The other day I asked on Twitter: What's your favorite light beer?
The People of Sconz Nation, being far from predictable, eluded the straight answers. "The one someone else is drinking," responded @thebookpolice, a.k.a. Kyle Nabilcy. "Grain Belt is Minnesota's answer to PBR," said James Sonneman. "Umm...water," quipped Chris Franczek.
One response particularly intrigued me, however. Nick Bubb wrote that his favorite light beer is Spotted Cow.
Clearly, "cow" is the last thing you want in the name of beer marketed as light. But what makes a "light" beer? According to this site, almost all self-described light beers have alcohol contents of less than 4.5%. Spotted Cow is 4.8%. The difference in calorie content is more substantial: Whereas Miller Lite has 96 calories per bottle, Spotted Cow has 150.
Cow's calorie and alcohol content is almost identical to that of Budweiser, Miller High Life and Coors, all of which are 5% alcohol and have 140-150 calories.
The thing is that all of those beers should be considered light to begin with. They have very little taste and rather low alcohol content, at least compared to non-industrial brews. We Americans like light beer, even if don't know it.
Hence, in the context of the American beer industry (about 80% of which is controlled by the big three brands), Spotted Cow is not a light beer. But as microbrews come, I would say it is. And that is why it's so popular. Although it has a very different taste than Miller or Bud, it is mellow enough that it doesn't offend anybody. You can't go wrong bringing a six pack of Spotted Cow to a gathering in Wisconsin. It says you spent a few extra bucks, you are supporting small business and most importantly, everybody will like it.
Follow The Sconz on Twitter or Facebookto get regular updates on city and state politics. Tune in to the radio show everyday between 10-11 a.m. on 1670 AM WTDY. Please send anonymous tips, interview requests or any other comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.