Before you get all unnecessarily snooty and highbrow regarding the Pabst brand, we’d like you to clamber down off that uncomfortable hipster-supported craft beer high horse, make yourself at home in this inviting, battered-cushioned barstool, and allow us to crack you open an ice-cold can of Old Tankard Ale, a deliciously well-balanced session-style Extra Strong Bitter from the Pabst Brewing Company.
This classic American ale is brewed using a 1937 recipe from the Pabst brewers’ log, and it was the #2 ale in America throughout the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, second only to Ballantine, another iconic PBC brew. Like many long-enduring classics, this ESB is an oldie but a goodie, pouring a lovely coppery caramel color with a creamy, fluffy off-white head that retains its body even after the beer has a chance to settle.
The nose is autumn nostalgia—caramel apples, freshly baked whole grain bread, and warm malt layered with honey. Cascade hops add a balancing and lightly astringent citrus foil, resulting in a classic, well-rounded ESB that’s robust yet easy to drink. For those intimidated by fuller-bodied ales Old Tankard is a friendly introduction to the genre.
Imagine yourself as the Robinhood-style swashbuckler depicted wielding a sword and cheerfully-overflowing stein on a can of Old Tankard. That swashbuckler would never get snooty over ale, and nor should you.