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Glad I’m Not A Hipster, Because Pabst Blue Ribbon Sucks!

Jim and I have discussed our family history with PBR, and I have even discussed PBR’s recent history on the blog here.  Jim and my history with this beer began when we were children.  Our aunt worked for Pabst for a long time (almost 20 years) and it was my father’s beer of choice for many years as Jim and I grew up.  PBR was the first beer either of us had tried.  That was part of the reason I kind of swore off beer until my 30s, and I think Jim was in his late 20s.

Yes, even when it was “good” it wasn’t that good.  Back then Pabst was a smallish company yet to be acquired, dismantled, and then reassembled somewhere other than Milwaukee, WI.  It was then sold to a couple of asshats that have proceeded to run it into the ground again.  Kind of like if you had an airplane, crashed it, repaired it, and crashed it again, the ultimate indignity.

Be that as it may, I thought that thousands of hipsters couldn’t be wrong, so a couple of weeks ago I was out at my “really local” watering hole the Pour House in Marsing, Idaho.  Now Marsing is a town of about 1000 people so as you might expect the choice of beer is quite limited.  They have Bud and Coors light on tap, and a whole bunch of swill in bottles and cans.  I must have been waxing nostalgic, because I ordered a PBR instead of my usual Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  The SN Pale is my go to there, but for reasons of curiosity I thought what the heck lets mix it up a bit and I ordered said PBR.

The first thing I noticed was the slightly skunky nose through the neck of the bottle.  It wasn’t skunked, its just PBR.  That smell sent an absolute flood of memories into my head being three years old and asking Dad for a sip of his beer.  This was that minus the metallic smell and flavor from the steel can and lead seal.  No, this is what PBR is supposed to smell like.

I thought, optimistically, that perhaps the flavor would somehow have a nice caramelly malty flavor, then I took a drink.  I can’t explain to you my level of disappointment with this beer.  It was a huge letdown on so many levels.  First it was just a really crappy mess of a beer, watery, little flavor, and what flavor there was, was bad.  I could barely make out any ingredients used to make the beer.  It was almost like they took a bottle of water and squirted in a beer flavoring into it.  Like Mio.

I know you can’t trust this opinion, because the last time I had a Pabst was before I hit puberty, but I swear it was better back then, even though it was so bad.  Part of the badness I remember might have just been an immature palate, but I swear it had more of a malty body, and you could taste the grains and yeast.  There was none of that in this brew,  just runny ick.

As punishment for ordering it, I forced myself to finish it.  I will never make that mistake again, kind of like poisoning lamb meat for wolves, if they live through it, they won’t ever kill another lamb.

I don’t care if this stuff is free, I will drink water in the future…it was that bad.

-Don

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50 Comments on “Glad I’m Not A Hipster, Because Pabst Blue Ribbon Sucks!”

  1. johnking82
    July 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Thats because you drank PBR out of a bottle…you gotta drink it outta a can man!

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      I don’t think that will make any difference at all! Seriously this stuff was shipped in brown bottles inside a case, and put into a cooler behind a bar with no light within said cooler. This is PBR, and I think if you are thinking it is better than that, I think you must be fooling yourself. Seriously I really wanted this beer to be good, but it wasn’t.

      • johnking82
        July 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

        Since it was in a bottle, it was probably pretty old since only the cool kids drink them from cans.

        • Don
          July 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

          You got me there John, I’m definitely out of my league where the “Cool Kids” are concerned! 😉

        • July 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

          I agree with johnking82. PBR MUST be consumed from the can. 16 oz tall boys to be exact.

  2. July 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I have the same reaction whenever I don’t have a choice and am forced to drink Bud or some other AB/Inbev crap. Growing up with equal parts good German beer and Coors, Bud has always been swill to me. And now that I can get good craft beer just about anywhere, it really peeves me when an event/festival/whatever only has Bud, or almost worse, Shocktop.

    In my teens and early twenties, I drank just about every macro beer under the sun, PBR included. It was never the best, but it was still somewhat drinkable, sounds like it’s not even that anymore.

    You guys have done posts on go-to craft beers, maybe you should do one on go-to crap beer when craft isn’t available (maybe you have, but I missed it).

    • johnking82
      July 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      This blog has gone to crap.

      • Don
        July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

        Maybe we should invite you as a guest blogger? You could do your regular 3000 word post, and we can turn it into a 6 part mini series. 🙂

        • johnking82
          July 26, 2012 at 11:35 am #

          I thought this blog already was a miniseries: Deadwood.

