In this examination of the Best Selling Beers in America, we will reveal the heroes of hops and barley, taking you on a bubbly voyage through the world of American brews. This article is your guide to the always changing landscape of beer preferences across the country, featuring everything from timeless classics that have graced countless backyard barbecues to up-and-coming stars making waves in the craft beer renaissance. Join us as we toast to the top candidates and discuss the tastes, histories, and cultural importance that have made these beers well-known. Learn about the drinks that have made themselves known as the best in the minds of American beer enthusiasts, regardless of experience level.
Modelo Especial is another Mexican lager by Grupo Modelo, the same brewery that makes Corona. This beer has an authentic Mexican taste, and I almost always find myself pairing its refreshing flavor with Mexican cuisine. The taste is a blend of the crispness of a pilsner with the sweetness of a heavier beer. And like Grupo Modelo’s other popular beer Corona Extra, this beer pairs nicely with a slice of lime, especially when pairing it with food. I highly recommend trying this beer next time you have tacos!
Budweiser beer is an American lager brewed by Anheuser-Busch. With the unofficial title of “The King of Beers,” it is no wonder why Budweiser tops this list of America’s most popular beers. This beverage tops beer sales in America, but it also carries the weight of history—Adolphus Busch first brought this beer to market in 1876. While the rice ingredients are not my favorite flavor in lager-styled beers, the crispness of the hops and carbonation make this beer palatable when cold. Consider this beer a smooth-drinking beverage you can sip on all day if you like!
Budweiser might be the “King of Beers,” but I think Miller Lite has a much more drinkable quality. This alternative lager is a fantastic substitute for folks who find Budweiser to be too heavy and filling. Miller Lite is still an American lager, but they emphasize the lightness in taste and calorie content. Many consider Miller Lite the original lite beer, and it has been on the market since 1975. While many beers fail to quench my thirst in the way a cold glass of water can, this lager has a lightness that somehow tastes fantastic while also having a genuine refreshing quality. Another bonus is that the lower alcohol content makes this beer much more realistic to drink at parties.
Michelob Ultra is another offering from Anheuser-Busch, and it is one of the lowest-calorie beers you will find on the market. Many folks love drinking beer but fear the so-called beer belly those extra calories can give you, and Michelob Ultra filled in that market niche. With only 2.6 carbs and 95 calories, this light lager will help you stay on your diet. As a beer lover, I cannot say that the flavor of Michelob Ultra is my favorite, as I would rather drink less beer that delivers more malt flavor. But despite the low-calorie count and missing body, this beer is still smooth and refreshing.
If you have ever seen a Coors Light commercial while thirsty, you probably felt your mouth water when seeing the condensation against the cold Rocky Mountains on the can. Coors Brewing Company introduced this beer in 1978, becoming one of the most famous American beers ever. With the nickname “Silver Bullet” because of the can, I think this beer’s signature quality is the crisp, refreshing taste—you want to make this beer as cold as possible before drinking it. Some beers lose their flavor when too cold, but this beer shines after sitting in an icy cooler.
Corona Extra is a Mexican beer brewed by Grupo Modelo, and it is one of the cleanest beers you will taste (as evidenced by the visuals of their clear bottling). My favorite way to enjoy a Corona beer is on the beach or by the pool, often with a slice of lime to provide extra acidity. But the beer on its own has enough balance between the sweet malt and the bitter hops, with a fruity aroma to add to the overall refreshing vibe. The beer has only 148 calories and 13.9 grams of carbs, but you might find it is worth the enhanced flavors.
As someone who grew up watching my parents and their friends drink Heineken beer at almost every party, I can never mistake the classic green bottle and a red star. Heineken began brewing beer in 1873 in Amsterdam, and they are now one of the top-selling beers worldwide, including in America. In terms of taste, you can expect a crisp bite to the front due to its forced carbonation, and it has a distinct aroma that I never confuse with other beers. While the beer itself is not green, the distinct hop profile will trick your brain into thinking it is.
Natural Light, a beer many of my college friends would lovingly call “natty light,” is another light lager from Anheuser-Busch. This beverage is another option for anyone trying to cut back on calories, and it has a surprisingly solid taste despite its extra light brewing process. While Natural Light might not hold up at a fancy party or cocktail hour setting—you might go with Heineken for those—it is a fantastic beer for those all-day barbecues.
Busch Light is yet again another lightly brewed American lager from Anheuser-Busch. The brewery also has its flagship heavier Busch beer, although the sales of that do not stack up against its lighter counterpart. You will notice a less intense flavor and body in Busch Light, but for most consumers, it seems the fewer calories are worth that sacrifice. While Busch Light is not my go-to light American lager, I do appreciate the unique hop aroma it gives me. The flavor is balanced, and you are left with a subtle sweetness after you swallow.
Does Bud Light even need an introduction? You can barely go anywhere without seeing Bud Light for sale, which makes sense considering how many people consider it the only beer they will drink. Anheuser-Busch made Bud Light an even lighter version of Budweiser while capturing the rice flavor and refreshing hop profile. The particular blend of barley malt and rice produces a flavor that I do not love in Bud Light, but I can drink them with no problem when needed. And for most, the fewer calories are worth it, even if the taste suffers a bit.
Despite my enjoyment of IPA beer, sometimes they can be too heavy in taste and alcohol content. And Stella Artois would have to be one of the most drinkable and smooth beers I have ever tasted—sometimes it is surprising how fast I can finish them! As a pilsner, you can expect a light body, decent carbonation, and smooth hop profile—Saaz hops give this beer a subtle sweetness similar to apple juice. If you do not know what beer your guests might enjoy, Stella Artois is one of your safest choices.
Yuengling’s Traditional Lager is one of America’s most classic beers because of how long it has been around. Yuengling began its operations in 1829, making it America’s oldest brewery. And the recipe for this lager was rediscovered in 1987 and has become the brewery’s flagship beer. For me, the standout feature of this beer is the sweetness of the roasted caramel malt, something missing in many of the light beers in this article. You can expect a fantastic balance from this beer with an amber color, medium body, and cascade hops.
Compared with most of the lagers and pilsners in this article, this Guinness Draught stands out as the only stout in the 15 best beers in America. If you tend to shy away from the usual stouts that are heavy-bodied and high in alcohol content, this stout is worth your time. It has the velvety texture of a stout but only 4.2 percent alcohol. While a Guinness might not be the best option for calorie-sensitive folks, it is worth having this as a light dessert beer.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
As the name suggests, Pabst Blue Ribbon has a white can with an unmistakable blue ribbon wrapping around the front. This beer is another light American lager, with an easy-drinking mouthfeel that most people enjoy. For me, this lager is similar in quality to Coors in how it balances initial intensity with a nice aftertaste. Pabst Brewing Company was founded in 1844 and has become an iconic American beer with annual revenue of over 20 million dollars. The beer combines barley, corn syrup, and a mix of Pacific hops to achieve its balanced flavor. And at 4.8 percent alcohol, it packs a slightly stronger punch than the lighter lagers in this article.
Last on our list of the best-selling beers in America is Samuel Adams Boston Lager, which the brewery has been producing since 1984. Compared with most of the lighter beers you have read about here, this Vienna lager has a much more complex taste. I prefer Boston Lager on those occasions when I know I only want one or two beers, and I want them to be full-bodied and flavor-forward. The full flavor of Boston lager comes from its two-row barley and German Noble hops. This combination provides a balance between the rich sweetness of the barley and the floral/piney bitterness of the hops. Check out other popular Samuel Adams brews!