Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm such a hipster with my PBR

If you read online beer-related forums, you'll find that a lot of craft brew fans will tell you that they started out drinking one of the big three:  Budweiser, Miller, and/or Coors.  Either that, or they drank the light/lite equivalents of them.  After trying a few craft beers (oftentimes with something like Samuel Adams Boston Lager or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale being the "gateway" beer) they make the switch and never go back to what beer geeks and snobs know as the "American Adjunct Lager".  (I never see the story told the other way around.)

With me, this was not the case.  I started off by drinking mostly imports and craft beers.  Honestly, I've never had an entire Budweiser, and I don't think that I've ever even tried a Coors.  I've tried Miller High Life (which I think is kinda gross) and Miller Genuine Draft (which I thought was pleasant).  I've also tried Bud Light and Miller Lite, both of which were innocuous but unremarkable.  The only beers that I thought were outright gross were Bud Select and Miller Chill.  As for the rest, I would take them if offered, but I could never see myself buying them.

There is one mass-produced American Adjunct Lager that seems to have a good buzz about it even among the beer geeks, and that is Pabst Blue Ribbon.  If you check out Beer Advocate's review, you'll see that it ranks higher than Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.  I've found this to be curious, and I've been wanting to try one for some time to see if it really is a decent brew.  I also realize that it's a bit of a hipster beer, and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody makes a Dennis Hopper reference in the comments.  Sometimes things get popular for a reason.  Sometimes there isn't.  (I'm looking at you, Corona, and your overpriced dirt-flavored water.)

A few days ago while at the grocery store, I picked up a couple of pretty tasty beers:  Abita's SOS, and a St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition.  Behind me, there was a guy buying a bottle of Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde, a rather tasty Belgian-style beer.  He also had a 12 pack of Pabst.  I complimented him on his choices, saying that nobody could accuse him of being a snob nor of not having good taste.  He got a kick out of that, and pointed out that one bottle of "Fin" costs the same as the 12 pack of Pabst.

This got me to thinking.  As of right now, all the homebrews I have on hand are very good, but they're not really good warm-weather brews.  In other words, they're good with a hearty meal, or by themselves when it's starting to cool down in the evening.  But none of them are really ideal after coming in from the heat.  Now, I'm not the type of person who thinks that a beer has to be low quality to be refreshing.  I bought a six pack of Trumer Pils once for just such a reason, but let's face it, at $7.99 a six pack (at best) it's not really very economical to have them on hand.  But if Pabst was less than $9 for 12?  And it was still a good beer on top of all that?  Well, I'd be an IDIOT not to pick up some.

Now, I haven't had time to do a proper tasting, but when I got back from the store, Logan had gone through a particularly stressful meltdown (for both of us) and I needed something cool to drink.  I figured it was a good time to try one of those Blue Ribbon beers.  Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that they weren't quite as cold as I thought.  Oh, but that's actually good news in a sense, because even though it was more cool than cold, it still tasted pretty good - which is the true test of a good beer, in my opinion.  (Ever try a Corona when it's anything but ice cold?  Ugh.  Seriously.  What the hell is up with that beer?)

Normally I don't drink right out of the can or bottle, but like I said, I was hot and stressed, and I wanted a quick cool one.  With that said, I can definitely say that I picked up on a definite beer flavor - at least, what I think of when I think of beer.  Sure, it was a little bit sweeter and slightly syrupy like I'd expect from the style, but not too much so.  Also, there was definitely a hop presence in both the smell and the aftertaste - which makes me definitely want to try it in a glass so I can properly get a sense of that.

Another good test is that the lingering aftertaste continued to be pleasant.  I didn't feel the need to hurry up and brush my teeth or get something more flavorful in my mouth.

So, I gotta say that it's a pretty nice beer, and I will definitely keep some handy during the warmer months - especially at this price.  This is what I was hoping for when Trader Joe's starting carrying the ultra-cheap Simpler Times Lager, but I thought it was so gross that I couldn't even finish the one that I had.  (Much to my surprise, that one has good reviews - just goes to show that I'm not always of the same opinion as my fellow beer geeks.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must agree with you and say that Pabst Blue Ribbon is amazing. It tastes better than any of the other cheap beers and it continually costs less. The local market sold 30 packs of PBR for 13 dollars! If that wasn't great enough they also sold 24 packs of glass bottle PBR for the same price.