You know your life is weird when a Bud Light commercial on the television causes consternation to you. But hey. That’s how I roll.
So a Bud Light commercial ran during the Superb Owl that criticized rival beers for using corn syrup. This advertising claim is a disingenuous mess.
Making beer goes like this: You make a sugar soup, and you add seasoning to the soup. You then add a living organism that eats sugar and burps carbon dioxide and alcohol, and you wait. Now, while I don’t think corn syrup is among the finest ingredients a beer maker can include in a recipe, it’s all just sugar to the yeast. The point being that using a grain syrup in the brewing process is a completely fine practice — in fact, most home-brewed beverage start with a hot stock pot full of water and a big can of grain syrup. Only the nerdiest home zymurgists steep their own grains. Without pre-fab grain syrup, hobbyist brewers would be fewer and further between, by far.
One of the nicest beers I ever made was a Canadian ale recipe. I made it once, many, many years ago, and I still remember it, because it was sublime. And it called for rice syrup. Why? Because it’s “Canadian” ale, which means it is a bit boozier. Rice syrup does little to affect flavor, but because it is pure sugar, it boosts the alcohol content. This is called adding an ingredient as an “adjunct.” There are many reasons a brewer might choose one form of sugar over another, but the point is that no matter what form, what we are talking about is not the same thing as, say, adding high-fructose corn syrup to your grapefruit juice cocktail drink thing. It’s not like these people are making the beer and then mixing it with corn syrup. The sugar is converted in the process.
I mean, I think the reason this touched a nerve is because it’s so blatantly stupid, and we’ve got enough of that to go around these days.