Pabst Labs 1

Pabst Doob Ribbon: PBR + THC

Beer guzzling stoners have been making ‘This bud’s for you’ jokes for years. But it’s Pabst Brewing Company, not Budweiser’s Anheuser-Busch, who’ve just put their name on a cannabis-infused adult beverage.

Pabst just announced their new doobie-fied drink: Pabst Blue Ribbon cannabis seltzer, available only in California. They’re the first major American beer brand to put their label on a cannabis beverage (though Bay Area craft brewer Lagunitas introduced a weed-infused beer in 2018), so SF Evergreen had to see if PBR’s hipster beer mixes well with the hippie lettuce. 

The first thing to note is that this is not a beer. This THC-fueled PBR is an “original lemon cannabis-infused seltzer,” and as such, is probably more of a marketing play at the hard seltzer fad than the Pabst-drinking demographic. 

Moreover, it’s not made by Pabst Brewing Company. This PBR is sold by a similarly named but arms-length-distance company calling itself Pabst Labs (run by a group of former Pabst employees, according to NPR).

And the marijuana infusion formulation is handled by a totally separate Oakland-based company called Vertosa. We would comment on whether their products are generally any good, but Vertosa does not disclose any other products that they make on their website.  

In other words, this is a licensing deal — sort of like what our outgoing president likes to do with his name, but way less collusion-y. We tried it, and it’s pretty good! Unfortunately, it is not easy to acquire in San Francisco.

Pabst Labs does not list this beverage as available at any San Francisco dispensaries, so your only option is to buy it online. (You can also have it delivered through Flower Company, but that’s a membership-only delivery service.) 

Online delivery is available in San Francisco, though generally not same-day. You’ll have to order the product directly from Pabst Labs’ website, which requires you to sign up for a new delivery service.

You’re also going to pay a far higher price than advertised. The website claims you’ll pay $24 for a 4-pack of these Pabst Green Ribbons. But add delivery fees and taxes, and you’re paying more than $40 for that 4-pack. Plug in the customary driver tip, and you just paid $50 for a 4-pack. 

There are substantially better and cheaper beverage deals available at your local dispensary. Pabst Labs also offers a 24-pack for $120 (plus taxes) that comes with free delivery, but again, this is not the budget product you would expect from good old PBR.

In fact, some might say it’s classier than the traditional Pabst (blasphemers… blasphemers would say that). The can and packaging are handsome, though the lid may be a little confusing for the first-time cannabis beverage drinker. It features a resealable lid unlike a traditional pop-top can of suds.

There is only a 5 mg of THC per can, which is not a lot, but the formulation provides a noticeable little buzz within 15-20 minutes. It’s a sativa-like light head high that relaxes your shoulders too, and is more of an active buzz than a couch-lock. 

As far as flavor, you will not taste marijuana. It’s a true lemon seltzer, with very little carbonation, and not much burp factor afterward.

Pabst Blue Ribbon cannabis seltzer is not the best infused beverage on the market, and it’s pricier than most. The novelty of the PBR logo on a marijuana drink is what you’re paying for here. It won’t win any blue ribbons from the hardcore cannabis crowd, but it’s broad appeal to non-stoners could make it a crossover hit.

Potency: The 5 mg of THC is below the industry standard of 10 mg for a similarly priced beverage. This product seems meant as a microdose, or aimed at the canna-curious. 

Smell: A very faint lemon juice scent, this seltzer smells nothing like dank weed.

Taste: Surprisingly good for Pabst! The flavor is more of a Perrier than the White Claw it is probably meant to impersonate.

Appearance: The can is fun because it has a real Pabst Blue Ribbon logo, The beverage itself looks like Squirt or 50/50, and can easily be presented as a fancy cocktail with garnish and appropriate glass. 

Effect: Pabst cannabis seltzer is more a branding exercise, but holds its own as a premium cannabis product with mainstream potential.

3/5

Available in San Francisco via direct delivery. Visit PabstLabs.com for details.