When I was a precocious (read: underage) young drinker, I was concerned with how to appear as mature and distinguished as possible in my drinking habits. I drank a lot of difficult peaty scotches that tasted like licking the inside of a Cadillac, and I came of age (or rather, pretended to) when IPAs were beginning to become the beer nerd’s favorite. I cultivated a taste for these things, and I still have it, partially because a stubbornly immature part of me likes when other people gag at my drink order.
But in the past few years, I’ve started leaning towards inexpensive, low-alcohol (often canned!) beer. I love Olympia and Hamm’s. I drink Pacifico, Rolling Rock, and once, courtesy of my brother, a devastatingly cheap LaCroix-esque gas station beer whose name was sadly as forgettable as its flavor. I’ve found that there’s beauty in trying to love and appreciate something that does not call out to be loved and appreciated—in putting as much thought and attention into simple things as we are taught to put into complex things.
And in our marathon canned wine tasting, there were a lot of complex things on display. We tasted the shit out of that wine, y’all. I tried my damndest to really taste wine the way people have taught me, and actually had some success. A lot of times I’d write down a fruit or a texture and feel inwardly rewarded when somebody else had it down, too. Elusive tastes became as intoxicating as alcohol.
Yet when all is said and done, I think the canned wines I’m most likely to go back to are the sparkling ones. A canned red can be good, but it doesn’t leave condensation in your palm. It doesn’t dance on your tongue. I want to forget I’m drinking anything at all, sometimes. What I want, come to think of it, is Miller High Life.
I don’t think that Miller High Life is the champagne of beers, as the folks at Miller insist. There is no “High Life” region of France, as far as I can tell. But I contend that canned sparkling wine is the Miller High Life of wine. That’s a high compliment, in my book.