The Blue Ribbon Brewer

Pabst’s master brewer shares his thoughts on the company’s new microbrewery.

In July, Pabst Brewing Company announced that it was once again going to brew beer at the site of the original Pabst Brewery. Pabst will be brewing much more than Blue Ribbon, and the man in charge of the experimentation is their Milwaukee-based master brewer Greg Deuhs, who started as a home brewer but has been a professional brewer for the last 25 years.

What part of Pabst’s return to Milwaukee are you the most excited about?

It’s more symbolic. I’m excited about making beers and some of the old beers that we’ve made in the past. But, really it’s that kind of ‘hey we’re back where we started.’

Are you going to resurrect older recipes?

Yes, we’re working on brands that are in the Pabst family (like) Old Tankard Ale, Andeker, Kloster Beer, Pabst Bock. We’re looking at a number of those recipes, plus, playing with some of the more obscure styles of beer.

From a brewer’s perspective you’ve got a pretty good gig ahead of you.

Oh, yeah. I foresee having one or two regular beers being made, the local hits and rotating through a number of experimental beers depending upon the season.

Are there older recipe beers that are hard to replicate?

I think they’re a challenge if you want to have them taste like they did when they were originally brewed. Because the raw materials have evolved over time to be more refined. If you were to look at pale brewing malts in the late 1800s, that malt would be completely different than the malt that is available today. And with hops, there aren’t a whole lot of records on hops.

You have a chance to teach a history lesson by giving people a chance to taste beers that maybe haven’t been around for a while. Is that part of the allure, too?

Yes, and I think the other part of it is that a lot of newer consumers don’t realize that the breweries of the past also had specialty beers that would rival the specialty beers made today by craft brewers. Pabst didn’t just make Pabst Blue Ribbon, it also made specialty beers that were of high quality and high craftsmanship.

Read more about Milwaukee’s beer scene in this month’s cover story, “Something’s Brewing.”



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.