Import Beers That Beat Budweiser
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20 Cheap Imported Beers Better Than Budweiser

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Import Beers That Beat Budweiser
Room 76/shutterstock

Of Great Import

It's easy to find good domestic beer at a fair price. But what about imported beer? Some might think it's like craft beer — expensive and sometimes esoteric — but in fact, a wide array of affordable and accessible imports can be found nationwide. Although prices vary by location, many are cheaper or about the same as a six-pack of beers like Budweiser. The more important thing? Most taste better.

Pilsner Urquell
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Pilsner Urquell

While Czech beers aren't well-known abroad, this central European country has a respectable roster of beers. Why? Well, as the country that drinks the most beer per capita, the Czech people need to supply a lot of brewskis. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Pilsner Urquell, one ofthe Czech Republic's most popular brews, is an excellent choice. And at less than $10 at most stores, it won't break the bank.


Related: 19 of the Oldest Breweries in America

Harp
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Harp

Harp is a crisp, easy-drinking lager that might make some Americans wish it were as available as Budweiser. It's made by Guinness, which started brewing Harp in the 1960s as beer drinkers in Europe began drinking more lager. Although Harp is promoted as an Irish product, the bottles that make it to the U.S. are typically brewed in Canada.


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Red Stripe
Amazon

Red Stripe

This easygoing Jamaican lager actually got off to a rough start when exports to the U.S. started in 1985 — in widely used tall bottles. Marketers resolved the issue by switching to the signature squat design people had seen when traveling in Jamaica. Considering its broad appeal and affordability, Red Stripe is a safe choice when supplying beer for a get-together.


Related: How to Pair 12 Beers With Food

Corona Extra
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Corona Extra

Famous for its beachfront commercials, this pale lager is usually served with a wedge of lime or lemon to bring some tartness to its light flavor. Corona means "crown," which is appropriate given that it's the most popular imported beer in the U.S.

Tecate
Amazon

Tecate

With its sharp and tangy taste, the Mexican lager Tecate might not have as broad an appeal as Corona or Red Stripe. But for the price — usually cheaper than Corona — it's a solid choice for a summer beer.

Czechvar
Amazon

Czechvar (aka Budweiser)

This pale lager is controversial in the U.S., and not because of its balanced, crisp flavor. The controversy stems from a decades-long legal dispute between the Czech brewer and its American counterpart over the Budweiser name. We aren't legal experts, but we can say that Czechvar tastes loads better than Anheuser-Busch's flavorless lager. So the next time you reach for a Bud, make it a Czech one.

Pacífico
Amazon

Pacífico

Pacífico, while light enough to be refreshing in the summer, is full-bodied and distinctive, and many claim this cheap Mexican Pilsner is superior to Corona and Tecate. Try serving with a wedge of lime and salt on the rim of the glass.

Dos Equis
Amazon

Dos Equis

Though "The Most Interesting Man in the World" might not specify it in his famous commercials, there are different types of Dos Equis — look for Amber, Lager Especial, and Azul, which is brewed with blue agave nectar and has a higher alcohol content than other Dos Equis beers.

Sol
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Sol

Another Mexican lager, Sol is an easy-drinking golden brew that's comparable to Corona in its light taste. That means you might want to steal a note from Corona and consider adding a wedge of lime or lemon.

König Pilsener
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König Pilsner

This German Pilsner might be a bit hard to find in the U.S., which is a shame. König has a solid golden color that hints at being just a tad heavier than American Pilsners, but many agree it is the superior choice, with subtle flavors and just the right amount of carbonation. 

Heineken
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Heineken

Just a few coins more expensive than Budweiser, Heineken is the third-best-selling imported beer in the U.S., with about $901 million in sales during 2021, according to Statista. With its hard-to-miss green bottle and red star logo, Heineken dominates the international beer market and is sold in more than 170 countries. And though it might be a bit bland, it's an easy introduction to imported beers for those accustomed only to domestic products.

Molson Dry
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Molson Dry

Although the centuries-old Canadian Molson Brewery merged with Coors in 2005, it still makes beer in Canada and exports to the U.S. One of the most popular is Molson Dry, an easy-drinking lager that won the gold for North American Specialty Lager in the 2002 World Beer Cup.

Zywiec Porter
Total Wine

Zywiec Porter

This Polish porter is characterized by its rich, chocolatey flavors and smoky undertones. And with its 9.5% alcohol by volume measurement, it's definitely going to hit harder than a can of American Bud. So if you're looking for a unique beer and more bang for your buck, then a bottle of Zywiec Porter is sure to impress.

Modelo Especial
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Modelo Especial

As one of the most imported beers to the U.S., Modelo Especial is a light Pilsner with broad appeal. Modelo Especial has a sweet, malty taste that contrasts nicely with spicier foods such as Mexican or Indian dishes.

Labatt Blue
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Labatt Blue

This Pilsner is the self-proclaimed best-selling Canadian beer in the world. At its low price, Labatt Blue is a good change of pace from similar American beers such as Budweiser or Miller Genuine Draft. Labatt Blue is also an innovator — it was the first beer brand in Canada to include a twist-off top.

St. Pauli Girl
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St. Pauli Girl

Identifiable by its iconic logo of a German girl in traditional garb, St. Pauli Girl is an affordable, full-bodied lager. The makers of St. Pauli Girl claim to brew in accordance with Reinheitsgebot, the German beer "purity" laws from 1516 — questionable, seeing as they use culture yeast in the brewing process. Either way, the beer enjoys its title as a gold medal winner for the American Tasting Institute Best Full Calorie German Lager.

Guinness Draught
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Guinness Draught

Guinness Draught, more than 250 years old and popular worldwide, is probably the cheapest stout that's widely available in the U.S., and a great beer for those looking for something heavier and richer than lagers.

Sapporo
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Sapporo

This lager has become the top-selling Japanese beer among American drinkers since its introduction in 1984. Sapporo might be slightly more bitter than domestic lagers such as Budweiser, but it pairs well with just about any dish with its crisp flavor and mild hoppiness.

Hoegaarden
Ebay

Hoegaarden

This wheat beer dates back to the 15th century, when a group of Belgian monks decided to experiment with their brewing process. After adding a dash of botanicals, Hoegaarden was born. This centuries-old beverage is full of refreshing notes typical of wheat beers, like citrus and coriander. And best of all, a six-pack can be had for less than $10.

Bitburger
Amazon

Bitburger

As one of Germany's most popular beers, you know Bitburger has got to be good. And it's easy to see the appeal, as this Pilsner is somehow dry, bitter, and sweet all at the same time. The bottom line? It's easy to drink, well-made, and cheaper than its craft competitors.


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