You may have been brainwashed to think Natty Light is an acceptable beverage, and even constitutes real beer. Darty debris is mainly made of empty cans littering the ground, their remaining liquid seeping into the dirt. And honestly, this is the only appropriate place for Natty. However, college students are perpetually borderline-broke, and we understand the need to have a good time without blowing all your money.


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A 30-can case of Natural Light is priced at $13.99, making one can equal to just $0.46 a can. Dirt cheap. But it only contains 4.2% alcohol, and tastes like an odd mixture of water, urine, and yeast. Is putting your tastebuds through that torture really worth only spending half a dollar per drink?

Here are five cheap beers that you’ll actually enjoy drinking at darties this summer:

1. Narragansett Lager


Photo courtesy of Tilt Classic Arcade and Ale House on Facebook

This beer is one of the good ones. It’s about twice as expensive as Natty, running $13.99 for a twelve pack – about $1.16 per beer. But the alcohol content is 5%, and it is rated as “very good” by the experts from It may not be the most glamorous or complexly flavored lager, but for day drinking to Bruce Springsteen, it’s worth the extra 70 cents.

2. Trader Joe’s Mission Street IPA


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Everyone knows about TJ’s two-buck Chuck, but the grocery chain also has specially-brewed cheap beers. This IPA is for a more advanced beer palate – IPAs are dark and bitter – but a bottle runs just $1.16. Again, more expensive than Natty, but the alcohol content is 6.1%, almost 2% more than Natty. It’s a great deal, tastes like something, and has a third more alcohol than Natty per 12 ounces. Sold.

3. Coors Light


Photo by Sharon Cho

Coors Light is another relatively popular beer at college parties, but it can also be said that a party with Coors Light feels fancy. Coors Light has 4.2% ABV just like Natty, costs $0.63 per can if you buy a 30 rack, and is ranked 10 out of 24 light beers by Deadspin. It’s certainly not great, but it is cheap and significantly better than Natural Light.

4. Trader Jose’s Dark Lager


Photo by Amelia Weller

TJ’s is dominating this list, but for a good reason: they have decent beers for sweet prices. Jose’s Dark Lager is a Mexican-inspired lager, perfect for spring and summer. It runs about $1 per bottle and is 5.3% alcohol. As a dark lager, it is not what most people are used to at darts, but it is ranked among TJ’s top beers by the Chicago Tribune.

5. Trader Joe’s Josephsbrau Prost


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#Sorrynotsorry for shamelessly promoting Trader Joe’s. This spring beer is full, crisp, and refreshing after a long afternoon in the sun. This beer is brewed specifically for TJs and the brewing process adheres to the German Beer Purity Law. This seasonal drink costs about $1.08 and boasts 7.3% alcohol – definitely more bang (and taste) for your buck than Natty.