Beer of the Weekend #46 and #47: Pabst Genuine Draft and Żywiec

The beer this weekend is Pabst Genuine Draft brewed by the Pabst Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

No joke. I’ve decided to review a trio of brews this weekend and PGD is the first.

Let me explain. Each Friday, before opening my first BotW, I always drink a basic lager. The theory behind it is similar to warming up before a run or basketball game. You want to ease into a tasting so as not to shock your taste buds; you have to prepare, warm them before trying a new beer. What I should do is eat a few unsalted crackers to clean my palette, but my “warmer beer” strategy works for me. Anyway, my lager of choice is the one and only Pabst Blue Ribbon.

A few weeks ago I ran out of PBR and went to the nearby Albertsons for more. I had seen PBR and PGD in stock, so I sauntered to the beer fridge to grab a 12-pack. Normally I would have gone to BevMo! and bought an 18-pack of bottles (I like my PBR in bottles, and for some reason they don’t sell them in sixers here), but my new roommate’s fridge sucks. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The bottom shelf, above the drawer on my side of the fridge, is weak and poorly supported. One night it collapsed under the weight of a gallon of chocolate milk, so there’s no way it could hold 18 bottles. Now I buy 12-packs of cans and slot them into the drawer, which is a perfect fit. Of course, Albertsons only stocks 24-packs of PBR, so I had to settle on a case of PGD, which isn’t a bad thing.

Serving type: 12 12-ounce cans.

Appearance: Poured a light straw yellow. About a finger of head developed and dissipated to a thin lacing.

Smell: Malty, but not barnyard type malty. This is Milwaukee malty, providing that classic, macrobrew smell that registers in your nose but doesn’t encourage further examination.

Taste: Very little taste, but it is smooth and clean.

Drinkability: It’s unspectacular, but drinkable. Lacking a distinctness found with PBR, PGD makes for a good palate cleanser for better beer.

Fun facts about Pabst Genuine Draft:

-Serving temperature: 35-40°F. Although it’s a pretty good base lager, it’s still a dull macrobrew and best drank ice cold.

-Alcohol content: 4.5 percent ABV.

-Food pairings: Via BA, barbeque, Indian, Thai, Latin, and pepper jack cheese.

-It looks like the carrying case hasn't been redesigned since 1995.

The Quiet Man’s grade: C+.


All right, the real beer this weekend is Żywiec brewed by the Żywiec Brewery of Żywiec, Poland.

Serving type: Six 11.2-ounce bottles. I’m unsure why some European breweries use the slightly smaller bottles. 11.2-ounces, is the equivalent of 330 ml, which, I suppose, is a good cut-off (350 ml may be more logical, though).

Appearance: Poured a straw yellow. About a half finger of head developed but it dissipated very quickly, leaving a ring of foam around the edge.

Smell: Smells of barnyard grains and yeast. Reminds me of Rolling Rock.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Grainy with a slight bite of either spice or hops. There really isn’t much there.

Drinkability: It’s a very smooth European lager, but it’s nothing special. It’s much more of a drinking beer than an enjoying beer (does that even make sense?).

Fun facts about Żywiec:

-Serving temperature: 40-45°F.

-Alcohol content: 5.6 percent ABV.

-Food pairings: I’ll only mention one, my favorite: kielbasa. Yeah!

-BA classifies Żywiec as a Euro pale lager.

-The dancing couple on the label are dressed in traditional Krakow dancing clothes. Krakow is a city in the southern part of Poland, close to Żywiec, and is notorious for its dueling firms of soccer hooligans. There are two teams in town and you either support one or the other. Each firm — basically an organized fan club that terrorizes opposing fans — will attack each other and steal the other’s team scarves. When the clubs meet, the host team’s firm will drape the stolen scarves on the metal fencing at the front of the stands and start them on fire. How do I know this? “The Real Football Factories: Poland.”

-Żywiec comes in one of those wrap-around carrying cases.

-Żywiec is the most popular beer in Poland.

The Quiet Man’s grade: C+.

Stay tuned. A big surprise — and I mean big — will round out the trio tomorrow night.

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