The Best Cheap Beers To Drink In 2023

It seems like to the average beer drinker, there are two main categories to classify the alcohol — cheap beer and craft beer. It's a binary and an oversimplification of the ever-growing world of beer, especially for the brews that are sold for a bargain. Many people believe that craft beer is always expensive, hoppy, and complex, while cheap beer is plain and readily available. Sure, there are mass-produced beers that can be found at bars, gas stations, and liquor stores across the world that only costs a few quarters per can. However, there are also plenty of tasty beers that are small crafted that are a good bang for their buck.

Unless it's a special occasion, most people like to find a deal whenever they can, especially when it comes to alcohol. Hey, it's why happy hour as a concept even exists. Thankfully, there are so many beers sold from a wide variety of breweries at a low price worth trying at least once, especially because they won't break the bank. 

We rounded up a few of the best cheap beers to try before the end of 2023. Whether they're mass-produced or harder to find, your wallet will agree that these are exactly the beers you should be drinking before the new year. 

How we selected products

Cheap beer as a qualifier is also pretty vague. It doesn't specify the type of beer, region its brewed in, alcohol content, or International Bitterness Unit (IBU) rating. Therefore, we tried to pick an array of brews to accommodate every palate, whether your drink of choice is a hoppy IPA or a breezy lager. The unifying factor is that every cheap beer on the list is sold for less than $2 per can or bottle, and it's typically far below that price tag. 

As for determining which cheap beers out of the hundreds sold are the best, we tapped into the court of public opinion. We took into consideration the general popularity of an item, as well as its availability at the average bar. We also had to narrow down one beer per category, so we couldn't bog down the list with our favorite cheap light beers to drink on a hot summer day. 

Online user reviews and press coverage also helped us determine which beers stand out from the pack, thanks to websites geared toward beer enthusiasts like Untappd and BeerAdvocate. Additionally, if a beer is limited edition for 2023 or has a special connection to the year we're highlighting, those factors likely made an impact in their overall inclusion. 

Best cheap beer for a crowd

When trying to decide the best cheap beer for a crowd, Hamm's is always a good answer. A case of 30 cans of Hamm's can go a long way, and most people will be surprised at how robust it tastes for the low price. It's a light and easy drinker at 4.7% ABV and has the history to back up fans of the brand. Hamm's has been brewed since 1865 in St. Paul, Minnesota, first originating from German brewers looking to make an American blend of beer. It's become one of those American beers you'll find everywhere from backyard barbecues to college parties, and that's not by coincidence. 

The reviews of Hamm's classic lager help reinforce that it's one of the best beers for your buck. "Hands down (Hamm's down?) the best cheap beer for easy drinking, clean and refreshing taste. Also the cheapest," one Drizly customer wrote in a review. 

You can get a 30-pack of Hamm's for $17.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap light beer

Another must-try American lager that is a simple and bright drinker is Local's Light by Short's Brewing Company from Northern Michigan. The 5.2% ABV brew may not have originated in the 1800s, but it's been a staple in Short's lineup since 2004. It's a light beer that doesn't lack in flavor, and a blind taste test would probably result in many floored participants who wouldn't expect something so tasty to be a light beer. 

Some reviews of Local's Light on BeerAdvocate even compare the flavor to Hamm's beer, even though it does have a slightly lighter body and brighter flavor. "Simple flavors but good ones that come across as clean," one user review reads. "Not bad for a basic brew, food and company friendly." 

A six-pack of Local's Light by Short's Brewing sells for $8.54 on Drizly.

Best cheap beer with a high ABV

Goose Island's Tropical Beer Hug is bright and colorful in both flavor and appearance, but the can is also hiding a whole lot of alcohol for a low price. Tropical Beer Hug contains a whopping 9.9% ABV, but it's fruity and shockingly easy to drink for an imperial IPA. It also has an IBU score of 45, so it's not too bitter like some IPAs. The flavors are undoubtedly tropical, with notes of pineapple, mango, peach, and citrus. 

