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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: sarah12578 on August 21, 2015, 05:49:50 PM

Title: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: sarah12578 on August 21, 2015, 05:49:50 PM
My husband and I both like to have a few after work, but I feel like we are spending too much money on alcohol.  I try to buy box wine to save $....but what do you do for beer?  Is a kegerator cost effective?
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: swashbucklinstache on August 21, 2015, 05:54:50 PM
Split a 40oz?
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: trailrated on August 21, 2015, 06:18:22 PM
Costco
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Kriegsspiel on August 21, 2015, 08:11:26 PM
If you drink it fast, it works its magic quicker. Beer bongs are pretty cheap*. The trick is to get multiple beers under your belt before your body can cope with them all. Alcohol is processed at .015 BAC per hour according to some preachy substance abuse website, so just do the math to see how many you need to chug to achieve an efficient drunk state.

* Mustachian Pro Tip: Shotgunning. Instead of spending $5 on a beer bong, you can use some sharp tool you already have in your DIY shop.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: firewalker on August 21, 2015, 08:20:07 PM
Do like some enlistees I know used to do for cheap thrills: "Give" blood and use the money for cheap booze. The lower blood qty means quicker blackout.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: bauhauss on August 21, 2015, 09:58:02 PM
In Brazil beer isn't a very expensive item: we can buy a can (473ml) of an "ok" brand beer (Itaipava, Brahma) for about R$ 2,80 (Us$ 0.80 in today's exchange). When running out of money, people use to drink some shots of cachaša alternated with beer. I think that's better than drinking cheap beverages and get a hangover.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Heckler on August 21, 2015, 10:58:03 PM
http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

http://www.brewersfriend.com


Make your own.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Heckler on August 21, 2015, 10:59:49 PM
This is my hefeweizen.  $28 (CAD) for the first 5 gallon batch, and I reused the yeast for a subsequent 5 gallon batch that cost me $18 (CAD). That's 30 craft beer bottle (22 oz)
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Thegoblinchief on August 22, 2015, 05:31:21 AM
Quantify cheap. This could be craft beer for $1/bottle or macro brews for 1/2 that.

How much are you drinking?

Ultimately, the only real way to "save" money on alcohol is to drink less of it.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Trifele on August 22, 2015, 06:01:50 AM
In Brazil beer isn't a very expensive item: we can buy a can (473ml) of an "ok" brand beer (Itaipava, Brahma) for about R$ 2,80 (Us$ 0.80 in today's exchange). When running out of money, people use to drink some shots of cachaša alternated with beer. I think that's better than drinking cheap beverages and get a hangover.

Bauhauss -- just curious -- I have the impression that cachaša is a very common drink in Brazil?  Cheap and everywhere there?  I totally love it and drink it often, but most people where I live in the northern US have never heard of it.  The only brand I can get here is Pitu, which I think is delicious.  Are there even yummier cachašas in Brazil?

IMO cachaša (or vodka, or tequila) can be cheap drinking compared to beer or wine, even if you are drinking the really high end stuff.  It packs a punch and you (ideally) drink less of it.   
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: spokey doke on August 22, 2015, 08:41:31 AM
PBR
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: spokey doke on August 22, 2015, 08:47:59 AM
My husband and I both like to have a few after work, but I feel like we are spending too much money on alcohol.  I try to buy box wine to save $....but what do you do for beer?  Is a kegerator cost effective?

If you can get a deal on a kegerator, or DIY one with a cheap fridge or hacked freezer, AND drink enough to regularly make it through pony or full kegs and don't go buy other beer (and these last two go together pretty well), and stick with it for the long haul, then yes, you can save money with a kegerator.

But if you are buying 5 gallon kegs of expensive beer and also buy six packs and don't stick with the program, it is going to be more of a spending hobby (but it is still nice to have a draft when you get home).

I made a kegerator and it was a bit of work and expense, enjoyed plenty of good beer at a more reasonable price, and then sold it at a small loss because it was really too much of an incentive to drink more, which I didn't need.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Paul der Krake on August 22, 2015, 09:57:02 AM
I drink fancy beers every now and then, but also have a regular budweiser (not bud light) in the fridge for when I want a decent beer that doesn't cost $1.50 a pop.

