Miller Lite 4.17% ABV
American Light Lager
Miller Brewing Co.
It’s in the name and printed in large letters right on the can “Lite”; a great marketing idea and a word that encapsulates what this beer is and what it stands for. Miller Lite is incredibly light. It has a crisp clean finish and there is no lingering after taste. It has a light alcohol content, a light translucent coloration, with light effervescence and most important, a light filling character. You could drink many of these in a sitting without getting full and could scarf down a full plate of chili cheese fries while drinking this beer and not feel bloated, well at least not due to the beer. I’m not a fan of this beer, and I happen to be reviewing it because one has been sitting in my brother’s garage fridge going on three weeks now. It has been free for the taking and yet has not been taken. I am currently consuming it because I am enamored with the “original can” label or “retro” label as I call it. It reminds me of a childhood adventure that I will now share.
It was a hot summer day in 1992, most likely in July. I was spending the day at my friend’s house, located in Missouri City, Texas, a good 15 minute drive outside of Houston city limits, at least back then. There was a bayou a few scant blocks from my friend Neil’s house and we enjoyed hunting around and adventuring there. He was a big wildlife fan and had trapped and domesticated many a reptile and amphibian to go along with the dogs, cats and hamsters that occupied his home. On this hot humid day we were out in an attempt to catch a bullfrog. As we hunted around in the mud on the edge of the stagnant water we came across all sorts of treasures, really just trash, discarded remnants of bicycles, and shoes, items wondrous and amazing to our young imaginative minds.
After wandering around aimlessly for hours we stumbled upon an old sun bleached coke can…and then we saw it; an old can that was half submerged in water and surrounded by mud, a can from the long past that possibly contained a genie. There was no other possibility, we both agreed. Whether it was a magic can or not, it was just out of our reach we meant we had to have it. After many long minutes of great planning and deliberation we set out to retrieve this must have item. I planted my feet shoulder width apart and leaned back slightly as I held Neil’s leg to balance him as he leaned out into the mud and reached as far as he could with his fishing net and futilely tried over and over again to tap the can towards us. It was of no use, we would have to get closer and I would have to get my shoes muddy. I finally, after much pestering and questioning of my “man hood” agreed to plant my feet in the mud, it covering all but the tops of my shoes. I again leaned back as I held on to Neil’s outstretched leg, balanced perpendicular to his plant leg. He was able after a few attempts to snag the can in his net. He then yelled for me to pull him hard. I yanked and leaned back and he stumbled into the mud as I fell back landing on my ass but avoiding the mud except for splatters up and down my legs. We both took turns holding the can and inspecting it, turning it over and inspecting it. This discarded can was unopened and after our arduous and muddy act of retrieval we were sure, upon opening it, we would be richly rewarded for our efforts. We set it down upon the bank of the bayou. I, the weary one of the pair, stayed back a few feet having some preordained knowledge that this could all go horribly wrong. Neil, who was fearless and always the first to explore, approached the can though even he was hesitant. We counted down from three and he pooped the can open. The can top erupted in a fury of foam and spray, old warm beer shooting high into the air and all over poor Neil. He was drenched in this fowl smelling liquid, and even though I stood a few feet back I still got hit hard with the spray that would put to shame that of a champagne celebration in a championship locker room. We both screamed as our hearts pounded in our young chests. After the adrenaline wore off, we slowly walked backed to his house, now concerned about how to avoid getting into trouble. How were we to explain the smell and state of our clothes? With the guile of two ten year olds we decided to hose each other down in the yard and then ask for a change of clothes. I assume this somehow worked as I have no recollection of ever getting into trouble.
The image of that old, what I now know to be a Miller Lite can spraying up like Old Faithful has stayed with me ever since. The moment Miller Lite reintroduced this label, it was all I could think about and I was tempted to buy a 12 pack of Miller Lite just so I could look at the label. Thankfully I didn’t have to waste my money on such nostalgia and I was able to bogart a can that no one else wanted and drink the beer and more importantly place the empty can upon my bookshelf as a sweet reminder of my childhood. What a wonderful world we live in that an unopened can throw probably by some drunken teenager into a bayou is still providing me with joy and nostalgia. What wonderful marketing by Miller Lite to get many a customer to purchase their beverage out of nostalgia. Who knows, maybe some teenager this very day is tossing an unopened can of this beer into a ravine so some present day 10 year old can have a similar experience and write about it over 20 years later. Of course I’m now waxing poetic about a minor illegally drinking and then polluting a public area where a child could stumble upon it and possibly drink it instead of getting showering in it’s spray. Such is the problem with life; all our fond memories can be turned around into the horror of reality that ensnares us all.
I choose the pleasant path, and hope you will toast me and enjoy the pleasant path as well. Think not of the evils, but the simple pleasures a lone can of beer can provide.