St. Patrick’s Day has become as much an American holiday as it is Irish. Every year, Americans drop billions of dollars on the holiday, and this year will prove to be no different — WalletHub predicts a total of $4.4 billion will be spent on St. Patrick’s Day 2016.
Although St. Patrick’s Day is a day of indulgence, it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of cheap, quality — and Irish — beers to choose from that deliver on taste without draining your wallet. Here are some of the best cheap beers to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2016 on a budget.
- Price for 6-pack: $7.99-$9.99
No St. Patrick’s Day celebration would be complete without a Guinness Draught. In fact, WalletHub predicts that 13 million pints of Guinness will be guzzled down this year on the holiday.
Straight out of Dublin, Guinness Draught is the quintessential Irish stout — rich and thick in flavor with 4.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Sure, there are cheaper beers out there, but you can’t make an Irish car bomb with Bailey’s, Jameson and Coors Light.
Harp Irish Lager
- Price for 6-pack: $6.99-$9.99
Though brewed by Guinness, Harp differs dramatically from its parent. Harp is a crisp, light summer lager where Guinness is heavy like a glass of milk. Just because Harp is lighter than Guinness, however, doesn’t mean it skimps on alcohol. With 4.5 percent alcohol by volume and starting as low as $6.99 for a six-pack, Harp Lager wraps Irish tradition, quality and affordability all into one.
Smithwick’s Irish Ale
- Price for 6-pack: $7.99-$8.99
With a history that dates all the way back to 13th century Ireland, Smithwick’s is a no-brainer for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Smithwick’s, like St. Patrick’s Day, has religious origins: it’s possible that its first brewery was founded on the site of St. Francis Abbey where Franciscan friars had begun brewing beer in the Middle Ages.
Boasting a 4.5 percent ABV, Smithwick’s packs a greater punch than big-name domestic light beers like Coors and Miller Lite, which register 4.2 percent and 4.17 percent ABV respectively. Smithwick’s Irish Ale might cost only slightly more than its American rivals, but it’s full of Irish heritage and flavor.
Murphy’s Irish Red
- Price for 6-pack: $8.49-$9.99
Continuing along with Irish beers, Murphy’s Irish Red is relatively cheap for a quality Irish import. With 5 percent ABV, however, it beats out many competing American brands.
Murphy’s makes up for its price with its fresh, baked bread taste and deep Irish roots. Turning 160 years old in 2016, Murphy’s was originally brewed in Cork, Ireland — a stronghold of Irish Catholicism. Heineken bought the company in 1983, reports Gayot, but Murphy’s Irish Red never lost its uniquely hoppy, yet fruity flavor.
Murphy’s Irish Stout
- Price for 4-pack: $6.99-$7.99
Stouts can be heavy and hard to stomach in bulk, but Murphy’s Irish Stout is lighter and sweeter than its rivals Beamish and Guinness. Like some other Irish alcoholic drinks, Murphy’s Irish Stout has a mild coffee flavor that makes it better to drink patiently rather than throw back.
- Price for 6-pack: $5.49
Taking a break from Irish imports, Narragansett Lager is a native of New England that really gives you a bang for your buck. With a relatively high 5 percent ABV, Narragansett Lager also edges out major labels.
First brewed in 1890, Narragansett Lager might not have the strong Irish heritage others on the list have. But, it was the official beer of Boston’s most famous sports team from 1944 to 1975: the Red Sox.
- Price for 6-pack: $5.79-$6.99
Miller Lite isn’t perfect for St. Patrick’s Day because of its Irish heritage — in fact, German immigrant Frederick Miller founded the brewery in Milwaukee. Instead, Miller Lite is a good beer for St. Patty’s Day because of its cheap price and omnipresence.
Miller Lite does, however, offer something that Irish competitors do not: paying for reveler’s transportation through Miller Lite Free Rides. So this St. Patrick’s Day, you and friends might be able to drink without worrying about who’s been crowned designated driver.
George Killian’s Irish Red
- Price for 6-pack: $6.49-$8.99
Though Killian’s first began brewing back in 1864, Killian’s Irish Red didn’t make its debut in America until 1981. In the years since, Killian’s has become one of the best cheap beers for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the affordable price and the 4.9 percent ABV you get that puts Killian’s on this list.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Price for 6-pack: $7.49-$9.99
Founded and headquartered in the unofficial capital of St. Patrick’s Day — Boston — Samuel Adams is named for the Founding Father who found time outside of brewing to fight for the American Revolution. The beer, however, isn’t as old: it made its debut in April 1985. While bigger brands might beat it in cheapness, Boston Lager is still very affordable and serves up a respectable 4.9 percent ABV.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Price for 6-pack: $5.49-$7.99
A staple at many house parties, Pabst Blue Ribbon is an excellent, if not Irish, cheap beer for St. Patrick’s Day. With six-packs of 16-ounce cans as low as $5.49, PBR is a boon to your wallet without sacrificing taste. It even received recognition at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015 as the best large brewing company of the year.
Grain Belt Premium
- Price for 6-pack: $5.99-$6.99
For people looking to sacrifice Irishness for quality and affordability, Grain Belt Premium is the ideal cheap beer for St. Patrick’s Day. Ranked as the No.1 best cheap American beer by Deadspin, Grain Belt Premium is a pale lager brewed in Minnesota, boasting 4.6 percent ABV and a low price.
- Price for 6-pack: $4.99-$7.49
If you can handle the judgment of beer snobs, then this American staple is an essential cheap beer for St. Patrick’s Day. While it’s certainly not Irish, Bud Light definitely is affordable, costing as little as five bucks for a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles. But since Bud Light ranks as one of the top-selling domestic beer brands in America, it can afford to push its product at such low prices.
O’Hara’s Irish Red
- Price for 4-pack: $7.99-$8.99
If you’re looking for a classy and traditional Irish beer at an affordable price, look no further than O’Hara’s Irish Red. While it typically comes in packs of four rather than six, O’Hara’s Irish Red makes up for this with its uniquely sweet, malty caramel flavor and its history as a leader of Ireland’s microbreweries.
Yuengling Traditional Lager
- Price for 6-pack: $6.99-$7.99
Touted as America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling has grown in popularity and even overtook Sam Adams as the No. 1 craft beer in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. The Yuengling Traditional Lager is subtly sweet with a hint of caramel.
Beamish Genuine Irish Stout
- Price for 4-pack: $7-$10
Returning to Irish beers, Beamish Irish Stout is another native of Cork, Ireland, brewed since 1792. With a 200-year-old Irish heritage and affordable price, Beamish Irish Stout makes the cut for the best cheap beers for St. Patrick’s Day.
- Price for 6-pack: $5.99-$8.99
Jamaica and Ireland have more in common than you might think. English is a popular language in both countries, both nations were once controlled by Britain, and they both produce great lagers. Spring is just a few days after St. Patrick’s Day, so what better way to ring in warmer days than by drinking this cheap beer from the Caribbean?
Guinness Blonde American Lager
- Price for 6-pack: $7.99-$9.99
If you’re not up for drinking heavy stouts on St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness Blonde American Lager provides a nice compromise. Blonde American is lighter and easier to drink than Guinness, but still has credibility thanks to the Guinness name. It also packs 5 percent ABV into each bottle. Like St. Patrick’s Day itself, Guinness Blonde American Lager is the perfect marriage of Ireland and America.
All prices are approximations according to Wine-Searcher.com, DrinkFind.com, Binnys.com and/or BevMo.com.
From GoBankingRates.com: 17 Best Cheap Beers for St. Patrick’s Day