I've never understood the concept of "guilty pleasure." It's a way of expressing one's tastes while apologizing for them. Taste is subjective—so why let other people make you feel bad about yours? If your idea of Fine Art is a black-light poster, embrace it! If you like celebrity gossip, own it! If your favorite song is "Don't Stop Believing," don't apologize for it!
There's no guilt involved when I say I like Budweiser. No hipster irony, either—for me, Bud isn't a fermented proxy for a vintage Gulf gas station jacket. When I say I like Bud, it's because I like Bud.
I know Budweiser is a factory product, and the choice of lunkheads everywhere. Is Bud as good as my favorite beer? Of course not—it's my everyday beer, one I vastly prefer over most craft beers. I tend to dislike bitter flavors, so most hoppy craft beers are off limits for me.
Moreover, I prefer to buy beer from grown-ups. When I see craft beers with cringeworthy names like Hoptical Illusion and with cartoon-like label designs, it feels like kids playing dress-up. Say what you want about Bud, its brand presentation remains classic, timeless and non-generational.
Beer should be for everyone. So many craft beers seem like they're trying to weed out the squares and the olds. Imagine your father shopping for beer and seeing Hoptimus Prime or Citra Ass Down. Even if he got the joke, he might reasonably conclude they were intended for someone else.
Beer should unite, not divide. I like Bud the same way I like the Rolling Stones, or baseball, or a burger with fries—it makes me feel connected to the rest of America. In this era of fragmented subcultures, it's nice to feel like I'm going wide instead of narrow.
Also: Most stores and bars carry it, it's reasonably priced, it goes down easy and the 5.0 percent ABV gives just the right buzz. So yeah, I like Bud. I'm drinking one right now, in fact. Unapologetically? Guilty as charged.
Paul Lukas is a staff writer at Sports Illustrated. He also runs the Uni Watch Blog, among lots of other projects. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org.