They go on sale for $15 for a 24pack every now and then.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Rusoarmo on August 22, 2015, 10:13:49 AM
Kirkland signature Vodka and Whiskey
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: hodedofome on August 22, 2015, 11:42:27 AM
The only coffee I like is a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Since that costs almost $4, I only get one a few times a year. I decided that retiring early and having the freedom to do what I want was better than drinking what I like in my 30s. I'll be able to afford all the white mochas I want one day, just not today.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: grantmeaname on August 22, 2015, 11:45:17 AM
Homebrew. Especially make your own wine while you're at it. I drink $3/bottle wine and $0.50/bottle beers that are better than midrange/craft stuff from the grocery store, and it's educational as hell at the same time.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 01:16:26 PM
Today you can buy Budweiser or similar for less than $1 per can: in my opinion if you need to look for cheaper options you are either drinking too much or being a little overly frugal.
DIY is also a great alternative, but it's more about the fun than the savings
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: grantmeaname on August 22, 2015, 02:21:26 PM
Only if you don't mind flavorless beer.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 02:54:28 PM
Brewing to your taste is part of the fun.
I personally prefer beer with lighter taste compared to what a lot of micro breweries / home brewers do, so I don't really see the point, but understand those who do.
The savings are minimal.
As to wine, I doubt it has any efficiency at all unless you do it as a side gig and produce relevant quantities or unless you give zero value to your time.
On top of that, it takes a lot of skill to blend grapes and you can buy excellent Bordeaux bottles for around 6-7 bucks from people who have been doing it for ages, so I wouldn't even be sure I could make a superior product.
But again, taste.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: grantmeaname on August 22, 2015, 06:21:15 PM
It takes two or so total hours of time to make 30 bottles of wine from a kit. Don't dismiss it if you've never tried it.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 07:13:30 PM
My Italian genes forbid me to make wine "from a kit" :)
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Kriegsspiel on August 22, 2015, 07:17:43 PM
Are you able to drink it from a bag?
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: okits on August 22, 2015, 07:19:13 PM
If I'm limiting myself to one drink (but want it to cope with misc. life suckiness), I'll pound it back fast on an empty stomach (a bit of dehydration probably helps, too.) You'll feel it for a little while and can nurse a club soda/tap water the rest of the evening.

(Oh, the ugly self-truths that get revealed on these forums...  LOL.)
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Kriegsspiel on August 22, 2015, 07:36:08 PM
If I'm limiting myself to one drink (but want it to cope with misc. life suckiness), I'll pound it back fast on an empty stomach (a bit of dehydration probably helps, too.) You'll feel it for a little while and can nurse a club soda/tap water the rest of the evening.

(Oh, the ugly self-truths that get revealed on these forums...  LOL.)

This is a really good point that hasn't been mentioned yet. I think a lot of women do this naturally, but yea... not eating helps.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 09:15:55 PM

Are you able to drink it from a bag?

Of course, there's a lot of great non pretentious wine that comes in bags.
When I lived in France I used to get it around 60 liters at a time in 3l bag in boxes from the vallÚe de la Loire
Back in my home country Italy it's not as common but you can still get massive bottles (we call them "damigiana") from farmers at circa 2.5 euro per liter.
Excellent wine can be very cheap if produced in quantities, for some marketing reason here in the U.S. a lot of people have been fooled into thinking that wine has to be $25 per bottle or above to be drinkable.
We have many that think this way in Europe too, but they tend to be snobs rather than uninformed.
Here I get my wine at trader joes, and my favorites are trader joes Blanc De Blanc (a dry, sparkling wine from France that sells for $5.99 per bottle), an Italian Pinot Grigio again for $5.99 and a rotating cast of red Bordeaux for anywhere between $7.99 and $8.99
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Kriegsspiel on August 22, 2015, 09:31:18 PM
When I lived in France I used to get it around 60 liters at a time in 3l bag in boxes

Do they use a different form of math in France than in the US? Must be that metric stuff...
 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 09:42:07 PM
I don't understand what you mean.
Btw 60 liter equals around 15 gallons.
3l is about 3 quarts.
So I used to get 20 x 3l boxes.
Where does the math get weird?
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Kriegsspiel on August 22, 2015, 09:46:36 PM
Whatever dude. Fuck math.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Seppia on August 22, 2015, 09:50:41 PM
I am not sure you're on the right forum for that lol
Les say I got many big boxes of wine for very cheap
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: taekvideo on August 22, 2015, 11:26:56 PM
Walgreens
$3 for a 6-pack
Worst name for beer ever though, "big flats" lol. It's their store brand.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: grantmeaname on August 23, 2015, 02:16:03 AM
My Italian genes forbid me to make wine "from a kit" :)
Your loss. Wine kits do not suck. And again, don't dismiss it till you try it.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Terrestrial on August 23, 2015, 08:49:18 AM
The best way to drink on the cheap is to not drink at bars/restaurants where the cost will be 4-5x what you will pay at home.  Other than that - drinking IS pretty cheap?

