America — land of the free and home of the beer drinkers. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Americans love their beer.
This is probably why VinePair, a website that covers alcoholic beverages of all kinds, conducted a study on what brands of beer Americans drink the most. The ranking was based on total annual sales. The results? As Huffington Post phrased it, “deep down, Americans are frat boys.”
According to VinePair, these are the 10 best-selling beers in America, listed from least to most popular: Heineken, Busch, Michelob Ultra, Busch Light, Natural Light, Corona Extra, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors Light, and Bud Light.
What is it about these mostly all-American brands that keeps people coming back for more? One would assume it’s the taste of the beer that makes sales so successful, but some of our tasters would probably disagree.
To solve the mystery of why these brands are so successful, we decided to conduct a taste test. In the test, the participants — all of them beer-drinking employees at The Daily Meal — blind-tasted each beer from the list, and, as you’ll see, our palates didn’t exactly match up with America’s at large.
Take a look at the results of our taste test of the best-selling beers in America.
After you see what our team had to say about how they tasted, ask yourself: When it comes to beer, what do the people value?
Out of all of the contenders, our winner produced the most interesting results. That’s right: the beer that came in last on VinePair's list was our grand prize winner. Heineken was one of the only beers throughout our entire test that received any real praise. Though our tasters didn’t write about how absolutely amazing it tasted, they used its refreshing taste as another opportunity to criticize the other beers on the list. A couple stand-out reviews of Heineken: “I might consider drinking this outside of a college party,” and “This is what beer should taste like.” Congratulations, Heineken!
2. Michelob Ultra
At last! A beer that tastes like, well, beer. Considering that Michelob Ultra was our number two beer, we were surprised that one taster described it as resembling “muskrat fur that was soaked in beer." Other comments weren’t exactly compliments, but multiple tasters simply said, “It tastes like beer.” Considering that this was a beer-tasting, that’s a good place to start.
3. Miller Light
Miller Light snatched the third spot on our list and the fourth on VinePair’s. Once we started to gather our top results, you’d think the comments on the taste of the beer would start to say something along the lines of “Wow, this beer tastes good,” or "How refreshing!” But no. The tasters didn’t say anything bad, but they didn’t say anything good either. Over half of them wrote things like “This tastes like nothing,” or “Easy to get down.”
4. Corona Extra
Corona scored better on our test than the original list, but it’s in the top five of both. Maybe this is because of its distinctive taste, or maybe it’s because everyone yearns for a Mexican vacation. Corona Extra had a decent score all around, but because of the consistent neagative comments on aroma, we’re a little confused as to why. Seven of our tasters said the same thing: that the beer was skunky.
5. Coors Light
As we approach the top five of our list, we’re surprised to say that this beer received mixed reviews with our staff. One said that Coors Light was sweet and tasted like home, but others were less enamored of the flavor.
How does your favorite beer stack up on taste?
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