Pabst Blue Ribbon is beloved and reviled in equal measure. One on hand, you’ve got ironic hipster holdovers from the mid-2000s and anyone who can appreciate the mileage you can get out of a 30-rack of beer for $20. On the other, you have the IPA swigging microbrewery snobs who rank PBR just above Budweiser but pretty much below anything else produced on a mass scale, domestically speaking.
In a weird way, the brand enjoys a similar status as the whole category of hard seltzer. It’s both vehemently hated and cultishly beloved.
Maybe it was recognition of this symmetry (but more likely a simple desire to make money) that led Pabst to enter the hard seltzer game. PBR Hard Seltzers are pretty solid, but it’s an oversaturated market. Budweiser, Golden Road Brewery, Natty Light, Coors, Vive, Sauza, and Smirnoff have all jumped on the hard seltzer train. And let’s be honest, none of them hold a candle to the big two, White Claw and Truly. Innovation is needed to make a splash in the fizzy water game.
Enter weed. Not CBD but the real, “gets you stoned” stuff.
In early October, PBR announced that Pabst Labs — a beverage company founded by cannabis drink experts and former Pabst Brewing Company employees — would be producing a THC-infused official PBR-branded seltzer. The release was a first among hyper-visible beer brands: a product meant to intoxicate, but not with alcohol. If successful, it could change the game while creating competition and collaboration between beer and weed companies that actually benefitted us, the consumers.
Naturally, we had to try a can… or two. And since I’ve carved a niche out at Uproxx as both the resident weed and seltzer water guy, who better to dive into the world of cannabis-infused seltzer than me? Read on for my semi-stoned review of Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Original Lemon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer.
Pabst Blue Ribbon Original Lemon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer
Before you buy a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon Original Lemon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer, it’s a good idea to know who exactly this product was made for. At just 5mgs of THC per can and less than 2mgs of CBD, PBR Cannabis-Infused Seltzer is for people looking to microdose or first-time cannabis users looking to get high without smoking or vaping flowers, oils, or concentrates. If you’re a frequent or daily weed user, a single can isn’t going to result in much of a head change. You’ll likely need to crack open two to three cans to get a sufficient and enjoyable high. (Session beer, but with dope.)
The matter of dosage is relevant because it has an effect on the “share factor” of the brew. With just four cans to a case, frequent smokers can only share with one other person. In some cases, they may be inclined to kill a whole case single-handedly. Of course, you could drop $120 for a 24-pack, but that’s a steep price to pay for a mild high.
(Cost aside, this isn’t a huge problem. The seltzer is only 25 calories per can, meaning if you drank a whole case you’re looking at 100 calories and 16 grams of sugars — well under a typical weed brownie in terms of calories and sugar content. Still, drinking a whole case by yourself can be a little draining, so we don’t suggest frequent users jump on this train unless they’re looking to enjoy their seltzer with a blunt or a bowl on the side, at least until a stronger expression is released.)
If you aren’t a frequent smoker, there’s a lot to love about the PBR Original Lemon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer. I’ve tried all sorts of cannabis-infused beverages, and all of them, even the best tasting ones, have a strong herbal weed flavor. It’s not appetizing, but it’s what we’ve all come to expect from THC-infused drinks. Pabst smashes that expectation. This stuff tastes pretty indistinguishable from regular lemon seltzer. It’s got a nice zesty bite with a clean and crisp taste, making it a transparent mixer perfect for tossing together with some vodka or tequila for those craving a cross-faded experience.
Our only gripe? We wish it was just a tad bubblier. What can I say, I love me some fizz.
If you’re unfamiliar with how edibles work let us break it down. When you ingest an edible it is broken down by your stomach’s gastric acid before traveling into your small intestine where the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream resulting in your high. This is why it takes so long for your edibles to hit. But because PBR’s Cannabis-Infused Seltzer is already in liquid form, it travels through your body faster, giving you a quicker onset than a typical edible. So you’re looking at about 30 minutes to an hour to start to feel the effects of a single can, rather than the usual two to three hours that edibles generally take.
Pabst Lab’s recipe is proprietary and they aren’t telling whether the formula uses sativa, hybrid, or indica strains but from the user side: the high never felt too heavy. For a frequent user like myself, a single can was enough to eliminate any stress and anxiety and offer a slightly euphoric head change, resulting in a mostly cerebral high.
Perfect for microdosers and first-time cannabis users. Heavy users will need more than a single can to get a sufficient dosage of THC. Taste is better than anything else on the market.