A "craft" light beer? Slim Chance
Red Hook Brewery has come out with a new light beer. It is supposed to appeal to people that like "craft" beers, whatever that may mean anymore. "Craft" generally implies quality and flavor, though sometimes one or both are lacking, and they are assumed to be from small breweries. Red Hook is charging about $9 for a six pack of this ale, so one would think they have discovered the magic formula and have finally made a flavorful light beer, right? Red Hook already has a few decent offerings, and they are usually better than most macro-brews. On the face of it, this new beer should be a welcome addition during the hot summer months. Well, some things need to be cleared up.
First off, it is debatable whether Red Hook is even a craft brewer these days. AB InBev owns a healthy piece of them, although they may not technically influence the brewery itself. It shouldn't really matter one way or the other. There is no reason why a macro brewery can't make decent beer. Blue Moon is a Coors product, and it's not horrible. Samuel Adams is getting bigger every day, and still pumps out better than average beer. But, come on. AB Inbev is more about making good money than good beer.
All that is business, though. What about the beer?
Well, they didn't find the magic formula. Slim Chance definitely has all the usual light beer characteristics. Little color, little aroma, little flavor, though marginally more of each than most other light beers. But, only just barely. They say it's an ale, but it tastes much the same as any typical light lager. There's a bit of grass and probably some citrus that flits by, but it vanishes almost before you can swallow. There's no aftertaste, obviously, since there's very little fore-taste. Slim Chance is extremely light bodied, unobtrusive and simple.
At least if you know what you're getting, you shouldn't be disappointed. Is this a light that tastes like a real beer? No. Not even close. It tastes very much like a light beer. Is it better than the typical light beers, at least? Yes, maybe. At least better than many of them. Sam Adams Light, for one, is a notch above, though. Is it worth the heftier price tag? No, certainly not.
I don't really think much about light beer. When I want fewer calories from my beer, I drink fewer good ones instead of many poor ones. But lights are popular. Most of it is probably down to the people falling for the commercials or people that don't really like beer, but feel like they should. Some claim they want a lighter beer after some class of physical exercise -- a tennis match or a even a round of golf. Rubbish. There are many wheats, whits, blondes, kolsches, pales, bitters or pilseners that are always better tasting and more appropriate than any light beer in any situation.
So where does Slim Chance fit in? It is certainly a summer beer. The alcohol content is a puny 3.9%, so they're made for long, hot days. The thin taste won't get in the way of anything off the grill. It won't fill you up nor bog you down. It's every bit as good and effective as a glass of water at the cookout or after the workout. But do you want water or a beer? If this was marketed more toward being a bit better than standard macro-lights, rather than being a "craft" light beer with all the flavor that implies, I'd have no problem with it. But to charge a premium price for a decidedly un-premium beer is wrong. AB InBev wants to fool you into thinking the big price is warranted because this is a special little beer from a special little brewery. It's not. It's just a nothing light beer marketed to pad the bottom line.