The Best Cheap Beers to Drink in 2022
Cheap beer bottles and cans, just clap your hands, just clap your hands.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 6 min read
We focus on craft beer, that much is true. But much like Alchemist brewer, John Kimmich, we too enjoy a good ol' can of cheap beer from time to time. Just because a beer wasn't coolshipped for spontaneous fermentation in a brewer's garage doesn't mean it's not worth drinking. Well, some aren't, but we'll cover that.
American beer drinkers have become increasingly picky of late. Their beer of choice, as well as their beer brand of choice, has become the craft brews from the local brewing company in their home city or town.
However, that doesn't mean you should avoid these ice cold pilsners. Just the opposite. Sometimes you just want to sample Colorado or Wisconsin's "finest" beer. You know the type, cheap, old style beer. Light lagers. Malty brews. Beers you might see in a 1980s-style taste test advertising.
This list of beers does not include your favorite IPA or fruited sour. They are the cream ales that hipsters order at dive bars. They are the beers that people drink at NFL and College Football tailgates. They are the beers that craft breweries openly mock on their websites, even if they drink them in secret.
Why? Because they are cost effective to purchase as a consumer. This list contains some of the most popular beer brands in the country, if not the world.
Blue Moon, the cheap beer you always believed was craft but is not. Blue Moon is an all-time easy drinker. It's the beer you want to drink after a midday Adult Kickball league victory.
The cheapest of cheap beers. Well, not actually. Through spectacular marketing and product design, Budweiser has managed to maintain an air of quality about them, thus forcing premium prices (for a cheap beer) for their "premium" product. Referred to as the King of Beers, craft beer Bud is not.
Further, it's managed to fragment itself into all manner of variety, ranging from the standard (Bud "Heavy"), to the ubiquitous (Bud Light), to the gimmicky (Bud Ice), and even all the way to the non-alcoholic (Bud Zero).
Thought times are a changing, you can rest assured that a Budweiser is being poured at an American Legion, Elks Club, or VFW Hall right now. Literally, right now. 24 hours a day, all around the United States, someone at one of those venues is drinking a Bud this very second.
The cheapest of cheap Bud beers. No beer is cheaper than Bud Light. We aren't talking price. We aren't talking calories. We're talking the stale carrot (you know how they taste like solid air?) of beer.
Bud Light has no soul. So, it makes perfect sense that it is perhaps the most consumed beer in the United States.
Throwing a college party? Busch Light is your beer du jour. Cheap and effective should really be the motto for this particular beer. Many rounds of flip cup and beer pong have been played with
Coors Banquet beer is the beer with the best story on this list of cheap beers. Burt Reynolds, in his late 1970s coolness, plays a character, The Bandit, who's sole job is to confound the law at every turn, thus enabling Coors Banquet beers to be bootlegged to the South. What's more, he does this in one of the most iconic vintage cars in cinematic history, a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.
I don't care how clever Anheuser-Busch thought they were with any of their clever advertising, it will never compare to the romantic majesty that is bootlegging beer in a 70s hotrod.
Tapping the Rockies is like tapping your faucet. But it has some booze, so we can call it beer. Coors Lights, or Ice Cold Cruisers, are a staple of any river tubing trip from North Conway in New Hampshire to floating in the waters surrounding Mt. Rainier in Washington. And, if you're doing that, you're going to want a sweet floating cooler.
Corona, the cheap beer, got crushed for awhile at the beginning of the pandemic. We'd feel bad, but we don't really get sad for multinational corporations who make billions of dollars. As for the beer itself, people drink it (alot). That's the thing that can be said the most about Corona. For more info, check out our Coronita vs Corona debate.
Entrenched in the hearts and minds of everyone within 200 miles of Niagara Falls, or, 322 kilometers for our cousins in Canada. Whether you're pledging a frat at the University of Rochester or running a beer mile at SUNY Geneseo, you're drinking Genesee.
