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A Teachable Moment
July 31, 2009 7:50 AM   Subscribe

With tensions high on both sides, it might be time for a teachable moment. What made Pabst Blue Ribbon in alcoholic fuel of choice of the stereotypical hipster? Some think it is its No Marketing Marketing strategy. But Pabst's avoidance of advertising wasn't always the case (previously). Pabst marketed pretty heavily on TV back in the day, but given the quality of one of their final commercials, one could see why they gave it up.

Bonus: One of the great things about the revival of Pabst Blue Ribbon is that it showed that there is still some interest in the older, blue collar lagers of America. To this New Englander's mind, that means Narragansett. In 2005 Mark Hellendrung bought the rights for this staple Rhode Island beer from Pabst and revived the brand by following PBR's marketing example. Of course, 'gansett has an advertising history all its own featuring early 60s comedy duo Nichols & May: Film Star, Castro, and Horse.

With the resurgance of interest in local lawnmower lagers, could we be seeing a National Bohemian (warning, annoying clip intros) revival in the future?

ANSWER: ˙ssǝupɐs ɟo llnɟ sı oq ʎʇʇɐu 'ou
posted by robocop is bleeding (183 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that final commercial was terrible on multiple levels even by the standards of 80s beer commercials.
posted by DU at 7:54 AM on July 31, 2009


I always thought it was Frank Booth.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:57 AM on July 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


Was I imagining things, or did I hear this morning that Pabst sponsors National Public Radio? I was half asleep.
posted by jquinby at 7:57 AM on July 31, 2009


In Canada, a lot of, er, younger people drink 50. Growing up, it was considered an "old man beer", so I expect it has the same sort of appeal.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:01 AM on July 31, 2009


Regarding the NYtimes article: Four pages just to dance around the obvious?

''But basically,'' he said, ''we're going to drink whatever beer costs a dollar.''
posted by Greg Nog at 8:01 AM on July 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


Gotta give a hearty thumbs up to any post that includes liberal use of clips of TV ads from the 1950s.
posted by blucevalo at 8:02 AM on July 31, 2009


I'm not a hipster. I drink PBR. It's the cheapest non-Budweiser / Coors beer available in my grocery stores. Thanks to The New Economy and the near-doubling of the price of the beers I like to drink, I drink the cheap stuff and get "real beer" for special occasions only.

It could just be that, well, PBR is cheap, and that's why the hipsters drink it.
posted by hippybear at 8:02 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't care how many irony-soaked hipsters drink it. PBR is still crap rice-beer. Cheap headache-in-a-can.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 AM on July 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


Back in the early 80's a few friends and I drank Pabst because it was such terrible beer, and, back the, pretty unhip. It was the perverseness and irony of it all.

Plus, in the 70's I was playing in this bar with a band, (a hippy band in a redneck bar on the Oregon Coast) and someone (I am not making this up) went over to the jukebox and put in some money and played this song. The other patrons seemed to prefer the jukebox to us so we quit for the night. This experience definitely contributed to my choice of beers in the next decade.

So it's really weird that PBR is so popular now.
posted by Danf at 8:04 AM on July 31, 2009


Has anyone else attempted the PBR-Hamm's blind taste test? I've failed it three times.
posted by MultiplyDrafted at 8:06 AM on July 31, 2009


In that beer commercial, they left out the final ironic hipster moment that would have saved it from being the execrable piece of crap that it was. The moment? When the two suits on the catwalk passionately kiss.

Then it would have been perfect.
posted by Xoebe at 8:08 AM on July 31, 2009


I'd like to see that 'PBR me ASAP' campaign come back.
posted by box at 8:09 AM on July 31, 2009


In Canada, a lot of, er, younger people drink 50. Growing up, it was considered an "old man beer", so I expect it has the same sort of appeal.

Not out here. Nobody really drinks beer that's actually labelled 'Labatt' in Alberta. Lucky Lager, on the other hand...
posted by threetoed at 8:11 AM on July 31, 2009


Agreed on Dennis Hopper's influence. I'd also include the proliferation of tie-in merchandise throughout the past half-century; all those shirts, clocks, magnets, cloth patches and stickers were bound to stir up brand identification and nostalgia.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:12 AM on July 31, 2009


PBR is for posers. Everybody knows that Schlitz is the 1970s-east-coast-working-class-dad-beer of choice.

Barring that, Yuengling.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:12 AM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm not a hipster. I drink PBR.

I hate to be to be the one to break this to you, but...
posted by Benjy at 8:13 AM on July 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


When I was younger and just beginning my drinking career, I needed a way to prevent people from stealing my beer out of the fridge at house parties. My solution was to bring a beer that nobody else would ever think of bringing, so I could at least identify the thieving bastards. That beer was Black Label, a similarly working-class old-man holdover from my parents' generation that was somehow still around. Within a few years of my brilliant plan, Black label started a slick new marketing campaign and suddenly became popular enough that I had to switch to Molson Stock Ale, which very nearly killed me.
posted by rocket88 at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back in the early 80's a few friends and I drank Pabst because it was such terrible beer, and, back the, pretty unhip. It was the perverseness and irony of it all.

Tre hipster!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:15 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


With the ascent of PBR, can Meister Brau be far behind? Here's an article referencing all the "lawnmower lagers".
posted by readery at 8:21 AM on July 31, 2009


In Canada, a lot of, er, younger people drink 50. Growing up, it was considered an "old man beer", so I expect it has the same sort of appeal.

50 tastes to me like a beer with a cigarette butt in the bottom of the glass. In a good way.

I don't know anyone who drinks it except my s.o. and I (accompanied in our fridge by Keith's, Kilkenny, Guinness, some Big Rock stuff, some Unibroue stuff, Strongbow cider, and various east coast brews -- so make of it what you will. It goes well with tomato juice).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:21 AM on July 31, 2009


PBR vs. Hamm's taste test in Santa Fe did not yield meaningful results. They are the same. (except the price)
posted by MNDZ at 8:23 AM on July 31, 2009


Barring that, Yuengling.

Random: For a long time, based on the name, I thought Yuengling was a Chinese import.
posted by kmz at 8:24 AM on July 31, 2009


Hamm's rules PBR though
posted by MNDZ at 8:24 AM on July 31, 2009


What about PBR vs National Bohemian?
posted by josher71 at 8:24 AM on July 31, 2009


I'm not a hipster. I drink PBR.

THREAD IS NOW ABOUT DENYING ONE IS A HIPSTER WHILE CALLING OTHERS HIPSTERS IN A BASIC EXPRESSION OF OUR MEANEST AND MOST UNTHINKING TRIBAL TENDENCIES TO CREATE AN "OTHER" THAT WILL SERVE AS A BACKDROP AGAINST WHICH WE MAY STRESS OUR OWN IMPORTANCE AND FREETHINKINGNESS

Look, I'm not a hipster; I live in Bushwick, not Williamsburg, so it's a really authentic neighborhood, not like the place where those guys live.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:26 AM on July 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


What are you if you drink Mickey's Big Mouth? A schnook?
posted by Mister_A at 8:28 AM on July 31, 2009


A teenager, a mook, or House of Pain in 1991.
posted by box at 8:31 AM on July 31, 2009


Or Tom Waits.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:31 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Narragansett isn't half-bad. Beats PBR any day. (of course, it doesn't hold a candle to Yuengling, which--and I couldn't believe this when I first tried it--has an actual flavor. It's amazing.)
posted by goingonit at 8:33 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


What are you if you drink Mickey's Big Mouth?

A college freshman.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have a couple reasons for liking Pabst. For one thing, when I was really little, my mom used to sing me the old commercial jingle: "What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / Pabst Blue Ribbon beer!"

For another thing, when I was in college my buddy and I used to each kick in two bucks and change for a 12-pack, and then drink it while we watched Beverly Hills 90210. By the time Party of Five came on, we'd be pretty emotionally invested: "Why is Bailey being so mean...*hic*...mean to Sarah? If she was my girlfriend...*hic*...if she was my girlfriend...*hic*...if she was my girlfriend I would be nice...*hic*...nice to her."
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


Being Tom Waits or House of Pain in 1991 are both desirable conditions in many ways.
posted by Mister_A at 8:35 AM on July 31, 2009


When I'm out west, I miss Yuengling.

