5 Ways to Save on Good Beer

20 Jan

Odell yumminess. Photo by me.

Odell yumminess. Photo by me.

I’ve had a draft of this post in the queue since reading a humorous post about hipsters driving up the cost of Pabst Blue Ribbon (or not, as the article explains). While PBR doesn’t exactly meet my criteria for good beer, the brand’s resurgence would suggest some people find it refreshing enough to stay loyal amidst rising prices.

It got me thinking about ways to save on good beer, the kind that doesn’t come in packs of 36 or feature labels dominated by mountainscapes. As a late-bloomer in the craft beer movement, I never thought I’d be concerned about the cost of beer. I’m glad my tastes have evolved from Midori Sours to hoppy IPAs, but this transition is definitely a costly one. Here are a few ways I save on craft brew:

Compare prices – We buy most of our beer, wine and spirits from the liquor store adjacent to Sam’s Club. Warehouse club prices are almost always better – “almost” being the key word there. Our local liquor store charges $3 more for my favorite wine but $1 less for a six-pack of Odell IPA. Comparing prices helped us score a better deal on our favorite brew and support the local business. Win-win!

Make your own – I may get some flack for this, but making your own beer can be the thriftier option depending on your rate of beer consumption and the types of craft beer you favor. My husband recently calculated the per-six-pack cost of an IPA at $3.50. The initial startup cost is a few hundred bucks but after that, it’s just grain, water and good times. Hop heads should check out Freshop.com for good deals on Oregon-grown hops in several varieties.

Mix and match – Most liquor stores with a good beer selection offer create-your-own six packs where you load an empty sleeve with six beers of your choice. This is a great way to try several new beers at once. This is not to be confused with the mixed 12-packs created by the brewery, like the Folly Pack from New Belgium. These are typically pricey and always include one beer that no one likes.

Do the math – Beer math, that is. Sometimes, the 30-pack of 8 oz cans gives you more brew for your buck than the 12-pack of tallboys. (Disclaimer: I’m going outside the theme of craft beer on this one since you won’t find Fat Tire in 8 oz cans.) Feel like a poser drinking from beer’s equivalent to the sippy cup? That’s what chilled glasses are for!

Shop the outskirts – Anyone who’s tried to purchase beer on the Vegas strip knows what a ripoff it is. Locals know the best places to buy beer cheaper, but tourists may feel trapped. In general, buying anything located adjacent to tourist areas will always cost you more. When in doubt, download the SaveOnBrew mobile app to find beer deals nearby. You can search by location or peruse a list of beer deals from specific stores.

I’m glad it’s close to the end of the workday because I’m totally craving a beer after writing this post! How do you save on your favorite adult beverage? 

4 Responses to “5 Ways to Save on Good Beer”

  1. Travis @debtchronicles January 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    “Beer’s equivalent to a sippy cup” <- thanks for the great laugh, Kendal…and the great tip. Beer always tastes better out of a frosted glass from the freezer anyway. 🙂

    • Kendal January 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      Glad I could brighten your day, Travis! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Tonya@Budget and the Beach January 22, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    I love the beer math. I totally do that. I want the most “bang” for my buck. I probably focus more on that and the taste than I do the cost. Since usually I just have one in one sitting, I usually don’t worry too much about the $6-$8 dollar cost.

    • Kendal January 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      I only have one beer, too, so I have no qualms about spending a bit more on something I know will last me four to six days. This is especially true with the pricey seasonals that only come around once a year. I’m looking forward Green Flash Brewing’s Palate Wrecker Double IPA. You definitely only need one of those! Thanks for commenting!