For the second installment of the crawl down the discount beer aisle, we’ll head to Golden, Colorado, the home of Coors Banquet beer.
Fun fact: if you get lucky, you can find Coors Banquet at a store near you too. Coors Light, with its fancy Two-Stage Cold Activation™ so you can tell if the beer is cold without having to go through the labor of touching the can before you take it out of the fridge, gets all the TV time, trying to evoke the Rocky Mountains with each Frost Brewed™ sip.
Hiding behind the silver can displays will be the humble golden-yellow cans. They might be hiding behind the Old Milwaukee (camo can ideally) or the Old Vienna or another unpopular beer beginning with the word Old, but it’ll be there. Maybe.
Guess what? Not only will beer brewed cold not stay cold indefinitely, contrary to what the commercials might make you believe, but that Silver Bullet you may or hopefully may not be drinking now likely isn’t even brewed at the apparently fabled Coors brewery.
But as you can see here, there is still one beer still made there.
“… and most Coors brands will be brewed at six Miller facilities spread across the U.S. — with no mountain springs in sight.”
Oh no, that doesn’t sound good for my yellow-canned friend!
“In a concession to the mystique, the original Coors Banquet brand will be brewed only in Golden with Rocky Mountain water.”
So now that we’ve established that Coors Banquet is the only beer that actually lives up to the millions upon millions of advertising dollars, let’s see if it’s any good.
The first hit here is grain. Like the amber waves of grain below the purple mountain majesties, there is just something right about this beer. I’m admittedly a sucker for simple, retro designs, but bad beer in a cool can is still bad beer. I’m looking at you Miller Lite. Just because the throwback can is visually appealing, the beer inside still tastes like a McDonald’s cheeseburger, at least when served on tap.
Both that color and that price range should be enough for you to guess what the second prominent flavor is. Corn. But the corniness in this brew is different from the corniness in the Big Flats (large wooden water wheel aside). The Coors is a bit thicker, which sounds kind of gross, but it works. There's higher ABV here compared to the Big Flats (5% vs. 4.5%), so there is more oomph, if only marginally.
There is a bit of sweetness here, which is something I do enjoy a bit in a macro adjunct lager. Not quite as sweet as Coors’ Extra Gold Lager, which is one of my favorite very, very cheap beers (think $12/30-pack), but it’s noticeable.
I know I said the Big Flats was quite drinkable, but this is even more so. And there’s a fair bit more flavor here. There’s even a cooked cabbage flavor I’m picking up in the background, in a pleasant way that I know it would go great with a few franks with sauerkraut and brown mustard.
But let’s take one last look at that can. It’s “retro”, but not in a way that will be gone in a few months. The can’s design has stayed, for the most part, the same for decades. The gold color last seen invading the kitchens of the 1960s and 70s is on full display. If your kitchen wasn’t harvest gold, it was avocado green. That guy has the right idea leaving that room.
Not coincidentally, the 1960s and 1970s is probably the last time someone has hosted a banquet. Nowadays, that word is associated with red-boxed nightmares. But yet, here we are with the harvest gold can billing itself the “Banquet Beer.” The logo, seen here, is a red trapezoid. An uncanny resemblance to the frozen dinner? You be the judge.
No, this beer is unabashedly classic. Still 45 years before the hop craze that marks the beer market today, this is simple, tasty, beer. When the Jello molds were crunchy (surprise! asparagus!) or strangely creamy (surprise! cottage cheese!) and the canned pineapple added to the meat du jour to form a bastardized Polynesian dish, those were the days of the true banquet.