When I'm out east, I miss Fat Tire.

I am never satisfied.
posted by scrutiny at 8:38 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with this guy.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:38 AM on July 31, 2009


What are you if you drink Mickey's Big Mouth?

Inebriated quickly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2009


Yeah, 'Gansett is pretty terrible. Newport Storm is much better, and seems to be thriving lately - I'm seeing it on tap more and more places. Not that expensive, either. Sort of the RI answer to Shiner Bock.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2009


PBR totally markets. Hard. Anybody who says that sponsorship isn't marketing/advertising is fooling themselves. PBR sponsor ANYTHING - anybody who contacts our local rep gets something. And there's the billboards and murals. They tend to be approached by folks from the hipsterish demographic - burlesque, punk rock, rollergirls, etc. - so it's niche marketing that perpetuates itself at relatively low cost. But there's definitely a backlash among my peers: Black Label, Steel Reserve, Budweiser, and Yuengling are quickly gaining ground, with Yuengling the first thing most of my friends ask for these days.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2009


When I'm not in Japan, which is almost all the time, I miss Suntory Premium Malts.

When I'm not in Taiwan, which is also almost all the time, I miss Taiwan Beer.

SPM is quite good. TB is just another yellow also-ran, but it has a certain dare-I-say HIPSTER charm.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, The Rounders have a fun song about Pabst Blue Ribbon.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 8:45 AM on July 31, 2009


I'd never heard of Yuengling and am dying to try it.

Also, Schlafly Hefe on tap at the STL Taproom FTW.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:45 AM on July 31, 2009


In Milwaukee, at least in the 70's and early 80's, PBR was the great uniter. It wasn't everybody's first choice, but was considered acceptable to all. If you bought a keg for a party, you had to buy Pabst. Nothing ironic about it back then.
posted by klarck at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2009


"...We're going to drink whatever beer costs a dollar.''

I wonder how PBR would have fared in this old Slate value analysis of a selection of lagers.
Eleven tasters named a favorite beer. Ten of them chose Sam Adams. The other one chose Busch, the cheapest of all beers in the sample. (The taster who made this choice advises Microsoft on what new features should go into the next version of Word.) Busch was the only beer to receive both a Best and a Worst vote.
Busch actually wins through as the best value among the lagers, bestowing "the maximum taste and social influence per dollar invested." Keep in mind that the testing pool was composed of Microsoft engineers rather than hipsters.
posted by Iridic at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2009


What about PBR vs National Bohemian?

Every year or so we'd get together and do a Beer Tasting Challenge. My friendsgroup includes a large number of beer fans, snobs, and enthusiasts, so it was never hard to get a bunch of beer, a bunch of cups, and a bunch of people together for an afternoon.

For each round, two tasters face off and sample 5-6 different beers. They are given the names of the beers out of order and have to match name to beer. Winner is the one with the most correct matches. Ties would result in a quick taste off where one beer sample is provided with two possibilities as to what it could be, repeat until one person is right and the other wrong.

For the first round, we'd start easy. Each beer would be of a different style, so it was not hard to get them right.

Second round, things get tougher as we do three sets of similar pairs, so for stouts you might have a Guinness and a Murphy's.

Third round would fixate on a style. So you'd have 5 Pale Ales or 5 Belgians.

Fourth round was usually the final round. Traditionally, the final round would consist of six beers, the dreaded American Lager Round: Bud, Coors, PBR, Miller, Busch, and whatever horror we could import. One session, that horror was Natty Bo. It was almost universally reviled and easy picked out for its foulness, even by people who had never even seen The Wire, let alone been within 100 miles of Baltimore.

So, yeah, PBR beats Natty Bo any day.

(Once we managed a 6th Round - the LITE BEER ROUND. One contestant amazed us all by being able to identify Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light, Natty Light, Heineken Light, Pabst Light, and Busch Light perfectly. He then grabbed his stomach and retired his number, leaving the game on a high note if not a puke-free one.)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


Look, IANAH* and I have been drinking PBR for years. Just because the hipsters have co-opted it, doesn't mean I stop enjoying it. To paraphrase Michael Bolton: "Why should I change? They're the ones who suck."

I think, having a lifetime to study this, that my taste does trend toward the "lawnmower lagers" (a phrase I'd never heard until this thread). The first beer of choice in college was Honey Brown, and that was solely on price. Then I went through a long Rolling Rock phase but had to switch because I'm pretty sure they changed their recipe. One day I woke up and it tasted like hay. Don't know what happened there. And after a very brief flirtation with Michelob Light (which I dropped when they started putting it in longnecks) I'd pretty much settled on PBR. Again: most of these decisions have been value-based. I will say: the first year we were buying beer on our own (and actually the first time I ordered beer in a bar) it was Black Label, and I have a real fondness for the stuff. Unfortunately, it's not available where I now live. =(

I can enjoy a Dogfish 120 Minute IPA along with the next guy, like, with a meal. But if I'm just cracking a cold one at the end of a hot day, well, you can see where my preferences lie.

(*I am not a hipster)
posted by indiebass at 8:48 AM on July 31, 2009


Beers are like blowjobs...even the worst are still nice to have.
posted by Postroad at 8:49 AM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


I just happen to have in my possession an authoritative tome on the subject of the hipster. It's an unassuming little volume entitled, "How It Gets Down." See, the fact that it doesn't use the term "hip" or "hipster" tells you it's authentic. Those are outsider terms. Anyway, it's something of a hipster guidebook, and it has something to say on this very subject!
Ultimately, life is to be lived. Ours is a search for the truth of life. Squares want their life told to them like a consumerist fairytale. Ours is a voyage of discovery. The journey starts when you make authentic choices. How does one make authentic choices? Let utility be your guide.

Let's take beer for instance. If you're going to be sitting around drinking and sharing beer with friends and colleagues in an impromptu and authentic social setting, then why drink an expensive beer whose flavors and complexities you'll ignore or be too distracted to notice? If you're alone in your apartment and listening to music and are prepared to take the long meditative sips necessary and experience, as fully as possible, the imbibing, then you might want to spend the extra jack and get a microbrew. Otherwise, just drink Pabst, it's cheap and easy to procure.


So there you have it. Not that complicated really.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 8:49 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't drink PBR not because of hipster hate, but because I drank PBR once. Once. It was cheap, and I'd never tried it so why the hell not, right? What happened afterwards, I can only describe as a full-physical rejection by my entire body like a transplant surgery gone terribly wrong. It was like PBR went down my throat, my mouth and tongue decides, "What...what the FUCK?! WHAT. THE. FUCK??? Yo, yo STOMACH. You need to try this shit," and the beer trickling down my throat as my esophagus the whole time went, "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, get it away from me" finally with my stomach laughing its ass off going, "Dude, I'm filled with digestive ACIDS, it can't be that ba...OH WHAT THE SHIT MAN? NOT COOL." From start to finish it was just a terrible experience all around. I'd never been that sick before from drinking a beer. Like I don't know, maybe I had a bad can from a bad batch, and it's not like I haven't had "bad" beer before. It's just that usually either I just don't like how it tastes or the worst offense is that it's just tasteless all together. I mean at least with boring beer you can throw it back until you get drunk, but I couldn't even do that with PBR because I probably would've thrown it all up before the alcohol got through to my system if I'd continued drinking it. PBR's the only beer that made me physically ill and not from a hangover.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:52 AM on July 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is it time for the hipster/PBR/Coulter trifecta? If we ignore them will they go away?
posted by Big_B at 8:53 AM on July 31, 2009


PBR is the new trucker hat.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:56 AM on July 31, 2009


This is amusing to me. My friends and I drink Yuengling's Black and Tan pretty often, it's pretty much the go-to beer that everyone likes. This thread actually made me pause and consider whether or not I'm a hipster for a minute. Conclusion: no, we're just cheap assholes who were happy we found a cheap beer that tastes pretty good.

