Corona Premier takes one of the most well-known light lagers on the planet and makes it even lighter—and not just in carbohydrates, as is prominently advertised on the bottle. It’s refreshing when served cold, but tastes watery and bland when compared to its full-strength cousin; it might be more desperate for that squeeze of lime than any other brew in Corona’s lineup, if only to give it a kick of flavor.
Style: light lager
Company: Corona (AB InBev, Grupo Modelo)
Brewery Location: Mexico
MSRP: $9 per six-pack
- An easy-drinking light beer with a crisp finish in a familiar clear bottle
- Fewer carbs and calories per bottle than Corona Extra
- Well-priced for an import lager
- Watery, bland flavor profile
- Fans of Corona Extra or other Mexican light lagers may find it boring
- Glass bottle leads to immediate skunking, especially in sunlight
Color: This beer is uncommonly clear, with a pale yellow, straw-colored hue in the glass that doesn’t form a lasting head when poured into a glass.
Nose: Premier still carries many of the familiar aromas of Corona Extra, showcasing plenty of fresh-cut grass and skunkiness on the nose. After the beer has sat in the glass, it begins to take on an oxidized smell of wet cardboard.
Palate: This beer immediately crashes on the palate with plenty of carbonation and livens the tongue. As soon as the bubbles dissipate, the flavors wane immediately as the thin-bodied beer washes across the palate. There are similar flavors to Corona Extra, including grassiness, but mostly what comes through is a watered-down sweetness with hints of corn that can leave the drinker feeling like they’re having a hard seltzer instead of a beer.
Finish: Any slight floral hoppiness that appears within seconds after swallowing quickly dissipates with any other flavors. The high carbonation scrubs the palate completely clean as a hint of bready sweetness flashes through.
You could’ve spent the past three decades never setting foot into a bar and there’s still a good chance you know exactly what a Corona beer looks like. The iconic clear glass bottles have been the best-selling imported beer in the United States for decades and have benefited from marketing campaigns that practically dare you to enjoy a warm, beachy locale without holding one in your hand. But as part of the AB InBev and Grupo Modelo brewing conglomerate based in Mexico, there’s more than just one beer that rolls out of the brewery with Corona on the label—including Corona Premier, a diet-friendly version of the iconic Corona Extra.
On paper, Corona Premier is an overt attempt to cash in on the low-carb, low-calorie trend that has overtaken the brewing world. Each bottle looks very similar to Extra but proudly displays that it has just 90 calories per serving. In a world ruled by mass-market light lagers, this is the type of beacon the brewers are trying to put up to attract a crowd who may want to partake in a celebratory beer, even if it may not taste like much.
But similar to other low-carb beers on the market, there’s no mention of “light” on the label when it comes to Corona Premier. This might even give you the confidence to open the bottle and expect it to taste just like your favorite Mexican lager. But one sip will make you realize that this beer has a much thinner body and a fraction of the flavor of its full-strength cousin—which is saying a lot for a beer that is as famously light and easy-drinking as Corona Extra.
Those who see Corona Premier on the shelf and pick it up are likely the type of beer drinkers who doesn’t mind sacrificing a little flavor if it means they can enjoy a beer while sticking to their diet or health goals. And to be fair, when it comes to comparing beers in the low-carb category, most can’t claim to be much more than “bland” when it comes to flavor profiles. The power of Corona’s brand recognition as an easy-drinking beer alone might be enough to convince most to choose it over other options, especially considering most other bottles on the shelf will be from less-exciting American brands and cost roughly the same.
The truth is that anyone expecting this to taste much like a beer—even the very light beer that birthed it—will likely be disappointed. With a flavor profile that puts it more in line with a hard seltzer than an actual brew, it’s hard to imagine that anyone who enjoys the crisp, refreshing finish of a well-made lager will be happy to open one of these. In this case, reaching for a lime might actually help you provide enough flavor to make it feel worthwhile. It’s also worth mentioning that the beer begins to throw off sweet aromas and flavors of creamed corn once it begins to warm up in your hand, which is an unfortunate characteristic of something that’s marketed as a top beach or pool option.
The reason for serving a Corona with a lime wedge is a mystery. Popular bartender lore claims it was originally used to keep flies out of the bottle while waiting for runners to pick them up, while others claim it was simply to make the beer taste more refreshing.
The bottom line: There are those who specifically want to drink a light beer, and when it comes down to it, Corona Premier is a well-priced option for anyone looking to cut back on carbs and calories. But in the process, the beer becomes a stripped-down, watery, bland version of its well-loved cousin, almost coming across more as a hard seltzer than a proper brew.