The Pabst Brewing Company and the Anheuser-Busch company have created phenomenal beers over the years. These companies created Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bud Light, respectively, and these beer products have sold billions of barrels between them. But which is better? Here’s a quick answer:

Pabst Blue Ribbon is an American lager with a slight citrus taste, whereas Bud Light is an American light lager with a cream-ish taste. Pabst Blue Ribbon has low bitterness and high carbonation, while Bud Light has medium bitterness and “natural” carbonation. Thus, Bud Light is slightly more drinkable than Pabst Blue Ribbon.

However, there are a lot more factors you can use to figure out which is better. This article will help to point out further the factors that differentiate both beers, such as alcohol content, mouthfeel, flavor, and even brand image. Read on to discover more about these differences and how they indicate which is better!


Perhaps the most striking difference between these beers is their flavor.  Firstly, bud light is an American light lager, and although you may think otherwise, it’s very different from regular American lagers (which is what Pabst blue ribbon is). These lagers are made from extremely different lagers and brewed in slightly different ways and conditions.

Bud Light is brewed with barley malt, rice, hops, and water like Budweiser. This gives the Bud Light a soft, fruity flavor. In other words, Bud Light is friendly to even the most inexperienced beer drinkers. 

Bud Light does not have a tasty aftertaste like so many beers. Some people even describe its taste as “watery.” On the other hand, many people have said that Pabst Blue Ribbon has a peculiar aftertaste that lingers for a few seconds.

Bud Light has an IBU level of 14, while Pabst Blue Ribbon has 10 IBU. Looking at these figures, it is clear that Bud Light is slightly more bitter than the Pabst Blue Ribbon. So, if you want a beer with a crispier flavor, go for Bud Light. However, if you want a beer that is not so bitter, then go for Pabst Blue Ribbon.

In addition, Pabst Blue Ribbon uses corn in its brewing process. Unlike Bud Light, which uses malted barley in its brewing process. Their manufacturers also use hops and filtered water to make this beer.

That said, if you don’t want an aftertaste when you’re drinking beer, it’s best to go for Bud Light. On the other hand, if you don’t mind trading the aftertaste for a softer-tasting beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon is the better option.


Pabst Blue Ribbon has a slightly higher carbonation level compared to Bud light. Consequently, this means that this drink from the Pabst brewing company has more bubbles than Bud Light, making it slightly less drinkable. 

However, Bud Light is slightly more bitter than Pabst Blue Ribbon. Bud Light’s bitterness and lower carbonation give it more character compared to Pabst Blue Ribbon. Immediately you taste Bud Light, it gives your taste buds more of a “kick” compared to Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Due to these reasons, many people who value mouthfeel over all other factors pick Bud Light over Pabst Blue Ribbon due to its high character and drinkability. At parties and other social events, you would quickly realize that you can down a can of Bud Light faster than a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. 


Both these beers are “inexpensive beers.” Compared to other inexpensive beers, the smell of these beers is quite tolerable. 

Similar to flavor, the preference for smell is quite subjective. Many user reviews on beer review sites currently state that the Bud Light. When you put this beer up to your lips, the only thing you’d be able to smell is a faint hint of corn. 

On the other hand, Pabst Blue Ribbon beers smell like an overly sweet malt. Thus, if you want to smell as well as taste, Pabst Blue Ribbon is the better option. On the other hand, if you want a smell easy on your nose, then Bud Light is the better option for you.

Brewing Process & Ingredients

Without much analysis, you can tell that these beers have slightly different brewing processes. As we mentioned earlier, Bud Light is an American light lager, and the Pabst blue ribbon is an American lager. 

Because American lagers and American light lagers are both lagers, they undergo somewhat similar brewing processes. They both use bottom-fermenting yeast and are done at higher temperatures than ales. While American lagers are obtained from the concentrated end product of the fermentation process, American light lagers are obtained by significantly diluting this end product.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is obtained by mixing two and six-row malted barley, corn, and a lager yeast, while Bud Light is obtained by mixing a specific amount of barley malt, rice, hops, and water. 

Alcohol Volume

Alcohol volume is a major criterion for determining the quality of beer. The ABV volume of Bud Light is 5%, which is quite impressive when you realize that Budweiser has the same alcohol volume. 

On the other hand, Pabst Blue Ribbon has an alcohol volume of about 4.8%. When you compare these beers, you’d realize that there’s a slight difference in volume, with Budweiser having the advantage. These figures mean that you can get drunk faster on Bud Light than on Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The Anheuser-Busch company created the Bud Light in 1982. And like Budweiser, its alcohol volume hasn’t changed since its inception. Similarly, the 4.8% ABV volume in each Pabst blue ribbon hasn’t been changed since it was developed.

So, if you want something that can get you drunk faster on less amounts of beer, Bud light is your best bet. However, if you don’t mind pacing yourself and drinking more to achieve the same level of drunkenness, then Pabst Blue Ribbon is your better option.

What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?

Admittedly, it’s a bit challenging to figure out what beer is better. To help solve this problem, several beer review sites have helped to publish the subjective opinions of millions of beer enthusiasts. 

Here are the reviews from the top beer review sites worldwide:

PlatformBud lightPabst blue ribbon
Beer Advocate4.76.8
Average score5.06.0

From this score, you can easily see that the vast majority of beer lovers prefer the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. If you’re a beer lover yourself, you should already be familiar with Beer Advocate, Ratebeer, and Drizly.

The reviews displayed on these sites are from some of the most experienced beer lovers. As such, it is important to understand that only the best reviews with the most helpful piece of content are published on their site.

Brand Image

The beer industry is a huge one. As such, there are dozens of thousands of beer products, each with its own brand image. However, not many compare to Bud light and Pabst Blue Ribbon’s brand image. 

Bud Light was the highest-selling beer in 2020—during the pandemic, making up roughly 18% of unit sales – and it has maintained a high sales rate since then. The image for this product rests on nature. 

The Anheuser-Busch company states that this product is made only from the finest natural products available. In addition to this, it has a natural light flavor to back up this fact. 

The Bud Light has a popular slogan, which is “the perfect beer for removing no from your vocabulary for the night.” As you may expect, this slogan has landed them in hot water more than a few times. Despite this fact, Bud Light remains among one of the top valuable beers with a value of $7.5billion.

Although Pabst Blue Ribbon didn’t have much luck for quite a while, this beer turned its fortunes around in the early 2000s. Pabst Brewery Company made efforts to revive its flagship beer during this time, and it worked out for them.

Instead of the older demographic, they focused on the “cool” college kids who wanted to push back against underwhelming beer with exorbitant prices. To this date, Pabst Blue Ribbon is one of the most popular beers among college students.

Looking at all these factors above, it’s challenging to understand which is better between these two beers. Unique in their own ways, these beers serve slightly different target markets. While Pabst Blue Ribbon is more popular among college students and hipsters, Bud Light is more common among the general young population.

Some people prefer Bud Light for its crispier taste, while others prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon because its easier on the taste buds. Additionally, some prefer Bud Light because of its almost tasteless flavor, while others prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon because of its fruity, citrus flavor.

In the end, it all boils down to what you prefer. I’d say that while Bud Light has a stronger brand image, Pabst Blue Ribbon can easily give them a run for their money.