As we all know in this advanced age, swag matters. Simply being, say, an adept rapper, fundamentally sound shortstop or delicious beer is no longer enough. You have to look fresh while doing so. Everyone’s gunning for that No. 1 spot, so whether it be on the base paths or in the beer aisle, you gotta come correct.

Thus, I’m giving props this month to my boys and girls at the Pearl Street Brewery for unveiling the fly new labels for their Pearl Street Pale Ale. Gone is the tired, grass-green banner with the interlocking PSB. In its place these bottles have a popping new get-up, depicting a photo illustration of Pearl Street — La Crosse’s most happening boulevard — beneath tactful colored bars and some truly boss typography.
If you’ve lived in western Wisconsin for any part of the past decade, I don’t have to tell you what Pearl Street Pale Ale tastes like. It’s a go-to brew, a fine option for anywhere that has a menu more ambitious than simply Spotted Cow. But living alongside this Pale Ale, the discerning La Crosse beer drinker may lose sight of how unique it actually is. It doesn’t chase the intensity of an IPA, but it doesn’t limp out like the average session pale either. Especially when this beer is fresh and popping — as is the swaggering six-pack I just bought — it’s a treat for the taste buds and a testament to just how good we have it here in the Coulee Region.
Purchase: 6-pack of Pearl Street Pale Ale, Festival Foods, $7.49
Style: American Pale Ale
Strength: 6 percent ABV  
Packaging: I already waxed poetic about the beer label, but where this redesign really bangs is on the six-pack holder itself. The front panel is an expanded version of the label, so detailed you can even see my old apartment and the guy with the knapsack who seemed to live on Pearl Street last summer. The side panels proclaim “Hops Rock,” and one even depicts brewmaster Joe Katchever buried to his head in lime-green hop buds.
Appearance: This pale pours a translucent golden color with a full frothy white head.
Aroma: The aroma initially comes on with lemon and piney hops, but it becomes richer with a deep inhale of buttery biscuit malts.
Taste: The first flavors are floral hops and something akin to pear skins before it mellows into its deep malty backbone that is bready like fresh hotdog buns. It then turns pleasingly creamy and lingers on the finish with a long lemony fade.
Mouthfeel: This has a rich and relatively thick mouthfeel for the style.
Drinkability: From personal experience, I can vouch that Pearl Street Pale is highly drinkable.
Ratings: BeerAdvocate grades this an 81, while RateBeer scores it a cruel 47. That could be because the Pale has had some troubles aging on the shelf. But wrap one of Wisconsin’s finer pale ales in a fly new label, and that may be a problem of the past. Swag!