The Cheap Beer Challenge

The question as to what the best “Cheap Beer” is has raged for decades. Several months ago I decided to put the top cheap beers to the test. Working on behalf of Study Breaks Magazine, I conducted the Study Breaks Cheap Beer Challenge. I selected five thirsty beer enthusiasts to test out five popular low-cost beers – Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, Lonestar, Keystone and Natural Light. The beers were poured into non-descript cups and the judges were asked to describe and rate each beer, from one to ten.

Bill Bowman and Jenny Baker find out what the best Cheap Beer is.

The Judges

Chef Coi

Chef Coi made a name for herself on the 5th season of the popular reality-cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen. Since then, she has continued to cook and keep her palette tuned. She enjoys good beer and relaxing with friends. Coi’s expert taste-buds and sensitive sense of smell will be put to good use.

Ivan Villareal

Ivan loves beer and having a good time. In his free time, Ivan enjoys fishing, going to the lake with his dog, working out and hanging out with friends.  Ivan also enjoys knocking back a couple Miller Lites after a tough day. Ivan claims that his love of beer more than qualifies him to judge this contest.

Brandy Brown

Brandy is an athletic, outgoing girl. She enjoys getting outdoors to swim, wakeboard and play rugby. Of course, drinking beer is also a favorite pastime. Brandy claims to have exquisite taste in beer and boasts more years of beer drinking experience than her fellow judges.

Adi “The 2nd Most Interesting Man in the World” Pavlovic

Adi is an interesting guy from across the Atlantic. He is a huge fan of all varieties of beer, with his favorite being Fireman #4. In his free time, he enjoys working out, doing pushups and partaking in his favorite drinking game, “Blackout!”

The judges taste the beers.

The Results

Layout by Kat Devers


Pabst Blue Ribbon bested our Texas favorites. The judges were shocked when they were told which beers they actually tasted. Brandy was stunned to find out her true desires. “What I thought I liked, I didn’t and what I thought I didn’t, I do. It’s kind of an identity crisis.” After the experience, Ivan was equally shaken. “I don’t think I like light beer as much anymore.” Hollis summed up the experience for everyone. “This was a great experience. Now I know what the best cheap beer truly is.”


7 Responses to “The Cheap Beer Challenge”

  1. Man this was a great job! You truly assembled a great team of tasters! I totally agree. When I’m at Emo’s or Stubb’s at a show I usually go for the Pabst, but I like Lone Star now and then as well. I definitely stay away from the Keystone. Had it once two years ago and I’ve never tried it again.

  2. brandonfried Says:

    great post, bill! i’m pretty surprised to see PBR doing so well, haha. i have a lot of friends who swear by lone star and honestly, when i drank beer, i didn’t find it half bad either. go figure.

  3. I love the post, but disagree with the outcome. High Life is by far the best cheap beer out there. With advertisement like this: how can it not be?!

  4. I’m also surprised by PBR. Maybe its the home state loyalty in a lot of my friends but they can’t get enough of Lone Star and I personally like Miller High Life. Maybe its the great commercials

  5. Great post! My boyfriend is always saying what a great cheap beer Pabst is…guess I’ll finally have to try it!

  6. I love Texas beers, but as far as cheap one’s go I definitely think PBR is the best (Lonestar at close second). I’ve got a few friends from Pennsylvania who got me into it and ever since then that’s what I go with when on a budget.

  7. Toronto Homebrew…

    […]The Cheap Beer Challenge « Austin Brew[…]…

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