Political Animal


May 13, 2013 4:54 PM Hipster Beer

By Ed Kilgore

In a welcome change of pace from the borderline unserious “news,” we learn from Public Policy Polling today that “Americans [Are] So Over Hipsters.”

Man, what a shame: it’s nearly over even before I ever figured out what is was about to begin with—indeed, before I ever got a chance to visit Brooklyn. In any event, here are the numbers:

Just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, a new PPP poll on the much-discussed subculture shows. 42% have an unfavorable opinion of hipsters, and 43% aren’t sure.

It appears half of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 still consider themselves hipsters, which makes me wonder how high the number got before hipsterism was “over.”

But here’s the one assertion in the poll that I must contest:

About one in five voters (21%) said they thought Pabst Blue Ribbon, commonly associated with hipsters, was a good beer.

C’mon. Yes, I am aware that PBR became “hip” in some circles a while back, and was commanding microbrew prices here and there on the Coasts. But “commonly” associated with hipsters? I think there’s a slightly more pervasive association that hasn’t completely gone away just yet:

As it happens, I have a few PBRs in my refrigerator right now. It’s by no means my favorite beer, and Good Lord no, I’m not trying to be “hip.” It’s just cheap, and as I think about it right now an hour or so from day’s end, it’s really, really cold.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • LarryC on May 13, 2013 5:05 PM:

    What?!!? PABST BLUE RIBBON!!!


  • hue & cry on May 13, 2013 5:17 PM:

    No way!
    We called it Splatts Blue Ribbon.

    'Hipsters' seems such an archaic term indeed.
    I know people and expecially grifters when you're the one stuck buying primarily go for microbrews, ales and pilsners of unique quality.

  • c u n d gulag on May 13, 2013 5:20 PM:

    There's nothing wrong with having and ice-cold PBR's - or two, or three, or... A ZODEN!
    (HIC! And, sic, maybe, sick).

    My favorite relatively cheap beer, is Ballentine Ale.

    And, I'm not "hip" at all.
    Nor, am I a "hippie" - unless of course you're talking about my not unsubstantial 'hips,' under my belly.

  • hornblower on May 13, 2013 5:26 PM:

    In the words of the great Lenny Bruce "There's nothing sadder than an aging hipster".

  • Anonymous on May 13, 2013 5:48 PM:

    Hipsters like PBR because it's cheap. It's a good beer to buy. It's not a high quality and delicious beer, however. No one thinks it is.

  • Tom Hilton on May 13, 2013 6:25 PM:

    LarryC correctly identifies the cultural reference that made PBR a "hipster" beer.

    It's still crap. Remarkably similar to making love in a canoe, if you get my drift.

  • Tom Hilton on May 13, 2013 6:29 PM:

    By the way...when I was a penurious just-out-of-college kid living in the Mission, my super-cheap beer of choice was Schaeffer ("The one beer to have, when you're having more than one"--possibly the most honest beer slogan ever), which was on perpetual sale for $2.99/12 pack. We would pick up a 12 of Schaeffer and a quart bottle of Sheaf Stout, pour an ounce or two of Sheaf in a glass and fill it with a can of Schaeffer, and end up with a remarkably good beer for the price.

  • buddy66 on May 13, 2013 7:12 PM:

    I had to dig to find out what today's hipsters are supposed to be. There's not much to define them, and there's little resemblance to their 1950's namesakes. Back then it was hip versus square: jazz versus pop music, marijuana versus booze, racial integration versus segregation, and a kind of ironic cool stance as opposed to enthusiastic involvement with anything. It seemed like terminal boredom, and I guess it was because they are today nowhere to be found. Norman Mailer did not define them; he merely noticed them. But they were, finally, a media creation. As were beatniks, hippies, preppies, and yuppies. Most trendy things are created by schmucks with typewriters.

    You know who you are.

  • emjayay on May 13, 2013 9:23 PM:

    Beatniks and hippies and preppies and yuppies may be terms coined by writers and concepts popularized by media, but they were also real things. To a greater or lesser extent were about epicenters and/or precourseres and/or symbolic of cultural change or of recognizable modern cultures and associated styles.

    I don't know who started the modern use of hipster, but it's the first recycling of this kind of term I'm aware of. And it indeed has a lot different meaning than the first time around. Also I think much less of a cultural change kind of thing than some othersw but more just style.

    For a while the White Horse (the unfamous nyc one) had a shot and a can of PBR for five bucks special. What's not to like about that?

  • exlibra on May 13, 2013 9:48 PM:

    I'm so old, that, for me, "hipster" is still a style of women's underpants...

  • labradog on May 13, 2013 11:32 PM:

    Good god; Yeungling is cold, too, and has the advantage of tasting good.

  • Roger Ailes on May 14, 2013 5:04 AM:

    Everyone knows that Hamm's (the beer refreshing) is the choice of true hipsters.


  • Dick Hertz on May 14, 2013 5:59 AM:

    I like Hamm's, but when in hipster mode, I opt for the legendary, fire brewed flavor of Stroh's!

  • Peter Aiken on May 14, 2013 6:03 AM:

    'Samatter with you Dick? Real hipsters drink Hudepohl. Not only is it a great brew, but you get to say you like "Houdie"!

  • jhm on May 14, 2013 6:41 AM:

    Props out to the folks at Pabst because, if my information it correct, they were the last holdouts in the demise of the bar bottle. I still can't get used to the fact that they are gone.

  • David Carlton on May 14, 2013 10:08 AM:

    I don't think this poll shows that hipsters are "over." I think it shows (1) that most people surveyed don't even know what a hipster is [I don't], and (b) they confuse them with "hippies," which the older ones don't like because they associate them with sexual looseness and belief in global warming. I like PPP's whimsical approach, but they inevitably come up with some duds.

  • giantslor on May 14, 2013 4:58 PM:

    I'm surprised no one's mentioned Schlitz yet. It's way cooler than Pabst, now that its original recipe has been restored.