Monday, January 28, 2008

Manly Beer Review - Pabst Blue Ribbon

As a recovering beer-snob, it pains me to admit that I used to shun Pabst Blue Ribbon without having ever tried it. Friends and loved ones would tell me it was awful, and I just took their word for it instead of trying it out for myself.

A while back, I bought myself a six-pack, expecting that I'd have one and the rest would sit unopened until I finally gave up and poured it down the drain. The weird thing is, it's pretty darn good beer.

Pabst Blue Ribbon, or as those of us in the know call it, PBR, used to be a fairly popular beer. They peaked, as so many other manly beers did, in the 1970's. In the early 2000's, the PBR market started to turn around, in a small way. Working-class and countercultural beer drinkers adopted this fine beer as their own. Pabst execs, curious about their growth in sales, researched the trend (in order to find out how they might sell MORE beer). They found that PBR drinkers, on the whole, do not like being marketed to.

In a display of supreme class, the execs decided that they'd just keep making it, and their fans would keep drinking it. Pabst marketing has been extremely low-key; they sponsor an event here and there, and that's about it.

How does it taste? Good! PBR is a refreshing beer, perfect for pizza, garages, yard work, and any other occasion that a drinkable beer is required. It's well-balanced, with just a slight bitter aftertaste. If you were to pour it into a glass (only forgivable if the glass is big enough to hold multiple beers), you would likely admire its dark golden color and reasonably thick head.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is easily found in both cans (the beverage conveyance of choice for guys who do their drinking in the garage) and long neck bottles. I usually get cans, but this time around I bought bottles because I could get an 18 pack for $8.99. That's only $0.49 per bottle for a damn fine beer! The bottle caps, incidentally, each have a card suit and number on the inside. I'm not sure why those are there (and why are they on my coffee cups sometimes?), but I can tell you that with PBR, even a junk hand is a winner.

Many bars have adopted PBR as their low-cost beer, which is a wonderful thing. I went to a concert at a local club recently, and had to pay $5 for a Budweiser. Now, tasty as Budweiser may be, it is not a $5 beer. For my next drink, I got a PBR. It was only $2, and tasted better than the Bud as well! Lucky approves.

In short, Pabst Blue Ribbon is a surprisingly good beer for dirt-cheap. Get some, and if anyone hassles you about it, don't let them have any.

Here are some of my previous Manly Beer Reviews:

Michelob Lager
Miller High Life


Becky said...

Years ago I lived in Georgia and visited the Pabst brewery for a tour. The only thing is you can't taste it for some 'Georgia' reason. The place smelled good, even though it was all mechanized. Haven't tried a PBR for 30 years(I started drinking when I was 10) I assume you can get them in Seattle area. I think I'll try one.


Lucky said...

No free samples???

Note to self - don't bother with the Pabst tour.

Surly said...

For the record, I no longer drink.
That being said, my opinion of PBR was EXACTLY what your post stated. Damn good beer.
Around here, the old timers drink their lagers in a short glass (like 6oz. juice glass) and put a dash of salt in each glass. I adopted this method in my "after work at the bar" beer drinking and found it quite delicous in a town drunk kind of way. Try it.

Lucky said...

I've tried salting beer before. It's just not me.