Recently a friend of mine hosted a “redneck” BBQ and we were talking about what beers we should drink for the full redneck experience. Normally we’d enjoy some fine IPAs from Stone or Deschutes, but being a redneck party we wanted to get down and party like a redneck!
Rednecks over the years have got some pretty bad press – they’re often seen as country folk, who tend to be working class, opinionated, and not the brightest cookie in the box. Stereotypes often see them sitting on their porch with a shotgun in one hand and a beer in the other whilst watching the older folks strumming their banjos!
Now, before we dive too deep into the world of rednecks, let’s get one thing straight: being a redneck is not a bad thing. In fact, many people proudly identify as rednecks and wear the title as a badge of honor. It’s all about embracing your roots and living a simple, down-to-earth lifestyle. Rednecks are blue-collar, hard-working, decent folk who believe in the greatness of the good ol’ US of A. What’s wrong with that?
The same could be said about the redneck beers we are going to look at. They may not have always been held in the highest respect, and indeed have often been called bland, tasteless, or, even worse, goddam awful!
But they are all-American, decent, honest brews that do the job. They might not have the nuances of a Pliny the Elder or Alchemist’s Heady Topper but a redneck beer won’t be anywhere near as damn expensive and won’t let you down when you want to get loaded.
Apologies if any of your favorite beers appear on this list. I’m not saying it’s a bad beer, just a beer that can fit into the redneck lifestyle. And just like the rednecks themselves, this post may not be as politically correct as it should be, but it’s all done tongue-in-cheek, and no harm is meant. So let’s have a bit of fun – grab a cold one from the fridge and sit back with your shotgun in one hand and a beer in the other while we go on a wild tour of truly redneck brews!
What Is a Redneck?
First of all, let’s start with a basic definition. A redneck is typically described as a rural, working-class white person who often lives in the southern United States. They are known for their love of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities, as well as their affinity for pickup trucks, country music, and beer.
The Brittanica Dictionary defines a redneck as:
” a white person who lives in a small town or in the country, especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive”
The Webster’s Dictionary goes even further and suggests redneck is an adjective used to describe the behavior of someone whose conduct and opinions are politically conservative, racist, and religiously fundamentalist!
Not sounding good, is it? In fact, the term redneck is seen by many as a downright offensive one.
Redneck has been used since the 1830s to refer, typically in a derogatory fashion, to poor or unsophisticated whites, generally those inhabiting the southern United States.
President Bill Clinton once described Donald Trump’s supporters as rednecks in a derisory way but then has also described himself as “your standard redneck” having grown up in backwoods Arkansas.
Although the term is often used to describe “poor white trash,” or people locally known as “crackers,” “dirt-eaters,” and “red-necks,” in recent years many folk have been proud to recall their “redneck” roots, not just President Clinton.
Being a redneck is not all about driving a pickup truck with a Confederate flag proudly displayed in the back window. Rednecks are known for their unique sense of humor, which often involves playful teasing and good-natured pranks. And let’s not forget about their legendary cooking skills. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned Southern BBQ or a homemade batch of moonshine.
And at those legendary BBQs or tailgating parties, Rednecks are gonna need beer to drink, and plenty of it!
What Defines a Red Neck Beer?
Perhaps most importantly, a redneck beer has to be cheap. Not just budget price but cheaper than cheap – some of the beers on this list are even less expensive than a can of soda.
Just as important a factor in what makes a beer “redneck” is that it must be American – we don’t want any of that foreign muck! There may be a few notable exceptions to this rule, in particular the Mexican beers, but hell, most of them are brewed here in the USA nowadays anyhow.
When it comes to redneck beer, there are a few things that set it apart from other types of beer. For one thing, redneck beer tends to be on the lighter side, both in terms of flavor and alcohol content. Redneck beer drinkers often value affordability and easy drinkability over complex flavors or high alcohol content.
Another hallmark of redneck beer culture is the social aspect. Redneck beer drinkers often gather together at backyard barbecues, tailgate parties, and dive bars to share a cold one and shoot the breeze. For many redneck beer drinkers, the beer is just as much about the social experience as it is about the taste.
Of course, there are also those who take their redneck beer very seriously. There are redneck beer festivals and competitions all over the country, where enthusiasts gather to sample different brands and debate the merits of each. Some redneck beer aficionados even brew their own beer, experimenting with different ingredients and techniques to create the perfect brew.
Our 10 Favorite Redneck Beers
For those who prefer a down-home, no-frills brew, there’s nothing quite like a redneck beer. Here are ten of the most popular brands, each with its own unique flavor and history.
Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)
When looking at redneck beers, they don’t get much more redneck than Pabst. Brewed in the US of A since 1844, originally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the distinctive blue and silver can of Pabst Blue Ribbon has been a fixture at backyard barbecues and dive bars for decades.
Affectionately known as PBR, it is a staple of redneck beer culture and has even seen country artists such as Johnny Russel feature the beer in their tracks. (1973 “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer”.)
PBR is a light-bodied lager with a crisp, clean taste that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day. Over the years, Pabst has been subject to many mergers and acquisitions which have nearly seen the beer die out. But ironically it was the American hipster movement that most recently saved this beer from extinction.
However, Pabst is still seen as the working man’s beer, it’s just that particular working man is now more likely to be making bespoke iPhone cases out of human hair in a loft somewhere in Brooklyn.
Natural Light from Anheuser-Busch, or Natty Light as it’s more commonly known, is another popular choice among redneck beer drinkers. It’s known for its low price point and easy drinkability, making it a favorite among college students and budget-conscious drinkers. Natty Light has a light, slightly sweet flavor with a smooth finish.
Natty Light might be the most common beer you will find on campuses across America but it also holds the title for the first beer in space. Yes, you read that right – in 2011, two crazy redneck Facebook fans of Natty Light, Danny and Rich, came up with the epic idea of sending a can of Natty Light into space. The rest is history, as they say!
Natural Light does have a big brother, Natural Ice, but if you have never heard of this beer, think yourself lucky. Natty Ice is a thick, syrupy, adjunct-filled beer that you need to drink ice cold, like most other 6% ABV slammers, just to get it to go down. With cheap beers, the adage often says the less taste the better, and this beer could definitely do with a little less.
Often seen as the economy brand of the Anheuser-Busch products, the original Busch beer is sometimes referred to as “Busch Heavy”, and you would often find it at college parties sat in a cooler with Natty Naddies (stronger ABV version of Nat Ice), Steel Reserve and Bud Ice.
Busch has a lot of corn sweetness from the cheaper adjuncts used in the brewing process, but perhaps the most noticeable flavor is a faint skunk taste – and no, it doesn’t taste like the skunkiness was added on purpose.
Busch is a light-bodied lager that’s brewed with a blend of barley malt, cereal grains, and hops. It’s also one of the most affordable options on the market. There is also a just-as-affordable variation, Busch Light, for your more health-conscious rednecks.
Keystone Light is a budget-friendly beer that seems to have been around since the beginning of time. We’ve all heard those stories of a really bad “Keystone” night after college parties or student barbecues.
It’s a light beer with a smooth, crisp taste that’s perfect for drinking on a hot day. Keystone Light is brewed with a blend of barley malt, corn, and hops, giving it a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of bitterness. That’s what the marketing blurb says anyhow, but in truth, the original Keystone was thought by many to be the worst beer ever brewed on American soil (sorry, Keystone fans, if there are any out there..).
Ironically, Keystone first debuted in 1989 in Chico, California home of Sierra Nevada and its delicious beers. While it’s certainly no SN Pale Ale, the original Keystone stood out from the rest of the “crap pack” of cheap beers for all the wrong reasons with its often stale or sour taste and a hint of brown bananas and almost fresh armpit taste. And the bitter face guy in the TV commercials did very little to help, just freaking most people, even rednecks, out.
Fortunately, Keystone Light is a marked improvement that strips away all the rotten fruit and flesh to leave a regular, boring light beer.
Coors is a brand that always seems to have been associated with the American redneck culture. Coors was even the brand that the “bandit” smuggled across southern state lines in the 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit”. Such was the demand for Coors before it was permitted to be distributed nationwide that rednecks would often fill their trucks up with cases of Coors from Colorado and the Western states to take back down to the South.
Although many beer lovers prefer the taste of Coors Banquet, Coors Light is the beer you are more likely to see on the shelves of a supermarket or in the cooler at your next hoedown.
Coors Light is a classic redneck beer that’s been around since the 1970s. It’s a light-bodied lager that’s brewed with a blend of barley malt, corn, and hops. Coors Light has a mild, refreshing taste that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day. Its iconic silver can is instantly recognizable.
Miller High Life
Often called the “champagne of beer”..we’re getting a bit fancy now for a redneck beer! In truth, it’s only a small step up from other macro beers such as Budweiser with many rednecks referring to High Life as “the beer Bud should have been”. Even the brewmaster at Founders has been known to admit to enjoying the odd bottle or two of Miller High Life when the time is right.
