Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Great Mediocre Beer Experiment, Volume II: Mountie's Choice

Beer: Molson Canadian
Brewery: Molson (Toronto)
Type: Adjunct Lager
ABV: 5%

Despite the foregone conclusion of the women's hockey tournament, the final was truly epic, and our girls deserved to celebrate their success in style. Also, they looked totally badass doing it. Hopefully, the men can deliver in kind tomorrow, but we'll see...

A victory of the kind we witnessed two nights ago will always taste sweet, even if it happens to be toasted with Molson Canadian, apparently our nation's official beer. I, for one, have long held the position that Molson Canadian sucks, and vigorously upheld my position by never buying it and by scoffing at every pompous, nationalistic advertisement they put out. On the back of the can is a nice example of the "true Canadians drink Canadian" argument, which naturally pisses me off: "Only Molson Canadian has True Canadian Taste.* (Whatever the fuck that means.) It comes from over 220 years of brewing experience. A unique cold brewing process (lagering is cold brewing) and only the finest ingredients this land has to offer (I doubt it.) The result is a premium lager (at less than two bucks a can, hardly "premium") that pleases the world's toughest beer critics - Canada's beer drinkers. (Somewhere, a Belgian is laughing his ass off)."


I tend not to buy Molson's out of principle. As shareholders in Brewers Retail (i.e., the Beer Store), they've nicely made a habit of pushing aside craft brewers from beer store shelves, making it exceedingly difficult to order anything that isn't their product. (Try ordering a micro brew in the Beer Store line and watch the clerks roll their eyes as they try to find it "somewhere in the back"; meanwhile, dozens of angry customers behind you attempt to make your head explode with their collective impatient wills.) In brief, Molson's is everything I hate about macro breweries, so I've tended to avoid their product whenever I can.
But now, as part of my Grand Experiment, to give them another try. If I'm going to continue to scoff at Canadian, I should at least make sure that I actually dislike the beer. Of course if I like it, I can still hold true to my principles and not purchase it, but I still need to know. So, here goes...

After pouring into a lager glass, the beer doesn't look half bad for a macro lager. Pale golden, but certainly darker than others of the style. It leaves a fairly generous foamy head, that dissolves in to a surprisingly persistent ring. Some lacing, but this doesn't last long. Not a bad start.

The nose is pretty predictable. Corn, light malts, sugar, a bit of wheat, with the standard chemical tinnyness. Nothing too exciting or damning here.
After the first few sips, I've come to the shocking revelation that I don't actually hate this beer. It's actually fairly drinkable. It doesn't taste like urine or water-beer. It is, of course, incredibly boring; it's got the standard corn, malt and light hoppage of the adjunct style, but it tastes a little better than some of the others. This is, however an initial assessment; as I work my way through the beer, the true character of the brew comes forward. The finish is alright at first, but when the beer is allowed to warm, it gets more and more offputting. There's a chemical character to the finish that is making it increasingly difficult to drink. The last sips were quite bad. By the end, I'm fairly disappointed with it, but not as much as I'd initially anticipated. 

The mouthfeel is thin, but not watery. About right for the style, and with decent carbonation that lasts throughout. 

So, Molson isn't a great beer, but it certainly isn't a terrible beer. It's quite drinkable, and given the right atmosphere (a hockey game or an outdoor concert), it's not bad. But don't, under any circumstances, allow the beer to warm up. Drink this sucker as cold and as quickly as you can. Savouring is not an option here.
We'll see how Molson stacks up with the other macro brews as the Great Beer Experiment continues!!

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