PBR drinkers, though... I'll never understand it.
posted by empyrean at 8:56 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


As far as the origins of PBR revival goes...

This Salon article traces it back to the early 2000s, at Lutz Tavern, in Portland. "For years, Portland's bike messengers and skaters had slugged down Blitz, a low-cost local brew. After Blitz went out of business, Lutz filled its niche with $1 cans of Pabst. The beer was embraced not only for its cheapness, but also because hipsters could drink it without feeling they'd been coerced by a corporate message."

However, one of the comments in that article traces it back to 1997 in Peoria, Illinois, started by members of the band Brief Candles.

A BIG Inaccuracy in the Tale of the Pabst revival

The Pabst revival started in Illinois LONG before it got trendy with Oregon folks. As much as you want to give Oregon credit, the source of the trend was in central Illinois. Three to Four years earlier.

The real story:

In 1997 a group of indie rockers from Peoria, Illinois started drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon because of the fact the brand used to have breweries in the small city. No joke, I was there when it happened. Taking the nature of the indie rock scene in the midwest within 6 months the beer was found at rock shows and in bars as the popular drink. This all happened long before folks in Oregon picked it up. Sorry, but I was there when it happened, and it was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen happen.

Make no mistake, Pabst has historic roots in the midwest, they had breweries throughout the region as well as Pabst bars. But it all started with some rock kids in Peoria, Illinois. Their friends just so happened to be tied throughout the indie community in Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, and other college towns and cities in the midwest. Then in the early part of 2000s I began to see other cities follow the lead and start drinking it.

I know all of this may be disappointing, to find out it was some kids in Peoria, Illinois, but the truth is they did start the trend of the Pabst revival with hipsters. Who thought a bunch of dorky math rock kids in a small city would start a trend. Portland starting the trend SOUNDS cooler. But it simply is far from the truth. The Pabst trend started not to far from Chicago for good reason. They still had ties with bars throughout the area."

posted by naju at 8:57 AM on July 31, 2009


It's interesting to be that I don't think I've ever seen a PBR. Here is Texas, the cheap beer of choice is usually Lone Star, the national beer of Texas. It's actually pretty damn good for cheap-ass American beer.

I was at a club in Austin week before last, very hipster scene, and everyone was drinking Miller High Life. Why? It cost a dollar. (I was drinking Lone Star for $2. I have standards.)
posted by threeturtles at 8:59 AM on July 31, 2009


Argh, It's interesting to me, obviously.

Also, Here in Texas. I fail at typing today.
posted by threeturtles at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2009


I won't drink it from a can, but Natty Boh in the bottle is actually pretty good.

PBR is totally undrinkable in any context.
posted by spaltavian at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2009


eh, life is too short to drink crap beer.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 9:03 AM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


klarck: "In Milwaukee, at least in the 70's and early 80's, PBR was the great uniter. It wasn't everybody's first choice, but was considered acceptable to all. If you bought a keg for a party, you had to buy Pabst. Nothing ironic about it back then."

Wait! Are you saying that the Milwaukee's Best my friends and I were drinking in NYC in the '90s -- because it was $1 in bars -- was not, in fact, Milwaukee's best?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:04 AM on July 31, 2009


I always thought it was Frank Booth.

It was. It may be what's cheapest now, but it wasn't even available in most bars in the first place 'till a bunch of college hipsters (at the time simply called "Indie Rockers.") started piling into bars quoting that movie in their equivalent of frat boy behavior. "Heineken? FUCK THAT SHIT! PABST BLUE RIBBON! HAHAHA!! you know, from that movie! oh, you've never seen Blue Velvet? Oh, you've gotta see that movie, it's awesome! You know David Lynch, right? Well, let me tell you, I'm a film major and David Lynch is like my favorite film maker. He kind of sold out after Eraserhead, though. But yeah, fuckin' Blue Velvet is awesome, and there's this great scene where Dennis Hopper is high as shit and he and the guy from Quantum Leap - no the other one. the hologram - anyway, they're all starting shit with the guy from Twin Peaks, and asks him what he drinks and then..." etc...
posted by shmegegge at 9:04 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Long story short, PBR is piss.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:04 AM on July 31, 2009


Let utility be your guide ... just drink Pabst, it's cheap and easy to procure.

I'm all for pragmatism (see my above post about Yuengling), but this part where they recommend Pabst ignores that Pabst tastes really, really horrible.
posted by empyrean at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


These two sentences in sequence please me:

He learned that the kind of people who had ''embraced the brand'' were also the kind of people who detest marketing. ... For the Pabst Guy in Portland, [barging up to drinkers and foisting trinkets on them] wasn't necessary. ''I was mobbed,'' he says.
posted by invitapriore at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2009


When they start selling Heineken for $7.25 a 12 pack I'll switch from PBR in a heartbeat.
posted by nola at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2009


Wow, really? I drink a beer because it's cheaper than soda pop, and I'm now a hipster?

Honestly. Hippie, I'll wear that moniker any day, proudly.

But I promise you, a 41-year-old rock-n-roll queer living in a small town in eastern WA who lives much of his life earnestly is not the picture which any of you have spring to mind when you think "hipster".
posted by hippybear at 9:07 AM on July 31, 2009


I seem to recall Miller High Life being pretty popular with the hipster crowd for awhile, before PBR got big. PBR was always more popular with the burlesque, punk rock, rollergirls and rock-a-billy (as sadiehawkinstein mentioned) crowd before it expanded to where it is now.

Growing up in Philly, Yeungling was once the go to cheap beer for punks and other alternative (remember that one?) types in the 80s/90s. I drank so much of that shit I can hardly stand it now. Then they raised the prices once it started to gain some popularity.
posted by orme at 9:08 AM on July 31, 2009


Back in my college days (late 70s) I used to drink PBR. It came in nice 16oz can which was nice because you could take it into the shower and not have to worry about broken glass.

Now my choice of beer has more to do with flavor than the safety of the packaging.

Oh, and I don't drink in the shower anymore.
posted by tommasz at 9:08 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


National Bohemian is king in Baltimore, because it can be had for $1 per can (at bars! in 2009!), so it's automatically reasonably awesome. You start out with a couple decent beers, then switch over once you're reasonably buzzed and drinking more IPAs isn't quite as palatable. So, $3 for the first and second and $1 for beers three through six or so and you're still only looking at a $12 tab, not including tip.

But PBR sponsors my rugby team, so I drink that more often. They're both Pabst products anyway.
posted by electroboy at 9:10 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our early 90s cheap beer of choice was Milwaukee's Best, a.k.a. "Beast". Later, when we had a (little) bit more money we switched over to Red Dog. I haven't been looking, exactly, but I haven't seen it in ages.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:13 AM on July 31, 2009


The only beer cheaper than Pabst around here is something called Steel Reserve which starts giving me a brain tumor after about 2 beers.
posted by nola at 9:14 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


PBR is popular with "hipsters" because it's $1/2/3 in bars, depending on your locale. In recent years, it's also moved past Old Milwaukee and Natural Light as the cheapest 12-pack of cans available in grocery stores (out here in San Francisco).

The company also did a marvelous job of getting bars to sell it. Of all the *cans* of beer sold in bars, I would bet that PBR comprises 90% in San Francisco. (Tecate gets the other 10%.)

That's still marketing, isn't it.

To me, Stroh's and Old Milwaukee were the best lawnmower beers. I still get Old Milwaukee when I can find it. Back in the '90s, Stroh's would offer $5 rebates on its 30-packs, so we could pick up 30 beers for 4 dollars. You can beat a 15-cent beer!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:20 AM on July 31, 2009


I have been lurking on Mefi for years. I finally signed up just now so I could add my two cents about this inane subject.


Hogs and Heiffers in the meat packing district in NYC deserves credit for reviving the PBR brand. In the early to mid-90's, if you went to Hogs and ordered a cocktail, the hot bartender lady would make an effort to embarrass you in front of everyone at the bar because of the less than manly drink you ordered.

