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Old Style | Pabst Brewing Company

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Old StyleOld Style
702 Ratings
Old StyleOld Style

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.64%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally called Golden Leaf Lager in the 1890’s, Old Style first appeared in local stores in 1902 and quickly became one of the region’s most widely enjoyed beers. It’s heritage and popularity are proudly displayed throughout Wisconsin and Illinois — one can’t go far without seeing a historically protected Old Style sign hanging on the side of a barn or in a tavern window.

Old Style first crossed state lines into Illinois to capitalize nationwide bottlers strike and subsequent product rationing by the competition. It wasn’t long before Old Style became Chicago’s beer – served from the North Side to the South Side and everywhere in between. Being accepted as a true local, Old Style began sponsoring the Chicago Cubs in 1950. With Old Style still being served at Wrigley Field today, the partnership is one of longest standing in the country.

In 2009, Old Style revived the centuries-old German brewing tradition called “Kraeusening.” This double fermentation process increases carbonation and richness, ultimately leading to a better tasting beer that has since been won medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 09-11-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 702 |  Reviews: 207
Photo of acurtis
2.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jaydoc
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of djrn2
2/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of t0rin0
2.5/5  rDev -11%

Photo of metter98
2.61/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle at ORD Terminal C, Chicago, IL

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a short bright white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of adjunct malts are present in the nose—corn seems to stand out in particular.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has flavors of corn adjuncts but there is no associated sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer goes down easily and seems to be a slight cut above the common adjunct lagers.

 619 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.41/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Brief impressions from a can purchased as part of a sixer at a Mariano's supermarket in Chicago, IL for $4.99 USD:

Clear pale copper body with a thin white cap atop. Head retention is above average - ~3-4 minutes.

Aroma is grainy with a cheap bend, hitting on 6-row but also adjunct...corn not rice in this case methinks. A blip of grassy hop character brings a bit more balance to it judging by the aroma. I'm not getting any diacetyl, DMS, acetaldehyde, brettanomyces, or (even) metallic off-flavour. I dig the graininess and I'm looking forward to trying it. Aromatic intensity is average. Suggests a full-bodied beer with sufficient flavour.

Taste is simple and shallow, with a nice grainy emphasis helping to cover the obvious adjunct (corn, I'd say), malt extract, and cheap 6-row. Grassy hops (I'd wager Noble) bring a blip of balancing bitterness into the mix, but for the most part this is a sweet lager. Could be better attenuated, but it's inoffensive and approachable for what it is. Not the most intricate or balanced beer, but it boasts better (i.e. less worse) depth of flavour than many beers in the budget lager category.

Smooth, wet, unrefreshing, medium-bodied, crisp, overcarbonated. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy. But it's overly thick on the palate, flirting with a syrupy feel but not quite committing.

Old Style is an inoffensive lager with more body/less of a watery feel than many American adjunct lagers. It doesn't suffer from the syrupy sweet flavour observed in many of the budget beers (including, especially, malt liquors) it competes with, nor is there any overt off-flavour (not even the metallic note often found in budget canned beers). Within the budget beer category, Pabst's own Ballantine XXX would be my go-to, but comparing it more rigidly to other beers in the adjunct lager style, it's pretty middle-of-the-road, offering more balance and body at the expense of refreshment and drinkability. Schlitz Gusto is certainly preferable, as might be even Trader Joe's Simpler Times, but this is - for better or for worse - your typical expression of the American adjunct lager and I'd take it over many expressions thereof.

Not a bad ballpark, barbecue, or spicy pizza night brew, but it won't interest discerning drinkers and I doubt I'd willingly buy it again unless it was the only affordable option when out on the town.


'Nother can:


 2,478 characters

Photo of emerge077
2.92/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

20 oz. plastic cup at Wrigley, thanks Aaron!

Pale gold, thin skim of foam and some lacing as it's sipped.
Aroma is swilly, wet grains with that unmistakeable lager yeast tang.
Taste has a light bite, fairly tasteless with wisps of cereal grain.
Crisp finish, somewhat watery feel. Overall it's average to below average.
Still a classic staple of Chicago nostalgia, memories of dive bars, backyard bbq's, Cubs games etc.

 424 characters

Photo of zeff80
2.8/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a clear, fizzy, bright yellow color with a fizzy, bubbly, small, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled of grains and adjuncts. Not much else there.

T - It tasted fairly sweet and of corn and grains. Not offensive, but not great either.

M - It was very crisp and sharp. A smooth easy drinking lager.

D - This is an okay lager. I could see it being very good at a Cubs game.

