A beer without carbs, that’s what Anheuser-Busch InBev has created for us its newest offering, Bud Light Next. Next is the latest entry in the race to the nothing-there beer. We appear to be close to the finish line.
Twelve ounces of Bud Light Next weighs in at 0g carbs, 80 calories and 4% alcohol by volume. This compares to its stablemates Bud Light Platinum (5.1g carbs, 139 calories, 6% ABV), Michelob Ultra (2.6g carbs, 95 calories, 95 calories) and Budweiser Select 55 (2g carbs, 55 calories, 2.4% ABV). Traditional American light lagers like Bud Light (6.6g carbs, 110 calories, 4.2% ABV), Miller Lite (3.2g carbs, 96 calories, 4.2% ABV) and Coors Light (5g carbs, 102 calories, 4.2% ABV).
The mass-produced light beer market has become a game of inches as the big brewers race to produce beers that zero out certain stats. What does that get you? About what you would expect: pale, flavorless bubble water.
Beer gets its flavor from hops and malt (plus adjuncts added in later), and the malt (fermented grain) is the primary source of carbs. Sugars in the malt that don’t get converted to alcohol by the yeast remain as carbs. Barley produces a lot of unfermentable sugars. Some brewers use certain enzymes that can reduce the carb count. Others use additional grains, such as rice or corn, whose sugars are more completely converted to alcohol.
Make no mistake; alcohol equals calories. Alcohol packs in 7 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs.
So what does Bud Light Next taste like?
No surprises here: it doesn’t taste like much. My nose (not the sharpest of instruments) could barely tell there’s anything in the glass.
Next pours prosecco-pale with a bubbly head that builds and falls quickly. It’s a very light gold, noticeably paler than the other light beers I had on had to compare it to.
The taste is very neutral with a bit of floral sweetness (similar to Bud Light Platinum) and just a hint of tartness on the back end. It is very easy to drink, and while it is crisp, it isn’t sharp (i.e., overly carbonated).
One caution: Drink this beer while it’s still cold. Once Next warmed up a few degrees, I noticed some chemical off notes that weren’t there initially. Cold foods and beverages are harder to taste. The cold slows down the chemical reactions your taste buds need to function.