Craft beer was meant to be a flavorful alternative to the mass-produced, light lagers which were funneled, shotgunned and otherwise drank en masse. Some marketing campaigns have compared the latter to urine, echoing the chorus of drinkers who “don’t drink that crap” and instead dig into their stash of obscure four-packs. Now, it seems, these same people are backpedaling. The proliferation of the light lager is taking place from Grand Rapids to Paso Robles, from some of the country’s biggest breweries as well as regional favorites.
Everett, Massachusetts’s Night Shift Brewing created their American Adjunct Lager named Nite Lite as something more appealing to the widest demographic of beer drinker and an alternative to the mass produced stuff. “If you’re in Michigan, or if you’re in Massachusetts, why wouldn’t you want to support Founders or us? So this is kind of a disruption [to the bigger beer producers],” says Anna Jobe, production manager at Night Shift.
It’s brewed for drinkers that want to go back to the days of just having a beer.”
Appearance and Aroma
Nite Lite pours the exact color you’d expect your father’s American adjunct lager to pour. It’s a clear straw hue with a bright white head. Atop the beer is not the pillowy foam of a big beer, but the heavily-carbonated kind of a low-ABV macro. There’s a faint sweetness in the aroma, which likely stems from the malt bill that includes 20% corn, which is a direct homage to the history of the style.
The body of the beer is what a drinker would expect: Paper-thin and heavy on the carbonation. There’s a cereal graininess and a touch of sweetness in the flavor, but nothing to overpower or offend. At 4.3% ABV, it’s a simple beer—and easy on the wallet, too—that won’t blow you away, nor will it separate itself from the flavors of its Super Bowl commercial-having peers. Nite Lite pairs well with a warm summer’s day BBQ.
It has long been an industry secret that many brewers actually prefer their casual, post-work beers to be lighter—beers that don’t necessarily warrant a conversation about balance or nuance or the function of certain ingredients. It’s not brewed to be a beer that is sipped and considered. Although the can will stand out and probably start a conversation by the grill anyway, it’s brewed for drinkers that want to go back to the days of just having a beer, which is—mostly—exactly what I want.