Goose Island also sells six-packs of Tropical Beer Hug for the same price one might expect to pay for one draft at a bar, making it even more enticing to try. "Deliciously balanced and not too hoppy. Definitely doesn't feel like 9.9% ABV," one Untappd review of the brew reads. 

A six-pack of Tropical Beer Hug sells for $12.99 on Drizly as of April 2023.

Best easily available cheap beer

Miller High Life is lovingly referred to as the Champagne of beers because it is elegant amongst a sea of lackluster affordable brews. High Life is also a reliable staple at most bars, whether it's a dive spot or a high-end joint. It's an easy-to-drink beer at just 4.6%, and its golden amber color is just as inviting. It's no surprise this staple has stood the test of time since 1903 when it became Miller Brewing Company's flagship beer. The rest is history. 

The Champagne of beers has dozens of die-hard fans who rely on it as an always-available staple. "It's smooth, light, no after taste. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone who says that they hate beer," one Influenster user wrote in a review of Miller High Life. Miller High Life only gets better with experimentation — like the bright-red Spaghett for Aperol lovers (via Inside Hook). 

A 12-pack of Miller High Life sells for $11.59 on Drizly.

Best cheap beer worth seeking out

Stone Brewing has breweries on both coasts in California and Virginia, so it is relatively accessible to hunt down the brand's Hazy IPA that's a fairly priced craft brew. It's a slightly sweet hazy, meaning it's more creamy and refreshing than it is bitter and robust. The 6.7% ABV can also has plenty of fruit inside, with distinct notes of citrus, melon, mango, and pineapple. 

Stone Brewing's Hazy IPA is a newer release from 2021, but it's already made an impressive impact among those who have sought it out. "This is by far the best IPA I have tried. There is a smoothness to the 'haze' of the Stone Hazy IPA. There are citrus undertones and it is a refreshing beer," one review on Stone Brewing's website reads. 

Stone Brewing sells its Hazy IPA for $12 for a six-pack.

Best cheap beer for warm weather drinking

Kona Brewing Co.'s Big Wave Golden Ale gets a lot of praise because it's just that good, and it won't break the bank. It's an easy brew to get your hands on that immediately transports you to the beach no matter where you are drinking it. It's a light 4.4% ABV that is golden in hue as the name suggests, and is light without tasting watered down. 

Big Wave Golden Ale also has a loyal crew of drinkers who rely on it whenever they need something cheap and tasty. "I cannot believe that I have never rated this beer. I have had it several times and always enjoyed it. Nothing earth shattering but incredibly solid," one BeerAdvocate user wrote in a review. 

A six-pack of Kona Brewing Co.'s Big Wave Golden Ale sell for about $10.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap beer for cold weather drinking

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are certain beers we turn to to warm us up during those cold winter months. If you need something new and affordable in your roster, look no further than 21st Amendment Brewery's Fireside Chat. It's a winter spiced ale that isn't overly bitter with just 45 IBUs, but it still has a sturdy body filled with spices and hints of cocoa. The brew is also pretty boozy, containing 7.9% ABV, which you can't beat for the price. 

It's one of those beers you have to try, and it's best enjoyed by a cozy fireplace in a cold glass. "I would not hesitate to give this the equivalent of 3 Michelin stars and 5 forks and knives, or just a solid 5/5," one BeerAdvocate user wrote in a review. "This will undoubtedly aid in the enjoyment of any holiday feast. A brilliant and blessed beer, one to truly savor."

A six-pack of 21st Amendment Fireside Chat sells for $9.99 on Total Wine.

Best cheap American beer

There are so many beers made in the U.S. that it's actually impossible to pick one to define the country as a whole. But if we're looking for something affordable, reliable, and quintessentially American, we have to turn to Narragansett Lager. The Rhode Island beer is 5% ABV. It's been around since 1890 and has never wavered in its crisp and refreshing flavor. It has rich history in New England and beyond, considering it was the best selling beer in the region in the 1930s to the 1970s, according to the brand. 

