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The Hops: Pabst Blue Ribbon


For me, summer is synonymous with lawn mowing and lawnmower lager. As a kid, my summer breaks were spent playing basketball in the driveway and mowing lawns up and down my block. I mowed a neighbor’s lawn just about every day. The heat was oppressive and sometimes the grass was ankle-deep and littered with (doomed) toys, but I loved mowing. It became a spiritual activity akin to meditation; I was always able to tune out the din of the engine to relax and think as I crisscrossed backyards. Lawn mowing is still a favorite pastime and one I can now punctuate with 12-ounce curls.

When it comes to lawnmower lager—the kind of cheap beer one can enjoy after mowing on a muggy day—I prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon and have decided to recommend it for June and July.

Yes, I understand PBR is an unimaginative recommendation, but it is the perfect compliment for sweaty summer toil and outdoor activities. Canned, available everywhere, and cheap, PBR hits the spot on steamy days. Whether you’re camping, grilling or kicking back after a long mow (or move; the annual Great Flux is fast approaching), crack open a cold one and enjoy. There is no need for the pretension of glassware.

There are, though, many lawnmower lagers. My old neighbor—who kept a Playboy calendar in his garage and mowed his own lawn—preferred Old Style. Regionally, there’s La Crosse Lager, Hamm’s, Grain Belt and Schlitz. The Canadians brew lawnmower lager, too: try Moosehead (my favorite) or Molson Canadian. Visiting Wisconsin? Get New Glarus’ Totally Naked.

Beware, though: Alcohol will dehydrate you. Beer is no substitute for water. Also, do not drink and mow. Not only is it a bad idea, one can be charged with a DUI or OWI under Iowa law.

  • Serving temperature:  35-40º F.
  • Alcohol content: 4.74 percent ABV
  • Food pairings: Lager compliments anything you can grill or barbecue, as well as spicy Indian, Latin or Asian dishes.
  • Where to buy: It is available throughout the city, though the variety of packages at each location varies.
  • Price: PBR can be found as cheap as under $2 for 24-ounce cans and $15 for a 30-pack. It is also available in bottles and on tap at many area bars.

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