 393 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Old Style. It takes me back to Chicago when I was going to Siebel in '95. I was more interested in trying all of the different stouts from Bell's myself, but my friends back-home wanted this so I bought a case. I got some Huber Bock in returnable bottles as well, but I digress...

Old Style is an average brew at best, possibly 'better-then-than-now' - but also possibly 'better-now-than-then' - it's hard to say as it's a fairly straightforward American adjunct lager.

It pours the typical golden body beneath a short head of short-lived bright white foam. Lacing is average at best. Generic beer nose with a hint of apple thrown in. Light-medium in body. Crisp with bristling bubbles. Bitterness that just bumps the malt. A smear of leafy hop flavor. Generic beer finish.

 775 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
2.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Gagnonsux
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
1/5  rDev -64.4%

Photo of XmnwildX12
1/5  rDev -64.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Photo of ZEB89
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of woodychandler
3.36/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

CANtastic! I scored a sixer of the 2009 Cubs/Vines CANs during a layover in CHI at the beginning of the week. Today, I have WGN on, watching the Cubbies whomp up on my Buccos, so Old Style is definitely a fitting beer.

It began with a finger of bone-white head, but quickly fell to mere wisps. Color was a sunshine yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose was somewhat sweetish with the standard cereal quality. Mouthfeel was effervescent and mildly sweet. Finish was moderately sweet, but tasty. I like this for its nostalgic quality. I would routinely drink it at Union Station in CHI when passing through and on a couple of trips, made a case a carry-on prior to 9/11. Yeah, it's Stone's "fizzy yellow beer" but of some of the American Adjunct Lagers that I have drank in a CAN, this was passable.

 797 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
2.74/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of duceswild
3/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure if it's possible to get more 'old school' than the combatants in Macro Smackdown XIV. In spite of its name, Old Style Beer is a relative newcomer (1902) compared to Hamm's (1865). I've been looking for Old Style for a while now and finally found a can in a roadside convenience store in Illinois. Little did I know that it's available in Des Moines. Lucky me.

Pale maize with an impressive number of fine bubbles leading up to a barely off-white head that isn't great and isn't lousy. It's amazing how similar these two look. Other than a slightly better head texture and minimally more lace with this one, they're identical.

The noses are pretty close as well. Old Style is pleasant in its own way. It's pure, simple and freshly grain-like with a whiff of hops. Unlike the appearance, I think the difference is enough in this case to warrant different scores.

These are both pretty good macro lagers. Unlike just about everything coming from BMC, there's no hint of nastiness to my palate. To be safe, though, I'd still drink them on the cold side. The flavor profile follows the nose directly. Untoasted grain with a light sweetness, floral hops with a light spiciness.

The mouthfeel in both cases is exactly as it should be. I'm pleased to see that, despite their lightness, they don't descend into wateriness on the finish. A spirited amount of carbonation keeps the mouth party humming and keeps the grain-flavored burps coming fast and furious.

Against all odds, I like both Old Style and Hamm's. I know, I know, they can't hold a candle to just about anything coming out of Belgium, but then it's unfair to judge them alongside beer that is so vastly different in construction and purpose. Old Style Beer is the winner of Macro Smackdown XIV by a nose (literally). Hamm's, however, has nothing to be ashamed of. Well done Pabst.

 1,863 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jgunther71
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of womencantsail
2.46/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks for the tick, Bobby.

A: The pour is an extremely light yellow color with a white head that dissipates quickly.

S: An incredibly sweet and sugary nose, much more so than most adjunct lagers. Lots of metallic notes though, almost like a faceful of coins.

T: Not quite as metallic flavor-wise, but still there. Very sugary and sweet with a moderate amount of corn. Not really any hop flavor to speak of, but I'm not at all surprised.

M: The body is incredibly light, but not really watery. The carbonation is moderate.

D: Too metallic on the nose and really, really sweet. But the flavor isn't as offensive as it could have been. Score one in the moral victory column.

 677 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Michael Shea's shaker pint glass.

If I hear one more commercial about how kraeusening makes things better, I'm gonna freak out. Deep breath. This bit pours a clear jaundice topped by a quickly-dying half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises light flowers, grass, fake coriander, and what may or may not be wheat. (I honestly can't tell...) The taste holds notes of mild wheat and hops, lemon zest, and a lot of rather hard water. The body is very light, with a fizzy carbonation and a watery feel. Overall, a fizzy weakling of a beer, but very easy to down quickly (if one so desires).

 602 characters

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Old Style from Pabst Brewing Company
Beer rating: 2.81 out of 5 with 702 ratings
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