I am able to get great microbrews at our booze mega-store here for a shade over ~$1 per beer after coupons and/or bulk discounts.  I think the only way to get much cheaper is to drink less or downgrade to swill.

Homebrewing MIGHT save you cost but i'm not sure at what time commitment expense...if you enjoy it as a hobby then that seems fine, if you do it purely to save money I doubt the 'per hour' cost is worthwhile over just buying beer.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: bauhauss on August 24, 2015, 11:26:20 AM
In Brazil beer isn't a very expensive item: we can buy a can (473ml) of an "ok" brand beer (Itaipava, Brahma) for about R$ 2,80 (Us$ 0.80 in today's exchange). When running out of money, people use to drink some shots of cachaša alternated with beer. I think that's better than drinking cheap beverages and get a hangover.

Bauhauss -- just curious -- I have the impression that cachaša is a very common drink in Brazil?  Cheap and everywhere there?  I totally love it and drink it often, but most people where I live in the northern US have never heard of it.  The only brand I can get here is Pitu, which I think is delicious.  Are there even yummier cachašas in Brazil?

IMO cachaša (or vodka, or tequila) can be cheap drinking compared to beer or wine, even if you are drinking the really high end stuff.  It packs a punch and you (ideally) drink less of it.

Hello Trifele,

Cachaša or pinga it's widespread through Brazil, and it is cheap here. There are some very cheap brands, but not so good (ex.: Caninha da Roša), cheap but OK brands (Velho Barreiro, 51), good brands (Pit˙, Boazinha, Seleta, Sagatiba) and export brands (Velho Barreiro Gold, Seleta Gold, etc.). IMHO cachšas like Pitu, Boazinha, Seleta - and others from city of Salinas-MG - are the best cost-benefit ratio. A bottle of Seleta costs around R$ 18,00 (Us$ 5.00 in today's exchange rate).

~bauhauss
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: bittheory on August 24, 2015, 12:03:02 PM
I'm one of those lucky guys who works in an office with a kegerator. I don't drink from it a lot, probably 2 beers a week.

I also find that if you're into "craft beer", a growler fill is a cost effective way to get quality beer and an affordable price. One fill will last a weekend and share with friends for under $10.

Also, there's nothing wrong with the clearance bin at your neighborhood wine shop.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: iamlittlehedgehog on August 24, 2015, 12:13:40 PM
If you enjoy craft brews check out your local craft bars for "tap takeovers" by local breweries. Usually the beers will be steeply discounted to clear out the kegs by the end of the night. As for at home I second the home brew idea. However I am lazy and found ALDI has a few passable brews that supplement evening drinking. 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 24, 2015, 12:17:52 PM
My husband and I both like to have a few after work, but I feel like we are spending too much money on alcohol.  I try to buy box wine to save $....but what do you do for beer?  Is a kegerator cost effective?

Just coming at it from another point of view...whenever I start to think I'm spending too much on booze I usually realize I'm drinking too much and need to reset my weekly consumption which can creep upwards after a few months. That mitigates both the cost and health issues of drinking. 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Gone Fishing on August 24, 2015, 01:28:51 PM
Cheapest booze to be had around here is bottom shelf vodka.  Purchased in 1.75 liter bottles, it works out to around $.33 a drink if you drink it over ice.  I don't buy it often because I tend to drink more when it is around.  As it is, I try not to drink during the week.  Keeps the tolerance from creeping up, and I seem to sleep better and be more productive in the evenings. 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Schaefer Light on August 24, 2015, 02:45:19 PM
My husband and I both like to have a few after work, but I feel like we are spending too much money on alcohol.  I try to buy box wine to save $....but what do you do for beer?  Is a kegerator cost effective?

If you can get a deal on a kegerator, or DIY one with a cheap fridge or hacked freezer, AND drink enough to regularly make it through pony or full kegs and don't go buy other beer (and these last two go together pretty well), and stick with it for the long haul, then yes, you can save money with a kegerator.

But if you are buying 5 gallon kegs of expensive beer and also buy six packs and don't stick with the program, it is going to be more of a spending hobby (but it is still nice to have a draft when you get home).

I made a kegerator and it was a bit of work and expense, enjoyed plenty of good beer at a more reasonable price, and then sold it at a small loss because it was really too much of an incentive to drink more, which I didn't need.
I've thought about going this route, but I'm also concerned about it speeding up the pace of my drinking (which would likely negate any of the savings).  It's a lot easier to lose count of how many pours you've had from the keg than it is to miscount the number of missing bottles/cans in the fridge.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: FIRE me on August 24, 2015, 11:39:26 PM
My husband and I both like to have a few after work, but I feel like we are spending too much money on alcohol.  I try to buy box wine to save $....but what do you do for beer?  Is a kegerator cost effective?

