As the craft beer revolution takes over the country by storm, there's still one beer that has proven it's not going anywhere. That beer is cheap beer. Say what you will, but there is no denying that cheap beers serve their purpose. College parties, tailgating, fishing trips, and even awkward social situations are made better with a can of cheap beer. And like whiskey, everyone has their brand of choice. Cheers to American beer!
Buying cheap beer is great for all situations. Whether you're at a dive bar or buying beer for a social event, when your mind is already made that you're getting cheap beer you get to skip the conversation about whether it's hoppy, German or a cream ale. Just give me a six-pack of the cheapest thing you got! The cheap beer will get the job done.
In honor of the cans that are there when you need them, building memories and trying to give you a buzz, I've ranked 11 popular cheap beers from most terrible to totally drinkable. So crack a can of your favorite cold, fizzy yellow beer from America and drink to the staying power of cheap beer.
11. Natural Ice
Oh, Natty Ice. How you almost ruined beer for me forever. Remember? All those college parties (and high school parties) that you just so happened to be at and you were all anybody drank? You made me think that this was it. This was the flavor of beer. Did you sponsor college parties?
If you've been to a college party, you probably feel the same. Heavy on the adjunct, this 5.9 percent beer is best enjoyed like the label suggests, ice cold. And while I recommend savoring your beer with each sip, Natty Ice is best enjoyed chugging. Or in one of the ridiculous ways seen here.
10. Keystone Light
It's hard to rate which one is worse, Keystone Light or Natural Ice. And to be perfectly honest with you, I believe these two are truly equal in taste. So how did Keystone win? I have way fewer bad memories of chugging Keystone at college parties.
Also, they do make a pretty hilarious commercial.
9. Busch Beer
When you're at a Chuck E. Cheese's playing skeeball (don't ask) and the only beer they offer is Busch, it tastes pretty darn good. Considering you're surrounded by a bunch of screaming children and are in dire need of a beer, just about anything would do, even those dreaded cans of Natty Ice.
While drinking at a Chuck E. Cheese's may be frowned upon, I'm not about to change my ways and neither is Busch. Their recipe hasn't changed since the '50s, and the fact that they're still around shows they've got something cheap beer lovers want. Sadly, in a normal setting, it loses its drinkability awfully fast. Believe me, I've tried.
8. Coors Banquet
Yet while the history of Coors may be fascinating, it still taste like, well, Coors. Best enjoyed cold with a handlebar mustache, it's heavy on the flavor of sweet corn adjuncts. Which hey, if you like the taste of adjuncts, then you'll love the taste of Coors. Coors Light has no place in this conversation.
7. Rolling Rock
This can't be. As I sit here sampling a Rolling Rock for the greater good of mankind (or this article) I find I actually prefer the flavor of skunk to the heavy flavor of corn adjuncts. I'm sure many are not going to be pleased with the ranking of Rolling Rock over Coors, but I can't deny my palate.
The only thing I can think of is the skunk plays on the rice and corn adjuncts of this beer to show it for what it really is. A cheap beer in a rather fancy green bottle. There's a truth in this I can't deny. Nor can my palate.
Crisp and light, the taste of an ice cold Budweiser is much more tolerable than the business practices of Anheuser-Busch. But we're not here to talk business, we're here to talk flavor. Made with rice, a faint hint of the adjunct can be detected when sipping on a Budweiser - and that's pretty much it.
Budweiser doesn't really taste like anything, it didn't in this taste test. It also cleans your car better than a bucket of soap and water. And for that reason, it ranks number five. Bud Light, like Coors Light, doesn't belong on this list, either.
5. Lone Star
Texans might disagree with me on this ranking. Lone Star isn't quite as light as Narragansett, but is just light enough to eke past Budweiser for this taste test. Whether you're floating a river in the heart of Texas or slipping into your dancin' boots, a Lone Star has been known to quench most thirsts.
While Lone Star's slight corn taste isn't off-putting when you first crack the can; about three gulps in and yeah, it's there.
"Hi neighbor, have a 'Gansett!" Don't mind if I do. Sharing cheap beer with your neighbor is the American way. And if you like your neighbor, you'll give them a cheap beer that doesn't taste like swill. 'Gansett is considerably one of the better cheap beers out there.
It's light, and easy to wash down especially if you're out on the high seas like all those dudes from Jaws. If it was good enough for Richard Dreyfuss, then it's good enough for your neighbor.
There is undoubtedly more flavor in Yuengling than all the fizzy, yellow drinking beers combined. Don't get me wrong, it still has the lightness you want out of your cheap beer, but there is a detectable maltiness that clearly sets this amber lager apart from the rest.
Ask any cheap beer drinker east of Mississippi, and they'll probably agree. Brewed by the oldest craft brewery in the U.S. in Pennsylvania, it's somewhat of a surprise that Yuengling hasn't gone nationwide. But then again, each region has their own favorite cheap beer of choice.
2. Pabst Blue Ribbon
I hate to admit it, but I agree with the hipsters. Light, refreshing, and void of the typical offensive flavor found in cheap beer, PBR is drinkable. In true hipster fashion, it must be drank in all its glory to get the full effect.
That glory being a dimly lit music venue that's passing out tallboys like candy. Man do those cans sweating with beads of condensation look good. But please, don't turn on the lights. It may ruin the effect.
1. Miller High Life
Everyone has their go-to cheap beer. Mine is Miller High Life. Call it a guilty pleasure, call it the cheap beer of choice, but the champagne of beers is the winner. Maybe because its flavor is most appealing, or maybe it's because they use a special hop formula that prevents this beer from skunking. Either way an ice cold High Life does cheap beer justice. Agree or disagree, there's no denying its ability to quench your thirst on a hot day when you're in need of a refreshment.
There you have it. Eleven cheap beers ranked from terrible to drinkable. I apologize if one of the lesser ranked beers is your brand of choice. Can we still be friends?
This post was originally published on January 5th, 2018.