Anheuser-Busch InBev is being sued by consumers in Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey with companion suits coming from Ohio and Colorado, Bloomberg reports. The complaint filed in Philadelphia alleges that the alcohol content in a variety of Anheuser-Busch products is overstated, which would violate states' consumer protection laws. In other words, they are being accused of watering down their beer.
The information being used by plaintiffs against the beer giant comes from former employees of the 13 brewing locations in the U.S. They contend it is corporate policy to shave 3-8% of the alcohol off the commercial volume, which would allow Anheuser-Busch to charge more for less. Vice president of brewing and supply Peter Kraemer countered that the allegations were false. He added, "we proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beers," producing belly laughs amongst beer geeks the world over.
So if your Bud Light tastes watered down, it very well could be. Don't get mad, get even. Throw your beer bucks into the craft beer industry -- starting with these 5 California ale and lager alternatives to American light beer.
California alternatives in the premium lager style are difficult to come by. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the style; a cold, low-alcohol beer with simple malt flavors and bright carbonation can be the perfect accompaniment to a summer day. Craft brewers work hard to build more complex and distinguishable beers than those produced by macrobreweries, and therefore aren't racing to their 10 barrel-systems to replicate the taste. Here are five, listed geographically from north to south.
5. California Lager; Anchor Brewing Co. (San Francisco)
Premium Lager, 4.9% abv
So new to shelves in Los Angeles that it has already sold out, this brand new beer from Anchor Brewing will be available year-round. Using Cluster hops which were all the rage in the 19th century, this clear brew replicates a bygone era of genuine lagers.
4. 805; Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles)
Blonde Ale, 4.7% abv
Within the Santa Barbara county 805 area code, there are more handles of this central coast brew than Bud Light. Firestone Walker has proved that they can offer Budweiser's audience a satisfying alternative while diverting capital to craft brewing and expanding the potential for craft beer education.
3. California Ale; Telegraph Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara)
California Common, 6.2% abv
Slightly stronger and more sophisticated than the others on our list, Telegraph's flagship beer hearkens back to 19th century California brewing with a top-fermenting ale. The beer is unfiltered and features a heavier body than a lager would produce.
2. 1903 Lager; Craftsman Brewing Co. (Pasadena)
Pale Lager, 5.6% abv
This is our favorite beer on the list, but not just because it's closest to home. The full flavor profile of this pre-prohibition style lager first convinced us that light beer should be taken as seriously as anything else. It is the best local beer for al fresco dining on a hot day.
1. The Citizen; Cismontante Brewing Co. (Rancho Santa Marguerita)
California Common, 6% abv
A core beer from this Orange County brewery, The Citizen similarly replicates the pre-prohibition style straight-forward and simply. It's an easy-drinking beer which serves as a perfect segway out of American light lagers-- inoffensive to the palate but with more dimension.
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