Midwest hipster traditions

Say Milwaukee, think Pabst Blue Ribbon

Mission Brewery, San Diego (above)—Old Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee (below)
  • Mission Brewery, San Diego (above)—Old Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee (below)

Dear Hipster:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, or if you aren’t having fun anymore, but what’s the difference between a local SD hipster and a Midwestern hipster, say, from Madison or Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

— Janelle

Alice cooper finds Milwaukee fascinating

Most people don’t think immediately of the frozen, friendly Midwest as a hipster haven, but the Dairyland cities on the shores of the Great Lakes have hipster traditions hearkening back to Alice Cooper’s Wayne’s World history lesson, perhaps even longer. Many people don’t know this, but the first hipster to convince L.A. socialites that fried cheese curds warranted a $16 price tag was a failed actor turned brew-pub front-of-house manager originally from a Milwaukee suburb.

Although virtually indistinguishable among their subclasses (at least to outsiders), Midwestern hipsters display subtle variations in plumage and behavior that distinguish them from San Diegan hipsters.

Midwestern hipsters wax poetic about the glory days of local brewing, back when Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon were still made within the confines of major Midwestern cities, but they never drink it because their dads do. San Diego hipsters are mostly over PBR these days because drinking PBRs on the regular is so ten years ago. But they crack the occasional can for the fauxstalgia. Midwest hipsters love playing cornhole at cookouts. Come to think of it, San Diego hipsters also love themselves a good ol’ game of cornhole; but they use the term ironically (because it’s, like, super vulgar, when you think about it), whereas the Midwesterner uses it affectionately (because he probably drank his first stolen Schlitz in a cornfield somewhere).

All told, our Midwestern hipster brothers are actually more similar than different, if only because San Diego hipsters often emulate the natural lumberjack look of the Midwesterner, while Midwest hipsters frequently strive to project an image of semi-arid Mediterranean casualness into their oh-so-temperate worlds.

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We saw a bit of that Milwaukee nostalgia in Laverne & Shirley, where the lead characters worked at "Shotz Brewery" as bottlecappers.

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