Back in 1933, when the scourge of Prohibition still engulfed America, a brief reprieve occurred on April 7 of that year. While The Noble Experiment would be repealed in full on December 5, 1933, months prior to that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law an act that allowed for the manufacturing of beer. But if Prohibition made booze illegal, how could they brew beer legally before the 18th Amendment’s Repeal? Cleverly, that’s how. See, Prohibition banned “intoxicating liquors,” so Congress just changed the definition of intoxicating from beverages with .5 percent alcohol to 3.2 percent ABV.
FDR signed the act on March 23, and breweries could resume on April 7, which we now commemorate every year as National Beer Day. And what better way to celebrate than with good ol’ fashioned shitty American macro brews. It doesn’t matter how big of a beer snob you are, and how much you’ve sworn off macro brews, deep down you have a preference for one in particular, be it from nostalgia, flavor, inertia or a combination of all three. So we, the Playboy.com editors, have each defended our shitty beer of choice.
Here’s the thing about Busch Light: It costs less than any other beer on this list and tastes better (less worse) than any other beer at its price point. This means you can Head for the Mountains™ with more cash in your wallet and less butt-taste in your mouth. For the uninitiated, Busch Light is the craft beer of the Anheuser-Busch brands and by craft beer I mean bottom of the barrel. It’s typically found in Midwest liquor and grocery stores which means it probably contains one of the highest rates of American Patriot Units per volume. It has floral notes of “college” and “poverty” and pairs well with Totino’s pizza rolls and bad decisions. The best part? It’s the Light version so you can swill down a dozen of these bad boys and still destroy the punk-ass neighbor kids in flip cup.
Miller Lite was originally designed as a “diet beer,” meaning it was created so people could drink a ton of it without getting full. So basically scientists designed it to maximize drunkenness while minimizing both caloric intake and money spent. It also doesn’t taste like someone poured out half of a Heineken and re-filled it with tap water, unlike every other light beer. Tastes great, less filling indeed.
There’s always that one beer that takes you back to day drinking in college. You may or may not be wearing shoes. Okay, your shirt is ripped and sunglasses are MIA. But everything is fine, because Natural Light made sure everyone else around you was in the same position. No, it doesn’t taste good. It tastes like glorified piss water, but it’s piss water that brings back sordid memories I hope I don’t forget. But really, it wasn’t about the taste. It was what the beer did for the community. Natural Light at Miami of Ohio brought together the people. I’m pretty sure I participated in several Beer Olympics, Dizzy bat competitions, century pong and other drinking activities that was brought to you by Natural Light and we were all okay with that. You can hate on Natural Light, but you can’t hate on the memories it creates (and erases).
If you grew up in the Midwest like I did, you come to appreciate the pairing of domestic macros with cookout food. (You don’t need a fancy double IPA when you’re wolfing down hot dogs while tailgating in the snow at 10 AM.) Coors Light tastes good with burgers and dogs and any meat off the grill. Also: My local grocery store displays the price of beer by the ounce, and Coors Light is consistently the cheapest of the major macro brands, and I am a cheapskate.
There was a time in my life, in the not so distant past, where I was a beer snob; one of those insufferable malcontents who lamented the state of American brews. This time coincided, not surprisingly, with a heavy rotation of insufferable indie bands on my iPod. But now I’ve grown to realize that sometimes you don’t want all those hops, all those toasted malts, all that complexity; what you really want on a hot day is a crisp, refreshing, palate-cleansing alcoholic beverage. For me, that’s Bud Light. It’s not overly malty and sudsy like other shitty beers, it’s just there. My alcoholic seltzer water. Because when it’s hot outside, and the grill is going, and friends are over, I’m paying attention to those things, and not the grapefruit notes imparted by the cascade hops in my beer or the intricacies of Johnny Greenwood’s guitar distortion on a Radiohead album.
ALL GLUTEN-FREE BEERS
Not a whole lot to say here. Gluten-free beers, as you might expect, are almost unilaterally shitty. The only reason to imbibe shitty gluten-free beer is if you have a legitimate medical reason to avoid all other shitty beers. While the side effects of eating most packaged gluten-free foods typically include being generally insufferable at social gatherings, if you see someone drinking gluten-free beer at a party you know their gluten allergy is legit.
What I’m saying is: people only drink gluten-free beer if they have no alternative, and when that’s the case, gluten-free beer is the best beer there is.
PABST BLUE RIBBON
All my friends in college drank PBR, so it became my shitty beer of choice. Granted we were all a bunch of no-good, filthy hipsters (still are), but there’s a reason hipsters choose Pabst: it’s certified vegan! I got used to the taste—it’s light like a Bud, Coors or Miller and goes great with bad bar food. I’m all for a locally micro-brewed IPA with complex flavors and tasting notes when I want to feel cultured, but when I’m trying to get drunk off something cheap I always look for the blue ribbon on the draught handles behind the bar. Plus drinking beer I know is vegan helps me maintain my ever-present feeling of superiority.
GENESEE CREAM ALE
I wouldn’t consider this a shitty beer, except that every time I’ve tried to impress someone from Rochester, NY by voicing my fondness for it, I get a response along the lines of, “Oh yeah? That’s like that awesome restaurant you guys have in LA: Planet Hollywood.” Fine. I don’t really drink beer in the first place, but Genny Cream Ale goes down smooth, and the can looks like it was designed using PageMaker 4.2.