Pabst is also relaunching its Milwaukee taproom to focus on craft brews.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 15, 2020
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Back before IPAs had the hipster beer market covered, Pabst Blue Ribbon was the canned brew of choice for trendy types looking to shun the mainstream. But in the last year, Pabst has rapidly expanded its product line into all sorts of new arenas—whiskey, hard coffee, and hard seltzer just to name a few—and now the company is coming for craft beer: Meet Captain Pabst Seabird IPA.

Pabst Brewing Company

Today, the Pabst Brewing Company announced a new "luxury" beer brand—called Captain Pabst (which somehow feels like the exactly perfect name)—and the Captain is kicking things off with a new flagship IPA, Seabird. Pabst bills the beer as "a highly sessionable, premium India Pale Ale, brewed with Magnum, Citra, Cascade, and Mosaic hops" which "takes its name from [brewery namesake and early partner] Captain Fredrick Pabst's last steamship, which was a catalyst in his decision to enter the beer business." For now, the IPA is "a Midwest exclusive," with 16-ounce cans being sold across Wisconsin and the greater Chicago area.

Seabird isn't the first time Pabst has brewed an IPA, but by creating an official offshoot brand, it appears Pabst hopes to take its crafty side more seriously moving forward. "We're lucky enough to be the stewards of so many great, classic American trademarks. But none of those marks really highlight the person or the people that founded the original brands," said Pabst General Manager Matt Bruhn. "We thought creating something new, based on someone who played such an integral part in pioneering brewing in this country, was a really romantic and deserving story that consumers would be interested in hearing."

Pabst Brewing Company

To further solidify this new label, Pabst has also decided to relaunch its Milwaukee taproom as Captain Pabst's Pilot House—with the grand reopening taking place on March 28, 2020, Fredrick Pabst's 184th birthday. "The Pilot House will focus on imaginative craft beer offerings while paying homage to Captain Pabst's historic recipes," the announcement states. "In addition to Seabird, the Captain Pabst Signature Series will feature new and exciting, quality brews the Captain would have crafted generations ago. Beyond beer, the venue experience includes the addition of a craft spirits program, where spirits are blended and barrel aged in-house, an expanded merch offering, and a loyalty program called the 'Blue Jacket Club.'" Assumedly, you'll be able to get cans of PBR there, too. I feel like the Captain wouldn't be that judgmental.