What kind of beer you drink, neighbor?
April 21, 2003 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Pabst's selling point is its distinct unpopularity
posted by thomcatspike at 4:43 PM on April 21, 2003

PBR on tap, $1.50 a lot of places here in Seattle. Hail PBR!
posted by xmutex at 4:47 PM on April 21, 2003

Wow, all the newspapers are finally catching on? I've been drinking PBR for a couple years now. Well, that and Old Style. Funny, I've only been to Chicago once, why do you ask? ;)
posted by notsnot at 4:56 PM on April 21, 2003

"Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!" - Ever since hearing Frank Booth utter that line when I was in high school, PBR has had a warm spot in my heart. I honestly think it is the best tasting cheap beer around and it sits in my fridge alonside such hoighty toighty brews as Bridgeport, Bells, Deschutes and Sierra Nevada. Ice cold after working outside all day, nothing tastes better.

And Let's make no mistake, this 'resurgence' is nothing more than hipster wanna-be bullshit.
posted by CoolHandPuke at 5:04 PM on April 21, 2003

Here in the South, PBR has always been a cultural icon.
posted by TedW at 5:05 PM on April 21, 2003

xmutex: At the Crocodile Cafe the other night, I noticed they sold PBR drafts for $2.75. $2.75! In a plastic cup.

I thought the only appeal of PBR was that it's usually sold at a super low price, but I guess I underestimated, no, ignored the hipness factor. Then again, you don't even get to flaunt your hipness by displaying the logo when you get it on draft.

Maybe the Crocodile should consider offering PBR cans for $4.00 each.
posted by pitchblende at 5:12 PM on April 21, 2003

The Pabst product line, which includes almost the entire stable of retiring American front-runners -- Stroh's, Schlitz, Old Style, Old Milwaukee, Schaefer and Blatz -- is now produced under contract by Miller, the last of the big Milwaukee brewers (but owned by South African interests).

Today Pabst Brewing exists in little more than name only. It maintains executive offices in San Antonio but continues to print on its PBR cans and labels a post office box in Milwaukee -- perhaps misleadingly, perhaps nostalgically.

More proof that irony is not dead.
posted by y2karl at 5:13 PM on April 21, 2003

Cheap and better tasting than Bud. If that makes me a hipster, so be it. They don't sell Piels anymore goddammit!
posted by machaus at 5:18 PM on April 21, 2003

Better tasting than Bud? My father once said to me: "John, the only way you'll ever disappoint me is if I see you drinking Budweiser." Bud, the classic canoe-sex beer, is a quality brew compared to PBR.

I think it's nice that a 'classic' brand is being embraced by the young, in the same way that I found it charming that people my age were dressing up in antique clothes and wearing pocket watches to go swing-dancing a few years ago. I'm glad the Post author thought to include that comparison.
posted by GriffX at 5:20 PM on April 21, 2003

You've gotta be kidding me. Crapst Spew Ribbon?! When I was a teenager I used to drive to Wisconsin from California during the summer to stay with relatives. I drank that swill by the case with my cousins. It was awful. And so were those other beers with names that sound like wet farts (Blatz and Schlitz come to mind).

Whatever floooats yer boooat, as we say here in Fargo.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:26 PM on April 21, 2003

my grandfather's first dog was named schlitz. that should tell you all you need to know about my family.
posted by oog at 5:29 PM on April 21, 2003

Who knew we were so hip here in Maine? You can find PBR on tap in pretty much every dive bar in Portland, and in pretty much every bar in the less urbane parts of the state, usually for about 99 cents a pull.
posted by damn yankee at 6:03 PM on April 21, 2003

I miss Andecker - The BEER Supreme. It had this unique creamy body that made it so smooth going down. I did not know until now that it was Pabst's premium beer.
posted by y2karl at 6:12 PM on April 21, 2003

...the entire stable of retiring American front-runners -- Stroh's, Schlitz, Old Style, Old Milwaukee, Schaefer and Blatz...

I'm one can away from finishing a Blatz 15 pack (not all in one night -- that could kill a man) and I have to say, there are reasons why some of those beers are "retiring."

Next they're going to claim Natural Light is the new black. Yeesh.
posted by me3dia at 7:05 PM on April 21, 2003

i'm still waiting for yuengling to take over the world.

i would have to agree with some of you that PBR is one of the best cheap-ass beers, but only if served cold.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:15 PM on April 21, 2003 [1 favorite]

Strohs spelled backwards is Shorts.
posted by Witty at 7:22 PM on April 21, 2003

Pabst is OK. But what about Natty Boh [National Bohemian's Baltimore made Pilsener.], the one-eyed man logo-ed, "land of pleasant living" slogan-ed beer? The downscale retro beer choice of the 90's in Maryland and Baltimore?

