The carefree summer months are finally upon us, and no one can deny the season’s sundry allures. First and foremost, summer is the season for lovers, as balmy nights provide the perfect canvas for romantic walks, and bright, verdurous days perfectly accompany passionate picnics. Creative types hold late-night vigils with their paintbrushes or pencils, burning brightly throughout the heady night only to wake up to another luminous day. With extra daylight, children push their curfews to their breaking points, unable to let go of the seemingly interminable days of youthful vitality and vexing concerned parents along the way. The mosquito bite becomes a rite of passage, a sign that you’ve experienced summer’s sultry beneficence. Passion is greater, happiness is deeper, and experience is richer in the summer months, but there is something missing from this picture: beer.
Even wine drinkers know that summer is the season for beer drinking. Patios become glutted with now-connoisseurs of the liquid bread, as people drink their frothy brews from dusk to dawn. Beer alone seems capable of curing the summer doldrums, awakening idlers to the gloriousness of the season. That pitcher shared amongst friends, that transient “CHEERS” that causes the head to spill over the rim, that funnel that seemed like such a good idea at first—all create affective connections with beer. This season is even more fecund for rampant beer drinking, as the World Cup, arguably the world’s greatest international sporting event (sorry, Olympics), is upon us. Sharing a beer amongst fellow supporters of the same team makes the game that much more exciting. Not just a drink—beer is part and parcel with the summer experience, and those who abstain from drinking the heady concoction should check themselves before they wreck themselves.
And yet, choosing what beer to drink can often lead to a good deal of anxiety and apprehension. Uncertain beer drinkers almost always regret asking their waiter what’s on tap, because the question usually leads to a grocery list of available beers, the first being forgotten by the last one named. To alleviate the stress of choosing the right beer—lager or stout, damnit!—many beer drinkers resort to favourites: “I’ll take a Stella, and if you don’t have it, I’ll take a Heineken. Yes, a Heine will do just fine.”
But beer drinkers beware: not all beers are created equal. Indeed, some beers, especially mass-produced ones, are made with dubious ingredients, which help cut costs or give them a certain flavor or colour. The unhealthiness of some of these ingredients can make the bad of drinking a given beer outweigh the good, even that pleasant buzz from the first few. Also, some beers contain an astonishing amount of calories per glass. Keeping an eye out for organic beers and/or beers from small breweries can be exponentially beneficial to your health, especially if you’re one to indulge in rabid beer drinking.
We are here, however, to help you winnow out the bad from the good and assuage some of the fear the paragraph above might have imbued you with. The following is a list of ten beers that are really bad for you. Hopefully this list will not dissuade you from further beer drinking and send you running for the wine racks. In any case, drink responsibly.
10. Newcastle Brown Ale
As the bottle tells us, Newcastle Brown Ale is imported from England, and it has this rich, alluring colour to it. However, this colour is a sign of the bad ingredients that have been put in the beer. This beer has been found to have caramel colouring in it. Class 3 and 4 caramel colouring, which is made from ammonia, is a carcinogen—or in other words, something that can cause cancer or foster cancerous cells. Since alcohol is a carcinogen in and of itself, adding more the mix is not a good idea, especially if you’re one to indulge in multiple brews over the course of an afternoon.
Budweiser—also known as, “the King of Beers”—is one of the most popular mass-produced beers in North America, and it is a sponsor of major athletic events and leagues like the NFL. As such, most beer drinkers have probably had one of these at one time or another. Budweiser, though, is made with genetically modified corn (GMO). Since its rise in the 1980s, as the biotechnology behemoth, Monsanto, began to genetically modify corn to withstand herbicides without a drop off in crop supply, GMO corn has been linked to a host of health problems. It encourages the overdevelopment of a white blood cell called eosinophil, which, when overproduced, attacks our bodies’ organs, nervous and cardiovascular systems, and skin. As such, people should avoid consuming too much GMO corn.
