There’s something paradoxical about summer, and I think I’ve pinpointed it. See, it’s the time of the year when you’re showing the most skin, and thus need to be in your best shape; yet it’s also the season when you’re most tempted to eat poorly.
Oh, I’ll grant you winter has Christmas cookies and latkes (where my interfaith readers at?), and autumn doubles up with Halloween candy and Thanksgiving dinner. But those are isolated foods tied to specific holidays. Summer is an entire three months of cooking out burgers and hot dogs, roasting marshmallows over a campfire or bonfire, and drinking beer.
And oh, there are some great summer beers. I’m not much of a hefeweizen fan myself, but there’s summer ales and pilsners and IPAs to slake your thirst and remind you of how great a dancer you really are. But the fact is, alcohol is fattening. There’s no such thing as “beer abs.”
So if you’re going to indulge your vices while wearing something that makes other people want to indulge theirs, you need a low-calorie option. And Michelob has come up with a new diet-friendly solution they hope you’ll consider, called “Drink ’till your friends take your keys, then walk home.” Just kidding, it’s Michelob Ultra Light Cider, with a third fewer calories than traditional ciders.
I’ve had this drink’s spiritual precursor, “regular” Michelob Ultra, numerous times in the past and enjoyed it well enough by light beer standards. The big problem with light drinks is my child-sized bladder, since their relatively low alcohol content means I spend half of every night in the men’s room without getting even a minor buzz.
A glance at the front of the Light Cider bottle reveals that it’s 4.0% Alcohol By Volume, relatively but not ridiculously low. (For comparison, MGD 64 is 2.8% ABV, or what we like to call “German water.”) Still, this cider is more of an “unwind with your friends after a hard day at the office” drink, not one to get trashed on and send embarrassing texts to your high school crush. (She’s happy with Brad. Move on.)
Admittedly I don’t know much about cider, but as the father of two preschoolers, I have a passing acquaintance with apple juice. And when the first sip hit my tongue, my immediate thought was, “This is apple juice.” That impression didn’t much change as I continued to drink. It fizzes more than apple juice, but other than that, if you’re able to detect the alcohol in this cider, you have better taste buds than I. And not that I would ever try, but I’m 99 percent sure I could give this to my 3-year-old at breakfast and she’d drink it without noticing the difference, at least until Curious George started talking back to her.
You may be thinking, “That’s cool, I like apple juice.” And if so, you probably will dig this drink. But Ned Flanders once taught me if it’s tangy and brown, you’re in cider town, and this product is not brown and only slightly tangy. But it IS sweet and yellow, which typically means you’ve got juice there, fella. The ingredient list is no help, since apparently hard cider is just apple juice concentrate with dextrose and water added. Please do me the favor of mentally putting finger quotes around that “hard” part.
In all seriousness, it’s a decent beverage, though it is kind of disconcerting to be drinking something you know is alcoholic but tastes like kindergarten. Be sure to drink quickly, as this cider tastes worse when it gets warm.
On the other hand, you can probably add a point to the rating if you drink it over ice. It’s also gluten-free, so there’s that. I could see this being a good drink for summer cookouts where you need to keep your wits about you for that beach volleyball game after lunch, or when you want a fruity drink but there’s no little umbrellas around. But I also don’t think light beer has any reason to worry about being replaced.
(At the strong prompting of my wife, I’d like to reiterate that, no, I did not give my child this alcoholic drink. Obviously. Child vomit is just WAY too hard to get out of carpet.)
(Editor’s Note/Disclosure: Drew received free Michelob Ultra Light Cider samples from the nice folks over at Michelob. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this review, but if we did, we would totally disclose that too. Also, please drink responsibly.)
(Nutrition Facts – one 12 oz bottle – 120 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of total carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugars, less than 1 gram of protein)
Item: Michelob Ultra Light Cider
Size: 6 pack (12 oz bottles)
Purchased at: Received from nice folks at Michelob
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Doesn’t taste artificially sweetened (because it isn’t). ABV fairly equivalent to most light beers. Low calories and carbohydrates. Good news if you like apple juice. Slightly less girly than an appletini. Christmas cookies and latkes.
Cons: Can’t much taste the alcohol. Feels a little weird drinking cider in summer. Hard to drink a full bottle in one sitting — a little goes a long way. Really tastes and looks more like juice than cider. Tastes definitely takes a nosedive when you let it warm up.