Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The McBone Beer Journal Get-Off-My-Lawn Edition; Pabst Blue Ribbon

Ah, the American macrobrew. Guzzled by millions, reviled by snobs. Who's right in the epic and never-ending battle between the thirsty masses and the insufferable, effete, snot-nose little shits who demand to know how many International Bitterness Units a hop infusion has imparted into their $18.99 six pack? I used to count myself in the latter camp, but not wholly. Bad beer, I was taught, is better than no beer at all. So very true (except when it comes to the scourge of light and low carb beers, which should be wiped from the face of the planet!). Still, I regret to say that all too often I turned my nose up at a perfectly drinkable Budweiser. These days I'll quaff a Miller Genuine Draft without thinking twice.

This brings us to the beer in question. Founded in 1844 (when it was actually made in Milwaukee and it was known as Best Lager), Pabst Blue Ribbon is unquestionably one of the seminal American beers, and I had been craving a PBR ever since watching Walt Kowalski spew racial epithets while draining case after case of the stuff in Gran Torino. For my own similar experience I figured I would need 3 things:

1) Pabst - check!
2) A cooler - check!
3) Asian neighbors

Two out of three ain't bad. So I'll have to forego the bigotry this time and crack open a can. And let me make this perfectly clear, in case there's any lingering questions from my last post. I LOVE beer in cans. If I had it my way, more premium beers would come in cans. There's just something about a frosty-cold cylinder of aluminum that can't be duplicated with glass. The late John Updike once wrote a short essay pining for the days before the 'inane gadgetry' of pull tabs, when beers required two perforations with an opener. You know what? He was right. Novelists usually are.

But I'll forgive this can of Pabst for its failings and pull the tab anyway. I take a whiff. How can one describe the bouquet of a Pabst? What else can I say except that a Pabst smells like beer? Good old, reliable, divine, run of the mill, American beer.

I refuse to do anything to do anything outside of drinking straight from the can, (which is pretty shamelessly imitative of a Budweiser, by the way) and so I can only go with the presumption that PBR is pale, yellow and fizzy.

The remarkable thing about a mass produced lager is how smooth and mellow and easy to drink it can be. I used to consider those qualities negative. No longer! Taking a sip is a virtual impossibility, and I find that, each time I raise the PBR to my lips, at least three gulps go down, and soon I'm reaching into the cooler for a second can, a third. The taste is minimally hoppy--very slight floral notes, and then a pretty decent dose of barley malt. But listen to me talking like an asshole. PBR is great! That's all you need to know. It's crisp. Refreshing. Exactly what I'd crave if I was mowing the lawn right now, or watching the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles on Andy Marte's clutch, ninth inning two-run home run, or berating some Asian neighbors for standing on my lawn.

So, beer snobs, I say to you: stop being so pretentious. Of course there are better beers in the world. And yes it's annoying that hipsters and indie kids are into PBR. But this stuff tastes good, makes you feel good, is cheap and unassuming. Hey, if it's good enough for Clint Eastwood, it's good enough for you.

Official McBone Rating: 3.5 McBones.



Kid Shay said...

Good lord, my two fellow bloggers both mentioned Gran Torino today. Is Eastwood the patron saint of blogging now? Or is he just so damn manly that not a day can be allowed to pass without mentioning his name?

Excellent beer journal entry, by the way.

C.J. said...

PBR costs the same as Sam Adams Seasonal here... Ain't nuthin' cheap about any beer that is "in style." Even crappy American ones.

PBR and Old Style and Budweiser, for that matter, are beers strictly reserved for hot, sunny days-- the stuff's all water & had better be ice cold, else it tastes like ass! Why do you think it comes in a can?!

After discovering what happened to the Franklin expedition to discover the NW Passage, I think I'll pass on anything in a can...


Pass me the Samuel Adams Oktoberfest, please!

Nate and Jeff Bowler, Co-Captains said...

Falling Rock,

Yes, nary a day goes by when I don't talk about or think about the manliest man ever to portray manly men on screen.


How right you are. It must be ice cold, and the day must be hot, hot, hot. But don't be a fool. Just because you once drank a Guinness straight from the can, don't go writing off cans altogether.


Slider K. Shaftacular said...

I knew I was in for a rough time when, after moving to Wisconsin, my new friends asked me if I'd like a tampon with my Rolling Rock.

Also, I fully believe you can have your Walt Kowalski experience without Asian neighbors if you compensate with the combination of lawn gnomes and a dog named after some sort of flower.

Nate and Jeff Bowler, Co-Captains said...

Good call! I also thought maybe the elderly people who live next door could work in a pinch.