Barley Mowat 

Be Careful What You Wish For

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Last week I called out Molson for launching yet another marketing campaign disguised as a beer, “Molson M.” I even included an honest offer to review their beers and post the results here. Well, damn, turns out they have a marketing department that reads random internet blogs about beer, and very specifically my random internet blog about beer.

As a result, I was contacted by their Director of Communications and offered a chance to sample their new product. Not being a beer geek who goes against his word, I asked them for enough of both Canadian and M to do a sampling for 3-4 people. Two 12 packs showed up the next day at my office. I suspect Molson samples beer a bit differently than I do.

Pictured: Quality Control Trial # 42/50

With the beer itself came the Molson M press kit which, as you’ve probably already guessed, contains exactly zero information about the beer that isn’t already online at their website, which itself contains very scant intel. From my email conversation with Adam Moffat (said Director of Communications), it became pretty clear that Molson aims to guard any and all details about what goes into their product, or how it’s made, as closely as a state secret.

Here’s what we do know about Molson M, with the marketing hype striped away:

  • It is a lager
  • It is 4.9% ABV
  • It has 135 calories (because that’s a concern of the first order)
  • Umm… that’s about it.

There is other meta-info, like the fact it won Gold at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards in the category “North American Style Premium Lager.” However, don’t read too much into this, as that category basically means “best macro lager” which is kind of like saying “most fragrant manure.”

Beyond that, though, I’m going in blind. With 12 of each beer to sample I’ve decided to split things up into a few tests and reveal the results here in separate posts. This is half to avoid an overwhelming dump of info on the site, and half because these Molson-based posts get a LOT of traffic, and I am an insufferable attention whore. No really, I will do absolutely unspeakable things if you’ll hang out with me. Please?

The first of these tests will commence this evening, if only to make some extra room in my fridge for good beer.

Not a common sight in my fridge. No, not the beer, Branston Pickle. Eeeewwwwww.*

In order to sample Molson’s products in the best possible environment, I will perform a side-by-each comparison of Canadian, M, and Central City Lager this evening while watching the Canucks/Blackhawks game and record my impressions. I will then ritually flagellate myself in penance for having violated the beer temple that is my body, and perform a ceremonial cleansing of my light ale palate tomorrow at CAMRA’s Spring Sessional Fest of Ale. (Update: this test is covered here)

Three other tests will be conducted with the product generously supplied by Molson:

  1. A 4 person double-blind taste test of Canadian, M, Central City Lager, and some club soda I have strained through an old dirty sock.
  2. The exact same test, but with carbonation between all four products equalized (likely at ~9psi). This will help determine if M’s gimmick is literally just less carbonation.
  3. A series of lab tests, intending to determine sugar content, raw carbonation, and a few other variables. Yes, I have access to a lab. Yes, I call it the Beer Cave. The exact nature of these experiments will be determined by the delay between a window breaking and the cops showing up, and whether or not they get faster or slower with repeated events.

All told, you can likely expect me to prattle on about all this shiite for some time, so it’s probably best to tune out for a week or so if you’d prefer. By then, I should be back to posting about beer that you might actually want to drink.

* No, not really. Branston Pickle is damned tasty. So good, in fact, that I use a person’s feelings towards it as a basis for concrete character judgements.

Update: The epic continues in part 3. (Or go back to Part 1)

Written by chuck

April 15th, 2011 at 11:40 am

Posted in Beer and You

Tagged with

Beer Science

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My friend Craig sent in a little tidbit about keeping beer fresh longer. This is just a brief extract from a scientific paper, but it does contain the following interesting quote:

Unlike wine, scotch whiskey, and bourbon, beer tastes best when consumed fresh. Experts estimate that the average beer goes bad after 6 to 12 months of storage.

This, of course, raises the question “Who the hell are these jokers, and where did they find these so-called ‘experts’?” Right behind that is “Where do they live and how far is the nearest fire station?” Let’s just say that I’m highly suspect of any beer research that uses the following conjectures as starting points for their hypotheses:

1/ Beer can’t be stored very long
2/ Beer deteriorates with age
3/ Beer shouldn’t be bitter

This is akin to your experts on climate change saying everything’s being caused by this recent proliferation of wind turbines. Of course, I’m certain they’re just talking about mass market lager in which case all three points are valid, as aged beer has that nasty habit of tasting like, well, something. (Also, preservatives don’t hold up well)

If anyone out there has access to ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, please send me the full paper so we can see what exactly they’re on about.

Link to extract here.

/PS Yes, I know there are plenty of craft beer styles that are best consumed early and frequently, but seriously do you think for even one second local breweries are the targets of such research?

Written by chuck

April 13th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Posted in Beer and You

Another Freaking Cellar Update

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What? I’m talking about my goram cellar again? What gives? Well, my cellar is my safe place. When I’m particularly upset about something, I go there, think about all the great beers it has, and spend some time with my lovelies. Sure, cramming myself into the fridge is a bit of a tight squeeze, but that’s only a short term problem until Sharon goes away long enough to convert her walk-in closet fully.

Until that blessed day, which will likely come when all my female friends suspiciously receive free tickets & hotel coupons in the mail for a girls’ weekend in Vegas, I will have make do with my trusty upright cellar.

I log the contents of said cellar right here, and have recently updated the structure of that page to include much more information. New info includes a schedule for when I hope to sample and up-date the notes, as well as a count of how many bottles remain. This is to give you an idea of how long I might have a certain beer around for review, but also lets my social worker remotely track my booze intake. Mind you own business, Sarah.

Written by chuck

April 12th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Beer and You