Battle of the Cheap Beers

Bargain Booze wine, beer and spirits off licence shop in Porthmadog, North Wales. Photo Credit:

There’s not a lot more important to students than money and drink, and even more specifically, money for drink. Yesterday I headed down to my local Supervalu and picked out the five cheapest 4-packs of cans they had available and conducted a blind taste test to see which would emerge as the best, and also, would any of the participants be able to recognise the beers?

For a pretty modest €24.18 I got 4 cans of Dutch Gold, Bavaria, Carling, Prazsky and Hackenberg. I decided not to put them in the fridge so as to let them warm up and really release that shitty flavour. My participants were Cian, Lucas and Robbie who were picked after an exhaustive selection process.

The esteemed participants. Photo 1: Cian Photo 2: Lucas and Robbie
Photo Credit: Facebook/Lucas Moran

The guys were given a glass of each beer and asked to comment on it, guess what it was and then after all the beers had been tasted they ranked them from best to worst.

The first beer they tried was Dutch Gold. An old classic and the beer that a lot of young people spent their underage secondary school drinking years enjoying, so I was expecting some recognition. The verdict from the tasters was that it was weak, a bit flat, had a metallic taste but was relatively easy to drink. None of them recognised it as Dutch Gold surprisingly. Shame on them.

A Dutch Gold can it its natural habitat. Photo Credit: Flickr/Kieran Dwane 

The second beer up was Hackenberg, which I’ve always found to be disgusting but its pretty random so I wasn’t expecting any of them to guess what it was. The verdict was split, with Lucas thinking that it was worse than the first one but Cian and Robbie thinking it was better. “Tastes like a proper beer, the last one you could tell it was cheap” noted Cian. Other comments were that it was fizzier and had less of that metallic taste which Dutch is known for. Unsurprisngly, none of them guessed what it was.

An appropriately blurry Hackenberg photo. Credit: Flickr/Lord Inquisitor

Next up was another staple of any self-respecting students diet, Bavaria. A theme was beginning to emerge that all cheap beer tastes pretty similar. This one set itself apart by having a “nasty after-taste according to Robbie. Again, no successful guesses as to the brand.

Photo Credit: Flickr/m_A_r_S

Carling was next. Apart from Dutch Gold I thought this would be the most likely to be recognised. Carling is awful. It somehow manages to pour with a huge head but still taste flat and is also horribly watery. If you let a can of Carling get too warm it’s game over. “That’s definitely Carling” exclaimed both Cian and Lucas before they’d even tasted it, but upon tasting it they convinced each other that it was actually Carling’s equally bad Scottish cousin, Tennents. Robbie stuck to his guns and said Carling for the first (and only) correct guess of the evening. “Definitely the worst so far” was the overwhelming verdict.

Photo Credit: Flickr/mick

Last, but not least, was Prazsky. I expected this to do well and would be a beer I would happily drink. The lads were in agreement that it was the nicest so far. Echoing their thoughts on Hackenberg, they said you wouldn’t think it was a cheap beer unless someone told you.

After a brief debate, the three tasters collaborated on their top 5 and Prazsky was the clear winner. Hackenberg took silver while Bavaria just pipped Dutch Gold to the last place on the podium while Carling was dead last. I still have some of the Carling left over in my fridge, they’ll probably get poured down the sink unless there’s a chronic shortage in the near future. It is really that bad.

Prazsky: The (un)official king of cheap beers. Photo Credit: Flickr/Hamish Newey

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