02 October 2014

Beer Math

Normally I buy a case of Narragansett "tallboys" about once a month, but funds are tight so I've had to look to less expensive alternatives. However, I still have standards. I can't stand PBR and I'd rather drink tap water than anything from Anheuser-Busch (and Bud's not that cheap around here anyway). I used to like Rolling Rock but since A-B bought them, I drifted away. (I seem to recall that it's kind of sweet compared to most other beers.)

I will drink Miller High Life, though I hadn't had one in probably 20 years. The first bar I frequented with any regularity in college sold bottles of Miller for $1.10 each in the mid-'80s. As long as it's cold enough, it tastes fine.

When you get into the lower-priced beers there's some strange math at work. There are standard cases, but there also things like 18-packs of 12-ounce bottles and 30-packs of 12-ounce cans. (I think the idea is that the people who buy these block-packs of beer will consume all of it with their friends within a few hours, but who really knows?) I also noticed that brands that offer 16-ounce cans tend to package them only in six-packs and not in any of these other quantities.

We have two large liquor stores in town that devote significant floor space to beer and carry many different permutations of packaging from the major brands, so I spent some time reading signs. I discovered that I could get an 18-pack of Miller for $12 plus deposit, compared to $20 plus deposit for the case of 'Gansett. But those are 16-ounce cans, which is where this gets really fuzzy. I decided I just needed to think of a single can or bottle of beer as a serving regardless of its size.

Then I went to the other big store and saw that I could get the 18-pack of Miller for $10 plus deposit, but only in bottles. After having had High Life in both cans and bottles, I think it tastes better in bottles. Canned beer doesn't taste metallic like it used to thanks to the modern advance of can lining, but something about canned Miller doesn't taste quite right. (This is not true of 'Gansett, so maybe their cans are lined with something different.)

No comments: