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We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Cheap Beer?

Some craft beer drinkers may turn their noses up at bargain brews, but brewers can see the beauty in a well-made and affordably priced thirst-quencher. That’s why you may see the people who know beer best reaching for something reliable at half the price of their craft counterparts. That may be because these beers are deceptively delicious or hold nostalgic weight, but sometimes, the price is just right.

To find the best affordable beer options, we ask 11 brewers which cheap beer is their go-to. The brewers we spoke with all had different reasons for why their picks hold space in their hearts, whether they be accessible ales or classic lagers. Their answers called back fond memories, emphasized drinkability, and even invoked worker solidarity.

Here are the cheap beers the pros are reaching for these days.

The best cheap beer, according to brewers:

Utica Club
Coors Banquet
Breakside Wanderlust
Negra Modelo
Miller High Life

“My go-to is Coors Banquet. Cheap and reliable.” —Heather Opheim, lead brewer, Deviant Wolfe Brewing, Sarasota, Fla. 

“Miller Lite has long been my go-to, dive-bar beer when I can get it. But I can’t in good faith drink Molson Coors amidst the strike with Teamsters Local 997 of Fort Worth. While craft beer production workers face unionization challenges of our own, it’s always in our mutual benefit to support our macro counterparts. Until the strike is resolved and workers are fairly compensated, I’ll be seeking out New York’s own Utica Club!” —Ian Smith, lead brewer, Kings County Brewers Collective, Brooklyn

“I’m partial to Coors Banquet — especially in the cute stubby bottles — and Miller High Life earns bonus points for the Spaghett factor, but I’m not that opinionated about macro lager apart from not crossing the picket line if someone’s workers are on strike. As far as indie stuff goes, I think Breakside’s Wanderlust is a really dialed IPA at a great price point; I buy that year round.” —Benji Rockwell, brewer, Holy Mountain Brewing Co., Seattle

“​​There’s a nice range of tasty cheap beers out there, and my choice depends on time and place. When I find myself at a dive bar with questionable tap lines, I opt for a High Life bottle or, if that’s unavailable, a Miller Lite. When given all the options, my No. 1 go-to is always Utica Club.” —Ivan Dedek, director of brewing operations, Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, Cazenovia, N.Y.

“My go-to cheap beer is Negra Modelo. It’s refreshing and summery with a nice balance of darker malt flavor. There’s also something very nostalgic for me about Negra Modelo. As a kid when we would go to restaurants, that was usually my mom’s drink. I thought it was badass to see her friends drinking wine or cocktails and her sitting there with the dark bottle in her hands, not conforming, just drinking what she liked. So, cheers to my mom! I think of you every time I peel off that gold wrapping.” —Jessie Floyd, assistant brewer, Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Brooklyn

“I’m a big fan of a cheap lager when I need a mental disconnect from the deep sensory analysis that comes with our profession. Coors Banquet has been a go-to for me, as long as it’s fresh!” —Steve Pristas, brewer, Creature Comforts Brewing, Athens, Ga.

“My go-to cheap beer, I would say, is Narragansett. We used to sell pitchers of it at a beer bar I worked at years ago [in Sarasota]. It’s a classic, and very well-balanced.” —Molly Flynn, brewer, Tripping Animals Brewery, Miami

“Hands down, Coors Banquet, a steadfast, reliable crusher from my youth. It never disappoints. From the very first sip of that first stubby bottle to the last sip of the 34th stubby bottle that night, nothing compares. Few beers are as consistent in their flavor and ability to make one forget about the ever-surmounting horrors associated with human sentience than that Rocky Mountain nectar.” —Horus Andersen, owner and operator, Conjure Beer Co., Fla.

“One beer I will grab for a cheap drink is Modelo! Especially if I’m making Micheladas. Besides it being a part of Mexican culture, it just has a pleasant maltiness you don’t find in other light lagers.” —Sally Ayala, cellar person and brewer, Alamo Beer Co., San Antonio, Texas

“High Life all day. The price is right and it is highly drinkable.” —Tyler Ostlund, head of production, Bricksworth Beer Co., Burnsville, Minn.

“My go-to cheap beer, and really the beer I always grab when I’m out with friends, is Miller High Life. I know, what a cliché for a brewer. It is always cheap and always consistently easy to drink and ice-cold. Something about the cold bottle and a slightly sweet, light lager just really hits the spot on a night out or after a long day.” —Shawna Hayes, head brewer, Miel Brewery and Taproom, New Orleans

*Image retrieved from yarohork via

The article We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Cheap Beer? appeared first on VinePair.

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