Everywhere you look these days, attention is being paid to craft beers — heavy, hoppy small batch brews made by independent companies with artisanal recipes, new combinations of ingredients, and unique flavor profiles.
Cheap, old school beers — the kind your dad used to drink while grilling some brats or watching the World Series — have come to be looked down upon by some as boring, bland, water-downed corporate swill — the “fast food” of brews.
While craft beers can be tasty, there still a place in a man’s fridge, and definitely his koozie, for cheap beer. Today I’ll talk about why the old school stuff should still be celebrated, and make 5 suggestions to enjoy (unironically) this summer.
Let’s see what your Pops knew all along.
A Very Brief History of “Cheap” Beer
When I talk about “cheap beer,” I’m talking about any domestic beer sold in large quantities, and made by Coors, Miller, or Anheuser-Busch (known as “the Big 3”). These three brewers sell the vast majority of beer in the US and their brands include: Coors and Coors Light, Budweiser and Bud Light, Busch, Natural Ice, Michelob, Miller High Life, Miller Lite, etc. Beyond those, these brewers also still manufacture a number of what would be called “nostalgia brands” like Hamm’s, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rainier, etc.
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The ironic thing about these brands is that while they’re today seen as mediocre budget beverages, 100 years ago, they were actually considered premium stuff, and priced accordingly
In the mid-1800s, most brewers were still making the heavy German lagers of yore, using only malted barley as the alcohol-producing grain. They were catering to a largely immigrant or…