Food52 Life

Our Favorite Off-Duty Beers (And Why We Love Them)

August  5, 2015

We love our cheap beer—and we know we're not alone—so why don't we feel the same way about wine?

When it comes to beer, we have a dirty secret. During a time when 1 1/2 breweries are opening every day, we're carting Budweisers to the beach and drinking Tecate after work. So when we saw a piece in Punch with the headline, Why Do So Many Sommeliers Love Crappy Beer?, we felt instantly validated for our mass-produced beer habits. (Sommeliers: They're just like us!) Just like Patrick Cappiello, sommelier and owner of Pearl & Ash and Rebelle, kicks back Modelo Especial after-hours and master sommelier Richard Betts pounds Coronas, our partnerships editor Samantha drinks Tecate all summer long and our design editor, Amanda, reaches for a "Bud" or Pacifico under the hot sun.

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But, as the article points out, this affinity for cheap drinks doesn't necessarily extend to cheap wines. This isn't to say we don't drink cheap wines—I'm a frequent consumer of Trader Joe's boxed wine, and Samantha and Amanda often opt for a $5 bottle of Gazela Vinho Verde—but given the choice, we'll take beer. As Amanda says, "Cheap beer is better than cheap wine, unless you're in Europe, in which case, it's opposite day." But why is this? Why do we prefer cheap beer to a bottle of cheap wine?

The Punch piece explains that inexpensive beer can be nearly tasteless and offers sommeliers a break from wine, with its highly-flavorful tannins and acids. Plus, having a widely-available go-to beer alleviates the need for decision-making after a long day of work. Wine also has a long history of being critiqued and sought-out, while beer has only recently been coveted. Case in point: Chances are you're already familiar with the term sommelier, but cicerone may be a new one for you.

Associate editor Ali agrees, "It's about expectations. Wine has been high-brow for longer than beer has been." But it's also just the fact that beer is so darn refreshing—especially now that it's summer. Our assistant editor, Caroline, who prefers Narragansett, says that she'll drink any beer as long as it's "cold cold cold cold cold."

What are your favorite off-duty beers? Do you prefer them to wine, or exactly the opposite? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo by James Ransom


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Bob December 20, 2015
I'm sorry I love beer but my favorite is wine.
Seth C. August 8, 2015
Cheap beer of choice yuengling either their lager or black and tan.
beejay45 August 6, 2015
Olympia! Yay! ;) My dad worked near the brewery for a while and got it cheap. Plus, we're not big drinkers around here, and the nice, mild flavor was just right.
I love Lagunitas IPA with a passion, but you can't really class that as cheap beer. More middle of the road, I'd think. Stella's nice, but I prefer that citrusy, hoppy it of the Lagunitas IPA.
James August 5, 2015
Even though I don't drink alcohol very often, my preference is wine. Mostly I buy them from Costco.