as well. It was well carbonated and had a larger mouthfeel than the other beers on this list. There was more sweetness and hop flavor. There was even a slight corn husk taste towards the end.

Natural Light 4.2% ABV

This is the least expensive beer here, along with Busch. It is not a surprise that it is a fan favorite at colleges and universities everywhere. It is much like the other beers here, having a pale straw color and a head that disappears into a ring. I picked up similar aromas, but with a mineral element that is absent from the rest. The taste was again inoffensive, with slight notes of corn. This beer was quite smooth to drink with a minimal mouthfeel. There was no discernible aftertaste.

Busch 4.3% ABV

This one brings me back to my days playing rugby at Nichols College. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is a light straw color, with a disappearing head, light mouthfeel and slight corn notes. I picked up a floral note absent in the other beers I tried. It was a welcome familiar taste that brought back memories of things that don’t need to be printed here. Good times.

Michelob Ultra 4.2% ABV

If you see someone holding this beer, he or she is probably on a diet. This beer is marketed to those seeking a healthier lifestyle, with 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates. It is very well carbonated, with a lighter color than the rest. I could not pick up any aromas at all. It tasted of very light grain with no noticeable hop profile or bitterness. The alcohol is hidden well. This also comes in fruit varieties.

Rolling Rock 4.6% ABV

You might think you haven’t had one of these lately. You could be wrong. If you have taken advantage of the low-price drafts of a house-named lager at any number of local establishments, there is a good chance it is Rolling Rock. It had a minimal head that went away quickly and a malty, creamed corn smell. I also picked up a little malted cereal thrown in, with a slight hop aroma added for good measure.

With the exception of Corona, these beers are all American lagers, so these will have similar characteristics with some differences to make them unique ~ kind of like siblings. I certainly wouldn’t snub my nose at any of these beers if they were offered, so pick what appeals to you and enjoy.