Beer Review: Miller Beer

GEARS of the brewing industry grinded yesterday, when Belgian brewing giant InBev (home to countless European beer brands) offered to buy American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch (home to Budweiser) for $46.3 billion US Dollars. This, Forbes postulated, was bad news for that other international brewing giant, SABMiller, because no one wanted to buy it. This raised an important question for me. Namely, how good are their respective beers?

InBev have so far provided the highs of Hoegaarden, intriguing Gold Label Barley Wine and lows of that alcoholics choice, Tennent’s Super Strong Lager. And that’s just a microscopic portion of the brands they own. The only brew from the SABMiller stables that I’ve tried so far was the very average Castle Lager from Africa. I’ve not even tried anything bearing the Anheuser-Busch name in the small-print. So the time was right to fill in some gaps.

Whilst visiting my local purveyor of alcohol, I was disappointed to note that Budweiser is a lager. And therefore no better than average from the word go. Furthermore, the Czech Budweiser, Budwar is also a lager. If there is any demand out there for me to give them a try, I will, but most lagers are a waste of time.

I needed to find a beer. And, in the nick of time, one turned up. Here is a can of Miller Beer. An American beer, and part of the SABMiller family.

Miller Beer cab

First impressions are that is looks cool. The silver background is fetching, and makes everything printed on it readable. The “Miller” logo goes for the über-American look. There’s a large bald-headed eagle clutching a bunch of barley and hops. There are stars around the circular border. And the typeface looks as though it belongs on the jerseys of a baseball team. It does have a date on it though. 1855 isn’t at all bad in terms of heritage.

Under the big logo, the origins are proudly displayed for all to see. “Miller Brewing Company Milwaukee U.S.A.” Maybe my American readers can leave a comment saying if being from Milwaukee is something to be proud of. Or not.

At the bottom of the ‘front’ of the can is a big blue band. And in it, we can clearly see that this beer has an alcoholic volume of 4.2%. Not very strong. Barely moderately strong. But above weak. And there’s the ubiquitous advice to “serve chilled”. Don’t worry, I’ll be very relaxed when serving.

The small print is all tucked into a single column. And it begins with some bad news. This can wasn’t imported from Milwaukee. Instead, it was brewed “under license” by Scottish & Newcastle in Edinburgh. There’s a UK customer careline. A S&N email address at miller@scottish-newcastle.co.uk. And their Edinburgh postal address. It’s not the S&N are bad. It’s that I’d love to have more American beers over here that aren’t simply pretending to be so.

Miller Beer side of can

The can size is the homogenous 500 millilitres. Which, at 4.2% volume has 2.1 of your UK units of alcohol. Besides a summary of recommended maximums and the news that this contains barley and wheat is something unexpected. If not often that you find a full breakdown of nutritional information. But this has it. Energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat content are all listed. So if you’re on a calorie controlled diet, or looking for a product to write about for your biology class, this one is for you.

With nothing else to write about, it’s time to answer that all-important questions. Is Miller Beer any good?

Miller Beer poured into a glass

Be careful with the pouring. It has a tendency to froth up. My pint glass was able to cope, but you wouldn’t want a can that had dropped several times. After a couple of minutes the head died down to a thin and patchy layer, so it was time to get a closer look.

The colour is a decent shade of amber. Not to cheap looking and not artificially bright. There’s not much of a smell though. An indistinctive smell of beer ingredients is there. You just need to sniff extra hard.

A few gulps down, and first impressions are okay. The taste is very mildly bitter and sour, with hint of barley, wheat and hops. But not much.

About half-way through now, and there are a few things I like about Miller Beer. It’s very light. It’s very easy to drink as there’s little for the taste-buds to dislike. And it’s refreshing.

But all of those things can’t cover up some gaping holes. For starters, where is the flavour? It is almost tasteless. I’ve had bottled water with more flavour. Then, the taste and flavour it has, is cheap and nasty. Good beers and ales make you feel as though you’re drinking a carefully chosen blend of natural ingredients. This doesn’t. It could easily have something to do with coming out of a can instead of a bottle or keg at the pub. But it’s hard to escape the economy quality and artificial taste it leaves in your mouth.

To sum up, Miller Beer is tragically disappointing. I really wanted to like this one. Or to at least find it to be a quality if indistinctive beer. But it roundly fails to reach even average status. This is bland and low-quality. I’d rather have a lager.

Rating: 1.7

Have you tried Miller Beer?
What reputation does it have in the States? What did you think of it?
Leave your opinions, corrections, thoughts, suggestions and recommendations here please.