Quit drinking. You'll both be better off, financially and health.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Gumbo1978 on August 25, 2015, 06:28:59 AM
Beer is a place I don't cut corners. 

Domestic macrobrew beer is not my thing.  I don't enjoy drinking it.
Homebrewing was a fun hobby for a while but I ran into space constraints (storing bottles, brewing equipment etc).

I tend to buy local to support my local breweries (Charlotte, NC is becoming one of the hottest craft brew markets in the country).  This runs closer to $10 for a 6 pack.  I cut back on the # of times per week I drink to compensate for the cost.  I now drink 1-2x per week and typically have 1-2 beers in a sitting. 

My advice would be to either cut back on consumption a little to save $ or cut corners somewhere else.  Of course if you are just drinking to get drunk, a bottle of cheap liquor will do that cheaper than any other option I can think of.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Cwadda on August 25, 2015, 07:29:12 AM
I looked around for the best alcohol stores in my state and ended up finding it. I only go a few times a year but I get all the alcohol I need. They sell at state minimum prices, but offer mail-in rebates to knock the price down further.

Also, because I don't like beer, I've spent a good amount of time identifying excellent alcohols for reasonable prices.
-Tito's Handmade vodka $30 for 1.75L. Distilled from corn. Smooth as Grey Goose, and feels like water going down straight.
-Benchmark bourbon $22 for 1.75L. Tastes just like Jack Daniels, IMO
-El Dorado rum 3 year old cask aged. $15 for 750 mL where I go. Not as cheap, but gosh this stuff is fantastic
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: affordablehousing on August 25, 2015, 07:55:28 AM
Not sure if this works everywhere but here in New York you can often find sealed liquor or beer that people have thrown out at the ends of months around moving day as they can't take it with them. Maybe that's an option for you? home brew is pretty cheap, I make mine for ~50 cents a bottle once you buy the paint buckets and kettle. Also a good way to drink for free is to go to art gallery opening parties, usually open admission, free wine and beer and no one hassles you. In Pennsylvania I used to buy out of season craft beer at the beer distributors by the case for a huge discount. You could usually get craft for less than the price of macro.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Bob W on August 25, 2015, 09:31:58 AM
Beer is an acquired taste.  i.e. it all taste like shit until it doesn't.     For cheap beer I like Rolling Rock bottled.   Pretty much any beer is better in bottles.   For a cheap buzz beer the Keystone Ice is the alcoholics preferred brand.  For bagged wine.  Put it in the freezer and let it freeze.  It will be noticeably taster when it thaws. 

For the cheapest drink go with vodka.   I like mine straight with water.  Maybe a little olive or lemon.    Or just on the rocks.   Most of the bottom shelf brands are indistinguishable from the $50 bottles.   Just check to see it is triple or quadruple filtered or distilled.   Burnett's,  McCormick's,  Smirnoff are fine.  Glass bottle --- never plastic.   

Cheers!
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Cwadda on August 25, 2015, 09:38:33 AM
Quote
Most of the bottom shelf brands are indistinguishable from the $50 bottles.   Just check to see it is triple or quadruple filtered or distilled.   Burnett's,  McCormick's,  Smirnoff are fine.  Glass bottle --- never plastic.
I'd have to disagree with you there. Burnett's tastes like downright hand sanitizing fluid! Go with something mid tier like Absolut, it'll save you plenty of headaches and/or nasty hangovers!

Neat tip on the wine though, I'll have to try that sometime!
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: fitfrugalfab on August 25, 2015, 09:42:13 AM
Trader Joes has unbelievably cheap alcohol as well as total wine.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Gone Fishing on August 25, 2015, 09:42:55 AM
Quote
Most of the bottom shelf brands are indistinguishable from the $50 bottles.   Just check to see it is triple or quadruple filtered or distilled.   Burnett's,  McCormick's,  Smirnoff are fine.  Glass bottle --- never plastic.
I'd have to disagree with you there. Burnett's tastes like downright hand sanitizing fluid! Go with something mid tier like Absolut, it'll save you plenty of headaches and/or nasty hangovers!

Neat tip on the wine though, I'll have to try that sometime!