Ahh, Honey Brown. Honey Brown, much like Blue Moon, is a brand that your younger self always assumed was craft. Also akin to Blue Moon is the fact that the flavor is decent enough for the price, much in the same way that the playability of a Made in Mexico Fender Stratocaster from the 1990s is totally worth the price compared to a United States model. Or something like that.
We've never said no to a J.W. Dundee Honey Brown, especially when grilling brats.
Keystone Light. Yup. Keystone Light.
Amber Bock may be a 5% beer (abv), but we swear it hits harder than that. Michelob's craftier offering features caramel and other dark-roasted malts. Proud isn't quite the word we'd use, but it's a decent beer for cheap and you could do far, far worse.
This lager is often available for just over a dollar per beer if you purchase in semi-bulk (12 pack).
Another double and/or triple positive. Words such as "ultra", "pure" and "gold" connotate a standard that simply cannot be lived up to by Michelob, but they try anyway. All in all, Mic Ultra is. That's it, it simply is.
The Champagne of Beers. Maybe even the Champagne of Champagne. Ok, that's a bit too aggressive.
Miller High Life is party staple.
A family beer if there ever was one. Miller Lite is responsible for the adversarial battle cry of beer lovers taking sides, "Tastes Great" vs "Less Filling"
Look kids, a double positive. Maybe even a triple if you count "Milwaukee", since Milwaukee is a city associated with the brewing of beer.
For real though, Milwaukee's Best Premium. By using "best" and "premium", they're trying to sell this beer to you harder than all of the granite in New Hampshire. And, that's precisely how you know it's one of the best cheap beers that money can buy.
Plus, THE BEAST is a killer nickname for a cheap beer.
Narragansett's have made a strong come back over the last decade, decade plus. The Rhode Island beer was first made in a small town outside of Providence called Cranston. The beer has seen its share of ups and downs since its creation over in 1890. It's been bought and sold, it's been shut down, and it even gained some measure of notoriety for having been featured prominently in Spielberg's Jaws in 1975.
But don't be afraid, the beer isn't going to bite you. Grab a 'Gansett, neighbor and Crush it like Quint!
Natural Ice in its purest form is that of a case of beer being pulled out of the trunk by a college freshmen*. Natty Ice comes in a few different shapes in sizes. The one that should pop into your head is the lone 25oz sized can that you see in any Publix cold beer aisle. It's the last one left and you don't grab that 25oz Natty Ice, the person behind you will.
* We don't support underage drinking nor condone it.
Natty Light is a light beer. No joke. It's the light sibling of the "Natty" family. Just like its brethren, it's a cheap beer for sure.
Nothing says playing Edward Fortyhands (40 hands) like duct taping two 40oz bottles of Old Milwaukee and holding on for dear life. If you're taking this route, you better know how to chug beer, otherwise it's all going downhill*.
As for the flavor, of course Old Milwaukee is drinkable. Sessionable if you will, if you'll allow that.
* We don't support or condone binge drinking.
PBR is band fuel and every indie rocker knows this. Countless albums and bad decisions have been made under the influence of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
It's possible that the best non-alcoholic beers have more booze in them than Rolling Rock. We're not scientists, so we can't actually confirm that fact, but we're kinda (pretty) sure. As for flavor, Rolling Rocks go down like water, maybe even easier.
Ok, ok, we'll stop. Rolling Rocks are always a treat, even if the beer isn't coming from Old Latrobe anymore.
Shiner Bock's flavor is bigger than the flavor of most of the rest of these cheap beers. Shiner Bock is also made in Texas. You see what's going on there, right?
Stroh's has one of the best names in the cheap beer drinking game. It's also what your uncle drank in the 70s. It's also the beer most likely to be found in an old school white styrofoam cooler. It's also a really great beer for drinking games.
Tecate is a Mexican lager that you should be familiar with.
As America's oldest brewery, Yuengling has been producing beers in Pennsylvania for what feels like forever. Their recent market expansion has made them immensely more accessible for folks. In many ways, Yuengling is the cheap beer for discerning adults who don't want to be seen slamming PBRs and High Lifes anymore.