Pabst and the Question of Taste

I think I may have found the one product which challenges my “To each their own” point-of-view. After the past few posts in which several people have advocated for Pabst Blue Ribbon, I decided to toss down five dollars for a six pack and see if maybe, perhaps, I am missing something.

It turns out that the five dollar price tag is the only redeeming quality about the beer. But I can’t say that I wasn’t warned; several people also made the same observation.

Now before you PBR fans start getting all in a tizzy about my re-discovery of the beer’s quality, there is a larger point to be made here. Namely – does it really matter what I think?

I know, I know, it’s not often that a food writer will tell you that their opinion is worthless in your own context, but that is essentially what I am about to do. If you dig PBR, then please, go forth and down a few. What I find interesting when it comes to disagreement in taste is why that disagreement occurs in the first place.

There’s a few presumptions that need to be addressed. The first is in regard to quality – I think we can all safely assume that some products are simply better than others. There are good beers and bad beers, just as there are good restaurants and bad ones.

The second presumption we need to make is that people’s definition of quality will differ from another. And therein lies the conflict.

When I critique any product, including my own dishes, I try to only focus on three main components – aroma, initial taste, and finish. These are what I deem important. But this may not be what others deem so.

For example, any chef worth their mettle will notice that I excluded appearance as a criteria. Yet in the restaurant world, presentation plays a fairly significant role. In reading people’s joy for PBR, both price and nostalgia played a part in their appreciation of the brew.

Who has the right perspective here? Should I take nostalgia into consideration when critiquing PBR? Should others place less emphasis on appearance when doing restaurant reviews? Of course not. People have and will always judge products based on their own interests. In fact, most people while use different criteria in judging different products.

My point here is that, while I have my own predilections and preferences, they may not speak to your own (or anyone elses for that matter). If you’re curious to see if PBR is a decent beer, feel free to plop down five dollars and find out for yourself.

If you already have a good opinion of Pabst, then you and I will have to respectfully disagree. For while you may find it a light and fruity reminder of your youth, I find it more akin to lightly carbonated corn-flavored water with a hint of acid reflux.