So much is written about the latest craft (that silly word again) brewed creations, from an upstart brewery. Understandably in their zeal to indent their brand presence in the very competitive market, they sometimes appear to have reinvented the wheel, at least to themselves and their devoted followers. But very little is written about that marketing tier that distributors call value beers, or to put it more bluntly, beers for people who do not have much money.
This is one of the blessings and curses of the beer world extending its reach through the Internet. A kind of consumerist tribalism has broken out that completely ignores the economic realities facing a significant portion of Americans who simply can not afford expensive artisan creations.
There is very little song for the common people in the beer world being created by the millennial generation. Even the expansion of market share for craft brewed creations, so highly touted, does not address the fact that those mainstream adjunct beers so demonized by their craft beer brethren have become quite expensive, in light of global consolidation. This becomes a challenge for the millions of low paid workers who are thirsty at the end of a day, and can not find comfort in quenching that thirst with those high fructose corn syrup creations known as soda pop. So in this guide to value beer, I have concentrated on the beers considered to be value beers and not such famous names as Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon, or that famous American diet beer known as Miller Lite.
Genesee Cream Ale An inexpensive hybrid style that decades ago won a gold medal at the Great American Beer festival. Rochester, New York’s most famous brand.
Milwaukee’s Best Ice Affectionately referred to as “the beast” by construction workers. This is one of those boring recipes that will never go away.
Busch BeerThe budget beer from Budweiser that uses corn in the recipe. This beloved swill of millions has seen a price increase due to A-B InBev consolidation.
Miller High LifeBritish beer writer David Kenning described this as “soft, sweet, malty aromas on the nose” and “slightly creamy texture on the palate balanced with a moderate hop bitterness”. Other than the beloved television ads produced with the late Windell Middlebrooks. This once flagship brand has become almost an afterthought in SAB-Miller marketing plans.
Hudepohl Amber LagerProbably the best value at $1 a 16 ounce can. This is the only all malt recipe available in value beer. A throwback to an earlier time, producing the kind of lager that was made before adjunct grains