Life

Craft Beer Experts Reveal The Most Underrated Cheap Beers

Sometimes the word “cheap” gives off a really negative feeling. It can make us feel like the quality isn’t there. It can feel like the worst possible iteration of a certain product. But cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad. And that’s particularly true in the beer world where cheap often means crisp, refreshing, easy-drinking, and always there for you.

Sure, you can spend $25 on a four-pack of 16-ounce tallboys of the hottest milkshake IPA or barrel-aged this-or-that beer, but what happens when you simply want a beer that’s not going to challenge you at every sip? That’s where an $8 six-pack of crispy, delicious, no-frills lager or pilsner comes in.

Instead of simply strolling through our neighborhood grocery or beer stores to find these bargain bangers, we asked a few well-known brewers, craft beer experts, and brewing professionals for help by calling out the “cheap” beers they actually like to drink. Let’s see what they picked.

Montucky Cold Snacks

Montucky Cold Snacks
Montucky Cold Snacks

Mark Hughes, specialty brewing manager at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California

ABV: 4.1%

Average Price: $7.50 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Montucky Cold Snacks is a great cheap beer. They do the beer right. And if you are thirsty, it delivers a crisp and inoffensive lager in a useful format.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst

Ryan Tefft, assistant brewer at Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, Wisconsin

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $10 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

PBR is the only beer I would buy that’s around $1 per beer, and I’ve been drinking it since I started out as a beer drinker. I’m not embarrassed to go to a bar and order that beer. That’s also where Randy Sprecher got his start as a brewer in the 1980s before he founded Sprecher Brewery in 1985.

Belikin Lager

Belikin Lager
Belikin Lager

Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach Brewing in Houston

ABV: 4.8%

Average Price: $8 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Belikin Beer from Belize is a great cheap beer. Technically this beer would be categorized as a tropical style lager or pilsner and is the best lager you will find in the Caribbean. Because it’s an all-malt beer, it has a little more body and malt sweetness relative to most of the other Caribbean beers, which are often brewed with sugar as an adjunct.

Miller High Life

Miller High Life
Miller

Rob Day, senior director of marketing for Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 4.6%

Average Price: $6 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Miller High Life — it’s the damn champagne of beers after all. It’s cheap, crisp, refreshing, and crushable. It’s also the kind of beer that’s always there and always tastes the same decade after decade. It’s pretty hard to beat when discussing cheap, reliable beers.

Old Style Lager

Old Style Lager
Old Style Lager

Jeremy Anderson, brewer at New Holland Brewing in Holland, Michigan

ABV: 4.6%

Average Price: $5 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I think Old Style is the best “cheap beer” available in the Midwest. The krausening method gives it a clean finish. It’s highly carbonated and refreshing, and the sweetness is in perfect harmony with the bitterness. The sign of a quality dive bar in Chicago is the giant Old Style sign hanging off the front of the building.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada

Pat Ware, co-owner and head of brewing ops at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix

ABV: 5.6%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale isn’t the cheapest beer, but it’s a lot less expensive than most craft beers. This beer is a top-fiver for pretty much every brewer in the U.S. because it’s classically delicious, widely available, and, best of all, affordable. Beautiful whole cone hop flavor and rounded maltiness for $10 a sixer? Come on.

Narragansett Lager

Narragansett Lager
Narragansett

Dan Lipke, head brewer at Clown Shoes Beer in Boston

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $6.50 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Narragansett Lager is my pick. If you’re going to go less expensive, you might as well drink ‘Gansett and support a great brewery. It has more malt and hop flavor than any macro brew but is still light enough to meet your easy beer-drinking days.

Writer’s Pick: Genesee Cream Ale

Genesee Cream Ale
Genesee

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $9 for a twelve-pack

Why This Beer?

Your dad and grandpa’s favorite beer has been made the same way since 1960. It’s always cheap, crisp, malty, and sweet. It tastes like beer tastes in your imagination. It’s a no fills, crushable, and memorable beer. There’s a reason it has a cult-like following.

Writer’s Pick: Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock
Shiner

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

While bock beers have close ties to spring, you can grab a bottle of this crushable 4.4 percent ABV banger any time of the year. This Texas-made classic is known for its sweet malt backbone and brightly floral hops. It’s refreshing all year long.

×