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The Beer Circle » Budget, Tröegs Brewing Co. » Budget: What Does “Budget” Mean, Anyway?

Budget: What Does “Budget” Mean, Anyway?

Last week, I picked myself up a four-pack of Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout for $9.99.  I didn’t even think about the purchase; it was a total impulse buy at under $10.  This is a great beer, and I’m enjoying one right now as I write this post.  But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about how while I found a great beer at a price I paid without hesitation, I found myself pondering whether or not this was a “Thursday beer”  before I drank it.

So, what is a “budget” beer?  What is the magical number for price that defines a beer as suitable for drinking on Thursday night while doing website work, vs. saving for a tasting, or going through the actions of mentally preparing yourself for writing a whiz-bang review?

I’ve called Tröegs Brewing Company Nugget Nectar, which I was able to get for $2/bottle “budget”. However, I never called Tröegs Mad Elf, which worked out to $2.33/bottle the same.  It’s a small increase in price, and still certainly nothing to break the bank, but, it proved to be enough for me to disqualify it as “budget”.   Psychologically speaking, I find that I much more readily reach for one of the Nugget Nectars I’ve stashed away on a random night vs. a Mad Elf.  Lots of different factors play into my choice of brew for a random weeknight, including price, availability, and perceived rarity/seasonality (This is a big one.)  While both of the Tröegs selections I mentioned are seasonal brews, being under that magic $2 barrier is what does it for the Nugget Nectar, in my opinion.

It's very possible to drink good beer without spending a lot of money.

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and the conclusion that I’ve finally reached is that, to me, there is no hard price limit that defines a “budget” beer.  What defines a budget beer for me is a beer that I reach for, without hesitation, for drinking on any given night. A solid accompaniment for anything from sitting outdoors on the balcony, or slogging through tens of thousands of lines of PHP. (Thanks, TheBeerCircle.com!)  And I’m not always terribly concerned with reviewing it.

That said, I think that ultimately, it’s going to come down to each individual person to figure out what fits their definition of “budget”.  Those with incomes far greater than I could probably redefine this quite broadly, but for me, I’m extremely happy with the beers that fit within the purview of what I perceive to be “budget”.  And, for the record, I have a bottle of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and a couple of Voodoo Black Magicks hanging out in my closet.  While not an extreme example of rarity, I think we’re going to save those for another night.

What about you?  What is your definition of a “budget” beer?  Is there a limit that you’re willing to spend up to for a weeknight beer to enjoy with dinner?

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Written by Garrett Miller

Garrett brings a somewhat different perspective on beer to the table. While always thrilled to try any new, exotic brew that finds itself his way, Garrett finds that he's often quite satisfied with reliable, common craft choices. As such, Garrett is a fan of trying and reviewing these (admittedly less expensive) beers, and using them to introduce the exciting, flavorful world of craft beer to those not-yet-acquainted. Garrett’s favorite styles are IPAs and bourbon stouts, but won’t turn his nose up at anything. Find Garrett Miller on Google Plus

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