        • July 26, 2012 at 11:37 am #

          Thank you – that’s the best thing to ever grace a TV screen.

        • johnking82
          July 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

          its also a nickname for Papabear after a few too many bourbons.

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      That is a great idea Will. What is your go to Macro? I have a feeling it really doesn’t matter. They are pretty much all the same.

      • July 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

        If nothing even remotely craft is available, I’ll make do with a Schlitz or Coors (regular, not Light).

        • Don
          July 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

          I’ll go for a Miller Genuine Draft or a regular Michelob if no craft is around. BTW Michelob used to be MUCH better too, sadly no more.

      • ithinkaboutbeer
        July 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

        I’m a miller high life or rainier guy when I want drink domestic. I prefer the rice adjunct lagers to the corn ones. I also prefer the higher carbonnation of the high life. I find it to be a good palette refresher. I like it when I need a low alcohol/flavor break.

  3. July 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Fortunately for us in the east, we can usually get a Yuengling. If that’s not available, I drink water–ain’t no way I’m drinking a Bud, PBR, COOrs Millers, eta al.

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      You’re lucky Wayne. I guess our go to lager out this way would be a Sam Adams, if available. When I go back to the pour house I’m only drinking SN Pale or whiskey!

  4. July 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I’m more concerned with your choice of photo, Don. looks like hipster on the left is going to pour the pbr on his chest and the one on the right is going to lick it off…

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      I gave pause to the photo as well, but hipsters are as hipsters do…;)

  5. lockhartd
    July 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Ehhh I\’ve thought about PBR before, and to me, when you get to that class of beers, its one of the “lesser of the evils.” You can\’t expect much from this price level, but give me a PBR over a Miller High Life or Steel Reserve any day. Sidenote: Speaking of cheap beer, have you ever picked up one of the $3.99 six packs from Trader Joe\’s? Don\’t. Do. It. I was hoping it would be like everything else in that store: cheap but good. I\’ll take a PBR any day over that swill.

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Sadly as bad as PBR was, there are still beers that are worse! Hard to believe, but true.

      • August 22, 2012 at 4:47 am #

        Hey Anthony! I do remember you. I do still oscacionally bump into some of the old SII gang. Some are still in Denver and others have moved along. Sadly, we’ve all gotten a bit older, grayer, and rounder. Drop me an email sometime (ccire ta xobop tod moc)

    • July 26, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      I have to disagree on the TJ’s reference. I was out picking up lots of craft beers for a food pairing get together and picked up a six-pack of Simpler Times Pilsner in cans at TJ’s on a whim. I expected very little at $4/sixer. It turned out to be a favorite of several of us who brew out own. But, TJ’s is known for not minding and treating their beer stock with respect, so I may have just lucked out and picked a fresh pack.

  6. July 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I wish we could get Yuengling here in NOLA. That would be my go to non craft EVERY time!

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Yeah, but Abita is everywhere down there. That would be my go to, craft or not, in NOLA.

      • lockhartd
        July 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

        Abita Amber on draft is my favorite beer of all time.

      • July 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

        I go for Abita’s Jockamo IPA, or NOLA Brewing’s Hopitoulas when we go down every April.

    • Troy LaBair
      July 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      I live in Pittsburgh and Yuengling has saved me more then once. No mater what bar or your wedding you go to there is always Yuengling.

  7. July 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    “I thought that thousands of hipsters couldn’t be wrong.” Somehow, I doubt this claim. 😉

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      What that I thought thousands of hipsters could be wrong?, or that there aren’t thousands of hipsters drinking Pabst?

      • July 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

        That you honestly thought thousands of hipsters COULDN’T be wrong.

  8. July 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Go to non-Craft is Coors Banquet. It’s a great beer. Or…wait for it..Gennessee Cream Ale. Just makes me wax nostalgic remembering my grand father drank it way back. PBR has no tastes. Sits somewhere between a skunky lager and still pond water.

    • Don
      July 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      I remember as a kid, I lived in Illinois, and we couldn’t get Coors because it was east of the Mississippi. I remember people bringing Coors to parties and gatherings like it was some sort of liquid gold. Finally I got to try a sip, and I thought it tasted like all the other beers I have ever had at that point.

