Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon PBR lager gluten free beer low gluten test results can celiac intolerance England
Beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon aka PBR
Style: Pale Lager
Brewing location: Los Angeles, CA
Originating country: USA
Alcohol by Volume: 4.74% 
Ingredients: Corn syrup, water, yeast, hops, only an infusion of barley
Format tested: 24 oz can purchased in Los Angeles, CA
Beeradvocate rating: 69/100
Ratebeer rating: 2/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • In 1844, German immigrant Jacob Best and his sons establish the Empire Brewery in Milwaukee, WI and produce 300 barrels of Best Select lager in their first year. 
  • Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name came from the blue ribbons that were tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916.
  • The beer experienced a sales revival in the early 2000s after a two decade-long slump, largely due to its increasing popularity among urban hipsters.

Test results photo

Test result
Negative at 20 parts per million (ppm), meaning it is less than 20 ppm gluten. Though standards vary from country to country, according to the FDA, "in order to use the term 'gluten free' on its label a food must meet all the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 ppm gluten". It is said that products with a gluten content below 20 ppm are suitable for people with celiac disease.

My experience drinking PBR
I am not sure where I fall in the gluten tolerance spectrum. I definitely know what it feels like to be “glutened” i.e. gluten exposure, but I have not deliberately pushed my gluten consumption limits with any food or beer. I am not a hipster; neither am I an American over 60 years of age, so I don't really drink PBR on a regular basis. I drank this 24 oz can in about 45 minutes and did not feel any kind of gluten reaction.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samuel, possibly - there are just so many beers out there...

  2. Hey awesome blog! I appreciate that summary of each beer, especially the photos of the test results. I was looking around for a summary page showing all the beers but couldn't find one. Not sure if it exists, if it doesn't you should make one! Maybe a matrix showing each beer on the Y-axis and the gluten results on the X-axis. You could even link each beer's initial blog submission from the summary page. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  3. Thank you so much for doing this!!!! I am gluten sensitive and it can be so hard to find gluten free beer. I really love that you're showing exact measurements. I have had PBR before and did not really feel sick although maybe slightly gassier than with Corona which makes sense from your findings. Have you tested Tecate? It never gives me any problems but I'd love to know the numbers.

  4. PBR is 65% malted barley and 35% brewers corn syrup.

  5. I tried PBR. It was upsetting my stomach so I tested it with EZ Gluten. It reported a Very High Positive. Expiration date is Mar3015. PBR is produced in numerous locations (as I understand). I can not find an indication of where mine was produced. I had the stomach issue with both bottles and cans.

    This is too bad since it is a cheap beer with a reasonable taste, at least to go with spicy foods.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I take it you were testing at 10ppm? I tested at 20ppm - it was negative. You tested at 10 ppm and it was positive; meaning PBR is between 10 and 20ppm.

  6. Can you test for Natural Light, I want a cheap gluten free beer...coors light and corona are expensive

    1. Try Pabst Blue Ribbon. That one is fairly cheap but has good flavor. It is under 20ppm. It doesn't bother me, but I see that not everyone can drink it and still be ok. Worth a try.

  7. Thanks for all your hard work. My husband is enjoying traditional beers again, which means no guilt when I want to, and no pain for him - not to mention no more 16$ 6 packs!

  8. This is a great and helpful site. I'm going go have a PBR tonight. Cheers!

  9. Super good site. Wished I knew about Natural light thanks!!

  10. this is a great beer at a decent price, which is the one thing I have been missing for the last five years!