Miller High Life is a light-bodied lager that’s brewed with a blend of malted barley, corn, and hops. The crisp, refreshing taste is perfect for drinking at a backyard barbecue or while fishing on a hot day.
We can’t mention Miller without a word or two about Miller Lite, the light beer which kickstarted the whole light beer revolution. Without Miller Light, we probably wouldn’t have Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, or even Bud Light.
Miller Lite is the original light beer that’s been around since the 1970s. It’s a light-bodied lager that’s brewed with a blend of barley malt, corn, and hops. The clean, refreshing taste makes it perfect for drinking while watching the game or at the latest rodeo.
Until recently the most popular beer in the country, including Bud Light in a list of redneck beers is maybe a controversial choice when you consider the latest Bud Light transgender controversy. If there’s one thing rednecks don’t particularly like, it’s diversity.
As American as you can get, Budweiser has recently fallen out of favor with the US public over the transgender social media influencer who back in April 2023 posted about a can of Bud Light with her face on it.
Previously, Bud Light was a favorite beer of the redneck community with some restaurants even depicting Bud Light cans on the American flag as a sign of patriotism. But following the appearance of the Tik Tok video with a can featuring a picture of trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s face on it, many bars have decided to stop stocking Bud Light. At country singer John Rich’s downtown Nashville Redneck Riveria Bar & BBQ, they have even started to cover up the blue parts of their beer flag which used Bud Light cans. However, all the other Anheuser-Busch redneck beers remain on sale in the bar.
The oldest beer in America still brewed today, Yuengling Lager is a redneck beer that’s been around since the mid-1800s. It’s a medium-bodied beer with a rich, malty flavor that’s balanced by subtle hop bitterness. Yuengling Lager is brewed using a blend of roasted caramel malt and traditional hops, giving it a distinctive flavor that’s hard to beat.
This is one redneck beer you may find a craft beer lover secretly chugging away, Yuengling has more to the taste than your traditional macro and feels heavier too. Although it’s more malty, toasty, and sweet, some say it tastes like parts of the metal brewing kettles got into each can or keg.
Until recently it was only available East of the Mississippi, but at the end of 2022, it was closing in on a national distribution deal.
Lone Star Beer
If we’re talking redneck, you don’t get much more redneck than the state of Texas. Lone Star Beer is the National beer of Texas and a classic redneck beer that’s been brewed since the 1800s. It’s a light-bodied beer with a crisp, refreshing taste that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day.
Lone Star Beer is brewed using a blend of barley malt, corn, and hops, giving it a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of bitterness. It may not be as cheap as some of the other beers on this list, but it is All-American and for the Texan rednecks it’s a symbol of state pride.
We have to give an honorary mention to a beer that is produced by a brewery proud to call themselves Rednecks.
At Redneck Brewing Company in Ontario, Canada they are proud Canadian rednecks who aim to provide quality crushable craft beers to rednecks across the whole of North America. Appealing to the redneck market, they aim to produce these craft beers at very budget-friendly prices.
The most widely available Redneck Brewing Company beer at the time of writing was Redneck Logger, an American adjunct-style lager. Redneck Logger is light and refreshing with an ABV of 4.7% and is pale yellow in color. The Redneck Logger is perfect for any redneck gathering.
Redneck Beers – Final Call
First, let me start by apologizing again if I have offended anybody. It was never the intention of this post, it’s just a light-hearted look at some of the classic redneck beers of America. When did we all get so woke?
Think yourselves lucky that rednecks in other parts of the world have much more offensive-sounding names. In Australia, a redneck is typically known as a bogan, almost like a bog-dwelling creature (this is further split into “Bushie” – those rednecks who live in the bush/outback – and “Westies” – the city-dwelling rednecks, as Western suburbs tend to be less posh!).
In the UK, a redneck is known as a country bumpkin, although in recent years derogatory phrases such as Chav, street urchin, or gypo (referring to the nomadic gypsies of the UK) have become more common forms of insults. As for beers the rednecks or chavs of the UK would drink, they tend to be super strong cheaper lagers such as Carlsberg Special Brew (9.5%), barleywines, or up in Scotland a delicacy known as Buckfast.
Redneck beers in the US may not be the most sophisticated or complex type of beer out there, but they have a loyal following for a reason. Whether you prefer PBR or Coors Light, there’s something about a cold redneck beer that just hits the spot on a hot day. So crack open a can, kick back, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Cheers!