A Comprehensive Guide to Our Favorite Cheap Beer


When I turned 21, it became clear to me that I was going to need to figure out a go-to cheap beer. It’s necessity for any seasoned drinker who enjoys casual bars, afternoon parties and visiting new places. There’s a time for a craft IPA, but there are also times when you just need to order a beer (or pull one from a cooler) and move along.

Beer drinkin’ beer, frat party beer, dive bar beer – there are many names and categories for these beers, but one thing is for sure: they’re not craft, or regional, or local. They’re consistent, easily to find, and very affordable. How do all our classic stand-by actually compare? We tasted them all and found the best for any occasion.

For the all-day beer

If you’re looking for a light beer that won’t knock you down but will quench your thirst and keep you moving, go for Coors Light or High Life. Skip the Bud Light – even out of a bottle, it has a strong aluminum flavor and an unpleasant aftertaste. Coors has a bit more citrus flavor while High Life goes a little more yeasty, with a pleasant breadiness. Both are super clean on your palate and won’t overwhelm you. That’s why you’ll keep drinking them all day long.

For craft beer lovers

Look, not everyone has a genuine affection for cheap beer. If you’re tolerating a dive bar or backyard barbecue where someone else bought the beer, but you’d rather be drinking the fancier stuff, reach for a Yuengling or a Stella Artois. Stella is lighter on the palate, with fruitiness and a little sweetness – ideal for folks who tend toward fruit-forward beers and sours. If you tend to like something darker, like a stout or porter, Yuengling’s amber flavor will probably please your palate. If you like the funk of an IPA, reach for a Heineken, which has a stronger flavor and some definite funk on the nose.

For something super refreshing

Modelo is where you should look. It’s super bubbly and extremely crisp – perfect for hot summer days or drinking by the water. It was noticeably better than Tecate, which has less aggressive bubbles and a far less crisp and satisfying flavor profile.

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