Goes Down Easy: A Weekly Column on Drinking

August 24, 2007

It’s time for a refresher—and refreshing—course on the cheap beers of Georgetown.

While the discerning drinker will recoil at the thought, the fact is most people can’t afford to enjoy the finer wines, liquors and beers out there all the time—crappy beer will make up most of your drink consumption on campus, and it falls on any diligent tracker of campus’ alcoholic alleyways to devote a little time to the subject.

So what’s the best option? Cheap beers are just different shades of pale, light lagers. Some look more like urine than others, some taste more like urine. Prices in thirty-rack quantity are easily the go-to choice for the undiscerning beer purchaser. The three tiers are the good, weighing in at $19.99—Coors Light, Bud Light and Miller Lite—the bad, $14.99—Miller High Life—and the ugly, at $13.99—Natural “Natty” Light and Busch Light and $12.99Âshy;—Keystone Light.

Of the group, I favor the Miller brand, which seems to have a little more heft than the rest in terms of taste; High Life is a great compromise between value and quantity. Keystone and Natty are wastes of your time; you can scrounge up the extra 20 cents per beer and go for quality.

Since my taste-test of these six varieties was less than scientific (I was “having some friends over for a drink,” which can get out of hand), I decided to consult an expert, ratebeer.com Executive Director Joseph Tucker. He seemed a little baffled by my interest in cheap beer, as if I was asking a NASCAR driver how he felt about my Ford Taurus.

“It’s kind of like this thing where—it’s uh, I would think of all the crap beers as generally inexpensive,” Tucker told me. “We’ve run tests where people couldn’t tell what they’re drinking”—there were certainly times during my taste-test when I couldn’t tell what I was drinking—“There are people who would argue, oh, a Miller is better than your Coors, but when we kind of tested all these folks and had them rate their beers, they almost always didn’t pick their favorite beer as their favorite beer.”

Well, that’s problematic. Tucker suggested I try home-brewing as a method to cut costs—“You need a big old pot and you need a couple of buckets with lids on them and you’re in business”—perhaps there will be further updates on that project in future columns.

He also suggested trying Belgian Saisons, a type of beer he favors this summer as a “light bodied beer, pretty quaffable, [with] a lot bigger, broader profile than the light lagers we drink here.” While I have yet to track down a Saison in the area, I’m pretty sure I’ll find some Bud Light floating around campus this weekend. That sounds pretty quaffable, too.

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