Budweiser Vs PBR

Many experts have affirmed the quality of both Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser. They each have their target audience in the worldwide population, selling billions of beer cans between them. But which one is better overall? Here’s a quick answer:

Pabst Blue Ribbon is an American lager with a strong citrus flavor, whereas Budweiser is an American pale lager with a combination of a malty and light citrus flavor. And although both beers are high in carbonization, Pabst Blue Ribbon has a slightly more bitter aftertaste than Budweiser.

In this article, we’ll talk about what all these differences mean and how they help to understand which is better than the other. We’ll discuss flavor, mouthfeel, alcohol content, and the general smell of these beers. Also, we’ll talk about these beers’ appearance and brewing process and use all these to infer which is better. Let’s get on with the article!


Both Pabst Blue Ribbon and Budweiser have exotic flavors, but this is the first difference you’d notice. According to several authoritative beer classification sites like the Beer Judge Certification Program, Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon are American lagers. More on why Budweiser is classified as such, you can find in this article. For more information on Pabst Blue Ribbon’s classification, click here.

Budweiser comprises a unique blend of rice, barley malt, yeast, hops, and water. In contrast, Pabst Blue Ribbon is made of corn, malted barley, hops, and more filtered water.  

The main difference here is Budweiser’s use of rice and Pabst Blue Ribbon’s use of corn. As you may expect, this leads to a big difference in flavor. 

The Budweiser has a 12 IBU bitterness level, while the Pabst Blue Ribbon has 10 IBU. Looking at these figures, it’s easy to decipher that Budweiser is slightly more bitter compared to Pabst Blue Ribbon. So, if you want a beer with a crispier flavor, go for Budweiser. On the flip side, if you want something less bitter, go for Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Furthermore, the aftertaste effect of these two beers is very different. Budweiser barely leaves an aftertaste after you drink. On the other hand, Pabst Blue Ribbon has a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers on the tongue for a few seconds.

If you’re used to little to no aftertaste when you drink, then beers like Budweiser are a better option. But if you don’t mind a bitter aftertaste as you drink, then you can also drink Pabst Blue Ribbon.


Regarding mouthfeel, both Pabst blue ribbon, and Budweiser beers have a high level of carbonization. However, Budweiser has a slightly higher level. Because of this, Budweiser has a lot more bubbles when compared to Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is more drinkable than Budweiser because of the fewer bubbles. However, the low amount of bubbles also gives the beer a lesser amount of character than Budweiser. 

By character, we mean that Budweiser’s bitterness and high carbonization really “kick” your tastebuds much more than Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Some people pick Budweiser because of its high character. Some others prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon because it’s easier to drink. By easier to drink, we mean that it’s much faster to down a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon than to down a can of Budweiser. 


Fortunately, even though these beers are categorized as expensive beers, they don’t smell bad. Some inexpensive beers have off-putting tastes that make you regret buying them.

Taste preference is a subjective one. Budweiser has a slightly flowery, grassy, and nutty smell due to its ingredients and brewing process. And according to Beer Advocate, Pabst Blue Ribbon smells like overly sweet malt. 

At the end of the day, the decision on which is better based on smell is quite relative. Some people love the grassy smell Budweiser provides you with, while others prefer the malty aroma.

Brewing Process & Ingredients

Although these beers are both lagers, their brewing process is slightly different. A significant influence behind this different brewing process is the ingredients used. As we mentioned earlier, Budweiser uses rice, whereas Pabst Blue Ribbon uses corn in its brewing process.

Budweiser’s manufacturers, Anheuser-Busch, make this beer by adding 30% four-row barley malt and 40% six-row malt to 30% rice and purified water. On the other hand, the Pabst brewing company makes their beer by adding two and six-row malted barley, corn, and lager yeast.

Looking at this brewing process, it is easy to understand why Budweiser is slightly more bitter than Pabst Blue Ribbon. Also, Budweiser requires more accurate ingredient concentrations when compared to Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Alcohol Volume

As you may already know, beers have a lower ABV volume when compared to spirits. Budweiser has one of the highest alcohol percentages of all the commercial beers available. Each of their beers and bottles has about 5% ABV, and when you compare it to the 4.8%, ABV in every Pabst Blue Ribbon can, you’d see a 0.2% difference.

At first thought, you may think that this 0.2% difference doesn’t mean much. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. Budweisers with a slightly higher alcohol percentage will get you drunk much faster than Pabst Blue Ribbons.

So, if you want to get drunk much faster while downing fewer amounts of beer or alcohol, you should go for the Budweiser. On the other hand, if you want a “lighter” beer that allows you to drink more, Pabst Blue Ribbon is a better option.

Since Adolphus Busch introduced Budweiser in 1876, the alcohol volume has not changed. Similarly, the alcohol volume of Pabst Blue Ribbon hasn’t changed since its development.

What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?

Several beer review websites regularly publish their subjective opinion on different beers to give accurate judgment on beer quality. We’ve gotten ratings from several reputable beer review websites to get their perspective. Below is a table that shows these scores(on a scale of 0-10).

PlatformBudweiserPabst Blue Ribbon
Beer Advocate5.76.8
Average score5.56.0

From this, you can see that many more people prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon compared to Budweiser. Beer Advocate, Ratebeer, and Untappd are the most reputable beer review websites. As such, they attract the most experienced beer drinkers who give their unbiased reviews. And the figures above show that many of them preferred the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

One of the reviewers from Beer Advocate, flagmantho said “This beer is one of the best of the American adjunct. It is less bubblegummy than Budweiser and less sickeningly malty than high life.”


When it comes to appearance, it appears that both these beers have their insignias boldly printed on their cans and bottles. In fact, they even used similar colors for their cans; red, blue, and white. 

However, Budweiser cans and bottles are harder on the eyes than Pabst Blue Ribbon cans and bottles. When you take a look at both cans, you’d realize that Pabst Blue Ribbon cans contain slightly less detail than Budweiser cans. 

From experience and research, we’ve come to understand that the beer-drinking majority do not like sentences printed out on the cans. Budweiser printed more words on their cans, giving them a brighter, more polished color. While the Pabst Blue Ribbon cans’ colors aren’t as bright as Budweisers’, it has a lot fewer words printed on them.

Brand Image

Budweiser is arguably the most prominent beer name you hear when you talk about beers. Anheuser-Busch doesn’t play with the marketing efforts for this beer, and the results have been clear to see since its development in 1876. Not only has their marketing outreach been phenomenal, but the quality of Budweiser has not dropped even slightly for over a century.

It’s so popular, in fact, that it is now commonly dubbed “the king of beers.” This beer company pays attention to things as specific as typography and font used for the letterings on their cans. They use “Bud Bold,” a custom sans serif font that is inspired by the original Budweiser bottle.

Undoubtedly, Budweiser has undergone several re-designs, each better than the last.

In comparison, Pabst Blue Ribbon only made a comeback during this past decade. Before then, their brand image wasn’t doing so great.

The Pabst Brewery Company staged a revival effort for their flagship beer, the Pabst Blue Ribbon. Long story short, it worked splendidly. From selling less than a million gallons at the start of the 21st century, it had sold nearly 100 million gallons a decade later.

This company advertised its beer and painted it as different from the big-time beer companies selling overrated beer at exorbitant prices. College students caught wind of this, and a Pabst beer-drinking tradition was born in multiple colleges in America. Till date, Pabst is now popular among the “cool” popular kids who want to give corporations the middle finger.

Overall, there’s no clear winner between these two fantastic beer brands. Although the general beer-loving community slightly prefers Pabst Blue Ribbon, Budweiser continues to outsell it. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preferences.