Coors has long since traded its golden flagship for silver bullets. It’s Coors Light that rules the roost in Golden, Colorado, and Banquet Beer is laying back, hoping for a nostalgia revival. That wave started, but it never crested. There are many fans of the cream-canned lager, but Banquet Beer is still awaiting its PBR renaissance.
Is this finally the year? MillerCoors is dumping tons of cash into the heritage beer brand, and that could lure the grandkids of Banquet’s core demographic—but only if the beer holds up to this exacting standards of today’s beer drinkers.
Coors Banquet was known as Golden Lager until Prohibition—after which it was rechristened Banquet Beer—and “golden” is exactly right. This is the alluring toasted brown that keeps macro lagers relevant in the Era of Haze. The clarity is immaculate. The head is negligible. This beer feels best poured out of one of Coors’ iconic stubby bottles.
This is beer-smellin’ beer, the aroma only growing as it warms. It smells like a faraway grain silo, the toasted notes only coming after a deliberate search. Other than that, you get a lot of damp straw. Not a sensory experience that inspires confidence.
The beer is loaded with heartland creaminess, and a long, pensive sip will catapult images of wheat fields and grain bushels into your mind.”
The most Coors Light thing about Coors Banquet is the carbonation. It’s disturbingly persistent. Where does all this carbon dioxide proliferate from? The soda-like bubbles sabotage the nicer qualities of Banquet’s taste. The beer is loaded with heartland creaminess, and a long, pensive sip will catapult images of wheat fields and grain bushels into your mind. America.
Luckily for Coors, nostalgia often persists in spite of quality, so it’s not hard to imagine Banquet Beer mounting a resurgence in 2019. But rightfully, this beer is where it belongs, lodged in the middle distance between light beer and craft beer. You’ll likely return to this beer sometime in the next half-year, but don’t expect to be wowed. You’ll get what you expect, and provided you’re not totally overcome by sentimentality, that’s not much.