While no one is implying any of the beers listed are “watery” or “swill” or “bad,” we’ll just say the $22 Ironfire Outcast Dead Imperial Red Ale you like so much will not be found here.
We hereby present the unerring, unredacted and 100% correct L.A. Times Domestic Beer Power Rankings. For the purposes of this rankings, we have sampled and judged a large selection of popular domestic beers. Here we go:
1. Miller High Life
Miller High Life has a bouquet that tastes pleasingly of apple juice and Corn Nuts, light and sweet with just a hint of toffee. It’s highly drinkable and is remarkably skunk-free considering it comes in a clear glass bottle.
Chuggability ranking: 6
2. Bud Light
Bud Light is clean, crisp and ideal for hot-weather consumption. It tastes like a slightly alcoholic cream soda. It also positively crushes, sales-wise, every other beer in America.
Chuggability ranking: 7
3. Rolling Rock
This is a malty-tasting beer with a clean and quite smooth finish, but the flavor that sings through (if there really is one) is one of a general toasted-ness. Make sure this is very cold when you drink it.
Chuggability ranking: 12
The flavor is fairly stolid, much like the Midwestern temperament itself — a bit sweet with a slight lingering bitterness in the back of the throat.
Chuggability ranking: 11
5. Bud Light Lime
We're not sure there’s actually a more perfect beach beer — it’s just as good as a Corona or Pacifico. And when soaking up unhealthy UV rays, the lime flavor tastes remarkably not like a cleaning product.
Chuggability ranking: 15
6. Coors Banquet
The beer itself has a malty-sweet flavor — the finish is a little more sour than we’d have imagined from the breath of the Rockies, but at least it doesn’t linger.
Chuggability ranking: 14
Budweiser is a little malty, a little sweet and a bit heavier than you’d expect.
Chuggability ranking: 17
8. Michelob Ultra
Cotton candy’s alcoholic liquid equivalent: Michelob Ultra. This beer tastes like practically nothing, only vaguely sweet and goes down easier than Placido Domingo on a Sunday morning.
Chuggability ranking: 2
9. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Flat, nutty and a little sour, PBR has a delayed bitterness that lasts at least as long as a Neutral Milk Hotel song. The beer itself isn’t bad. It’s slightly malty, a little sweet and is fairly drinkable.
Chuggability ranking: 10
Busch beer is fairly oaty with a slight mineral aftertaste. It’s not the most inspiring beer, but it may make you want to saddle up.
Chuggability ranking: 13
11. Coors Light
Coors Light is mostly what you want in a light beer. It goes down about as easy as a dozen White Castle sliders. The taste is not quite where it needs to be, though — it tastes like drinking from a garden hose.
Chuggability ranking: 4
12. Bud Light Platinum
This is what the Wall Street bros drink when they’re looking to cut loose but also need to watch their calorie intake. It’s a denser, slightly more bitter version of Bud Light.
Chuggability ranking: 23
13. Busch Light
Busch Light tastes like nothing at all. We literally wrote down “no tasting notes.” It tastes like Arrowhead water. It is refreshing, though.
Chuggability ranking: 1
14. Miller Genuine Draft
In the case of MGD, "cold-filtered" makes the beer remarkably … average. Like a 40-something-year-old man, the beer is fairly round and middle-of-the-road. There’s nothing particularly notable about it, save for a lingering, slightly acrid finish.
Chuggability ranking: 19
15. National Bohemian
With a name like National Bohemian, one would think of the beer as somewhat iconoclastic or unconventional. This is decidedly not the case. It's about as un-bohemian as it comes: it’s yeasty and slightly creamy, with a mild skunkiness to it. It is, however, fairly cheap and chuggable.
Chuggability ranking: 5
16. Steel Reserve
Like Carrot Top, this is unexpectedly full-bodied. This beer isn’t terrible — it’s sort of malty and sweet — but it just doesn’t have much soul. And it’s not something we’d want to drink more than one of. Fortunately, as this beer has a jaw-dropping 8.1% alcohol content, you may not need to.
Chuggability ranking: 26
17. Samuel Adams
Sam Adams is a bad version of a good beer. It’s trying, hard. Trying with its deep amber color, tasting a bit too sweet and hitting a few caramel notes. It leaves a slight lingering bitterness.
Chuggability ranking: 25
18. Natural Light
Natty Light: The staple of every bad college party. Forever staining the carpets of dormitory basements across the country. Natty Light is bad, sure, but it tastes like so little, can it actually be that bad?
Chuggability ranking: 3
19. Bud Ice
Bud Ice is sharp and very sour, like that brilliant but fundamentally damaged single friend you have who’s been on the dating apps for way too long. At least the taste dies off immediately, leaving no lingering memory.
Chuggability ranking: 18
20. Miller Lite
It certainly doesn’t taste great. After a particularly bubbly and fizzy nose, the actual flavor of Miller Lite then becomes clear — that of a frat pledge’s khakis at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Like the memory of an encounter with the wearer of such khakis, the stale, skunky taste is difficult to shake.
Chuggability ranking: 22
21. Keystone Light
“Grab a ‘stone,” the friendly copy on the Keystone Light can encourages you. A pretty average light beer that tastes slightly minerally and lasts a bit longer on the palate than it should.
Chuggability ranking: 9
It’s certainly not much to write home about. Flavorless and largely without character, save a vague swampiness, it’s certainly easy to drink, but we wouldn’t feed it to any forest creatures.
Chuggability ranking: 8
23. Natural Ice
Natural Ice, the high-alcohol version of Natty Light, is a bit like the double black diamond ski trail at the resort: when you approach with undue hubris and take it in too fast, you run the risk of hurting yourself as well as others.
Chuggability ranking: 16
Schlitz basically tastes like cardboard. Like a big cardboard box. It drinks more smoothly, thankfully, than a cardboard box.
Chuggability ranking: 20
The lingering, sour taste stayed on the back of our throats for a good two minutes after we finished drinking. We could feel fur growing on the back of our tongues. That’s not a good feeling.
Chuggability ranking: 21
26. Bud Light Orange
One of the strangest, most nauseous beverages we’ve had in quite awhile. The orange flavor is so pervasive and overwhelming, like what would happen if Yankee Candle decided to open a brewery inside an Orange Crush factory.
Chuggability ranking: 24