The chelada, a Mexican concoction of beer with lime and salt (add in Worcestershire and hot sauce for a Michelada) is the unlikely source of this year’s Miller versus Anheuser-Busch battle. Miller released its green-bottled chelada, Chill, a few months ago, and it “has reached fad status very quickly,” as Jason Alström of BeerAdvocate magazine recently observed under the headline “Miller Chill: A Beer for People Who Don’t Like Beer.”
“It actually tastes like a really bad diet soda,” he concluded. That’s a good business model, apparently: The beer’s already outselling brands like Rolling Rock and Blue Moon in supermarkets, and Miller says sales are well ahead of expectations.
So it isn’t a surprise to see that Anheuser-Busch has its own south-of-the-border concept: 24-ounce tall boys of Budweiser or Bud Light with lime, salt, and Clamato, the tomato-juice-and-clam-broth drink. (Fighting to win back sales lost to craft beer and wine, A-B is adding a preposterous 60 new items this year, which will double its total product line.)
The Bud-Clamato hasn’t been rolled out nationally yet—only Texas and California have it—but beer writer Lew Bryson found a sample surprisingly delicious: “Sure as hell had a lot more flavor than a Bud Light, wasn’t cloying or yucky, and the spices were firm but not overpowering. Best of all, you can obviously doctor it as you see fit, and I’m thinking a good dose of freshly ground pepper might work wonders, and maybe a little horseradish.”
A very realistic member of the BeerAdvocate website calls it the “Best Bud I ever had” and offers a key chelada travel tip: “It’s what I do on airplanes—can of Heineken and a can of Mr. and Mrs. T’s.”