While the pandemic has curtailed brewcation explorers, a big brewer is making an intriguing case for a stay-at-home craft beer tour.
Molson Canadian’s month-long special two-fours feature pretty much any beer but its own, a welcome celebration of small-batch beers from all over the place.
The case contents vary, meaning ripping one open feels like Christmas morning. I’ve had one case and the lone Molson product wasn’t the Canadian I expected; it was a Molson Ultra, the brand’s three per cent light beer that aims to wrestle macro beer drinkers away from Bud Light.
My second thought was the case would be salted with beers from craft breweries owned by MolsonCoors, of which there are several. Sure enough, there were a pair of Creemore lagers (alas, none of Creemore’s Mad and Noisy beers) and two of Granville Island’s Watermelon Lager from Vancouver when I hoped for its West Coast IPA.
Light and easy drinking — variations on macro beer taste — dominated the case and ranged from OK cans such as Locker Room Lager to Wasaga Beach’s Beach One Cerveza. Flavoured variations in the refresher category were highlighted by Brock Street of Whitby and its Strawberry Blonde, a Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale by Lake of the Woods in Kenora, and Lee River Blackberry Vanilla, which is a sour from Something in the Water Brewing in Niagara Falls.
More interesting, the case provided me with a return tasting of the porter-meets-English-brown Hockley Dark from Orangeville and a dunkel-style lager from a year-old brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Newark. This German brown lager is the first launched by Newark and its brewmaster, Griffin Data, trained nearby at Niagara College.
Other cases include beers from Powerhouse in London. I’m hoping its malty Buckley’s Irish Red is among them.
A backlash from craft beer purists did its bit to mock the campaign and the breweries that chose to take part, and I understand and appreciate that fire. But the passion for brewing good beer isn’t necessarily hinged to ownership, nor does the business end in the brewhouse; it’s also about marketing. Molson Canadian handed small brewers a gem of an opportunity to put their beers in new hands.
The July campaign will also give $5 from each case sold to local charities, Molson says.
Is this a best-beers-of-Canada case? Nope. Did some of Canada’s best craft brewers recoil at the offer to take part? Yep.
Is it worth it for you to schlepp this hefty case home from the Beer Store? Hard yes.
NEW AND NOTED
The support of breweries for Pride London is widespread. Powerhouse, located in the old Kellogg factory in London, is hosting a drag queen brunch on its spacious outdoor patio all afternoon July 26. Tickets are $100 each, with tables of six. Here’s hoping they sell a lot of Pure Life, the new tropical IPA.
Half Hours on Earth in Seaforth has a new release, perfect for this summer if only for its name: Cruel Summer. It’s dubbed a “strawberry banana split dessert sour” and is 6.8 per cent alcohol by volume.
Hans and Franz, a German pilsner, is back at Forked River on Pacific Court in London and on tap at many pubs. This is a great summer beer.
Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.
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