Photos By Franz Mahr
The Super Bowl is this Sunday. You may not know who’s playing. You may not know what time is kickoff. You may not be aware of Tom Brady (that’s a lie, you know Giselle’s husband) or Matt Ryan. But you will most likely drink cheap, shitty beer on Super Bowl Sunday.
We had four people, two women and two men, two BYT staff and two friends, blind taste test 17 cheap beers. All of the beers can easily be found in liquor stores and grocery stores in and around Shaw, Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan.
Meet the drinkers
From left to right, Chris, Kaylee, Harold, Eleni. Here’s why they drank at least 1 oz. of cheap, shitty beer within an hour for scientific reasons.
Chris is a cocktail connoisseur. He makes cocktails, enjoys cocktails, is in a book club about cocktails and batch made custom cocktails for his wedding. He knows alcohol so we made him drink cheap beer.
Kaylee is a BYT staff, food and beverage writer, former bartender and someone willing to try any liquor within reason.
Harold is my football friend. I have seen more televised football games with Harold than anyone else and that means he and I have drank a lot of cheap beer together while watching televised football games.
Eleni is a BYT intern that’s recently of legal drinking age. She’s not a football fan or beer expert and since a lot of people going to Super Bowl parties this Sunday are not football fans or beer experts, she’s the perfect taste tester.
How it worked
Our four tasters drank unidentified beer from clear plastic cups. Pours ranged from 2 to 4 oz. Water was offered (and refused) between tastings. The tasters were instructed to write down their initial thoughts and to venture guesses on which of the 17 beers they were drinking. Only one beer was correctly guessed by all tasters.
Following all of the tastings and initial note taking, the participants were asked to rank their favorite and least favorite beers and were then shown the beers they drank and consensuses were discussed.
Spelling errors are taken from the participants writings and kept in tact.
Taste testers notes
A. Coors Light
Kaylee: Looks like someone drank a medium amount of water (like four out of their daily recommended eight) and then peed. Tastes like literal water. Smells slightly sour. PBR or Bud Ice.
Harold: Steel Reseve or Icehouse, malt liquor + MGD. Reminds me of my stepfather.
Eleni: I have no idea what to say about this because I have nothing to go off of.
Chris: Watery. PBR/Miller Lt.
B. Bud Light
Kaylee: Looks more like piss. Zero smell. Wheaty? Not the worst ever.
Harold: I like this. Bud Lite-ish?
Eleni: I rank this better than the first beer.
Chris: It’s fine. Simple Lager?
C. Miller Lite
Kaylee: Looks like pee from someone who has only ever drank Gatorade. Smells weird. Tastes like nothing. A little foamier than the other beers?
Harold: No clue… Coors?
Eleni: This tastes slightly different than A + B.
Chris: Extra carbonated, darker. Simple Pilsner.
D. Natural Light
Kaylee: Flowery? Floral-y? My taste buds are probably just confused and crying for flavor. Maybe also just wheaty?
Harold: Not bad, middle of the road. Simple Times?
Eleni: I can’t taste the fucking difference. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM ME.
Chris: Foam, stronger flavor.
E. Steel Reserve
Kaylee: Smells like a basement. Too warm – Name Tag? Could become a wild ale if it was transformed into a craft beer. Tastes like someone poured a little bit of plastic Burnetts vodka into a light beer.
Harold: Dark name tag, Oranjebloom?
Eleni: Darkest color so far and there’s a stronger smell to this. It tastes not like the other beers and I think in a good way.
Chris: More flavor, funky.
Kaylee: Smells like a frat house. Peppery aftertaste.
Harold: MGD or frat beer. Something I’d drink at a gallery opening.
Eleni: This smells like a beer that I don’t want to remember drinking.
G. Simpler Times Pilsner
Kaylee: Smells like bread. Surprisingly sour aftertaste. I kind of like this.
Harold: Oh man, that smell.
Eleni: Can I describe this as tasting sharp? I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.
Chris: Yeasty – unpleasant.
H. High Life
Kaylee: We’re back to something that tastes like nothing. Could be PBR. The perfect palate cleanser.
Harold: PBR maybe? Something I’ve drank and puked a lot of.
Eleni: This is different than the last one. It’s not good but it’s different.
Kaylee: Smells vaguely stale. Bud Light? Tastes like home.
Harold: Pretty bad. Bud or Miller Lite?
Chris: Stale Bud LT?
J. Bud Ice
Kaylee: Most foam. Smells a little citrus-y. Could be a baby Blue Moon. Oranjebloom?
Harold: I’d pair this with a falafel.
Eleni: This is a little citrus-y. I think I’m a fan.
Chris: Most head – MGD?
Kaylee: So so fine. So so whatever. We’re all guessing High Life.
Harold: High Life, the champagne of beers.
Eleni: I wish I could give an educated guess on what this is but I went through all of high school going to a total of zero parties.
Chris: Very light, possibly champagne – High Life?
L. Simpler Times Lager
Kaylee: Smells kind of sweet? Super gross. Super weird. Tastes like perfume.
Harold: I give up on guessing. I don’t even know.
Eleni: Again I don’t know what to say because this doesn’t taste like anything specifically.
Chris: Darker but not Yuengling, weird aftertaste.
M. Miller Genuine Draft
Kaylee: Tastes/smells like nothing. Like water but more carbonated.
Harold: I would bring this to a party of a person I don’t care about I’m a little drunk.
Eleni: I’m wondering that if I went to drink this by itself that I’d know how to describe it b/c at this point I just don’t know.
Chris: VORP light beer?
N. Name Tag Lager
Kaylee: Smells horrible and tastes bad. I wanna throw that up.
Harold: People say they don’t like this but I think I do.
Eleni: This tastes like nothing but bad at the same time.
Kaylee: Citrus? IDK man. Really citrus-y. Like so much orange.
Harold: There’s no way I rank these.
Eleni: This is a little weird. The aftertaste is unpleasant.
Chris: Weird aftertaste.
P. Peter’s Brand
Kaylee: Penultimate. Smells like salad dressing. I feel terrible.
Harold: I didn’t take any notes. Stevie Wonder can see.
Eleni: At this point I don’t think my judgements are worth anything.
Chris: I forgot to write notes because I was talking about rap.
Kaylee: Yuengling. Smells like a bar bathroom.
Eleni: Everyone says this is Yuengling and I’m not one to argue.
Chris: Yuengling. Fucking finally.
If Yuengling is available for your party, buy Yuengling. It’s the clear favorite and most identified. Since this is a D.C. area test group, they’re most likely favoring the home team.
The only beer the tasters were surprised that was omitted was National Bohemian. While Natty Boh is easily found at bars and clubs in and around D.C., it’s not on many store shelves as a six pack or sold as individual tall boys.
The overall winner was Bud Lite. It was Harold’s favorite, Eleni’s second favorite, Chris’ and Kaylee’s fifth favorite.
The biggest loser wasn’t as clear. Both Chris and Harold hated Trader Joe’s’ Simpler Times Pilsner but it was one of Kaylee’s favorites.
A suprisingly good beer was Natural Light, getting favorable reviews and high rankings from Kaylee, Eleni and Harold.
A fine option that’s easy to drink that everyone thought was PBR is High Life.
The beer ordered by every taster when out a bar but no one enjoyed in a blind taste test? PBR.
This piece originally ran February 3, 2016. The same cheap beer is still available for purchase.