Coors Banquet Beer

newman_coorsPaul Newman

They say you never forget your first.

I was five. It was on the back deck of my parents’ house. My uncle slipped me a sip from the shiny yellow pop-top can. In my small hands, it felt like I was holding this giant golden cannon. I swallowed. Bleck. I hated it. Beer.

It would be years before I could even begin to wrap my head around the thought of drinking the stuff.

My earliest memories of beer in the house involved my dad sitting on one of the plaid couches, a bag of Rold Gold pretzels resting on his gut, a can of beer in his hand, late on a Sunday while watching golf after mowing the lawn. And in my father’s mind, one beer reigned supreme: Coors. Not the Silver Bullet. The Banquet Beer. Frequently, over pancakes at the Village Inn in Colby, Kansas, where we’d make a pit stop before passing through Kanarado on ski trips to Colorado, my father would regale us with stories of  pulling a Bandit with his buddies in college. They’d driven to Golden, Colorado, loaded a yellow Chevy Nova up with cases of Banquet Beer, and partied hardy back in Illinois.hoffman coorsDustin Hoffman

In college, because it was cheap, my buddies and I would drink it “like our dads used to do.” Then, something happened. After college, I left for foreign shores, and with it went my Coors. While living in London, I became an avid fan of Australian Bitters and the Cream of Manchester. After that, I moved to Cork, Ireland where I tended bar and learned to pour the perfect pint (I can explain the differences among the Holy Trinity of stouts Beamish, Guinness, and Murphy’s, but I need to have them in my belly first to do so). And finally, I arrived back in the states. Upon landing in New York, first at Williamsburg’s Barcade and later at several Belgian bars throughout the city, I was schooled in a wide array of foreign beers and local microbrews.

I share my beer history because it’s likely quite similar to your own. In this day and age, we can challenge our palettes with Lambics, Sours and Saisons. Throw our tastebuds for a loop with a Wheat or a Rye or a Porter. We are all probably a stone’s throw from a micro-brewery, and we probably have a friend who has brewed his or her own beer. There is an ever-expanding experimentation happening with beer on the local level.Pete CoorsPete Coors c/o Michael Kiser, Good Beer Hunting

But what happens when you want to take a break from all the excitement? What do you reach for then? Certainly not a light beer, those watery concoctions popularized in the calorie-conscience 1980s. Pete Coors is betting on Banquet. The chairman of his family’s Golden, Colorado brewery recently sat down with my friend Michael Kiser for a deeper, more intelligent conversation than I’m capable of having on the subject of the state of Coors Banquet beer and on how America’s palette has changed. With light beer’s decline in popularity, the fuller-bodied Banquet beer is primed to replace its silvery little brother in your grocer’s beer aisle, and to celebrate, the brand has reintroduced a commemorative 1936 stubby bottle.Coors-Banquet-bottleThe funny thing is, thanks in part to James Wilson of Secret Forts, I’ve been a Banquet fan for the last four or five years. We crushed a can or two in our time together in Brooklyn. Since moving to Chicago, I’d get excited every chance I had to grab drinks at Lottie’s, The Pony, and Frontier, as owner Mark Domitrovich is as avid a fan as I am.

And so, all that’s old is new again, and my first taste of beer, like mother’s milk, has become my favorite tasting beer — at least of the corporate conglomerate variety. Thanks to the marketing team at Coors for making the smart decision to welcome this great-tasting beer back into America’s consciousness and not a moment too soon.


Gilt EditorTyler Thoreson wrote this wonderfully hilarious piece for GQ on the virtues of Coors Banquet Beer way back in 2009.

For his perspective and for a more in-depth conversation on the reintroduction of Coors Banquet, read Michael Kiser’s interview with MillerCoors Chairman, Pete Coors.