Have you ever stopped to ask yourself where the whole lime thing started? I know, you put it in yours because you “like the taste” – we’ll get to that later.
There are two explanations that have are often cited as the reason people started putting limes in their beer:
1) Rust: Mexican beer bottle caps would get rusty and the lime would wipe it away or clean the lip of the bottle.
2) Flies: Rimming the lip of the bottle with a lime would keep flies away.
Both of these explanations are false.
Ready for the truth? Here we go:
Beer has three major enemies – Light, Air and Time. We are interested in light. Sunlight breaks down beer.
Put a pint of your favorite beer in a glass and leave it in the sun for 30 minutes on a hot day. You will notice that that it starts to smell stale – and rather quickly at that. It smells like a skunk. Lucky for us, that is the exact scientific term explaining what just transpired – the beer skunked.
To combat this, you may have noticed that the majority of beers come in brown or green bottles. This prevents the sunlight from getting to the beer and skunking it. Unfortunately, colored glass is more expensive than clear glass; and guess what color the bottles are for the beers you put limes in? Yup. Clear.
So sunlight skunks the beer. What to do!?
According to Corona, (NOTE: THAT’S FROM CORONA ITSELF) the reason for the lime is that “Corona is bottled in clear glass, and before our modern methods of refrigeration and transportation, the opportunity for spoilage from exposure to sunlight was increased. Therefore, the lime technique began as a measure to mask the skunky aromas caused by spoilage.”
So to paraphrase: “Our product spoils. We know it spoils, and we have taught people to put fruit in their beer to mask the fact that it is actually spoiled.”
Think back. You were young. It was trendy. You thought you were sophisticated . . . C’mon, we all fell for it.
The difference is that now we know the truth. Just like someone putting ketchup on a filet mignon without tasting it first would be met with gasps from the foodies around him, every time someone pops some fruit in their beer a beer fan dies inside just a little bit.
Now there will of course be those people who counter with, “But I like the way it tastes. I’m not being fooled, I like the taste!” Ok . . . If you like fruity flavored beers there is a whole world to choose from. Craft breweries are constantly experimenting with styles and tastes. If you want a fruity beer then by all means bottoms up! However, the fruit essences should be imparted to your taste buds based on the ingredients that brewer used: special hops, certain types of yeasts, maybe even some actual fruit!
To add fruit to a beer without even tasting it is an insult to any brewery that takes pride in their product.
Back-of-the-napkin calculation: This whole lime in beer facade started about 30 years ago. Hopefully people will share this article and educate others who are discovering the variety and quality of craft beers. One would hope, wouldn’t they?
Then again . . . I saw this sign for a popular MillerCoors product just last week:
Really people? An orange wedge “helps bring out subtle fruit flavors.” Can we just stop and THINK about that for a moment?
Hey, we’re not hatin’ – just sayin’. Drink what you like, but like what you drink! If you’re adding things to your beer before you even taste it – well, let’s stop and think.
Next up – Why do bars use frosted glasses? You’ll love it. Trust us.