Summer is here! Time to put down the
Bud Heavy America and pick up a Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy! Leinie’s and other summer bevs like Shock Top and Bud Light Lime are flavored, refreshing twists on the less exciting booze we drink all year round (aka – the beers we drink indoors).
What makes these beverages so dang sweet? Sweeteners, of course! Most summer-themed adult beverages contain corn syrup, which is a lazy way to brew beer. According to byo.com (BYO = Brew Your Own), there are four reasons to use corn syrup in the brewing process rather than just using the sugars naturally extracted from grain.
a.) To raise the alcohol level without increasing the body of the beer.
b.) To lighten the body of the beer while maintaining the alcohol level.
c.) To add some interesting flavors.
d.) To prime the beer for carbonation.
It’s taking a shortcut in the brewing process. Yeast eats sugar and farts out alcohol and CO2. Brewers can either feed yeast the natural sugars released from grains that have been heated and mashed… or they can add sugar syrup. It’s spiking the punch. Added sugar = a lighter, more boozy brew.
I tend to stay away from beers when I know there’s added sugars. (Unless I’m on a boat – there are no rules on boats.) What I didn’t know is that most domestic beers contain added corn syrup.
Two years ago, a petition asking America’s major brewers to reveal their products’ ingredients received over 40,000 signatures. Once mainstream media picked it up, both MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch published lists of their products’ ingredients. The results are not pretty. The following are some well-known adult beverages made with corn syrup (dextrose, maltose, high-fructose, etc.):
- Busch, Busch Ice, Busch Light
- Shock Top
- Rolling Rock
- Natural Light, Natural Ice
- Coors Banquet, Coors Light
- Hamm’s, Hamm’s Special Light
- Keystone Light, Keystone Premium
- Miller Lite, Miller 64, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Miller High Life Lite, Miller Fortune
- Milwaukee’s Best, Milwaukee’s Best Lite, Milwaukee’s Best Ice
- Olde English
- Redd’s Apple Ale (understandable)
- Steel Reserve (needs more, tbh)
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors do not provide ingredients for their international beers like MillerCoors’ Molson and Foster’s or Anheuser-Busch’s Stella Artois and Leffe.
Alcohol is regulated by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), which you can tell by the name, is in place to make sure the government gets their slice of profits rather than to make the average consumer aware of what they are buying. Alcohol is not regulated by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), the organization that requires food to have nutrition labels. Therefore, we really have no idea what we’re drinking unless we look it up.
Now’s your chance to decide. Did your go-to-brew make the list? How much do you care about added corn syrup in your barley soda? Hell, maybe you’re thankful that brewers are adding corn syrup to make stronger, lighter beers. There’s something nice about being able to drink 13 of something.
Despite being mentioned in the first paragraph, Budweiser and Bud Light are not made with corn syrup. Woohoo!
[Thanks to FoodBabe.com]