You know you love it: a cold, cheap, crappy beer. Even the biggest snobs love a cold can of cheap beer on a hot summer night’s cruise.

Yes, shit beer is back ladies and gentlemen, and is now overly drank in trendy hipster dive bars nationwide. So to see how they stack up to one another, we tested these beers in an exclusive blind taste test and compared them against each other and against the American Lager standard, Budweiser. To simplify testing and to save money for finally hiring an HR Department (Richard in sales is getting a little creepy) we stayed away from testing any of the “light” versions of these beers.

Without further ado, here are our findings …


“It’s the water”

Price paid for 12 pack: $8.99
Taste: No, not really
After Taste: Yeah, there it is
Color: Golden
Head: Not bad

Although Olympia may be brewed by Pabst Brewing Company, it is definitely it’s own unique beer and flavor. It was one of the office favorites and received higher accolades than Bud when tasted side by side. Olympia rang in at under 10 bucks. “This is beer I would actually drink,” remarked one staff member. With a resounding, “I love Olympia,” by another. It has an initial light and fruity taste similar to Hamm’s, a bit of a twang, and finishes with a slight metallic twinge. Since it’s inception in 1896 we doubt this beer has changed much. And why would it? In 2008 Olympia won the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Gold Medal in the “American-Style Lager or "Premium Lager” category.


“Just the kiss of the hops”

Price paid for 12 pack: $9.49
Taste: Ummmm
After Taste: Not bad really
Color: Pale Gold
Head: Pretty frothy when poured wrong

While most people think that PBR is Milwaukee’s most famous beer, according to the can, Schlitz is actually “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” How official that ranking is was difficult to determine. And while this beer might not be as readily available, it could be worth seeking out as you cruise the isles looking for something cheap and palatable. According to our highly experienced beer tasters, Schlitz tastes both like PBR and like Coors. Is this good or bad? We’ll let you decide. Our final ranking: “It’s decent, but it’s no Hamm’s.”


“The beer refreshing”

Price paid for 12 pack: $8.99
Taste: There’s a taste?
After Taste: There’s a taste?
Color: Urine
Head: Bubbly

Sure we may be biased based on our love for the drunken cartoon characters and beloved Hamm’s bear we used to see on the company’s TV commercials, but our consensus is that Hamm’s is one of the best cheap beers out there. We were shocked at its low price point relative to drinkability. Around since 1865, Hamm’s took a GABF Gold Medal in both 2007 and 2010 in the “American Style Lager” category. Need further proof? It was top pick in almost every blind taste test in the office. “It reminds me of how my uncle’s used to smell,” declared one staffer. And another, “It’s so good, there’s almost no taste to it whatsoever.” However, we believe the 1979 animated commercial sums it up best: “You can’t beat the bear for fun, and you can’t beat Hamm’s for great taste.”

Old Milwaukee

“America’s best tasting beer”

Price paid for 12 pack: $9.49
Taste: Sure
After Taste: Poignant
Color: Pale Morning Gold
Head: Yes please

Another fad beer seeing a resurgence in popularity, yet this is one slogan we had to take issue with. While “Old Mill” may be a classic and one that we all remember drinking in high school, we aren’t sure why. For the price, we would take an Olympia any day. It’s got an initial sour taste with a smooth middle and a malty finish. We believe the light version of this beer may be better, as it took a 2007 Gold Medal and a 2010 Silver Medal in the “American Style Lager Light” categories. According to our most seasoned beer taster: “Not much there, but I like a light tasting beer.”

Pabst Blue Ribbon

“Selected America’s best in 1893”

Price paid for 12 pack: $9.99
Taste: None
After Taste: None
Color: Very nice
Head: Some

There’s a reason why Pabst Blue Ribbon is so omnipresent on cruiser rides. It’s like McDonald’s: cheap, easy to find, and satisfying. But this popularity is no accident. PBR has been winning awards since 1893. Most recently it took Gold at the 2005 and 2006 GABF in the “American Style Lager” category. And our testers agreed. One simply declared, “I drink PBR.” It starts with a small bite and finishes light and clean with little aftertaste. Overall a great value (especially in 30 packs, our favorite) and a highly drinkable beer.


“King of beers”

Price paid for 12 pack: $11.99
Taste: Ok
After Taste: A little
Color: Golden Hue
Head: Not bad

We wanted to line up the King of Beers next to our selection of crap beer to see how this “premium lager” really stacked up. Is it worth the extra couple bucks per 12-pack? Our answer: definitely not. If you want a premium beer, drink a micro-brew. If you want a light, cold, schwag beer to quench your thirst and propel you on grueling cruiser rides, go for the cheap stuff.

[Photo: Aaron Bible]