It's cheap, it's delicious, and it has distinguished roots — do you really need a better excuse to buy a pack of 'Gansetts? "This brew was initially described to me as 'New England PBR' and that is honestly more accurate than not," one BeerAdvocate user wrote in a review. "Not necessarily superior to PBR, when it comes to 'good cheap beer,' but definitely something you shouldn't be surprised to find in my fridge or a cooler that I bring to [your] backyard BBQ!" 

A six-pack of Narragansett Lager sells for $7.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap Japanese-style beer

Kirin Ichiban is one of the iconic Japanese beers that you will find on the menu at sushi restaurants across the globe. Even though it's now mostly brewed in the U.S., the flavor of the lager, which pairs perfectly with yakitori and nigiri, has not been compromised, staying true to its Japanese roots. The golden beer contains 4.9% ABV and it's light but pleasantly malty, like you would probably expect from a beer that proudly contains 100% malt. 

The Japanese-style lager is slightly hoppy with a clean finish that's dangerously easy to down, making it a perfect beer to drink long after dinner ends. "Malty, but not over the top. I agree with the others, this is better than the standard mass-produced American lagers," one Total Wine customer wrote in a review of the Japanese-style lager. 

A 12-pack of Kirin Ichiban sells for $17.49 on Total Wine.

Best cheap Belgian-style beer

Okay, so there are dozens of styles of Belgian beers, but as far as Belgian-style white ales, Avery Brewing Co.'s White Rascal is a must-try. It's the flagship beer at the Boulder, Colorado brewery, but has roots in Belgium. The folks at Avery Brewing use the same ingredients and techniques used by 15th century brewers from the village of Hoegaarden, so it honors the Belgian traditions. 

White Rascal is bright in flavor, but also a little spicy thanks to the addition of coriander and Curaçao orange peel. It also has a medium body with 5.6% ABV per can. "A crisp beer that is dry and leaves you wanting more," one BeerAdvocate review of White Rascal reads. Another customer shared, "Fancy Blue Moon/Shock Top with a nice minorly complex flavor profile that leans into its Belgian inspirations. Nothing wildly special but certainly wildly enjoyable." 

A six-pack of White Rascal sells for $9.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap Mexican beer

When you think of Mexican beer, it probably conjures up flavors of refreshing golden pilsners you can sip all day in the sand. Pacifico is the epitome of that. It's a 4.4% lager that has history in Germany, Mexico, and California. The brand was founded by three German brewers in Mazatlán, Mexico more than a century ago. Later, in the 1970s, a few surfers discovered Pacifico after a long day in the waves and brought it back to California to share with the masses. 

Pacifico is the perfect beer that always tastes refreshing. "This is one of the better of the light cervezas. It is very similar to Corona but has a slightly heavier body and fuller flavor," one Influenster review of Pacifico reads. "This one goes really well dressed with a little salt and lime."

A six-pack of Pacifico sells for $10.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap German-style beer

With the tagline "The father of all strong beers," Paulaner Salvator is a robust brew with an alcohol content of 7.9%. However, the appeal of this beer doesn't stop at its potency and affordable price. Paulaner Salvator is a doppelbock, also known as a double bock, with a complex flavor that combines smooth malt sweetness and subtle hints of hops. The beer's chestnut brown color is the result of the dark Munich malt used in its brewing process.

Already brewed over 375 years ago by Paulaner monks, Paulaner Salvator's storied history adds to its appeal. The monks used to drink beer as a source of sustenance during Lent. And while the beer's original recipe has been refined over the years, the brew remains true to its German roots and is a German beer you should try.

Paulaner Salvator has been praised by beer enthusiasts, receiving 4.8 out of 5 stars on Drizly and 88 out of 100 on Beer Advocate. One Beer Advocate reviewer explains their enthusiasm for the brew, saying, "This beer is the reason I fell in love with Munich malts, and German beer. [... It's] a fine example of a high quality, mass-produced beer."

A six-pack of Paulaner Salvator sells for $12.99 on Drizly as of April 2023.