      • July 27, 2012 at 8:37 am #

        I can remember my ex-wife’s cousins, who were from Madison, WI, loading their camper up w/ Coors–this was about 1966–on a trip to CO.. They couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I remember trying it and saying enhh! Of course, I can also remember when Hamms and Old Style were about the best beers you could buy here in the eastern US.

    • Gregory Palmer
      July 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Kenny I AM 100% in agreement with you on the Coors Banquet and Genesee Cream Ale!

    • July 27, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      Genessee’s ale was the only ale one could buy here for many years. Its been ages since I tried one so I don’t know how it’d stack up against our craft and micro ales of today. But I remember that I liked it back then.

  9. July 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Funny enough, over here in Jolly Ole England I was able to get both Pabst and Yuengling at the shopette/BX on base. So I did an experiment with both of them. After several years of being asked how I liked cask ale compared to my ummm, uhhhhh, errrr, shit American beer I wanted to see what some locals from my pub would say if actually offered the stereotype that is American beer. So I brought both ends of the American Lager spectrum that consisted of 2 bottles of Yuengling and 2 cans of Pabst with me. I poured the Yuengling first and it was well received. I then poured one can of the Pabst into several glasses because I thought it would be called out as shit American beer. Well guess what, after they drank their samples, one of the guys at the table with full confidence asked if he could have the last can of Pabst. My experiment was complete and I concluded that the typical English beer drinker does not know what he is talking about when he is spewing shit from his mouth. I on the other hand think that Pabst is shit beer but that is from knowledge, not stereotype.

  10. Troy LaBair
    July 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    when i was younger and did not know any beater I drank PBR all the time now when ever i go home every one buys me cases of the stuff, and I do not have the heart to tell them the stuff sucks.

  11. July 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I’ve always wondered what that beer tastes like. I’ll take your word for it. I will never try it. Besides, it’s not available in Czech anyway. 🙂

  12. Bill
    July 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I’ve never had it in bottles, only cans and on tap. I haven’t noticed anything skunky about it, aside from normal bad beer line off flavors occasionally on tap (seriously, bars, clean your tap lines correctly and regularly).

    It’s not a bad beer. It *is* a rather bad beer style. I prefer PBR over the usual macro lagers such as Bud, Miller, and Coors. Would I take it over a Siera Nevada Pale? No. But over the others, certainly.

  13. Diss Content
    July 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I’ve got a mental bookmark for Pabst that is seared into my memory, like something out of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ while maintaining the soul crushing humiliation experienced in ‘Requiem for a Dream’:

    Words to live by indeed Mr. Hopper, lest we forget.

  14. ScottG
    July 26, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    I doubt that their affection of PBR is the only reason to be glad you aren’t a hipster. Two words: Skinny jeans.
    As for the vessel of choice, I doubt it makes a lick of difference in how its flavor profile comes across. Last (or rather only) time I had it was draft and that in no way made it resemble good beer.

  15. July 26, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    The youth are so misguided these days. Is there any hope for society?

  16. July 26, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    PBR stinks…you are quite right. Asshats? New word for the day.

  17. BeerBear
    July 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    In my wasted youth I poured gallons of PBR down my throat, then I began making a little more money and went upscale-to Bud. Bear in mind these are the early to mid ’70’s I’m talking about. A couple of years later it was Henry Weinhart’s and Grolsh. I never could stand Coors or Schlitz. Now, like many of us, my go to is Sierra Nevada P.A. I’d rather drink an IPA or Pilsner from a number of reliable brewers, but it’s not always possible.

    • August 22, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Thanks for the tip, Anthony. I was in Montreal last fall and had a Rickards Red and it wasn’t half bad. Seems to be a Molson product, so I supcest it’s really just mass-produced beer, packaged like a micro (ala Blue Moon or Shock Top).Any chance you’re the Anthony M that I worked with in Denver nearly 20 years ago?

  18. July 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Nice post man, and some of the comments had me rolling. I agree that PBR is trash, I will always go to my cheap life-line of Yuengling. I live down South and folks buy this shit by the boat loads, I think people just want to taste savings, but gimme a break.

  19. samadamsthedog
    August 14, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    “There’s no place than I’d rather be than right here,
    With my red neck, my white socks and BLUE RIBBON BEER”

  20. December 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    I use PBR to make pot roast and sometimes gravy. I didn’t think it would work because, PBR sucks, but it makes a surprisingly yummy roast.

    • December 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Most beers make for good ingredients. At least PBR can be useful in some way!

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