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13 Responses to “Beer Review: Miller Beer”

  1. Joe Says:

    Miller is, in fact, a lager. As are almost all of the beers that we export. Most of the popular ones are shit, though, as you’ve noticed. If you want to try a quality American lager (and I know you’re not a fan of lagers, but it’s worth trying) check out Sam Adams Boston Lager.

  2. Gothko Says:

    The Miller in the UK is actually Miller Lite with a different name. And of course it is crap because it won’t be available anymore. If Miller Lite didn’t create the “less filling, taste great campaign in teh ’70s, it wouldn’t have lasted here that longer either, but US beers are inherently weak.

    Miller High Life is a decent beer, after my teen years I was never a fan of Miller Genuine Draft, but apparently it is popular in the UK.

    I agree Sam Adams is a good non-American American beer. They have a lot of varieties with the Boston Lager bein gthe standard, but if you can get the Triple Bock, it’s 17% alkie and bock like Shiner Bock are tasty.

    BTW, Milwaukee, as a general rule, is nothing to be proud about.

    Cheers

  3. ronnie mccann Says:

    is it true they are stopping selling cans of miller lager in the uk
    thanks

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi we live in dublin we only drink the silver miller cant get it in our local shops or off liscences just wondering y u have stopped doing it

  5. rick Says:

    miller high life is a great american beer. i like guiness, ales, bocks,german light and darks,pils, steam,etc. but, i really prefer american big brewery beers like miller,pabst,coors,bud etc. they don’t make me feel like i am eating beer.

  6. den Says:

    why have you stopped selling it in the tin have been drinking miller in the tin for 15 years now not happy

  7. donna Says:

    hi was just wondering why ya stopped selling the silver cans of millar in northern ireland. my dad and brother are finding it hard to find a beer as nice as the silver cans of millar. they used to live on it lol

    • Anonymous Says:

      It is a complete joke donna i have been drinking it for 15 years and the bottles are not the same think of the money they made of people like us not a happy man

  8. dennis Says:

    Can you please tell me what you are doing about millar tin i think it was a joke that you stopped making it think of all the money yous made out of people like me who made yous millions then yous just stop selling it i work in the drink trade and there are alot of people not happy with what yous did. Trying to say it wasnt selling well, well it sold well in belfast look at your figures please and tell us how much money yous made

  9. Jonathan Maile Says:

    I love beer (I use the term generically to include ales, stouts, porters, etc.) As a beer lover, if the only “beer” available was Miller, Budweiser or any of the other mass-produced American beers, I’d go thirsty. These aren’t beers, they’re insipid, carbonated liquid with some alcohol in them.

  10. Cat Daddy Says:

    Miller Lite is a great American Style Pilsner i think its the best one, Light or full flavored, ill take it over coors, bud light, budweiser.

    Miller highlife is budget beer in the states…its $2.oo cheaper for a 12 pack of it…Its ok in bottles but really poor tasting out of cans(trust me ive drank plenty of it). …drink a six pack of highlife one day then drink a six pack of Miller Lite the next, and i guarantee 90% of people would say Miller Lite is the better beer. How anybody could say Miller Lite its offensive or sucks is beyond me.

    American big brewery beer is what it is….dont expect it to be something its not, and you might endup liking it….great refreshing lite beer on a hot summers day, Sometimes a guy doesnt really want to taste his beer too much and this is what american brew is all about. Poor it down your gullet after a hard days work. Some of these beers like stouts, are too thick and heavy for the summer days. Miller lite has a nice crisp subtle grassy/hoppy flavor no skunk on the nose and goes down smoooth.

    sure i like strong beers , Russian Imperials,IPA, stouts….but who can afford that all the time? $9-12$ for a 6pack isnt cheap. some of my favorites are made by Goose Island and i like an IPA called Hoppin frog.

  11. Cat Daddy Says:

    Also if you want a really nice american Lager try out Michelob Origional Lager…thats good stuff, and the best product that Budwieser puts out.
    althou i do believe they have changed the recipe slightly over the years.

  12. Gavin McInnes Says:

    Unfortunately they dont brew miller canned beer anymore, it was the best selling beverage in scotland beating irn bru and coca cola which is a major feat being the best selling beverage in a nation of hardened drinkers. They stopped selling it about 2008 and i have struggled to find another beer to replace it, so much so that i have became tee total now. It was a sad day for scotland the day they took our real national drink away. As far as i am aware it was only brewed for the british market and at one point came in a white can and was called miller pilsner hope that helps you

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