*That, and the fact that we’re lazy sacks of shit.
Commander Pint O. Chug has the worse of it. In order to qualify for a bailout package, he had to agree to a bi-weekly “lunch” budget of $25. (As you may have guessed, he has stopped eating lunch.) Lord Mashtun Copperpot’s situation is slightly more fluid (no pun intended), but his beer budget is identical to the Commander’s. It’s as if our wives talk to each other.*
*Oh fuck. They’re best friends.
Certainly, in these times where the overall economy is in the shitter while craft beer is on a launching pad, we cannot be the only two jamokes who are struggling to balance our urge to try every new brew that hits the local shelves with the stark reality that is our balance sheets. We figured we owed it to you other jamokes to write about how we’re coping. After all, the Aleheads are ultimately here to support you, and what better way than to relay some the experiences of our search to get the most solid craft beer bang for the buck?
So how does an Alehead survive on $25 in beer money every two weeks? While our first answer was “he doesn’t,” we’ve found a number of strategies to cope with the scourge of beer-sterity.
1. Buy local. It’s nice to avoid the extra $2 per six-pack it costs you to get beer from the opposite coast. It would be nicer if this was a silver bullet (again, no pun intended) that would solve all beer-sterity-related problems, but you can’t be an Alehead, even on the East Coast, and ignore all the West Coast beers.
2. Find the value propositions in the craft beer aisle. While true that prices are going up and not down, there are still some reasonable bargains to be had if you know what’s good. Sierra Nevada 12-pack (recently found for $15 in Massachusetts), yes; Magic Hat Circus Boy 12-pack (closer to $18), no. We’ll be doing a series of posts on these offerings.
3. Keep an appropriate cheap beer in the house. Don’t let the other Aleheads shame you out of your filler beer (fine, this time, pun intended). The hitch here is that most of these beers are regional; most of the cheap national brands are owned by A-B inBev or Molson Coors. Good examples include Yuengling, PBR, Lionshead and some of the Trader Joe’s beer. The Commander keeps a 30-pack of cheap beer in the pantry to minimize consumption of the good stuff when other Alehead sympathizers aren’t around.
4. Drink less.*
* JUST KIDDING!
5. To the extent your willpower allows, avoid bombers. This probably goes without saying, but price-wise, even the cheapest bombers cannot compare to the amount of beer you get in a 6-pack, or even a 4-pack for that matter. Remember, bombers contain 22 ounces. That’s 1.83 twelve-ounce bottles. As much as it pains us to say it, if you’re looking for something stellar/seasonal, skip the bomber and go with that 4-pack of Founder Breakfast Stout (about $12) or — significantly cheaper — the 6-pack of Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild ($9.99).
6. Beers on your wish list. The holidays are coming up. Do you really need that new dress shirt or the gift card to Best Buy? Tell your family that you’re looking for Santa to hook you up with a bomber of Alesmith Speedway Stout or Firestone Walker Parabola. Best, Christmas, Ever.*
*If you happen to be Jewish, like the Commander, converting to Christianity is the best way to go.
7. Along the same lines as #5, avoid going to beer bars. I know. It’s sacre-ale-gious to say so. But we recently found ourselves choosing between a 12 oz. pour (for $8) and a 12 oz. pour (for $10), at a fantastic beer bar. I mean, at that point, you’ve surrendered your budget and you might as well be the Bush Congress.
8. Willfully ignore the situation. Convince yourself that your children will be able to pay their way through college.
What other methods are you using during these hard times of beer-sterity, Alehead Nation?