Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) Review

Brewery: Pabst Brewing Co. | Beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Style: American Adjunct Lager | ABV: 4.7% | IBUs: ~12
Serving Method: 16 oz. can poured into Pilsener glass

Pabst Blue Ribbon
The flagship of the Pabst Brewing Company, Pabst Blue Ribbon is a beer with a long and varied history. Originally known as Best Select before the brewery was called Pabst, PBR dates back to the 1840s. The Blue Ribbon name comes from the blue ribbons that were once hand-tied around the neck of the bottles.

Sales peaked in 1977 at 18 million barrels. Over the next few decades, sales dropped off over 90%, getting to the sorry state of under one million barrels by 2001. However, the brand experienced a revival over the coming years, thanks to popularity amongst hipsters (not judging) yearning for an earnest, traditional, and cheap alternative to Bud/Miller/Coors. PBR is now a budget beer pitched at a dichotomous group of old-schoolers and hipsters.

Unlike many beers in this style, Pabst is actually pretty forward about the ingredient list. The malt bill includes six-row barley along with "a carefully balanced carbohydrate profile" from good old corn syrup. As for hops, there's a "unique" mix of Pacific hops and an "imported Yugoslavian variety."

Well, my skinny jeans are still at the cleaners, but I suppose we should jump on in anyway.

Appearance: A crystal-clear golden-straw body capped by a little over two fingers of bubbly white head that burn off quickly and leave no lacing.

Aroma: A thin pale malt body with just a whiff of flowery hops.

Taste: Grainy pale malt makes up the bulk of the profile, and unfortunately brings an off metallic flavor to the party. There is a thin wave of hops if you go hunting, and if you happen to catch them, you’ll find bare notes of lemon, grass, and banana. Pale malt and a hint of dark fruit in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A medium-light body with medium-high carbonation and a crisp finish.

Drinkability: This is an easy drinker, perfectly suited for a summertime Dashboard Confessional show.

Verdict: While the hipsters may be more interested in the can design than the beer inside, PBR is actually not too terrible of a beer. I suppose the highest compliment I could pay this beer is that I could easily believe this was a poor attempt at an easy-drinking lager from a mediocre craft brewery.

Grade: C-

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