The big domestic breweries have amusing ways of differentiating their flagship beers. Coors Light is made with water from the Rocky Mountains, which change color depending on the temperature of the beer. FYI, cans start to turn blue at 48ºF and are fully blue at 44ºF. Interestingly, the bottle labels are calibrated to turn blue two degrees lower. [Please comment if you have a theory] Miller Lite alternately prides itself on tasting like a full-bodied beer, or the opposite: that it has the least carbs of any of the mainstream light beers. Bud Light advertises itself as a beer for grown-up frat boys and generally has the funniest ads. Lastly, Budweiser brands itself on its ingredients and its freshness, which is described by Born On Dating.
The dating seems silly, because I couldn’t possibly care less when my beer came off the line in St. Louis or wherever it’s produced. If in the situation where I’m drinking it, maybe I do want to know if I’m going to be assaulted by skunkiness. The issue is that skunked beer is usually caused by exposure to light and fluctuations in temperature, rather than time elapsing. Sure, with more time, it’s more likely that the beer has been exposed, but not if it’s been sitting in a cool basement or other area that ’s dark and doesn’t experience wild temperature swings.
The above picture is an example of when I drank a beer that was well over it’s suggested time for consumption, although by how much is a mystery. I was in Mykonos, Greece, where beers at a bar were €7 a few summers ago. Needless to say, visiting a store that sold expired Bud (why not Budweiser?) for €1.50 was a smart move. And the fact that it was “expired” wasn’t much of a deterrent. Unlike food, beer isn’t going to spoil. The alcohol in the beer kills off germs, so it’s not going to be like old meat or bread where there’s mold, fungus, bacteria, etc. At least according to a professor who made beer from communal spit in a pot of corn.
So, it’s not dangerous or anything to drink expired beer. I wouldn’t recommend it as a practice, but you could probably return it if it is skunked anyway. While skunked beer might make you sick in the drinking sense, you’ll be fine in the medical sense.