Alternatively, you could seemingly win the hot bartender lady's affection (or at least attention when trying to get served) by ordering a PBR.

Ordering the PBR marked you as a regular to the staff, whereas any other brand of beer marked you as a occasional patron and a cocktail as a tourist. When the bar was especially crowded, ordering PBR's was the quickest way to get a drink.
posted by otto42 at 9:20 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss Dixie. That was always my favorite of the dirt-cheap local lawnmower varietals. In the mean time, where I live Miller High Life is about as cheap (maybe $0.25 more per bottle/can) as PBR in the dive bars I frequent, and has two additional advantages: it tastes better, and it has less socio-cultural baggage. Or at least it has socio-cultural baggage that I find more desirable than "hey, it's that hipster beer."

Steel Reserve, by the way, isn't beer. It's malt liquor. Mickey's might be too, come to think of it. And malt liquor is a whole new, rich vein of discussion.
posted by penduluum at 9:20 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


pffftt... everyone knows that Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one.
posted by horsemuth at 9:22 AM on July 31, 2009


They've had the trailer park special at Bob and Barbara's since some hazy time in the '90s– it's a shot of whiskey (Jim Beam, maybe? I forget) and a PBR for like three bucks. I wish I could remember what the whiskey was...
posted by Mister_A at 9:23 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"From the land of sky blue wa-a-ters..."

I didn't know what beer was when I was 8, but I wanted one.
posted by fleacircus at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2009


Was I imagining things, or did I hear this morning that Pabst sponsors National Public Radio? I was half asleep.

You were not dreaming. Also, I hope you were not driving.
posted by desjardins at 9:25 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our early 90s cheap beer of choice was Milwaukee's Best, a.k.a. "Beast". Later, when we had a (little) bit more money we switched over to Red Dog.

Interesting. Old Milwaukee is great, but Milwaukee's Best is horrible, on par with Keystone or Burgie's. One of the worst, imo.

I also drank a lot of mediocre lawnmower beers in the 90s. Red Dog was one of them. It was like cheap Miller with more alcohol. Olympia and Weidemann are two more. I don't miss any of them.

When feeling fancy, I also used to buy Hank Weinhard's various flavors for $5/12-pack of bottles. Bottles!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:27 AM on July 31, 2009


I miss Dixie.

Me too. There's actually a liquor store up here (Boston) which stocks it, but at $9 a six pack for something that's certainly sat on the shelf for at least I year, I just can't justify it.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 9:28 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss Dixie.

OK, now you're sending me back ... how about Sterling and/or Falls City? Sterling in a bottle ... classy. Falls City is literally Ex-Lax in a can.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2009


Steel Reserve

"Twice the ingredients for twice as long". But that's a malt liquor, so it's on it's on ladder of awful.
posted by spaltavian at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2009


"From the land of sky blue wa-a-ters..."

Hamms! The beer refreshing! Later on, the ads featured the Hamm's Bear.

My old-school-beer-ad memories are wrapped around my dad watching Cubs games, in the 1970s on WGN, when we lived in Chicago. Hamms, PBR, Heileman's Old Style ("Purely brewed...in God's country!").

I'm seeing shag carpet, dark paneled walls, and my Adventure People all over the floor.
posted by jquinby at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2009


Olympia (aka Oly) made me violently ill, a feat few beers have managed.
posted by Mister_A at 9:38 AM on July 31, 2009


Schaefer, yup. Back in the 80's was $2.10 a six-pack.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 9:39 AM on July 31, 2009


When I'm out west, I miss Yuengling.

When I'm out east, I miss Fat Tire.


I'm with you on the Fat Tire and I used to be with you on the Yuengling thing, but I've had one too many Yuengling hangovers...
posted by ob at 9:42 AM on July 31, 2009


Haven't had one in many years, but in Chicago around '90, Point beer out of Stevens Point WI was the best oz/$ beer I ever had.

And I defy any hipster to embrace Old Style.
posted by drowsy at 9:45 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


People drink PBR because it's cheap and gets the job done.

Hipsters *say* they drink it for irony or somesuchthing.

Any other questions?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:46 AM on July 31, 2009


Oh, and I have one word for all of you value-for-money beer drinkers: Ballantine. It's not as bad as Pabst (I believe that's their logo).
posted by ob at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2009


When I'm out east, I miss Fat Tire.

That may change soon. I'm in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area and within the last 6 months Fat Tire has sprouted up everywhere. All the grocery stores, lots of bars ... heck, I see the trucks constantly. And not just Fat Tire but their other stuff like Mothership Wit and Skinny Dip, both of which I like pretty well.

I'd never even heard of it before that and I drink a lot of different beers.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:51 AM on July 31, 2009


Not out here. Nobody really drinks beer that's actually labelled 'Labatt' in Alberta. Lucky Lager, on the other hand...

You must not have got the memo with your Sled Island pass, but hipsters in Calgary (at least) drink ironic, shitty Pilsner.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:51 AM on July 31, 2009


I should qualify that by saying that I think Pabst is awful and that Ballantine isn't quite as awful. Also see: Tecate.
posted by ob at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2009


And malt liquor is a whole new, rich vein of discussion.

Malt liquor is just so incredibly vile I have no idea why anyone drinks it. It's like, you take beer, and then you take the bad-tasting part of any bad-tasting beer you ever had, multiply it by 100, and there you have it, malt liquor. Only time in my life that I ever imbibed the stuff was freshman year of college, where it was basically cheap fuel for beer bongs. And even then, I think the only reason we used the stuff was because beer bonging was such a ridiculously awful and extreme thing to do anyway, the only way to make it more so was to use it to drink grossest, cheapest beverage possible, which just happened to be malt liquor.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:53 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


how about [...] Falls City?

We drank Beast until we found Falls City. $2.95 for a dozen. <hurp>
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:54 AM on July 31, 2009


Mister_A: "Olympia (aka Oly) made me violently ill, a feat few beers have managed."

And the beer's bad, too!

Oh, I crack myself up.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:56 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barring that, Yuengling.

I dig the Yuengling.

My old man (now 72) used to pound the PBR in the 16 oz. returnable bottles. So I cut my beer teeth on that shit. He has since graduated to Bud. I did make him partake in a few Flying Fish and Magic Hat ales recently. I honestly believe they all taste the same to him.
posted by VicNebulous at 9:59 AM on July 31, 2009


Yeungling was once the go to cheap beer for punks and other alternative (remember that one?) types in the 80s/90s. I drank so much of that shit I can hardly stand it now. Then they raised the prices once it started to gain some popularity.

I never understand how folks can place Yeungling and PBR in the same category of "cheap beer." They taste pretty much the same to me, but at least in NC, it's $9 for a twelve pack of Yeungling and $6 for a twelve pack of PBR. That's a huge difference if you're broke or buying a lot of beers.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:01 AM on July 31, 2009


you guys know that pbr is still a working man's beer in some parts of the country, right? - but i wish i didn't have to drive all the way to battle creek to get me a 12 pack of stroh's

it's summer and sometimes you just want a cheap cold beer
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 AM on July 31, 2009


When I moved from Pennsylvania (where the drinking age was 21) to upstate New York (where it was 18) as a student in 1979, I marveled at the $1.97/six pack Bud bottles available in (gasp) the grocery store. Then we discovered generic beer, sold at the local generic grocery store for .99/six pack. Brown bottle, white label, black printing "BEER." Generic explosive bowel action always followed.

I always wondered who brewed that shit. And why.
posted by VicNebulous at 10:04 AM on July 31, 2009


Mister_A: You are correct, Jim Beam.

To those who drink PBR because it's cheap, what the hell else are you spending your money on? Get your priorities right: sell your stupid Sugino cranks and drink something decent. The price difference is a lousy 50 cents a bottle.
posted by sixpack at 10:06 AM on July 31, 2009


Used to love Olympia (It's the Water") and the famous Olympia brewery tour. And, I used to hang out at the Lutz.

