Beer Review: Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)

Beer Review: Pabst Blue Ribbon

By: Sheriff of Rarden

Beer. Reviews. ARE. BACK!!! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s only been over three years since my last beer review but the spirits of creativity and alcoholism have once again taken me by the hand. And what better way to welcome back beer reviews than by reviewing one of the all time classics: Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is an intriguing beer. Yes, I used the word intriguing in describing Pabst. What’s so interesting? Well, for starters, the beer isn’t blue. It also doesn’t come with a ribbon. What it does come with, however, is a bit of an identity crisis. Revered by hipsters, the working class and old folk alike, this beer apparently won a Blue Ribbon at some point, yet has recently been classified by many as a trash beer. In this review, we are going to break down why this conception is an utter farce. A sham. A squib, even.

In this review, we’ll be discussing straight Pabst Blue Ribbon. Not the Pabst Extra. Not the Pabst Coffee. Just the OG.

Mmmmm… Beer….

Cost: Pabst Blue Ribbon is often thought of as a cheap brew. In a world of rapid inflation and gentrification, I’ll take the word cheap as a celebration. PBR is easily one of the most inexpensive beers, which is probably why it’s my go-to beer if Milwaukee’s Best Ice is out of stock (read that beer review here). While not being as cheap as Beast, it has remained surprisingly sturdy against the rising costs we’re currently seeing. It’s only marginally more costly than Milwaukee’s Best Ice but comes without the stigma of being an insane person that’s too often associated with purchasing Wauk.

Pabst is also a great beer to buy at sporting events and bars alike. You’re at a baseball game and need a beer? Sure it’s still probably eight bucks, but it beats paying over ten dollars for a craft beer almost every time. Here in Cincinnati, you can get Pabst for as cheap as a dollar when it’s Dollar Beer Night at the Cyclones hockey game. PBR remains incredibly cheap in bars as well, where you can buy one for as cheap as two or three dollars.

While Pabst Blue Ribbon is certainly not the absolute cheapest beer, it brings with it wide availability across the country and a lot of bang for its buck.

Taste: Corn. That’s the taste. Pabst tastes like corn. Is this a bad thing? No! Is it a good thing? I’d say so. PBR is certainly more palatable than many other cheap beers. The trick to a truly great Pabst Blue Ribbon is to not drink it immediately after purchasing it from a gas station, supermarket or even a bodega. Instead, stick that 30 rack in the fridge for at least a few hours after purchase. Get those suckers as cold as possible. Crack the can open. Move can towards mouth. Drink. Enter a world of utter ecstasy. Well, maybe not ecstasy, but it certainly has a stronger flavor than say, Bud Light or Busch.

Pro tip: never drink PBR when it’s not cold. If it’s not cold, it’s not good. Simple as. The corn taste gets ramped up to the point you feel like a corn harvester is about to plow you over at any minute. It tastes like central Illinois.

Strength: This is where things are a little disappointing. Not because Pabst is a weak beer by any means, but because it isn’t exactly interesting. PBR has an APV of 4.8%. Again, it’s not bad. In fact, it’s still stronger than quite a few other cheap beers. But when compared to Ice beers that contain 5.9% alcohol on average, craft beers that reach unholy levels of strength, or even Bud Light Platinum that is an impressive 6.0%, Pabst just can’t compete on the same playing field.

If you’re not looking to get trashed, though, PBR makes for a great sipping beer. You can drink for hours while maintaining a decent buzz without crossing the border into Trashedville. If you do manage to slam a few quickly, chances are you’ll feel at least something. The same cannot be said of practically any light beers. And even though there are quite a few seltzers with higher alcohol content, the overly sweet taste makes it nearly impossible to enjoy more than just a couple at a time.

40 oz. of liquid corn. Tasty.

Overall: Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. If you consider its influence over beer culture, it could even be considered a great beer. Especially considering it comes from the beer capital of the universe, Milwaukee. I’m actually surprised the Milwaukee Brewers haven’t changed their logo to a can of Pabst yet considering it’s one of the city’s staples. PBR is more than a beer. It serves as an icon. A love letter to those who aren’t pretentious and just want a refreshing domestic beer. It doesn’t try too hard. And that’s exactly why it’s revered.

Cost: 8.5/10

Taste: 8.5/10

Strength: 7.5/10

Final Verdict: Corny yet satisfying, like seeing people argue on reality TV.

“Beer is proof that Godbod loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Ben Franklin


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