Best cheap grocery store beer

Brewed for the Trader Joe's grocery store chain by a Minhas Craft Brewery in Wisconsin, Simpler Times Lager is a budget-friendly beer that has gained a following among fans of American lagers (and there is a difference between ale and lager). Described as crisp and well-balanced, the beer doesn't contain any of the fillers that can be found in so many other low-price brews. Notably, at 6.2% ABV, Simpler Times Lager is on the higher end of the alcohol content scale for a beer of its kind.

Simpler Times Lager has received mixed reviews from beer lovers, with some praising it for its crisp taste and others criticizing it for its lack of complexity. Perhaps Carla, who reviewed the Simpler Times Lager for her blog The Beer Babe sums this up best, saying that the beer is "cleaner tasting than your typical macro adjunct lager or malt liquor, but lacking genuine flavor and delectability of a true craft beer." This being said, we believe that Simpler Times Lager is still a great choice for beer enthusiasts who value affordability and drinkability over a more complex flavor profile.

A 12-pack of Simpler Times Lager sells for $8.99 at Trader Joe's.

Best cheap beer in a bottle

Okay, we can hear the snarky comments now — most of these beers come both in a can and a bottle, we know. There's just something about a Coors Banquet Beer in a mini bottle that just elevates the experience and is worth shouting out separately. Coors Banquet has been brewed since the 1870s, and the brand has been selling it in a stubby bottle since the 1930s. The golden lager is a good balance of sweet and malt with just the right amount of hops to balance it out without making it bitter in the slightest. 

Coors Banquet is a 5% ABV beer that is smooth, slightly fruity, and endlessly easy to drink. "Coors is refreshing and smooth, not bitter. It goes down easily. It's one of the best values out there. There's nothing I would change about it," one Influenster user wrote in a review of Coors Banquet. 

A six-pack of Coors Banquet sells for $6.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap pilsner

North Coast Scrimshaw derives its name from the intricate engravings carved into bone by sailors in the 19th century. Brewed on California's Mendocino Coast, the 4.5% ABV pilsner combines Hallertauer and Tettnang hops with Munich malt, resulting in a crisp and refreshing brew with a dry finish. The pale, moderately carbonated beer comes with a sweet, malty, and mildly citrusy aroma. While complex, the flavor isn't overly sweet, featuring notes of honey, malt, floral hops, and lemony sourness.

North Coast Scrimshaw has done well with reviewers, garnering an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars on Drizly, and 85 out of 100 on Beer Advocate. One happy Drizly shopper calls North Coast Scrimshaw their "definitive summer beer," adding, "[It has] a very interesting mix of flavors. You can taste the ocean." Another reviewer on the platform agrees, saying, "Great summer beer for the beach, park, patio, or lawn. Crisp and light with just enough body."

A six-pack of North Coast Scrimshaw sells for $10.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap lager

While all pilsners are technically pale lagers, the category of lagers is much more expansive and can include beers both light and dark. One lager that is a classic cheap beer you can get at most bars is Stella Artois. Even though this is a list of beers to drink in 2023, Stella has been around for more than 600 years when it was first brewed in Belgium. It's now brewed in the U.S. under the supervision of Belgian brewmasters to honor the version from the 1300s. 

Stella Artois is a 5% ABV beer that tastes good as a refreshment after a long day, or as a neutral accompaniment to a meal. "Whenever I'm at a restaurant and they have Stella on the menu it's very hard to try a new beer that might be disappointing over one that is this perfect," one Rate Beer user wrote in a review. "In a cage fight Stella can beat any lager beer from the Western Hemisphere and not break a sweat."

A 12-pack of Stella Artois sells for $16.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap IPA

Southern Tier Brewing Company is a brand that was born in Lakewood, New York and has gone on to explode into one of the major craft brew brands in the U.S. One of the brand's original beers from the early days is the Southern Tier IPA that is also a bang for your buck, especially as far as IPAs go. "Really great beer. More drinkable than a lot of IPAs I've had before while still having a decent ABV," one Drizly customer wrote in a review. 