It's nice to be in Baltimore where you can find dollar beers again. Dollar beers are unheard of anywhere in NYC.
posted by josher71 at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2009


Wow, I distinctly remember that last commercial. I also remember drinking a beer called Red, White, and Blue. It was so cheap that they only printed the can with red and white, forget the blue. It was horrid.

I had a roommate that drank a lot of Schlitz because he said it "tasted like pussy."
posted by Foam Pants at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


PBR crushes it's competition in it's price range. Hands down. 16-17 bucks a case for the rest of the "quality" lagers is a joke. As far as drinkability, I find my physical reaction to be the exact opposite of many others on the blue. I can drink 5 or 6 PBRs without much in the way of hangover etc. If I drink a six pack of bud and I'm blind the next day and fartin' like a mule. I reckon that "beachwood aging" kicks my ass. So it's too fucking expensive going in or out as far as I'm concerned.

Looks like they win awards pretty consistently too.
posted by gigbutt at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the deal: There are basically three broad classes of beer out there.

1: PBR, Old Style, Olympia, Black Label, etc. Pale lagers that cost about 50c a can.

2: Budweiser, Michelob, Miller, etc. Pale lagers that cost slightly under a dollar per can.

3: Sam Adams, Anchor Steam, local craft beers, etc. Highly varied and of a generally high quality beers that cost more than a dollar per bottle.

If you're not drinking #3, you'd better be drinking #1 or you're just pissing your money away. Bud doesn't taste any better than PBR and costs almost twice as much.
posted by keep_evolving at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't get the Yuengling love at all. Tried to drink it for years, always ended in a hangover even if I had, like, two. But then I can't handle most cheap beers. Session is about as low as I can go; their black lager is some good stuff.
posted by medeine at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2009


robocop you motherfucker
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 AM on July 31, 2009


So, the end of the article implies that Milwaukee as an entity is somehow anti-Pabst because of the labor disputes when the brewery left the city. And while this may be true for people who cared and/or were alive in 1985, I've seen evidence to suggest that Pabst sales are alive and well in brew town.

About a year ago, I was at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater--which is quickly becoming one of the better places to see indie rock acts in the Midwest--for an Okkervil River show. It was a nice size crowd, but the place was not brimming with people. The PBR was flowing from tall cans and the hipsters and college kids were their cool-if awkward-selves.

As I settled in toward the front, a couple kids were talking about how the bartender "went into the back and found one more case of PBR, so get over there quick."

Minutes later, unassociated people walking down the aisle were expressing what can be only described as FUCKPOCALYPSE PANICKKK over the newly depleted stock of PBR. I'd quote things I heard here, if those things were not saturated with utterances of pure negative emotion that are simply irreproducible in graphemes.

It wasn't even cheap PBR: it cost TWO maybe THREE possibly even FOUR American dollars per can. Granted, these are Wisconsin-sized cans, but Milwaukee is a land where $4 should buy you no fewer than 8 beers.

Now, my memory gets a little hazy here, because the situation had already become unexpectedly surreal, but I'm pretty sure that in between songs, the opening act had to announce that the Pabst was out of Pabst. I can only deduce this was done simply to quell the borderline riot that boiled up every time someone came back from the bar empty-handed and unable to grasp the situation.

So, yeah, if that's how consumers express their feelings of alienation, I think our economy at large is going to be just fine.
posted by pokermonk at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2009


1: PBR, Old Style, Olympia, Black Label, etc. Pale lagers that cost about 50c a can.

Ha! Back in the 60s, my dad drank Ruppert Knickerbocker, which went for 99c a six!
posted by tommasz at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2009


Back when I was in the habit of throwing occasional keg parties (i.e. the mid-'90s), my housemates and I had an out-of-town group of friends who would usually travel down from Ottawa for said parties. Most of them were from the Kenora area, and they were always very worried that we would forget to order a keg of 50. "You're getting 50, right?" "Don't forget to get a keg of 50!" "Any chance you could get two kegs of 50?" And so on. I never really understood the appeal. If I wanted a bland, non-offensive beer I went with Blue. I mean, it was no quality brew, but 50 and Canadian always tasted like there was something unhealthily wrong with them.

The one good thing about ordering kegs of 50 was that they came free with a bunch of 50 paraphenalia like flags and posters of 50 dogs playing poker. So we had that going for us, which was nice.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:29 AM on July 31, 2009


I don't get Yuengling being put in the same class as PBR, but because Yuengling is actually good. It's not nearly bad enough to fall into the category of "bad beer but hey, it's cheap" swill like PBR.
posted by spaltavian at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Beer? They mix it with 7-Up and serve it to kids in Europe. Real hipsters drink the hard stuff.

That's right: Sterno.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did I say hipsters? I meant hobos.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you're in PA, Yuengling is just called lager. Try it next time you're there.
posted by electroboy at 10:36 AM on July 31, 2009


Man...whats with all the Natty Bo hate?

NOTHING beats a cold natty bo on a hot bmore night. Yes its cheap, yes it might not be all that great.
But you know what...its tasty.
posted by ShawnString at 10:37 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're not from The Land of Pleasant Living, ShawnString. They don't understand.
posted by electroboy at 10:39 AM on July 31, 2009


I am not American but I have always wanted some PBR purely because of the Frank Booth connection. (It took me a while to work out that Frank B. viewed Heineken as fancy imported beer rather than crappy generic lager, which was how I saw it then.)
posted by Mocata at 10:39 AM on July 31, 2009


When I leave Berlin in a few days, I'm going to miss:

Astra : at 1€90 in a Neukölln hipster bar, by far the cheapest thing and surprisingly tasty. Bonus points for the über-gay anchor-in-a-heart logo and the stubby bottle.
Augustiner (Hell) : hefty half-litre bottles and neither too hop-y nor too weak
Franziskaner Weiß : For when you want something better than a Berliner Weiß, but you don't want anything fancy-ass. (note: annoying beer-pouring sound on link)

I'll also miss the bar around the corner from me that serves unpasteurized Chechen beers.
posted by LMGM at 10:41 AM on July 31, 2009


To paraphrase Michael Bolton: "Why should I change? They're the ones who suck."

Well, there's no accounting for taste ...
posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 AM on July 31, 2009


To those who drink PBR because it's cheap, what the hell else are you spending your money on?

Rent. Food. Utilities. Child care. Travel. Books.

Then we discovered generic beer, sold at the local generic grocery store for .99/six pack. Brown bottle, white label, black printing "BEER." Generic explosive bowel action always followed.

Ha. I've never had the chance to try generic beer, but my dad bought it a few times when I was a kid. From Kroger's, it came in a yellow can with generic "BEER" on it, above an open pair of scissors (the scissors were the Kroger-brand "cost-cutter" logo. I bet it tastes just like Lite beer by Miller (which is as refreshing as iced tea on a 100+-degree afternoon...)

Malt liquor is just so incredibly vile I have no idea why anyone drinks it.

I used to drink it regularly when I was 19-22. Two 40 oz. (usually OE or Mickey's) will get you pretty good and fucked up. And it ran about $3-4 at the time.

Ah, I remember drinking a 64-ounce Mickey's Ice while stuck in the trunk of a (driving) car for a couple hours. Good times.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:43 AM on July 31, 2009


I found myself drinking this at a party recently. That Times article is pretty deficient in not mentioning Blue Velvet too...That's the reason hipsters drink it, because it has a cameo in a David Lynch film.
posted by pepcorn at 10:44 AM on July 31, 2009


Yuengling is a lovely, cheap, good beer that is only spottily available outside the mid-Atlantic US. When living in Pittsburgh I only drank Iron City out of patriotic duty; in my heart of hearts, I was thinking of Yuengling.
posted by xthlc at 10:44 AM on July 31, 2009


amen eletroboy.
One of my earlist memories is coming around the bend on 695 and seeing Mr Boh on the side of the brewery. oh and smell of hops.
posted by ShawnString at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2009


I don't get Yuengling being put in the same class as PBR, but because Yuengling is actually good. It's not nearly bad enough to fall into the category of "bad beer but hey, it's cheap" swill like PBR.