The last Baltimore 'Boh brewery closed almost a decade ago, but it's still sold -- probably made by the same South African conglomerate which makes PBR [ in Milwaukee, of course ].....
posted by troutfishing at 8:38 PM on April 21, 2003

Old Milwaukee = "Old Swill," in old college days.

Germans in Moe's Tavern: "Excuse me, but your beer is, how do I say, like swill to us?"

Duff Ad Guy: "Just get a load of all those feminists."
Second Guy: "Yeah." [Sprays feminists with beer; feminists turn into bikini-clad party girls]

Quoting from memory, of course.

Cultural Values in Beer Advertising.

But hey, c'mon, everybody likes BEER, right?
posted by hairyeyeball at 8:41 PM on April 21, 2003

Hey, just $2.00 PBR can specials in NYC!! We lived on it on Mondays... I don't know what that says about my friends and I, but long live Doc Holliday's on Ave A and E 9th st. How I miss it!
posted by npost at 9:54 PM on April 21, 2003

We've been talking about the surge of PBR drinkers over Yuengling in the past couple of years. I personally think it has something to do with the gentrification of Yuengling Lager and the price increase thereafter.

I drink a Sierra for my shift drink and switch to employee half-price PBR bottles ($1) afterwards.

PBR is still no Drummond Brothers.
posted by password at 10:32 PM on April 21, 2003

Bud, the classic canoe-sex beer, is a quality brew compared to PBR.

I dunno... I've known more than one person who'd been in the service in Germany back in the '60's or '70's and when they came back, the closest they could get to German beer was PBR. Maybe it was differmint back then.

Me, I was a Schlitz man when I needed cheap fuckin'-up in college, because Schlitz was six bucks a case in longnecks. But then I was talking to a friend who said "I used to like Schlitz, but then someone told me it tasted like a dirty ashtray, and then it did." I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to ponder what the very next sip (well, gulp, really) tasted like.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:48 PM on April 21, 2003

It has nothing to do with hipsters suddenly thinking PBR is cool. They got laid off two years ago and had to switch from drinking those expensive micro brews when their unemployment ran out and they got jobs at Target.

Anyway, I am more a fan of beers with rebuses on the cap. Rainier, Lucky Lager, and of course, Beer beer. With the closing of the Tumwater Brewery, the place Lucky, Rainier, and even PBR and Old English, etc etc, are bottled locally, where will the northwest's swill come from?
posted by wrench at 12:16 AM on April 22, 2003

Old Milwaukee - Hmmm, wait a second....spider senses tingling...now I remember - I have been strongly warned off this stuff by a number of friends who implied that a swig of OM could rob strong men of their will to live.

Strangely, those same friends introduced me to the mixed pleasures of Magnat - available at our local Polish club at $5.50AUS for a half-litre bottle.

The exotic bottles help you look suave and cosmopolitan too, at least until you drink a few and find yourself lying in a concrete stairwell with a dark, spreading stain on the crotch of your jeans.
posted by backOfYourMind at 3:37 AM on April 22, 2003

But hey, c'mon, everybody likes BEER, right?

Depends what you are calling beer. ;)

I'll accept that most European's have probably only ever met Bud and Miller, but it doesn't look good. You want a decent beer. Something full of carbos for the winter and then a nice pale ale for the summer.

And then, of course, you get your kids hooked at a young age by feeding them the stuff 50-50 mixed with lemonade (the sweet fizzy stuff not the genuine lemons stuff) and calling it shandy.

Hmmm... beer. I fancy some Fidler's Elbow... Anyone got a Wytchwood near them, and willing to DHL me a pint or two? ;)
posted by twine42 at 5:02 AM on April 22, 2003

I second the motion that it's poverty rather than hipness, ten years ago it seemed all the bars in the East Village had specials on Genesee Cream Ale or "a genny" if you were with it. I suspect it was the low price that sparked the demand, if you raise the price say goodbye to your "retro-chic"
posted by jeremias at 5:13 AM on April 22, 2003

Hey, maybe the sweaty, topless, brewery workers dancing ads stuck in the subconscious and are finally paying off. Too bad they had to sell out meanwhile.
posted by pekar wood at 5:52 AM on April 22, 2003

This Williamsburg place that I suddenly seem to be hearing about every frickin' day now? It basically sums up why I'm glad to have left the east coast.

