Before you reach for that next bottle of beer, it might be a good idea to know what it is that you're drinking.
Alcohol metabolizes in the body so quickly that it pretty much bypasses the digestive system entirely and goes straight into the blood stream. Since most beers contain things like GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, propylene glycol, and who knows what else, it's now more important than ever to be careful what you're asking for off the tap.
Currently, the USDA doesn't regulate beer, which is why most beers don't have ingredients listed on the label. Ideally the only ingredients would be hops, yeast, water, malted barley, or wheat. Unfortunately, most beers out on the market have so many other additives that it's hard to believe they are still called beers.
But don't stress, because you have a couple of good options when it comes to getting a good brew.
1. Local Craft Beers (Best Deal!)
It's not a copout to say that you should shop local to save on good beer. This is genuinely true. Local breweries are a great, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to go to grab a pint. They are also dedicated to the purity of their beers, and you can ask questions about the ingredients and creation process. In addition to shopping local being the best way to save on a healthier beer, it's also the best eco-friendly choice. Check out BrewersAssocation.org to find local breweries in your area.
Savings Tip: Want a fun date or event idea that will save you money? Try a tour at a local brewery. Local breweries in Atlanta run tours regularly that cost only $10. You end up with six tasting tickets, and a souvenir glass to take home.
2. Organic Beers.
If you're concerned about additives like GMOs and MSG, go for an organic brew. Organic beers have become a lot more popular in the last few years. Since the USDA doesn't regulate alcoholic beverages in general, the only real way to know that there aren't GMOs in your beer is to go for the organic option. I'm a huge fan of a good organic chocolate stout.
Savings Tip: If you're wanting to save some cash on purchasing organic beers, it's especially important to watch the sales and always go for at least a 12 pack. Whole Foods Market frequently runs specials and deals on their organic beverages, and you can get a 10% discount when you buy a certain amount. Cost Plus World Market and Trader Joe's are also great places to save on organic beers if you keep an eye on the weekly sales that they offer.
3. Belgian or German Beers.
These countries take the purity of their beers very seriously. Germany even passed a law that requires the beers to only contain the correct base of ingredients with no other additives. So when all else fails, choose a beer made in Germany.
Savings Tip: These brews can tend to be expensive since they come for overseas. Watch for deals at your local store, and stock up when the price is good. Going with the 12 pack vs. buying them one bottle at a time is the best way to save. Some stores will offer you an even greater discount if you purchase your beer by the case. Make sure to ask about that.
As far as popular brand name beers go, this is your best option. Heineken seems to be pretty clean, and doesn't contain GMOs. While it is not processed and created like craft or organic beers, this is definitely best to reach for if you're in a situation with few options.
Savings Tip: Average price for a 24 pack is $23.99, which comes out to about $1 a bottle. Costco Wholesale Club will often run discount specials on their 24 pack, making that one of the cheaper places to grab a deal.
5. Brew Your Own.
If you're really a fan of beer and love the idea of crafting your own, this is a great way to know exactly what kind of ingredients go into your beer. It might be a little more upfront cost to get started with a kit, but the long-term savings may be worth it.
Savings Tip: On average it will cost you about $5 per six pack to brew your own beer at home. Compared to purchasing most high quality beers, this is definitely a cheaper alternative for you. See more pricing information on brewing your own beer here.
Do you have a favorite local brewery or craft beer? Tell us what your favorites are and how you save on your favorite brew!
Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at NaturalThrifty.com.
For further reading:
- 8 So-Called "Health" Foods That You Shouldn't Eat
- 5 Label Tricks That Make You Think You’re Eating Healthy
- 3 Beauty Products That You Can Make at Home