Why I Drink ‘Crappy’ Beer

Why I Drink ‘Crappy’ Beer

I like a wide variety of beers, but if you open up my fridge you’ll mostly find those cold activated cans of el cheapo lager. Why? Because it’s just fine. That’s right, I said it.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, grabbing a six pack of mass market beer became some sort of social faux pas. “Why are you drinking that?” I get asked when hosting a house party, or when I sit down with my mostly see-through pint of beer at a bar.

Apparently it’s a crime to not order a milk stout, IPA, or some craft beer that’s been brewed with pumpkin spice or whatever. Honestly, I kind of hate this hipster beer culture that’s developed. Like you’re not cool if you haven’t tried so-and-so brewery’s new weird thing.

It feels like people wear their “beer cred” on their sleeves, as if they’re above us silver bullet crunching plebs. I like that small craft breweries exist, I do, but you’re not better than other beer drinkers when you drink it. You’re still just having a damn beer.

I get it — people basically want to know why I would want a McDonald’s cheeseburger when I could get a thick steakhouse burger with pineapple and teriyaki sauce and bunch of other accoutrements on it. Because it’s easy, it’s affordable and frankly, it’s comfortable. It’s the same reason I drink boxed wine — which is also perfectly fine, thank you very much.

Sometimes I don’t want to expand my palate when I order a drink with some buddies, or sip something “that is both elevating and challenging”. Sometimes I just want the mild taste of a light beer and a buzz so I can forget about this horrible place filled with horrible people and have a laugh.

I mean, I’m very aware that I’m not some university student and that I can afford “good” beer, but the reality is that I hardly ever want it. A lot of the “good” beers that get recommended to me taste fine, but they feel heavy and overpowering. The crappy stuff is cheap and it tastes good enough. If mass market pilsners didn’t taste somewhat OK, they wouldn’t have been around as long as they have.

I also like to make beer cocktails, such as micheladas or red beers, and crappy beer makes for a great baseline so I can still taste all the other good stuff in those drinks. Also, I cook with beer fairly often, and the crappy stuff is good for that too.

Lastly, I can drink a lot of it and not feel bad, both in a guilty “I spent too much money on booze” way and in an “I actually woke up without a hangover” way. The joke about cheap light beers is that they’re watered down, or mostly water, and well, yeah! I stay fairly hydrated knocking a few back, I can pace myself much easier, and they have a lot fewer kilojoules so I’m not wrecking my diet every time I want to unwind.

I get to have my beer and drink it too, so to speak. So, laugh at me if you want, but I think everyone should have a favourite crappy beer they can always count on. What’s yours?


  • I totally agree! This hipster beer trend is getting out of control. I enjoy a fine IPA for craft brew but also like the right to enjoy a VB or XXXXGold without being judged and ridiculed!

  • Apparently it’s a crime to not order a milk stout, IPA, or some craft beer that’s been brewed with pumpkin spice or whatever. Honestly, I kind of hate this hipster beer culture that’s developed. Like you’re not cool if you haven’t tried so-and-so brewery’s new weird thing.

    A couple things about this;
    I tried a pumpkin beer a few years ago. It actually wasn’t too bad. But considering it was just like XXXX that had a pumpkin aftertaste I didn’t see the point.

    Not everyone trying different beers are hipsters. Maybe they’ve come to the realisation that not all beer tastes the same and they’re trying to find the one that they like. Lots of people see beer and they think it has to taste like VB or XXXX. It doesn’t.

    To me if it’s a crappy beer I’d rather just not drink it and have a coke or an orange juice instead. There’s no point drinking stuff we don’t like (I love that ad for Canadian Club at the moment that pokes fun at beer drinking).

    I now drink Matso’s Mango beer almost exclusively. Why? Because it tastes great. It’s light and has just enough mango taste to be nice without being overpowering. Perfect when I’m kicking back having a pizza and watching tv.

    Matso’s make a ton of different beers. I’ve tried a few of them, the Lychee is too sweet. The Ginger Beer isn’t too bad, but it’s low alcohol so you might as well just drink regular (non alcoholic) ginger beer since it takes a lot to get a buzz. But fair warning, the Chili Beer is a killer. It is seriously hot. Best use is if you want to have a beer marinade when cooking that’s spicy because it’s eye-wateringly undrinkable.


