Just call it Mister Versatility.
Or perhaps it should be called Miss Mysterious.
Sitting in my office, staring at my computer screen with a mundane, expressionless gaze rocking some 311 and trying to figure out how the hell I was going to fill a large, unallocated space on the ol’ opinion page, I was confronted with a question.
“Sean, what does PBR stand for?”
Oh, what memories.
Remembering a family function, back when I was still in second grade, eating glue and sticking crayons up my nose, I popped my beer-drinking cherry – I stole a sip of my old man’s Pabst Blue Ribbon. Everyone remembers his or her first sip. It took me years to recover from that fateful swig. It was only over this past Winter Break that I rekindled the flame with PBR. When Pabst was more fiscally appealing than any of its barley-brewed fellows, my buddy – well, technically my buddy’s older brother – and I decided to purchase a couple of 12 packs at four bucks a pop. It was only then that I realized that Pabst is a pretty decent brew and that it has a pretty illustrious history.
Asking around the Nexus office for perspectives on PBR, I learned a lot. Training editor opinion legend Drew Mackie informed me that the previous night, while at a hipster comedy club in L.A., Pabst was the drink of choice. I was puzzled, thinking that there is no way in hell they could be that hip if Pabst was the popular choice. I thought Pabst was reserved for bottom-feeders – like myself.
“No man, these guys made me feel square,” he said.
Apparently even as far as Washington D.C., certain indie crowds choose to sip PBRs at clubs and bars alike.
Thinking maybe I was vastly misinformed about the value of the beer, I had to reconvene with my Pabst-swilling partner from back home to discuss these new revelations about PBR.
“Dude, it’s just fucking Pabst,” my best friend Brian Dobbs told me.
Evidently, PBR has some versatility as well. While we were trying to decipher the lore behind Pabst, we came to the conclusion that everyone has a story about it, but it’s likely that it has never been advertised in our lifetimes.
“There’s a clout among the beer world about Pabst,” Dobbs said. “It’s a pretty decent beer for the price, but no one knows anything about it. I don’t know where it’s from – isn’t it from Canada or something?”
This led me to my next investigation of the infamous, yet puzzling beer. Upon entering their website, I learned that Pabst is not, in fact, brewed in Canada, but in Milwaukee. Established in 1844, PBR was initially called “select,” but added “blue ribbon,” in 1895 because the brewers put blue ribbons around the bottle and everyone wanted that “blue ribbon” beer.
Critics argue that the reason for the blue ribbon label is because the beer was given the award for best beer in the nation in 1893, two years before changing the name.
“All I know is they have been riding the success of that one ribbon they got for a long-ass time,” Daily Nexus sports editor and fellow boozehound Chris Trenchard said.
In 1935, PBR was the first brewery to fill cans with beer as opposed to bottles. The cans had the picture of a can opener on the side and instructions as to how to operate this strange can thingy. Think, where would all those blissful nights of shotgunning be if not for Pabst?
Perhaps Pabst’s virtual lifetime achievement award came during the ’40s when Americans needed it the most. During World War II, Pabst began to disguise its cans in an army olive green and was purchased by the military to ration to the troops. In fact, due to limited tin rations, PBR produced so much beer to keep our boys a little bit liquored up during conflict that they stopped selling Pabst to the public.
Wow. Now a full-fledged expert on PBR, I decided to take the Pabst trivia quiz on their website. I did well enough to induce this message: “You’re a Blue Ribbon Bad Ass. You know what you need to know and not a bit more.”
I know one thing for sure, Pabst needs to make 40 ouncers.
And then I’d really be a bad ass.
Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Sean Swaby also discovered PBR rid the U.S. of communism.