Sometimes the situation you're in doesn't call for a craft beer, and you want something you can drink a lot of without feeling too full or hammered.
But there are so many of those "cheap" macro beers to choose from.
That's why we're here. Producers Melissa Turtinen (GoMN's craft beer writer), Josette Elieff (she's learning to like craft beer), Joe Nelson (the whiskey and cheap beer drinker) and Zach McCormick (the hipster/craft beer nerd) did a blind taste test of five pretty popular macro beers to figure out which one is the best.
We tried Bud Light, Michelob Golden Draft Light, Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Miller Lite. Then we rated them using our 1-5 beer-rating scale, with the caveat that we don't compare them to the craft beers we (well most of us) typically drink.
Going into it we all had our favorites, but most of us were quite surprised by the beer we ended up liking the best. Check out the video above for what we thought of each beer, and below are our reactions and ratings for each brew.
Beer 1 – Bud Light
– Melissa gave it a 5. Her review: "There's not much flavor at all. Very watery. Very easy to drink because it's like water and I love water."
– Josette gave it a 4. Her review: "That's extra watery. There's not much to it ... It doesn't have a bad flavor, but there should be more oompf to it."
– Zach gave it a 2. His review: "Definitely a light beer. Golden straw color. Very light on the tongue. Not much in the way of a finish and hardly any hop flavor whatsoever. I could pound a couple of these on a boat – that's not bad."
– Joe gave it a 5. "It's delicious. I could drink that for hours. It just goes down the tube, straight to the gut. I would rate this a 5, I'd drink it every day, no problems."
Beer 2 – Michelob Golden Light
– Melissa gave it a 5. Her review: "You definitely notice you're drinking a beer as opposed to the last one that was really watery ... still a very, very light beer."
– Josette gave it a 5. Her review: "This one has more oompf to it – a little bit more bitter. I like this one better."
– Zach gave it a 1. His review: "This one has even less flavor than the last one. The last one had kind of a nice sweetness to it, this one just has hardly anything going on."
– Joe gave it a 2. His review: "I wouldn't do this every day. This just tastes like bad water."
Beer 3 – Coors Light
– Melissa gave it a 3. Her review: "The first two had similar flavors, one was just more flavorful. This one is a completely different flavor. It's not bitter, but it tastes funny."
– Josette gave it a 3. Her review: "That one tastes soapy. I can't describe it as anything but soapy. If you took a beer and added a little bit of soap. ... I like this less than the other ones."
– Zach gave it a 2. His review: "Still tastes like a light beer, a little sweeter. It's like a watered-down Banquet beer."
– Joe gave it a 3. His review: "I think this is a little better than the last one. It's good for a bloody Mary and nothing else."
Beer 4 – PBR
– Melissa gave it a 2. Her review: "It smells like a penny, and kind of tastes like a penny ... I don't really care for this."
– Josette gave it a 2. Her review: She agreed it tastes and smells like a penny, "but not enough to make you not drink it."
– Zach gave it a 3. His review: "It's got a little bit more body to it. There's actually a bit of malt flavor, which I like. And tastes like it's got a little bit more alcohol to it."
– Joe gave it a 4. His review: "That's PBR. I drink that a lot."
Beer 5 – Miller Lite
– Melissa gave it a 5. Her review: "More comparable flavors with the first three beers. I'd drink this. It doesn't just taste like water. It's smooth, pleasant."
– Josette gave it a 5. Her review: "That one has a little more flavor, with kind of a bitterness to it – more than the other ones, I think. This might be my favorite of all of them because it doesn't have any repulsive flavors but it has a little added oompf that I feel that some of them didn't."
– Zach gave it a 2. His review: "This one's really thin, it's on the watery side. There's hardly anything going on at all."
– Joe gave it a 5 His review: He thought it was a Michelob Golden Light – his favorite beer – so he automatically gave it a 5. He was wrong.
And the winner is...
Miller Lite (much to all of our surprise) was the best-rated beer of the five we tried. Here's the final ranking:
- Miller Lite – 17 points.
- Bud Light – 16 points.
- Michelob Golden Draft Light – 13 points.
- Coors Light and PBR (tie) – 11 points.
Did we forget your favorite macro beer? We're thinking about doing round two of the cheap beer taste test in the near future. Send your suggestions of the beers we should include in the next edition to firstname.lastname@example.org.