My Cup Runneth Over: the Best Keg Beer for Your Party, BBQ or Beer Pong Tournament

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Far too often people hear the words “keg beer” and they think “cheap beer” rather than thinking “KEG PARTY! WOOOO!” or thinking, incorrectly, that keg beer is always synonymous to cheaper beers. Fallacy, indeed! Most fine establishments of beverage purveyance can easily supply a range of fine brews to their appreciative customers, from delectable and near-universally obtainable imports like Stella Artois to the American heavyweight Samuel Adams Boston Lager to regional craft brews.

Now, that said, the issue, as always, becomes the price. Fine beers come with high price tags, and more or less, that’s that. Whereas a keg of, say, Natural Light may cost you in the neighborhood of eighty dollars (this is not counting the rental of the keg shell, tap, or much needed ice bucket, of course!), a keg of a finer craft brew could cost you as much as a hundred dollars more than that. So, how to choose? Ah, the answer is simple: balance! Balance the expectations of your guests, balance the price you are comfortable with, and remember these words of wisdom: “Half the price means twice as much beer, bro, let’s get some MGD!”

5 Surprise, surprise, surprise… Sam Adams Boston Lager is on the map!

Not a cheap keg beer, really. Not what folks think of as a keg beer, even. But think of it like this: if you go to a bar, you’ll gladly pay 5, 6, even 8 bucks for a pint of Sam. So why not pay a little more than a buck for a glass from your very own keg? We picked Boston Lager because it is so widely available around the country and because it is so damn good. Simple enough? We thought so.

4 Milwaukee’s Best! Yow!

So we have reached the cheapest! A quick survey of liquor stores ranging from D.C. to Boston to L.A. and beyond confirms a consensus that you can get a keg of The Beast for around fifty bucks, which means each beer you serve will cost around thirty five cents. So cheap achieved indeed, friends. Taste? Still a bit elusive with this one, we posit with full diplomacy. Look, if you’re in college (or just really like drinking…) and about to start up a beer pong (or Beirut, ye purists) tournament, this is the keg beer for you. If it’s more of a classy Christmas party deal, for god’s sake, please go with…

3 Heineken

Sigh. OK, Heineken is in the middle spot. We sigh because we think it is an overrated beer, but we acknowledge many people don’t agree with us. And it is certainly not a bad beer. Kegs can usually be had for around $120, which is not an arm and a leg for a brew that will likely impress your party-goers, even if we think they are a bit easy to please, these people you got right up in here. Enjoy, guys, no really, have a good time, don’t mind us sulking over by the houseplants.

2 Keystone Light

Keystone Light comes in second, and the pendulum starts to swing toward the cheap beer side of things. Those of you who know us well know that Keystone does hold a little spot in our hearts, but it is inarguably a pretty cheap beer, and it tastes like you’d expect. But it’s not bad! It’s just… a cheap beer. For being inoffensive and affordable, we put it in second place. Your college party will seem cooler; your grad school house party will seem less cool.

1 MGD is Our List Topper!

Miller Genuine Draft does indeed taste that much better when, y’know, on draft, so why not serve said beer at your next BBQ or luncheon? MGD tops the list not because it’s the best beer on the list – oh no – and not because it is all that cheap, but because when you crunch the numbers, it comes out scoring decently in all categories, such as price, quality, and availability (of course it gets top marks for this), such that it will likely be neither a turnoff nor price-prohibitive to anyone. A winner by default, maybe, but a winner nonetheless!

We hope you learned a bit today, folks! May your next keg stand be fueled by a decent, mid-price-range import or should you be arcing ping pong balls into cups of cheap swill (or just dancing terribly before some seriously painful-to-watch makeout sessions!), now you can do it with a bit more knowledge on your side!

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