In This Article
Overview

Battle of the light beers

Bud Light Lime, Miller Lite, Miller Chill, and Miller MGD 64 in a Consumer Reports test lab
A good pour?
To find out, we served these four light beers, including two lime brews, to three expert tasters.
Photograph by Michael Smith

If you've seen the recent ads for Miller's MGD 64, you know that it has 64 calories per 12 ounces, far fewer than most other beers. (In a typical pitch, a woman asks a bartender for "64 calories of Michelob Ultra." He responds by pouring out some of the bottle's contents and handing her the remainder.) But how do MGD's 64 calories taste?

We asked three experienced beer tasters (seriously, they actually spit out the beer between tastes) to conduct blind taste tests of Miller Lite and MGD 64. Looking ahead to summer, or for people who plan to serve Mexican food at their Super Bowl party, we also had tasters conduct a beer taste test with brews that have a hint of lime: Bud Light Lime and Miller Chill. Here's the lowdown on the brews, without the froth:

Miller MGD 64 vs. Miller Lite

Tasters said that the beers have similar flavor and seem related to each other, but Miller Lite is slightly more complex and heavier-bodied, with a more intense flavor. MGD 64 is refreshing but seems much lighter in flavor and is a little watery. MGD 64's Web site cites malt and hop "cues." "Cue" is about right—it has little of the malty taste that defines beer. It also feels a little different, with lots of very small bubbles and lighter foam than Miller Lite had in our beer taste test.

Bud Light Lime vs. Miller Chill

They are based on the Mexican chelada—beer served with lime and salt. Our testers' first impression was that the citrusy flavor in Miller Chill tasted like tangerine, quite strong and candylike, and the lime flavor in Bud was more like lime juice. A few more tries and the two beers seemed more similar. Tasters thought they were refreshing and inoffensive but not much like beer. None of the tasters noted any salt taste.

Bottom line

Miller Lite was more like a typical lager than MGD 64 in our beer taste test. In both Bud Light Lime and Miller Chill, the lime outshines any beer flavor.

How they compare

Beer Calories, 12 oz. Carbohydrates (g), 12 oz. % alcohol by volume Cost, 6-pack*
MGD 64 64 2.4 2.8 $5.30
Miller Lite 96 3.2 4.2 5.60
Miller Chill 110 6.5 4.2 6.00
Bud Light Lime 116 8.0 4.2 6.00
* Of bottles, average price we paid.
Posted: January 2009 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: February 2009