When I was in NYC in the early 2000s, Yuengling was sold in cans in bars for $2, I believe. I'm sure that's why there is a connection.

I, however, prefer Pabst to Yuengling, as do many others on here, so you can likely understand the conflation.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2009


i think it's time that we got back to the important issues of the day

The president was drinking Bud Light, Biden was drinking Buckler (a nonalcoholic beer), Gates was drinking Samuel Adams Light and Crowley was drinking Blue Moon.

please tell me i didn't vote for a man who drinks bud light - that's appalling
posted by pyramid termite at 10:46 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd be embarassed to get arrested by a cop who drank Blue Moon. I wonder if he went for the orange slice, or was he trying to be macho.
posted by electroboy at 10:51 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it all depends on your goals. If you drink beer to enjoy the experience (i.e. flavor) then invest your money in that quality. If you drink beer because you enjoy being sauced on a lazy afternoon, invest accordingly. PBR obviously never will fill the former but is an easy choice in the former when 5 dollars nets you 6 16oz cans.
posted by zennoshinjou at 10:51 AM on July 31, 2009


Yuengling is quite good for the money, imho. PBR is the beer you order at the end of the night, when you're nearly ready to go and you sip at it until your friends are ready to leave/the headliner finishes their set and you don't feel bad about leaving it unfinished.
posted by thivaia at 10:51 AM on July 31, 2009


electroboy- he totally had the slice.
posted by zennoshinjou at 10:52 AM on July 31, 2009


Cold Beer=Warm Sweater
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should point out that the next person who brings a case of PBR to a BYOB affair at my house and then proceeds to "upgrade" by drinking all the expensive beer may not receive an invitation to a BYOB affair at my house again.
posted by thivaia at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


easy choice in the latter....
posted by zennoshinjou at 10:56 AM on July 31, 2009


When I'm feeling wealthy, I drink Yuengling. If money's a little tight, it's Miller High Life. After that, there's always pruno.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:58 AM on July 31, 2009


Jesus, this comes up every few years and it's just silly.

Look at all the things Pabst Blue Ribbon has going for it:
posted by dirtdirt at 10:59 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


robocop you motherfucker

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:00 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should point out that the next person who brings a case of PBR to a BYOB affair at my house and then proceeds to "upgrade" by drinking all the expensive beer may not receive an invitation to a BYOB affair at my house again.

Silly thivaia. Hipsters and yuppies don't mix!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on July 31, 2009


please tell me i didn't vote for a man who drinks bud light - that's appalling

He had no choice, Obama had to head to the unremarkable.

If he drank an import, he would have been slagged for being unamerican.
If he drank a microbrew, he would have been slagged as an elitist.

of course, if I were him, I would have ordered a Tusker.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Portland starting the trend SOUNDS cooler. But it simply is far from the truth. The Pabst trend started not to far from Chicago for good reason.

I noticed that PBR started getting popular in Portland when Henry Weinhards sold to Miller and moved operations to Olympia, WA. They closed the downtown brewery and turned it into trendy lofts. Meanwhile the bars I went to stopped serving Henry's at all in protest.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hipsters in Toronto drink either the aforementioned 50, or cans of Stiegl.
All this talk of $1 or $2 beers is making me jealous though. Ifwe had that in Toronto, I'd either be debt-free, or dead from alcoholism.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2009


All these cheap beers, and nobody's mentioned Natural Ice yet? Kinda hits the sweet spot on the price/alcohol percentage/flavorlessness axes. It's just awful enough.
posted by anthom at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2009


You'd think the President would've gone for an American-owned brewery.
posted by electroboy at 11:04 AM on July 31, 2009


Natty Boh! We used to drink Natty Boh Dark on tap at the Mt. Royal Tavern for 75 cents a pint. It was deadly, deadly stuff and I'm surprised any of us survived. This was after the solemn vow that we - an entire household of students - would never drink Black Label again, a vow I have honored.

I drink PBR because it's cheap and it doesn't give me a hangover. Am I a hipster? You bet. I'm so fucking hip I've been a hipster since the early 80s, so there. I am like the UR HIPSTER. Or maybe that's the ur-hipstress, I don't know. But if drinking cheap beer and wearing repurposed thrift store clothing is wrong, than my whole adult life has been in vain.

I'm serious about the hangovers. PBR and a couple other lawnmower lagers, notably Bud Lite with lime, which I have recently become shamefully addicted to in a quest for fewer calories, are the only beers that don't give me a splitting headache in the morning. Anything better - and I used to be a microbrew snob for a while there, really - is going to hurt if I have more than one or two. I also don't think PBR is bad beer - it's better on draft or in the bottle then the can, but then what isn't? Plain Bud Lite & Bud & Miller & Busch (which you can't get here for some reason) are bad to my taste and I agree with whoever upthread said that Rolling Rock, which was my beer of choice for years, has changed and not for the better. Yuengling is pretty good but not worth the price differential; I think, for cheap American lager, you can't really do better than PBR.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:05 AM on July 31, 2009


Nice, mygothlaundry. Mt Royal is still crazy cheap (I think $1.50 non-happy hour), but the sweet happy hour deal is at The Sidebar these days.
posted by electroboy at 11:11 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm convinced that the people hating on Yuengling must not know anything about beer. It's an American lager, people! It's supposed to be a thin, weak warm weather beer!

The explosion of microbrews and the fetishization of hops has caused this, IMO. Like the way California vintners coaxed all these big flavors out of their grapes and called it "Chardonnay" and then people expected every chard to be this big fruity oaky wine when in fact most real French chards are kinda mineral-y and austere, now beer drinkers expect "good" beer to be a mouthful of hops, like that awful awful Anchor Steam CRAP that has hoodwinked the 7-bucks-a-beer crowd.

Yuengling is brewing a lager that more closely resembles a traditional American beer than just about anyone else. We can argue that the American brewing tradition is one of brewing shitty beer, and to our German, Dutch, Austrian, Belgian, and English friends I'd say, yeah, you're right: you guys brew better beer. But don't heap Yuengling in with Bud and Miller. Just because it's reasonably priced doesn't make it bad.

Maybe it's my unrefined palate. I like weak, bitter American coffee better than espresso. I like weak, malty beer better than those syrupy over-hopped over-priced microbrews. To each his own. If I'm buying for my fridge, I buy Abita Turbo Dog for drinking with food and Yuengling lager for all-purpose swilling.

I honestly can't say that I've ever in my life had a PBR. I probably have, and I probably don't remember it. There's an ocean of bad American beer out there. Yuengling isn't one of them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


> All this talk of $1 or $2 beers is making me jealous though. Ifwe had that in Toronto, I'd either be debt-free, or dead from alcoholism.

What? There are lots of (admittedly lousy) beers you can get for under $30/case (including the deposit) in Toronto; Lucky, Laker, Steelback, Lakeport, PC...
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2009


Yuengling's good beer, BoP,it's just overpriced for what it is. That said, I still buy it regularly, mostly for parties - everyone drinks it and nobody makes comments, which, alas, is not the case with every other American beer. Yuengling seems to have some kind of weird snob appeal; I can't figure it out, or maybe it's just that yeah, it's really pretty good beer.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:38 AM on July 31, 2009


I'll say this about PBR: If I want to wreck the bathroom the next morning nothing delivers like six to eight of those motherfuckers, damn.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


The president was drinking Bud Light

please tell me i didn't vote for a man who drinks bud light


Of course, in this high-stakes, high-profile symposium, Obama's gonna have a Bud Light. He's POTUS and Bud Light is currently the most popular beer in the US.
posted by Herodios at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2009


What? There are lots of (admittedly lousy) beers you can get for under $30/case

You crazy canucks and your expensive beer. We're talking about dollar beers at a bar.
posted by electroboy at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2009


To those who drink PBR because it's cheap, what the hell else are you spending your money on? Get your priorities right... The price difference is a lousy 50 cents a bottle.

