Coors Light is one of the world’s best-selling, most recognizable light beers. Its brand leverages pure Rocky Mountain spring water for a taste “as cold as the Rockies” and a beer “made to chill.” But enough with the marketing speak, what does Coors Light actually taste like? We’ll dive into this refreshing beer and find out.
History: When was Coors Light released?
Coors Brewing Company introduced Coors Light in 1978. The beer was designed to cater to the growing demand for low-calorie food and beverage offerings.
Just a few years earlier, Miller Brewing had launched Miller Lite. This beer, coined a “diet beer” , leverages enzymes in the brewing process to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and calories in a finished beer.
The idea of a low-cal, diet beer has been done before, but Miller Lite created a new category that other competitors in the beer industry couldn’t ignore. Following the successful release of Miller Lite, Coors decided to brew Coors Light.
The name Coors Light had been used by Coors in the 1940s but was discontinued during World War II and was reintroduced, sparking decades of competition between the United States Big Three, Anheuser Busch (Bud Light), Miller Brewing, and Coors.
Coors Light is a Light Lager, a subcategory of the American Lager style, which commonly leverages corn or rice as an adjunct creating an extremely light and refreshing beer-drinking experience.
Light beers often utilize enzymes that work to consume more significant amounts of carbohydrates during the brewing process, the result being a low-calorie beer that many consumers prefer.
Light beers are the most popular beer style in the world. The global market for the category was nearly $290 Billion.
The style relies heavily on marketing and appeals to a broad spectrum of beer drinkers. The refreshment light beers provide to the masses is highly important, and the fact that how these beers, as well as Coors Light, taste, is secondary.
Coors Light Taste and Flavor
Light beers should garner mass appeal and provide ultimate refreshment with fewer calories. It is no surprise, then, that many light beer brands don’t taste like much at all.
One would be relatively hard pressed for anyone to parse specific flavors in Coors Light. The beer is watery; many would describe it as having a crisp taste, but crispness isn’t a flavor. Crispness is more appropriately discussed in mouthfeel because it is a tertiary sense within the palate.
Upon recently reviewing Coors Light, I struggled to describe flavors in the beer, but here’s what I was able to perceive. Remember that the style itself is not meant to have strong flavors. So these descriptors are not meant to be a criticism; simply what I got.
Review Tasting Notes: light sand, very light grain character, slightly sweet flavor (malt), very low grassy hop note, and mild bitterness.
In the absence of beer flavors, many light beers are dominated by high carbonation. In fact, many provide a carbonic bite, a sensation on the palate akin to a burn from the carbonation.
But, as mentioned previously, the feeling of something crisp, for instance, crunching on a potato chip or fresh vegetable, is not a flavor but a sensation that I find to be synthetic.
While flavor is a synthesized sensation caused by the combination of taste and smell. Crispness combines our sense of touch (inside the mouth) and hearing. I say this because it is almost as if you hear something that is crisp when you experience it. Again, think about my potato chip or veggie example.
Coors Light has a low body mouthfeel. My notes were as follows, but overall, I found the beer to have a watery mouthfeel and a bit harsh when cold. As the beer warmed, I noticed some metallic sensation, which I could taste but also perceived on my palate.
Review Mouthfeel Notes: Highly carbonated, watery, low metallic acidity.
How do you create mass appeal? Create a product that is least likely to offend anyone. That’s tough to do when everyone’s perceptions are so personal and unique. So how does Coors Light do it? Answer: Don’t smell like anything!
Coors Light was almost completely devoid of aroma. No hops, and no yeast character. I picked up a very light grain hint and that sand note in the taste. Overall, Coors Light lacked any real aroma.
Review Aroma Notes: very light grain, sand, neutral.
Most light beers are pale straw to yellow. They are fizzy but rarely have a head that lasts more than a minute or two. These are lagers, so they are very clear.
Do you get the picture? Well, if you have a picture of this beer poured into a shaker pint, that’s exactly what Coors Light looks like.
Coors Light is a bit deeper in color than yellow. It is stretching for gold but can’t quite get there. It’s very clear, but the head disappears in seconds. Several minutes later, carbonation is still escaping with two or three wispy mounds of foam film.
By no means is it the best-looking beer I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but on a hot day or at a ballgame, I could let appearances slide.
Coors Light Calories and Nutritional Information
A 12-ounce can of Coors Light has 102 calories, and Coors Light is higher in calories than Miller Lite (96) and Michelob Ultra (95) but lower than Bud Light at 110.
Coors Light Alcohol Content
Coors Light has 4.2 percent alcohol by volume. This is the same as the major competitors listed above. Not sure why these beers all have 4.2% as their alcohol. I’m not suggesting there is some conspiracy here; just interesting.
Brewing Process & Ingredients
Coors Light lists water, barley malt, corn syrup, lager yeast, and hop extract on their labels. After Budweiser went after them on a Super Bowl ad for using corn in their beer, they added a note that while they use corn syrup, they don’t use high fructose corn syrup.
Coors Light is a lager so it will ferment at cooler temperatures than ales. The addition of enzymes to reduce calories will occur after the mash, and brewing process, during fermentation or cellaring, and before the packaging process.
What’s the Best Way to Drink Coors Light
When I close my eyes and think of where I would drink a Coors Light, I see myself at a ball game or on the golf course. I don’t play golf, but if I did, and they didn’t have a pale ale or a Michelob Ultra, I’d definitely consider drinking a Coors Light.
At only 4.2 abv, Coors Light could freeze. That said, I’d try to get away with drinking it near freezing. I don’t think Coors would disagree; their whole brand is based around keeping the beer as cold as the Rockies. They clearly understand the risk of drinking a Silver Bullet at a normal beer temperature.
Can, bottle or glass?
I see benefits in all three ways. Aluminum could deliver the coldest Coors Light; plus, you could shotgun it to ensure the beer didn’t warm up too much.
I know glass bottles are supposed to be a neutral taste, but I feel like you can taste it. It could just be me! But who wouldn’t want to add a bit more flavor to your light beer experience?
Poured into a glass, you can appreciate all of your senses when enjoying a beer: the sound of the pour, the sight of the beer, and so on. Coors Light doesn’t have a ton going for it, but I try to be present in all of my beer-drinking experiences, and drinking a Coors Light from a glass might be something I can appreciate.
Mild cheeses. Salads. Shellfish. It would be great to wash down a hot dog at Coors Field.
Coors Light Would Suit?
People who don’t drink beer. Coors Light reminds me more of a carbonated mineral water than a beer. It has a clean taste. There is no unique flavor that allows it to stand out as even a simple lager. Still, it checks all of the boxes for a mass-produced light beer – especially when served at the ideal temperature, which is as cold as possible.
Other beers Coors Light is similar to:
What Do Other People Think of Coors Light?
Coors Light is not universally liked in most beer rating circles. Untappd, Rate Beer, and Beer Advocate all rated the beer below average. Influenster, which is not a beer-focused website, found it more appealing.
|Untappd||2.4 out of 5|
|Rate Beer||1.38 out of 5|
|Influenster||4.6 out of 5|
|Beer Advocate||51 out of 100 (Awful)|
Final Thoughts: Is Coors Light a Good Beer?
You need to look at Coors Light in two ways. One, is it representative of the style? And two, would you drink it again?
Coors Light is an excellent example of a Premium Light Beer, and the above tasting notes prove my point. The second part is tricky because I was not left with the desire to drink another Coors Light.
So, for me, the verdict is appropriate. If I had to drink another Coors Light, I could, but I wouldn’t want to. If I had to, I’d probably go cheap and order a Keystone Light.
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