Southern Tier IPA is a boozy option as well with 7% ABV and is relatively hoppy, coming it at 60 IBUs. The medium body beer has those classic hops flavors of citrus and pine with a hint of sweetness to help mellow out the bitterness. 

A single Southern Tier IPA sells for $2.99 on Half Time Beverage.

Best cheap double IPA

If an IPA is strong and hoppy, a double IPA just takes that up a notch. It might sound intimidating, but a budget-friendly way to explore the beer category is Lagunitas Maximus Colossal IPA. The 9% ABV beer packs a boozy punch while tasting like bread, baking spices, florals, and fruit. Of course, as expected with a double IPA, it's hoppy as you'd expect, but with a steady 60 IBU rating. 

Lagunitas Maximus is only intimidating in name. It's a well-balanced and palatable drink that will have you tipsy after just one can, which is always a win for the booze budget. "Best $1.50 tall boy ever," one Untappd user wrote in a review of the brew. 

A six-pack of Lagunitas Maximus sells for $11.99 on Drizly.

Best cheap craft beer

America's craft beer scene is booming, with small breweries across the country producing a diverse range of unique beers. With this in mind, there're a few things that make New Belgium Fat Tire Ale stand out from the craft beer pack. While the amber ale has been in existence since 1991, the brew has recently been given a brand new label and flavor profile. And the new recipe features a new type of hops and raw barley to make it more approachable.

As reported by The Charlotte Observer, the New Belgium Brewmaster Christian Holbrook hopes that beer enthusiasts will embrace the new offering, saying "Longtime Fat Tire drinkers will clearly recognize the original Fat Tire flavor when tasting the new recipe. So far, many are telling us they prefer the crisper, brighter version and feel excited for the change."

According to New Belgium Brewing CEO Steve Fechheimer, the revamped version of the New Belgium Fat Tire Ale is more in line with the brewery's commitment to combating climate change. "We've made Fat Tire even better at what it's always done best — taste delicious, bring people together and spark our customers to engage in the climate movement," he said.

A six-pack of New Belgium Fat Tire Ale sells for $11.49 on Drizly at the time of publication.

Best cheap dark beer

Modelo Negra is the brainchild of Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewery behind such popular offerings as Corona Extra and Modelo Especial. When the company first set up shop in Tacuba, Mexico in 1925, its brewmasters sought inspiration from traditional German brewing methods. As such, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Modelo Negra has been heavily influenced by Munich Dunkel lager, a dark beer type that originated in Bavaria.

Simultaneously flavorful and refreshing, Modelo Negra is relatively approachable for a dark beer, making it a great choice for newbies. The medium-bodied, lightly-carbonated lager boasts aromas of roasted malts and nuts, as well as notes of caramel and banana. The flavor profile of Modelo Negra combines caramel sweetness with delicate hints of dark fruit.

Beer aficionados give Modelo Negra their seal of approval. With an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 300 Drizly shoppers, it's clear that this brew has won over many fans as their go-to dark beer. One reviewer highlights, "Love this brew! The bold flavor and color just hits the spot for me. Great with a steak meal or after a hard day's work."

A six-pack of Modelo Negra sells for $19.79 on Drizly as of April 2023.

Best low-calorie cheap beer

Beer enthusiasts watching their waistlines are bound to appreciate Michelob Ultra Superior Light Beer's relatively low-calorie count. While the average 12-ounce bottle of beer has around 155 calories, for Michelob Ultra, this number stands at just 95, which makes it a great choice for those who care about their calories. The beer also contains 2.6 grams of carbs.

While Michelob Ultra is low on calories, it's certainly not low on taste or alcohol content. With an ABV of around 4.2%, the brew is comparable to other similar beers in the potency department. So what about the taste? Brewed with Herkules hops and grains, Michelob Ultra features a subtle scent of citrus complemented by a crisp finish. One Influenster reviewer sums up Michelob Ultra's merits, saying, "I do recommend this if you are trying to cut back on calories and carbs but don't want a fruity seltzer beverage and you don't want to skimp on flavor."

A six-pack of Michelob Ultra Superior Light Beer sells for $16.99 on Drizly.