I finally managed to gather up enough suckers last weekend to give this whole “blind taste test” thing a whirl. Due to the blog’s resident globe-trotting scientist being off well, trotting the globe, my methods were likely a bit sloppy and the lack of lab coats and protective eye-wear means safety had to be compromised a bit in the interests of expediency (seriously, though: Nature of Things better give Jenn back soon, otherwise I’ll start mixing beers at random just to see what happens).
The assembled panel had a fairly wide range of tastes, from folks nearly as beer-geeky as myself, through a few lager louts, all the way to someone who never drinks beer if at all possible. The beers selected for tasting likewise represented a wide range of options. Of course, both Molson Canadian and Molson M were present, but I also picked up some micro-brewed lagers: Howe Sound Lager (largely due to the can), and Lighthouse’s new Overboard Imperial Pilsner because why the fuck not? If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
I also threw in another macro because, let’s face it, Moslon is not competing with Howe Sound or Lighthouse. Thus I found myself picking up a tallboy of Bud. I gotta admit it, I felt really rather embarrassed and dirty buying this. I would up throwing the can into my bag and out of sight as soon as the transaction was complete, and then covering it up with a liberal dose of porn, lube, pantyhose and condoms in case someone looked.
My six guinea pigs were given unlabeled, randomly ordered samples of each. Aside from the Molson products, even the identity of the candidate beers was unknown until the conclusion of the test. They were then asked to rank each beer upon a variety of criteria, including “Ease of Drinking”, “Refreshment” and “Overall”.
So how’d things stack up? Well, there are a few surprises here. Frankly, I didn’t think M and Canadian would score differently, and I somewhat suspected casual beer drinkers (or non drinkers) would have difficulty telling the ligher lagers apart, craft or no. Here’s some take-aways:
- People either hated or loved the Lighthouse. It ranked first or last for nearly everyone (one put it at 2nd to last).
- Canadian and M ranked similarly in all cases, often one immediately after another. However, M always–without exception–ranked lower than Canadian. In all categories.
- Everyone, craft beer drinker or not, was able to distinguish the craft beer from the macros, and almost unanimously felt the craft beer was a better product, in all categories.
- Budweiser ranked higher than either Molson product for 5/6 tasters. It even beat Howe Sound in 1/6.
- The gap between craft and non-craft was fairly large (except Lighthouse, due to some folk just hating it), but curiously the gap between Bud/Canadian and M was just as large.
- Only one person, the non-beer drinker, picked Molson first, and only Canadian. So, uh, I guess Canadian is the best beer if you hate beer?
So we’ve answered the original question. Is M different from Canadian? I have to admit it, I was wrong. It is demonstrably different after all. It turns out that Molson M is much, much worse.
- First: Howe Sound Lager (1.67 average score)
- Second: Lighthouse Overboard (2.83 average score)
- Third: Bud (3.08 average score)
- Fourth: Molson Canadian (3.17 average score)
- Fifth: Molson M (4.25 average score)
And that’s it. I’m done. No more Molson for me, which also means that the bums who collect the empties out of my alley are about to get a treat (or more specifically, 20 treats).