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Pabst Just Announced Its First IPA & a Whole New Look

PBR IPA
Courtesy of Pabst

This is not the PBR of your parents' childhood. Over the last year, Pabst has introduced a feisty hard seltzer and the surprisingly good Hard Coffee. That's in addition to a stronger and a non-alcoholic version of the classic PBR. The company is far from done expanding its offerings to get you tossing back Pabst beers as though you're a college freshman enjoying the freedom of being (mostly) untethered from your parents. The company announced on January 15 that it's launching "a new luxury beer brand" called Captain Pabst. The first release will, naturally, be an IPA, and it's available now.

It's not clear what "luxury" means in this context. It might mean little more than you aren't getting one at the bar for the change in your pocket like you might with a PBR. Nonetheless, Pabst's announcement has the feel of a company trying to change your perception of the brand. Seabird IPA is just the first in the new line and will coincide with a complete rebrand of Pabst's Milwaukee taproom. 

The IPA comes with all the hallmarks of familiar top-selling IPAs. It's sessionable and brewed with Magnum, Citra, Cascade, and Mosaic hops. However, for now, the ol' Seabird is only available in Wisconsin and the Chicago area. 

While it's positioning itself as a "luxury beer," Pabst isn't brewing the majority of the beer. A representative confirmed to Thrillist that like PBR, Seabird will be brewed on contract. The recipe was developed at the Milwaukee pilot brewery, and if you order one there, you'll be getting beer brewed on-site. However, the cans you buy at the store or the drafts you get at the bar are going to be brewed by Verona's Wisconsin Brewing. 

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee taproom will be relaunched as Captain Pabst's Pilot House. The announcement says the taproom plans to "focus on imaginative craft beer offerings" and will also offer a craft spirits program "where spirits are blended and barrel-aged in-house." (Don't forget about the PBR whiskey that was launched last year.) The born-again taproom will re-open on March 28, the day Captain Frederick Pabst -- the company's namesake -- would have turned 184 years young.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.