Here in eastern WA, I can purchase a 24-pack of PBR cans for under $15.

I cannot purchase a decent microbrew for under $7.99/6-pack unless it's on sale. Many of the beers I prefer to drink are running almost $10/6-pack these days. The price has nearly doubled for most of my favorites in the past 12-18 months.

Welcome to the New Economy.
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2009


In Dat'n, Ahia -- probably not a hotbed of hipster activity-- PBR still stands proudly, un-ironically, for "Preferred Beer of Rednecks". That is, when not drinking The (Milwaukee's) Beast.

I can recall buying Robin Hood Cream Ale for two dollars (maybe it was two-ninety-five) per case once upon a time. Worth every penny.
posted by Herodios at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2009


PBR is awesome and y'all are just haters.

That being said, Narragansett is definitely the hipster Rhode Island drink of choice.
Even though it's brewed in Rochester, NY.
posted by lunit at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2009


If I'm buying for my fridge, I buy Abita Turbo Dog

FUCK YES
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2009


Haven't had one in many years, but in Chicago around '90, Point beer out of Stevens Point WI was the best oz/$ beer I ever had.

drowsy, I've been to Stevens Point and had some of that Point beer you're talking about. I loved it really wish I could find some down here in Middle TN.
posted by nola at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2009


There is a Natty Boh Dark??? My world has been rocked. (Never had the Yuengling lager, but I think their Black and Tan is pretty good.)
posted by JoanArkham at 12:20 PM on July 31, 2009


My order of cheap beers in Portland goes Miller High Life, PBR, Hamms. I end up getting PBR or Hamms more often because Plaid Pantry (The local convenience store chain) usually has sale for 2.99 for a sixpack of tallboys.
posted by wcfields at 12:24 PM on July 31, 2009


Yuengling is priced around the macro beers but of better quality and taste. If you confuse the taste with Bud you either have inaccurate taste buds or tried the "Premium Beer" instead of the "Traditional Lager" which is the flagship brand.

It is my favorite beer, probably just from growing up in PA and drinking it so often but also because it does have a unique sweet taste (sweet corn or something?), and a bit more color than a pale lager which is pleasing.

If I want cheap stuff I go for PBR or Lionshead. Lionshead is really the best super cheapo lager from PA right now. No offensive tastes, cheapest in the store, and rebus puzzles under the cap that get harder and harder as you get drunker.

Oh, and since this is a beer snob thread, I must pimp my favorite new brewery: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2009


You must not have got the memo with your Sled Island pass, but hipsters in Calgary (at least) drink ironic, shitty Pilsner.

Yeah, I didn't realize that until I attended the Sled Island main stage and discovered that's what they were serving in the beer gardens. I wonder when that trend started. I know Lucky is a hipster staple in this city as well, and someone told me they serve PBR at Broken City, which makes sense.

It's not all bad, though, because the Hop in Brew is a hipster joint and they serve some excellent beer (Mmm, Alley Kat).
posted by threetoed at 12:35 PM on July 31, 2009


hipsters in Calgary (at least) drink ironic, shitty Pilsner.

True, though it seems to be catapulting rapidly toward over-exposed yuppiedom. I was at a fairly hip party at Local 510 on 17th recently, and set against a backdrop of multimillion-dollar design and stylish ladies drinking cosmos, they were serving Pilsner in king cans. That can't last.

All that notwithstanding, I think there are merits to Pilsner that make it worth keeping around. I mean what other headache-in-a-can brew can boast both a biplane and a medieval banquet scene on the same label?
posted by gompa at 12:52 PM on July 31, 2009


Mister_A:
They've had the trailer park special at Bob and Barbara's since some hazy time in the '90s– it's a shot of whiskey (Jim Beam, maybe? I forget) and a PBR for like three bucks. I wish I could remember what the whiskey was...
It's Jim Beam. And it's still $3.
posted by 256 at 1:40 PM on July 31, 2009


I'll stick with Duff extra cold. Or if I'm in a mood for a more exotic, imported brew Düff.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on July 31, 2009


Look, I dislike hipsters as much as anyone, but if hipsters hated on PBR as a ethos, you'd all be in here raving about how great it is and how dumb the hipsters are for not seeing the light.
posted by mbatch at 2:23 PM on July 31, 2009


PBR almost killed me. I had to take up smoking at college parties to get the taste of it out of my mouth.
posted by Kimberly at 2:42 PM on July 31, 2009


It tastes good. Shh, shh, settle down. There, there. Now now. Shhhh. I hear you - you don't like it. It's made of rice or something, you say, and by gosh it's watery American beer, and oh my goodness it tastes like wee-wee! No, it tastes good. It does. It's OK that you have more sophisticated tastes, and I do too. You'll rarely find it in my fridge but every time I end up having one I enjoy it. I can not say that for many other beers, particularly for the sorts of beers the people who are offended by the existence of Pabst get me to drink.

Seconded. I never developed a taste for beer; the awful bitter aftertaste kills me every time. "Oh but try this Belgian Honeybock Heffeweisen!" my beer-drinking friends exclaim. "You'll like it, there's hardly any aftertaste at all!" They are goddamn liars.

But PBR, I can drink. Goes down smooth, practically no shitty aftertaste at all.

(Asahi Super Dry is nearly as good.)
posted by rifflesby at 2:58 PM on July 31, 2009


all of you who want value for your beer money should head to Ft. Collins, CO. I grew up there and when I came back from college ready to hit the bars for the first time I was amazed to find $1 local micros every night of the week (at different bars). This was night and day from the bar scene in Santa Fe where everything costs too much and there aren't any young folks.
local breweries + college-town demand = best value ANYWHERE! There was one bar called The Rock that occasionaly does a promotion-> "any drink for any coin." It's amazing, local beer or well drinks for one penny each for four hours. they even take foreign currency
posted by MNDZ at 3:25 PM on July 31, 2009


Heh. I feel the same way about PBR and Asahi, Rifflesby, but I have in the past been a serious beer snob. Red Stripe is also in the same category to me, if you want something else to add to your list.

It's worth noting that PBR, while not 'marketing', does go out of their way to sponsor community athletics and things like that where people will be drinking their beer. The PBR distributor in Portland, OR sponsored the kickball league I was in, and always donated a keg and several large cases of cans for our end of season bash. (The keg usually ended up out at 2nd base.)
posted by SpecialK at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2009


Haven't had one in many years, but in Chicago around '90, Point beer out of Stevens Point WI was the best oz/$ beer I ever had.

it's $5.99 a six pack at the few places that carry it here - i like it, but it's not the best deal

anyone try the schlitz '60s gusto formula beer that they've just come out with? - that is what american beer used to taste like
posted by pyramid termite at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2009


It's Jim Beam. And it's still $3.

It's pricier in San Francisco. A shot of Jim Beam + PBR = $5 at the Elbo Room, I believe. However, you can also get a shot of tequila (likely Cuervo) and a can of Tecate for the same deal. (I think you can get a Underberg for $3 at Amnesia.)

When I left Louisville, KY (~1996), well drinks were $1.85. I think they've likely skyrocketed up to $2.50 by now ...
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on July 31, 2009


fetishization of hops
THIS.

So many of the higher-end "microbrews" are totally unbalanced because they are overloaded with hops (I'm looking at you Sam Adams). This is why I love the New Belgium beers (Fat Tire, 1554, et al.). They are tasty, balanced, interesting beers that don't hit you over the head with an over-the-top bash of hops. The day I saw them in a grocery store here in NC I cheered. Out loud. In Harris Teeter. I'm a beer dork.

However, I am suffering a cash crunch right now, and 1554 is $9/six pack. So this evening I'm enjoying a frosty Yuengling instead.

I have had a PBR once in my life and it did not end well. That may have had more to do with the three martinis and bottle of wine I had before I drank the PBR. Hard to tell.
posted by jeoc at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2009


Sorry I'm late. Robocop, I normally respect you quite a bit, but clearly, you're not a bowler...or a Chesapeake Bay sailor. When sailing on the northern Chesapeake, the standard operating procedure is to alternate between a Natty Boh and a dark 'n stormy- one to hydrate, one to intoxicate. Repeat as necessary. I've never sailed with anyone who's complained. To coin a phrase: it's beer! It gets you drunk!

