A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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AdkMike -

You'll learn over at the Home Brew Talk forum that "It takes 33 separate brews to put such flavor, such smoothness, such unvarying goodness into a single glass of BLUE RIBBON!" So it's a blend.
Interestingly it was the very same photo which was the cause of the discussion.

Gary Gillman -

Great picture Alan. It presents all the strength and clarity of vision one associates with mid-20th century America (and Canada).

I think it meant blending, that each brew was the result of 33 brewings combined, to ensure consistency.


Jay P. -

Looks like some good info in this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/pabst-blue-ribbon-blended-33-1-a-188354/

"33 separate brews from 33 separate kettles". Not necessarily different recipes, but I guess trying to claim that it's better to be blended (but really just averaging the bad with the "good")

Herb Meowing -

Notwithstanding the somewhat compelling 'evidence' presented on HBT...33:1 is probably somehow related to those well-known modern and admittedly exotic 'triple hopped' beers.

Jeff Alworth -

Thirty three hops in each barrel!

Bob Devine -

Advertising was in its phase of "more = better" (did that phase ever end?) Pabst was trying to even out inconsistencies between batches so it blended them. I guess they had 33 tanks on the day that their ad agency invented the slogan.

A beer tray with the slogan:

I suspect Pabst was trying to turn a defect into an advantage. Remember Stroh's had old direct-heat boilers when all the others had steam-jacketed indirect-heat boilers. Turn the negative into a positive! So instead of "scorched beer" Stroh's called it "fire brewed"!
So, Pabst may have been trying to hide batch-to-batch variance with blending.

I doubt they would have blended unless they had to. There might have been a need to blend for another reason, say bottling, but that seems unlikely.

Bob Devine -

An old print ad with more info:


Joe Stange -

I saw the same photo and was thinking of posting it. Glad you saved me the trouble. I'm a lazy man.

My knee jerk reaction was, "33 parts water, 1 part beer."

Mark McLaughlin -

could someone call pabst and clear this up for us?

The Professor -

I'll grant that the 33:1 thing is marketing spin, and rather meaningless to the average beer drinker. But I'm confused as to why some folks consider any batch to batch variance a particularly unusual thing, or to consider blending to achieve consistency a bad thing. Seems to me like it would be the ideal way for any brewery (big or small) to achieve consistency in their product.
Of course, these days Pabst could probably care less about their beer...it's just a 'label' (hell...they don't even make the beer themselves anymore).

On a side note, regarding comments about Stroh's "fire brewed" beer; it's another example of marketing spin, but by the same token those direct fired kettles could hardly have been considered a negative by that company. After all, when they acquired the Schaefer brewery outside of Allentown PA back in the early 1980's, they apparently went to some trouble and expense to retrofit the plant with some direct fired kettles.

Jim -

It's amazing to me to see old photos and realize that Pabst and Schlitz were some of the top brewers in America at one time... How the mighty have fallen.

Adam Nason -

Great minds think alike.


Rick Ramsey -

I saw the same photo and wondered too...which brought me here. Note that the label of Rolling Rock includes a '33' ... could it have originated duringthe '30s as well? Recall that Prohibition in the US ended when beer was made legal once again, in 1933.