    As a fall back I drink the XXXX Summer Bright Mango (in case you hadn’t guessed by now I like Mango). It doesn’t taste as good, but it’s nicer than regular XXXX and it’s bloody cheap in comparison to Matsos.


    If I couldn’t get either of them I find the Great Northern Lager to be a bit more palatable than XXXX/VB.


    If you want “hipster” just read some of the reviews for Matso’s (or any other beer) here;


    Holy crap, you’d think they were wine connoisseurs.

    • spot on! i’m no hipster but I do like trying different beers – and the variety just happens to be in craft beers!

  • Agree the craft beer thing is getting a bit serious about sport, no problem with that. There’s some delicious beers to be sipped and sampled.
    But not for a proper session.
    I’ve said it before, once this craze has run its course, people are going to rediscover the “crappy, cheap” domestic beers.
    For me, i’ve tried all the hipster varieties but always come back to VB. It really is a good, full flavoured beverage which takes on a crisper, dryer quality the colder it’s served. If you can get it below zero degrees and still keep it in liquid form (super cooled), and can pour it without it solidifying as it heats back up, then you’re in for a real treat.
    I know no one else who has gone to this effort for a “cheap” beer, perhaps that’s why they avoid it. Not true drinkers if you ask me. Keep an open mind.

  • You like pineapple in a burger? Anyway, for someone who hates “hipster beer culture” you sure seem to know a lot about it. I think what you imagine is people judging you is more your own insecurity and inner turmoil. I don’t think cheap beer is for you. Stick with the fancy stuff or you will never be happy.

  • If only ‘crappy’ beer was still cheaper; nowadays there are many fancier options around for the same price as VB.

  • I just have a pot of Carlton from the tap or VB from a can or stubby.
    I don’t have beer very often but it’s better than being indecisive at a busy bar.
    It just rolls of the tongue regardless of the affluence of incahol.

  • In blokesworld beer is beer. If it has some frilly flavor its to trick girls into drinking it because the wine ran out and as blokes we already have a beer drinking gene and just need the straight stuff.
    But we cant rule out quality. Cheap beer isnt always cheap because its bad, its usually just to move the stock. So what could be more helpful than to buy cheap beer? Its like a civic responsibility to drink that stuff up. It borders on the heroic.

    Friends dont let friends drink boutique beer.

  • I don’t mind the occasional craft beer (Actually more of a wine drinker now) however the one thing I hate? My old cheap favourite is now more expensive than most of your craft or imported boutique beers….Common Melbourne Bitter, up to $55 a slab (And hardly ever on special) is just so ridiculous… Please don’t chastise me for liking Melbourne Bitter. I just find it more bitter than the others which I find refreshing, especially served in an ice cold glass…..

  • There’s a false dichotomy being drawn here between cheap Australian mass produced beers like VB and hipster beers with pumpkin spice. Frankly both are equally unappealing to me.

    I enjoy Asian style beers such as Asahi or Qingdao, or Irish styles like Guinness and Kilkenny, and a number of Australian produced pale ales.

    I think there’s a large swathe of the beer spectrum unexplored in the article.

    • I think this article was more about the trend of looking down one’s nose with disdain at those who still thoroughly enjoy traditional “cheap” beers – almost as though it improves their social standing.
      I appreciate fellow drinkers who are exploring all of these new sweet flavors and are rediscovering the joy that beer can bring. And as a fellow drinker, I would hope they’d appreciate my decision to purchase a “crappy” beer I truly enjoy too.

  • I would have ridiculed you for drinking VB or Melbourne Bitter or West End or XXXX and assorted crap 25 years ago, back when the only people to have beards were lumberjacks, wearing a flannelette shirt meant you were into grunge, and craft beer meant a beer you drank with cheese.

    There’s just no excuse for drinking crap, not back then, and especially not now.

    Moreover buying a crap beer is selfish. By taking a 6-Pack of VB to a BBQ you’re saying to everyone else in your circle “I’m not willing to share my beer with you so I purchased this swill, because I know no one else will drink it.”

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!