Jason & Gwendolyn Get it Oh So Terribly Wrong

Witness this review of a new beer from Saskatchewan’s Great Western Brewing, published recently in the Calgary Herald. It’s of a beer I have yet to taste, so I’m in no position to comment on whether or not they got that part of it right. But just about the entirety of the remainder is, well, almost laughably off-base.

To wit:

“These days, a brew doesn’t impress the beer snobs unless it’s aged in 300-year-old bourbon barrels…”

I know what you’re getting at, Jas and Gwen – can I call you Jas and Gwen? – but a bourbon barrel that is 300 years old? You do know those things are only allowed to be used once, right? And that bourbon didn’t appear in the U.S. until a little over two centuries ago?

“…or is bitter enough to shred your palate.”

Okay, point taken.

“On that basis, Original 16 Canadian Pale Ale likely won’t impress the elitists…”

Elitists? Really? As Alan notes, the idea of beer snobs/enthusiasts/aficionados/geeks forming any sort of “elite” is as laughable as, umm, a 300 year old bourbon barrel.

“It’s an easy-drinking beer…”

You know what is “easy-drinking”? Water! You know what’s not? Shards of glass. This tells me nothing.

“…with mild hop bitterness and a crisp finish.”

At least here we have a descriptive that actually describes something. “Crisp,” however, is an adjective I associate more with pilsners than pale ales, which does not bode well for this beer.

“It’s not unlike Molson Export -which isn’t a backhanded compliment:…”

Oh dear. Comparing a new beer to one which has been in steady decline for decades, so unbeloved in the west that brewers in British Columbia actually invented Rickard’s Red – originally just Export with caramel added – so they would have a reason to keep a viable yeast in the province, is not a backhanded compliment? I’m not so sure about that.

“…Molson Ex won a gold medal in the North American Blonde/Golden Ale category at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards.”

Hmm, citing national brewing awards and lauding gold medals, from a competition that took place in Toronto, of all places. Smacks of elitism to me!

5 Replies to “Jason & Gwendolyn Get it Oh So Terribly Wrong”

  1. Actually Stephen, dumb invented references aside, the problem with this review is it doesn’t actually review the beer (you did note this, I know). The taste of the beer, which, drunk frat boys notwithstanding, is the main reason somebody might consume it, gets fully 1.5 sentances. And in those all-too-short lines, it gets assigned four fairly vague, subjective attributes more familiar in a Macro-beer ad campaign (smooth, refreshing, easy-drinking, crisp) and one that actually adressess the flavour, “mild hop bitterness”. To be fair, this is as much a problem with editorial policy at the Calgary Herald, which opted to publish this tripe.

    Like other “reviewers” I’m sure we’ve all read, it seems to me that these people were sent a case of free beer, and didn’t actually know what to do with it. Having been innundated, like the rest of us, by ads that tell us beers taste cold, they take a stab at it, miss, and impale their own foot. Hopefully they will be okay, their foot was dangerously close to their brain, having planted in their mouths with the Ex reference. A particularly obnoxious comparison, given that the brewery in question was born out of Molson ashes.

  2. I have to say, I’m looking forward to getting a sample of this one Viv came up with at Great Western. Tell you the truth, I kinda like their light beer. Seems to me their beers are usually pretty well made for the category in which they reside.

    Maybe it’s apropos of nothing, but I expect something interesting from a brewery that produces a snob-lauded malt liquor.

  3. I have been told by a relation to the brewery that Original 16 “Canadian Pale Ale” is GWs attempt at something similar to Keith’s “India Pale Ale.” After sampling the beer myself, I would have to agree that they pretty much nailed it. My brief review is “creamed corn with metallic/blood aftertaste,” which I feel is a far more descriptive and accurate review than the Herald’s dismissive puff piece.

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