You've drank hand sanitizing fluid???!!  I imagine it probably costs more than a decent vodka unless you get it from a public bathroom. Hmm, not sure if that is badass or just cheap...
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Bob W on August 25, 2015, 09:43:15 AM
Quote
Most of the bottom shelf brands are indistinguishable from the $50 bottles.   Just check to see it is triple or quadruple filtered or distilled.   Burnett's,  McCormick's,  Smirnoff are fine.  Glass bottle --- never plastic.
I'd have to disagree with you there. Burnett's tastes like downright hand sanitizing fluid! Go with something mid tier like Absolut, it'll save you plenty of headaches and/or nasty hangovers!

Cool tips on the wine though, I'll have to try that sometime!

You could be right --- I haven't used Burnetts in years so it may have gone down a bit.   I stick with McCormicks primarily.   OP can try a few brands.  In fact,  they could buy 6 or 7 inexpensive brands and do a tasting for fun.  There are plenty of sites that rate vodka, so one can easily check those.    Titos is a goto when I'm feeling rich and want a straight on the  rocks.

If you're feeling frisky try Barton's Long Island Iced tea.   It is 80 proof premixed alcohol only.  Then just add a bit of sweet and sour and a splash of coke and you're good to go.    It is cheap too.   Makes a great LIT. 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Cwadda on August 25, 2015, 09:52:06 AM
Quote
Most of the bottom shelf brands are indistinguishable from the $50 bottles.   Just check to see it is triple or quadruple filtered or distilled.   Burnett's,  McCormick's,  Smirnoff are fine.  Glass bottle --- never plastic.
I'd have to disagree with you there. Burnett's tastes like downright hand sanitizing fluid! Go with something mid tier like Absolut, it'll save you plenty of headaches and/or nasty hangovers!

Cool tips on the wine though, I'll have to try that sometime!

You could be right --- I haven't used Burnetts in years so it may have gone down a bit.   I stick with McCormicks primarily.   OP can try a few brands.  In fact,  they could buy 6 or 7 inexpensive brands and do a tasting for fun.  There are plenty of sites that rate vodka, so one can easily check those.    Titos is a goto when I'm feeling rich and want a straight on the  rocks.

If you're feeling frisky try Barton's Long Island Iced tea.   It is 80 proof premixed alcohol only.  Then just add a bit of sweet and sour and a splash of coke and you're good to go.    It is cheap too.   Makes a great LIT.

I think Smirnoff was one of the top rated vodkas by professional tasters or whatever! I don't care for it much, but I guess the lower priced brands have as good of chance as any other.

might try out that LI iced tea mix too if it's in my area.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: FLBiker on August 25, 2015, 10:09:25 AM
This thread reminds me of a funny story.

I did my senior year in London and was looking for a way to drink cheaply.  I had a friend who worked at a liquor store (an "off license") and I was browsing around, trying to figure out the cheapest alcohol by volume.  I asked my friend if she knew.  She said "No, but I can tell you what the tramps drink."  I felt like I'd found the holy grail.

Her three recommendations were cider (I forget the brand), a high ABV beer called something like "strong brew" or "super brew" and a very cheap fortified port.  And that is how I became a port drinker.

Once I was back in the states, I switched to 1.75s of whatever vodka / gin / rum was on sale.

(And yes, I'm an alcoholic.  9.5 years sober.)
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: humbleMouse on August 25, 2015, 10:12:42 AM
I drink beer all the time and they way I do it cheap is buy it from the cheapest liquor store in town (which happens to be across the street from where I live).

I drink peroni's and can get a 12 pack for 11.61 after tax!  Great beer for less than $1/bottle..... I can't even bring myself to go to bars anymore. 
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Apocalyptica602 on August 25, 2015, 12:57:58 PM
In college we did something similar, at our local grocery / liquor stores we found that bottom of the barrel 5L boxed wine (Franzia, Vella etc) was cheaper per alcohol serving than even the cheapest 1.75L of plastic bottle vodka or similar. (Although it was close).

Many games of 'Slap the Bag' ensued, many hangovers were had.

Ahhh college, makes me wonder how I ended up with a 3.5+ GPA in Engineering.

Now I just ... drink less. I enjoy scotch and you don't need to spend big money to get excellent scotches.

Also *puts beer snob hat on* most people slamming back beers from a can obviously don't care about the taste, but if you actually pour a beer into a glass you can enjoy the flavor a lot more even if it's not a high end craft.
Title: Re: Drinking on the cheap
Post by: Axecleaver on August 25, 2015, 01:15:08 PM
Keezer builds:

http://www.instructables.com/id/4-Tap-Keezer-Kegerator-Freezer/
http://homebrewacademy.com/how-to-build-a-keezer
http://www.mikebeer.net/chestfreezer.htm

Very easy to pair the keezer with homebrew kegging. Keep in mind, none of this is particularly frugal or great for your long term health, but it is a rewarding and fun hobby.