Food & Drink

Colbert and Brokelyn review Walgreens’ dirt-cheap beer

Colbert: Not drunk enough to enjoy this yet

Last night, Stephen Colbert gave a laudatory Tip of the Hat  to the new dirt cheap beer on the block: Big Flats, the $3.99 Walgreen’s six pack that recently hit New York (see the full video below). He says the “cheaper than gum beer” is exactly what America needs in tough times. We’re no strangers to budget beer, so Big Flats landed in our carts as soon as it hit the shelves. While the sixer costs $1 more in New York than elsewhere, it’s still half the cost of a beer in a bar. Colbert likes it, but as members of the “blogos-beer,” does it pass our standards? Here’s what you need to know about Big Flats:

Variety: Lager.

Cost: With tax and bottle deposit, 77 cents a can.

Alcohol content: Isn’t listed on the can, but the internets say it’s 4.5 percent.

But really: We don’t believe the internets: you get way more than 4.5 percent wasted on one can.

Keep in mind: You can only buy it until 9 p.m. at Walgreens.


The flavor: Can best be described as “generic,” but isn’t terrible. This comes from a guy who has reached his lifetime limit of PBR consumption (too many long nights with bitter taste buds, ridiculously frequent trips to the bathroom and … Blue Ribbon gas bubbles ruining otherwise pleasant social outings). Creamy and smooth, Big Flats is slightly tinny but mostly bland. Not super bubbly like the drug store’s next cheapest option, Miller High Life, and definitely not as crisp.

The buzz: Foggy and constricting, like downing a malt liquor too quickly and suddenly being forced to do math problems. After drinking several last night, I felt a sense of rot gut setting in, seemingly crystallizing in a heavy stone in my stomach that made sitting up from the couch as difficult a task as Phil Connors escaping Punxsutawney in Groundhog Day (which we happened to be watching at the time).

Similar to: Nametag Beer (Trader Joe’s brand); Genesee Cream Ale.

The verdict: Even for cheap beer, you can do better. If Big Flats were available as the cheapest option in a bar (which it isn’t), I would buy it. But I would probably get in a fight that night too. This is not the brew to pull out to impress your guests, though it does get the job done in a pinch. For my real drinking on the cheap, I’ll stick with Simpler Times lager from Trader Joe’s. It costs the same, and packs a bigger punch: 6.2 percent alcohol, with a flavor that I’ve either already gotten used to, or is possibly even somewhat enjoyable.

But, if more snowpocalyi ensue, Walgreens is a lot closer to my apartment than TJ’s, so I could see a lot of what, as Colbert says, “some critics have called beer” in my future.

(Big Flats discussion starts at 2:15)

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  1. According to Fratto on, Big Flats really knows how to excite them taste buds:

    “Can from my local Walgreens. On sale – a sixer for only $2.70! Pour is the palest, clearest, cleanest, and most crisp yellow that I have ever seen. I could literally read a book through this beer. Big white head. Aroma is sweet, a little spicy, and almost nonexistent. As it warms, it gets worse. Taste is also almost non existent. As it warms, I can actually find a little hop bitterness and it’s almost pleasing. Until hit with an immense corn bread must.”

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