There are a ton of ways to save cash without giving up on beer altogether. You can (1) stumble around for happy hour specials instead of paying full prices (2) drink beer at home instead of shelling out higher tabs at restaurants and bars (3) buy brew in bulk (4) search the liquor stores for sales (5) purchase macro brews instead of craft brew (6) and a variety of other creative solutions. As you can tell from this blog, I try to hunt down tasty beer and drink it. So I'll always advocate from staying away from the swill. That being said it's tough to find good beer at decent prices.
As mentioned in my last Trader Joe's post, some store chains are contracting out to breweries to create their own brand of beer to be sold in house for low prices. At TJ's you can still get six packs of 'Trader Joe's Brewing Co' beer for $5.29 per six pack. This price is about the same amount you have to pay for any single beer at a bar. It's a deal that just cannot be turned down. Last year I tried Trade Joe's Hofbrau bock and was satisfied but not super impressed. This year I gave their 'Vienna Style Lager' a go.
This beer is dubbed by the label as 'smooth amber lager' and it fits the bill. This lager pours a clear amber and goes down easy. Despite its light mouthfeel there is a slit citrus hop flavor and a slight alcohol taste. This was a little surprising as normally amber lagers have light malt flavors. I actually thought the hops and alcohol came through a little more in the beer. The label also proclaims a brewing process with dark and caramelized malts and you can catch a touch of these malted barley flavors on a big gulp. I'm generally a fan of amber lagers and this is an easy to drink brew. Well worth the 5+ greenbacks for a sixer and a good example of the style. I recommend it, regardless of your financial situation. Cheers.