(And com'on, don't be discriminatory- the man only has one eye! Cut him some slack! He'd probably drink your beer!)
posted by zap rowsdower at 4:22 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burger beer was just re-introduced in Cincinnati, at the Reds Hall of Fame, last month.
Burger's history started in Cincinnati when the Burger family established a malting business to supply fine malted barley to breweries throughout the Ohio Valley. After the repeal of Prohibition, the Burger family took those same fine ingredients to produce their own brand of high quality beers in 1934. A Cincinnati tradition was officially born in Burger Classic and Burger Light beers.

Burger beers became legend as the beer of the Cincinnati Reds with famed Reds radio broadcaster Waite Hoyt appointing the storied Crosley Field sun deck as "Burgerville". Burger beer also became an American legend as one of only a few beers shipped in olive-drab cans to Army troops during World War II.
posted by Mick at 4:58 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's all my fault.
We started selling PBR at Welcome to the Johnsons in 1999. The Lower East Side was the epicenter of hipster activity as W'burg had yet to hit big, and $1.50 a can was pretty much all anyone could afford after paying for rent and for rehearsal space for their band.
posted by newpotato at 4:58 PM on July 31, 2009


I think it's a shame that so many people only know about Yeungling Lager, when their porter is actually the real standout of the Yeungling line!

You should also try the Lord Chesterfield Ale if you get the chance.
posted by orme at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2009


It's 9:30 in the morning here and lord do I feel like a beer now.
posted by teem at 5:13 PM on July 31, 2009


Burger beers became legend as the beer of the Cincinnati Reds with famed Reds radio broadcaster Waite Hoyt appointing the storied Crosley Field sun deck as "Burgerville".

Maybe so, but I always associated the Reds with seeing the translucent "Hudepohl 14k" logo covering the field on our (nearly round) TV screen during game pauses.

Besides, Hudy bought out Burger in the early seventies and Wiedemann's had the "sincere and monumental taste".

Schoenling Little Kings was probably the last truly distinctive Cincy brew, but next time I'm in the area, I'll have to try the new Burger for old times sake.
posted by Herodios at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2009


clearly, you're not a bowler...or a Chesapeake Bay sailor

Fair enough, I'm from Annapolis.

Maybe it's because of my high school drinking years being full of emo-pre-emo woe, but Natty Bo will always be salty with the tears of sadness for me.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:53 PM on July 31, 2009


I'm convinced that the people hating on Yuengling must not know anything about beer. It's an American lager, people! It's supposed to be a thin, weak warm weather beer!

I don't drink anymore, but my beer of choice was always stout or dark. American mass-produced beer from the age of industry is pilsner which sort of morphed into a bland lager sameness and was too light for my tastes, but I drank a hell of a lot of cheap beer in my day, including PBR. I admit to liking strong hops beers, especially microbrewed ales, though Guiness isn't really that hoppy. Never really liked the wheat beers much, just a bit thin most of the time, but a good wheat beer with a slice of lemon on a hot day beats American-style lager or any similar "Mexican" beers like Corona.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:05 PM on July 31, 2009


All these cheap beers, and nobody's mentioned Natural Ice yet? Kinda hits the sweet spot on the price/alcohol percentage/flavorlessness axes. It's just awful enough.

The hangovers are almost as bad as cheap malt liquor. Feels like your head has been baked in an oven for hours and then left outside to cool while combat boots kick you in the forehead.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:19 PM on July 31, 2009


I can vouch for this. Although Linda's In Seattle was definitely a prototype "hipster working class appropriation" bar. However their cheap beer was Black Label, and If I remember correctly you could get a pitcher of PBR for like 5 bucks. When I moved from Seattle to NY, Welcome to the Johnson's was one of the first bars I went to, and being a Linda's Veteran, I distinctly remember being stoked to find sub-$2 beers in Manhattan.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:52 PM on July 31, 2009


When I reach for a cheap beer, I reach for Rainier.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:07 PM on July 31, 2009


Chiming in for Burger! It's 50c a can here in my neighborhood, and actually drinkable. My dad drank PBR, but I can't stand it. Occasionally my local grocery has pricing errors (Stella Artois $2.19 - woo!) so I can afford better beers on occasion.
posted by figment of my conation at 12:30 AM on August 1, 2009


All these cheap beers, and nobody's mentioned Natural Ice yet? Kinda hits the sweet spot on the price/alcohol percentage/flavorlessness axes. It's just awful enough.

The only people I've ever known to endorse Natural Ice are alcoholic veterans or frat boys who are down on their luck.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 3:13 AM on August 1, 2009


> You crazy canucks and your expensive beer. We're talking about dollar beers at a bar.

Madness. Fifteen years ago there were bars up here (might still be, I'm pretty out of the bar loop, but you never know) that would have dollar-a-beer promotions after you paid a cover of six or eight bucks or something like that.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2009


None of these legacy beers are the real thing now-a-days. THe PBR brewery in Milwaukee is undergoing a condo conversion and before that sat for years as an abandoned hulk just to the northwest of downtown Milwaukee. The Hamm's brewery in St. Paul, (the land of sky blue waters) changed hands so many times I lost track of who actually owned in by the time it closed a decade ago.

The only really distinctive American beers available come from your local microbrewer, not the watery dreck with a recycled name made by a big national brewer.
posted by mygoditsbob at 6:07 AM on August 1, 2009


In college I had a mini-fridge that broke sometime around junior year, and I couldn't afford to replace it. So I drank a lot of warm tall boys of PBR. And I mean a lot. It is hands down the tastiest beer at its price point- I tried Schlitz a handful of times and that stuff is just god-awful bad.

I can appreciate a delicious microbrew or Belgian import, but most of the time I just want an easily drinkable lager (and most of the time I am broke and can't afford fancypants beers). It's gotta be PBR in a can, though. PBR on draft usually comes out tasting like crap, the metallic taste of the can gives it some magical taste improvement.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2009


Herodios: "He's POTUS and Bud Light is currently the most popular beer in the US"

I was thinking it had to be a Bud Light because, you know, the red phone could ring at any moment.

I think it's lamer that Biden chose an NA beer. I didn't realize that he's a teetotaler, notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat, but drinking Fake Beer seems, I dunno... weak.

The professor's Sam Adams was a wise political move. I continue to wonder if the decision of the cop to drink a Blue Moon was conscious.

plate of beer
posted by Rat Spatula at 11:37 AM on August 1, 2009


BitterOldPunk: "the fetishization of hops"
jeoc: "THIS."

See, this is why I find Oskar Blues dull, for the most part. Dale's Pale is a fine thing to have in your lineup... but all their stuff is just soapy with the hops.

And so many brewers have a Pale Ale and an IPA and an ESB.

In Oskar's defense, the special-edition Old Chub that spent time in Stranahan's barrels was something else.
posted by Rat Spatula at 11:42 AM on August 1, 2009


Wow, 182 comments and not one mention of Buckhorn beer? Now that was a truly cheap beer that fueled a lot of my early 80's party nights. Looking on wiki I see that it's been produced by almost every single manufacturer of crappy beer known to exist. Invented by Lone Star, then produced by Olympia, then Pabst, G. Heileman and even Stroh's. It sold in 7-11's for $1.19 the sixpack, with cases going for $4.25. We kept our pop machine stocked with it, selling it at the handsomely marked-up price of 50¢ a can. I think we pushed a couple of cases through it every day, refilling it twice on Friday and Saturday nights. It was head and shoulders above the 99¢ sixpacks of the true generic beer. Looking back, I think the only beer that I wouldn't drink was Old Milwaukee, because it totally tasted like burnt popcorn and I just couldn't gag it down. Nowadays, I'm impressed with anyone that can choke down Steel Reserve. Even the smell of that crap makes me ooky.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:37 PM on August 27, 2009


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