Tag Archives: PBR

Web clip: And the blue ribbon goes to… the search for post-PBR cheap beer

This is probably the most time I’ve spent researching and writing anything since looking at residency records for Carmen Tevis Mullen whoa those many years ago. But at least I only had to deal with irate bowels this time; not irate judges (via Brokelyn):

Picture 36One of the benefits of brokedom in BK is that we have intimate knowledge of the taste and texture of Pabst Blue Ribbon, that ubiquitous lager of dubious award-winning credentials. It is the default option at many a bar due to its bottomed-out price, and its inescapable association with those lovable, huggable hipsters (because who doesn’t want to be lumped in with this guy?).

But we know you want more out of the world than just one can. And so it’s time to break free from those blue ribbons and embrace a post PBR-era. And there are plenty of other low-cost options.

This we determined by slogging through them, one by one.  With low budgets and thirsty gullets, we set out to answer the question: when it comes to the bottom-of-the-cost-ladder beers out there, which ones are the best?

our field of competitors

our field of competitors

Our approach was academic—we collected a representative sample of 13 of the cheapest brews (we’re saving malt liquor for a future panel) available in Brooklyn and put them before a panel of eight diverse, educated (and mostly financially challenged) beer drinkers to blind taste test our way through this watery, gassy, mess. All beer prices are from the Thrifty Beverage Center at 990 McDonald Ave., unless otherwise indicated.


Our eight-member panel consisted of a beer industry expert (Ryan Clement, who manages the beer section at Trader Joe’s Brooklyn), a home brewer, a budget conscious journalist (holla!), several beer enthusiasts, a guy who only had his first beer a year ago and one person representing the very important “female” demographic. We ranked each beer on a 10-point scale in terms of taste, appearance, overall quality and drinkability, a word we’re pretty sure was made up for Bud Light ads. We’ve also standardized the per-ounce price for ease of comparison.


Poor Pours: Simpler Times beer

Simpler Times beer

The deal: $4.99 for a six pack of bottles, $3.99 for a six pack of cans. That’s 66.5 cents per can.

the answer to complication

the answer to complication

What is: Lager and pilsner beer, available at Trader Joe’s. It’s a new offering at the TJ’s in NY, but apparently has been available in the stores elsewhere in the country for some time.

In simple terms, it’s the recession beer.

Ah, yes, remember those simpler times before your pension disappeared in an updraft into golden parachutes or your retirement went over the falls in a bailout. Let’s think back to the black-and-white days of the Great Depression, and remind ourselves that people get through hard times with friends, and people make friends during hard times with beer, and that beer is the simple cause of — and solution to — most of life’s problems.

Why?:Because it’s the new PBR.

Such sacrilege! But it’s true. Because at that price, and with a 6 percent alcohol content (that’s 1.8 percentage points higher than Bud Lite), it doesn’t have to be very good. But I would place the taste a step and a half above the taste of the Pabst, despite the latter’s insistence that a 116-year-old fair win is the only validation its ever needed for taste approval. Plus, it’s ludicrous speeds ahead of other discount contenders such as South Paw, Genny Lite or,yikes, Schaefer.

Plus, Simpler Times doesn’t have any pretensions pretenses attached to it yet: no sneering glances from bartenders who wonder what size girl jeans you’re wearing or how long you spent cultivating the child molester mustache like when you order a PBR; no conversations about the best methods to get the stains out of your wife beater like when you order a High Life.

Coworkers at TJ’s have been snatching it up with ravenous appetite since it first appeared a few weeks ago. This conversation about sums it up:

Me: Curtis, what did you think of that Simpler Times beer?

Curtis: It’s good enough!

It’s made by Wisconsin company Minhas Craft Brewery, which doesn’t even list Simpler Times on its web site. Minhas, you’ll surely know, is the brewer of other such wildly popular brews as Rhinelander, Mountain Creek, and — a favorite at trendy Upper West Side lounges and loft parties, Extreme Rockhead Malt Liquor.

As our country faces these rough days ahead, I think we can all agree a little dose of the Simpler Times will make everything just a bit easier to handle