Tuesday, July 25, 2006

PBR - What’s the big woop?

Apparently, I’ve had my head up my ass. Until recently, I had no idea that hipsters in NY and LA have been guzzling down Pabst Blue Ribbon for like, 7 years now.

It first came to my attention when I interviewed Ryan McDermott (the new sound check blog guy at DC Style Magazine). He said his favorite beer is PBR and all the hipsters in NY are drinking it.

I was like, “New trend! Must investigate!” I put out an ‘APB’ to some of the ‘cool girls’ in LA asking if it had taken hold on the West Coast. Here are a few responses:
  • I hate to get all "indier-than-thou" but this is old news. PBR has been a very big seller in the Silver Lake/Echo Park bars for like three years (only in cans though). Check out the infamous "hipster bingo" website from 2-3 years ago. (site pasted below) Mara

  • When I lived in NY it was indeed a thing. And that was 7 years ago so I guess it stuck and must have grown. It must be an East Coast thing cause, like you, I haven't been anywhere that it's even offered in LA. Stacy

  • Both 3 Of Clubs and Cha Cha's proudly serve PBR. In fact, the last man I dated broke the ice by sending one to my table. I thought he was being ironic. He was just cheap. Donna

  • A lot of LA, and especially Hollywood, hotspots don't sell PBR b/c it is so cheap, but all the hipsters do know where to find it... I moved to LA from Austin, TX in September and found the lack of PBR at bars a real pain. $5 for a Bud Light bottle is just too much. In Austin, Pabst is pretty much available anywhere! Anna

  • I have to say Natalie, every art gallery or cool "it" party I've been too is doing it. I guess it falls in line with the trucker cap craze a couple of years ago RedNeck chic, but, yes, I'm seeing it everywhere. Paula

Needless to say, I felt like an ass. Or rather, that I had been keeping my head up my own. I’m really more of a cocktail girl, myself, as any follower of The Liquid Muse will gather. And, I grew out of the dollar-beer thing after college … so I guess I just wasn’t paying attention.

Being curious to check out anything with a buzz (yes all puns intended) I decided I had to experience this cultural phenomenon for myself.

Frankly, Pabst has very little flavor. It’s kinda like drinking watered-down cow piss.

I don’t drink beer often enough to throw around opinions on it’s “hoppiness” or “finish.” I do know, however, that I don’t drink Bud. Or Miller. I’ll suffer through an Amstel Light if I have to… Once in a while, I hit a sports bar and indulge in greasy food and a tasty amber ale or thick-n-creamy dark lager.

But, seek out Pabst? I don’t get it.

I mean, I can appreciate the irony of a hot society chick in Jimmy Choos swillin’ trailer trash bubbly as much as the next person. Who doesn’t love a gal who ‘plays well with others’ from country club to truck stop? But, seriously, now, with all the choices out there, and all the men willing to pony up to buy a cute girl a drink… what gives?

Is it the price tag? Is a decent beer really unaffordable? Is it the trucker hat phenomomen? (which is long gone by now…)

Does holding PBR make people feel ‘hip?’

Excuse me for bringing this up… but if “all the hipsters are doing it”… it’s not all that hip anymore…it’s trendy. Isn’t trendy the antithesis of hip?

I’m confused.

So, please, folks, enlighten me. PBR - What’s the big woop?

Hipster Bingo: http://www.catbirdseat.org/catbirdseat/bingo.html


Brennan said...

Umm, try 10 years now!! For NYC that is. Yeah, where have you been?!? It all started in a couple of bars in the East Village for a couple of reasons: they're cheeeep & irony!! Never underestimate how people will drink such garbage because it is funny and ironical for them to be doing it. Now it has exploded for the hipsters, like those gawd-awful trucker hats, because it is funny to them and hearkens to a different era. Plus, life in the big city means trying to get advantages where they can and $2 beers is hard to beat. Still, I hate the stuff and would never ever touch it. But then again I don't put swill down my throat cause it's funny.

ryan from dc style said...

First, let me state that I do not consider myself a hipster, but yes I am guilty of promoting the pabst/hipster phenomenon to Ms. Liquid Muse and was a keen observer of the trend when I lived in New York while I was at grad school. I do drink pabst as well as Schlitz and Schaefer, mostly because it's dirt cheap (1 12 pack for like 5 bucks) and I love to have a working class can of beer in my hand. Despite my periodcal affiliation, I am much poorer than man of the Style readers so this certainly isn't a slumming thing. Growing up working class in Jersey my dad drank beer similar to this so I think it is a bit nostalgic as well.

Plus, back when I was living in New York it was nice to walk into Blue and Gold or Cheap Shot in the East Village and get a pabst (or Rheingold) and a shot of Jim Beam for 5 bucks. It eased the pain of that New York City rent.

Natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Thanks, boys.

Good points, Brennan...

And, nice to see you again, Ryan - and thanks for opening up this new world for me! ;-)

Melissa said...

This started around the time that Hogs and Heifers opened. That's forever ago.

Natalie, you're too cool for PBR.(: If you want to embrace the ironic beer thing, find someplace that has Olympia or move on to 40's, though I don't know of any bars that sell them, but I'm well past age 25.

Me? I'll stick with Bud or move up a bracket for a Hitachino.

Natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Oh my gosh - Hitachino (?) - am I going to have to begin a whole new investigation...? Please, spill...

Melissa said...

It's a japanese microbrew that's sooo good. Fatty Crab and Mermaid Inn has it in stock-- in DC, I've only seen it in stores, not restaurants. Since we were talking beer, I just threw it out there as one you could drink alot of that isn't bud or pbr.

heather said...

My friend Jack in Richmond told us all about the tobacco capitol's love of PBR. They drink it with a lime and call it "Redneck on Vacation". He says 24 ounce cans go for $4 (only cans never bottles).

Louis, 14. said...

These hipsters you speak of are the scourge of humanity. Self conscious and vain, these soulless individuals are sadly more reoccupied with their perception by others than self worth.
Real, working people have been drinking PBR and other premium beverages for decades now. Your head is not up your ass. You are merely not aware of the goings on outside of boutique restaurants and lounges.

ryan from dc style said...

Louis, 14: Granted many hipsters are new york trust fund babies, but I must say that many of my friends in new york were broke writers who couldn't afford to get drunk off anything other than pabst, schlitz or rheingold. hipster gets a real negative connotation because of some real idiots that don't embrace what it is to be on top of the indie scene. sure hipsters may be elitist, but many of them are idiots. many of them are astute observers of underground culture. don't kill them all for the few that really suck. like the ones that go to MisShapes every saturday and take 5 hours to cut up their diesel jeans and pretend they are in the cast of Fame. Anyway, enough ranting.

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