Can't find a link, but in college we lived on Knickerbocker beer: "More fun to say, than it is to drink!" Made Golden Anniversary look like a lovingly handcrafted microbrew...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:35 AM on April 22, 2003

I couple of weekends ago I visited some friends who had made their own beer. I had two of their stouts. Whoa. I'm trying to think of an excuses to go back there.
posted by wobh at 6:56 AM on April 22, 2003

congratulations, you've now discovered the wisconsin of the 80s. what with all the ugly-ass mesh john deere hats going around, you'd think the whole hip world was from Sobieski Corners in 1986.

pretty soon everyone will be chewing skoaly snacks and spitting into plastic bottles at the MTV Video Awards.
posted by callicles at 6:59 AM on April 22, 2003

twine: Happy to. Email me and we'll sort something out.
posted by dmt at 7:00 AM on April 22, 2003

PBR isn't cool, it's a family tradition. My grandpa, my uncle, my cousins. Hell, I've got a Pabst keychain that once belonged to my great-grandfather:

Pabst Blue Ribbon... The brew that brings back memories.
posted by rocketman at 7:00 AM on April 22, 2003

Gotta find some of that Magnat.Polish clubs ya say?
Digs out SYD yellow pages
posted by johnny7 at 8:29 AM on April 22, 2003

Grr. First they discovered our mesh hats, and now they have discovered our beer.

PBR isn't the only game in town. In fact, one could call it part of an axis of beer... or the Holy Trinity of beer.

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Miller High Life

I personally don't like the 50 billion fancy beers on tap at every bar in Boston. If I'm going to drink a beer, I want something simple and straightforward that has some character to it...

(And as Rocketman says, there's more than a few vintage pictures with the ancestors drinking these beers. My grandfather preferred the High Life, from what I'm told).
posted by VulcanMike at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2003

I toured the Pabst brewery in Milwaukee about 20 years ago. As sad as I was to see it close, I have to say I never liked that beer. There are better bargain-basement beers out there. But I can't even imagine what Pabst's contract-brew ghost must taste like. Brand loyalty is nice, especially to such a revered name as Pabst, but let's face it -- it's not really Pabst anymore, is it?
posted by schmedeman at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2003

Retro beer is all about image. It says you're the kind of person who willingly chokes down a can of tasteless factory-made piss instead of something with actual flavor, because you're a "real man" -- a working man like your dad.

Well, if image is what it's all about, consider that Pabst Brewing Co. is owned by the S&P Co. of Mill Valley, Calif., a firm known primarily for shutting down Falstaff's breweries and shipping their equipment to China. Pabst no longer is brewed in Milwaukee because the company refused to modernize its brewery there. In 1996, S&P shifted production to the Stroh plant in Wisconsin, laid off its work force and eliminated health benefits for about 800 retirees - a move that was condemned by everyone from the mayor of Milwaukee to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Here's some history, it starts getting interesting in 1974.

Maybe you like the taste of PBR. But if you're drinking it because of image, your father - and anyone else who ever worked for a living - would be ashamed of you.
posted by sixpack at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2003

If you like PBR but don't wanna support the man...

Drink your pee!
posted by wrench at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2003

What the... Even at my brokest, which was alarmingly broke, when the Sundown Saloon in Boulder CO had pitchers of Pabst for $5, I would put down change for a pint of something good instead of inviting a horrible hangover and attendent digestive distress that inevitably seems to come with mass consumption of crappy American beer. Ya'll can have that mess. That just means more good beer for me.
posted by jennyb at 10:04 AM on April 22, 2003

Cincinnati's once proud brewing history is now owned by Sam Addams
posted by Mick at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2003

Stiupid frames, here's the history link: 1860 - There are thirty-six breweries operating in Cincinnati.
posted by Mick at 11:10 AM on April 22, 2003

i'm gonna second (or third) the notion that it's all about price, rather than "retro chic" (though there's probably some of that in nyc, sf, la, etc.).

to all the beer snobs, take off. maybe you can afford to pay $6 for a six-pack, but those of us who just want to hang out with friends, drinking a case a piece sometimes want to keep the price tag under $5. if you spend wisely, it's still cheaper than rotgut liquor.

most favorite (in order of preference): Old Milwaukee, Stroh's, Pabst (if we're talking malt, i lean toward OE800, Mickey's, Schlitz)
least favorite: Olympia, Burgie's, Keystone (Colt 45, Country Club, King Cobra)

i'm not sure anybody can top Burgie's for worst beer ever.

wrench: thanks for the rebus link. i used to drink 22-oz bottles of Haffenreffer (i originally thought it was Hassenpfeffer, but i'm probably confusing it with the Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam bit), and i loved the little puzzles.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2003

Man, I wish we could get Genny Cream here in Chicago-- no distribution. I've actually brought it back with me from Ohio when visiting the in-laws.
posted by me3dia at 12:17 PM on April 22, 2003

schmedeman brings up a good point. I often wonder if all these different brands of cheap beer, all originating from the same breweries, are actually different beers.

Do they just make one huge vat of watery beer, with the only difference between PBR and Black Label being the design on the can?
posted by wrench at 3:43 PM on April 22, 2003

I hope I'm never desperate enough to want to drink American beer.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:41 PM on April 22, 2003

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