8. Corona Extra
This one will hurt for a lot of people, as Corona has become the popular choice for a light cerveza in the summer months. The ubiquitous commercials for this beer also have a quality of not being annoying or cloying, a rarity in today’s television-advertisement landscape. Unfortunately, Corona Extra is made with GMO corn syrup and Propylene Glycol, the former of which being derived from GMO corn. Propylene Glycol, though, is an ingredient that has stirred controversy amongst health professionals, and it is a common ingredient found in anti-freeze. Again, abstaining from Corona is the consumer’s choice, but the revelation of Corona’s potentially harmful ingredients probably makes those commercials look more insidious than relaxing.
7. Miller Lite
Another popular beer in North America, Miller Lite capitalizes off the surprising success of its slogan: “It’s Miller time!” Miller Lite, however, contains both GMO corn and corn syrup. Given the surprising preponderance of these ingredients in the foods North Americans have come to take for granted, adding more of these insidious GMOs to your diet might be ill-advised. Moreover, it is easy to drink a lot of Miller Lite, since it’s a light, refreshing beer, and it doesn’t contain relatively high levels of alcohol. The harmfulness of the ingredients compounded with the easiness with which the beer goes down makes this one brew that consumers need to keep their eye on. It is unclear whether or not these ingredients have made their way to Miller’s other beloved brew, Miller Genuine Draft. Be watchful…
6. Michelob Ultra
Michelob Ultra is another beer that ceaselessly intrudes upon our lives via commercials on television. Unfortunately for Michelob Ultra drinkers, this beer contains GMO dextrose, another genetically modified sweetener akin to corn syrup. GMO dextrose can play tricks with your blood sugar and lead to the same kinds of ailments that GMO corn can lead to. Since beer is already high in calories, drinkers should beware of consuming anything that might seriously affect their blood sugar levels.
Guiness is everyone’s favourite stout beer, and has long been praised for its smoothness as a stout. Many drinkers swear by Guinness and won’t touch a drop of anything else. Guiness might not be the healthiest choice, though, for reasons you may not suspect. Apparently, the beer is made with high-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient that, due to its unhealthiness, has been banned in several parts of North America. Moreover, Guinness contains isinglass, an ingredient derived from fish bladders. So, next time you take a sip of the richly dark brew, think about whether or not it pairs well with, well, fish.
4. Coors Light
Coors Light is yet another super-popular brew in North America, given its skillful marketing and smoothness as a light beer. Indeed, the company’s marketing strategy, predicated on the glaciers that turn certain colours based on the coldness of the beer, is genius, and it empowers consumers, who like to feel they are drinking the coldest, freshest beer. Unfortunately for drinkers of Coors Light, this is also another beer that uses GMO corn syrup as a sweetener. Given that the beer is so easy to drink, and easy to drink in volume, consumers should be wary of this beer’s potentially harmful ingredients.
3. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst Blue Ribbon, colloquially referred to as PBR, is a classic beer, whether haters like to admit or not. The original German beer to make its way across the pond to North America, Pabst Blue has enjoyed a good deal of success for decades. Everyone remembers it from David Lynch’s classic film, Blue Velvet, when Dennis Hopper’s character asks another what beer he likes: “Heineken? F*** that Sh**! Pabst! Blue! Ribonnn!” Unfortunately for PBR’s loyal votaries, the beer is made with GMO corn and corn syrup.
2. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale is a glutinous beer, and only the most strongly constituted individuals should drink this stuff. This beer has 330 calories per glass and it is 9.6% alcohol. Two of these beers would equal a full meal, but the alcohol content is sure to have drinkers ordering tons of food. The beer belly is a real phenomenon, as we all know, but some beers help drinkers achieve the swollen gut faster than others.
1. Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Like Sierra Nevada, the more popular Samuel Adams Winter Lager is full of calories. At just 5.8% alcohol, this beer contains 200 calories a glass. A few of these bad boys and even the most seasoned beer drinkers will feel the gut-busting effects. Again, beers that are dense with regard to calories can mess with one’s blood sugar levels. Given that drinkers usually eat a good deal when indulging, this beer should be consumed in moderation. Happy and safe drinking, everyone!