Best beer bratwurst? We rank the house brands

Best beer bratwurst? We rank the house brands
Best beer bratwurst? We rank the house brands

You smell that, kids? The arresting aroma of meats sizzling over a hot grill?

That is the sweet smell of summer, and come Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of the summer cookout season.

Now that the school year is over or close to ending (hang tight, quarter system people), it's time to celebrate with one of the greatest meats you can ever slap on the grill – the beer-soaked bratwurst. Oh man, just writing the words "beer-soaked bratwurst" makes my mouth water, and I have a stomach stuffed with four of them as I write this. But even better than a beer-soaked bratwurst is eating a beer-soaked bratwurst that came at a bargain.

Johnsonville brats are some superb sausage, no doubt. But was there a chance that the cheaper store brand varieties could be just as good, if not better? Store Brand Scorecard tried out three private label varieties – one each from a big box store, a grocery store and a mini market – to find out. All products were purchased at Chicago-area stores on May 22, 2010. Prices are subject to change.