Sunday, September 13, 2009

Liver Punisher: War Journal: Ice Beer Challenge

Last night was the public opening for MOCA's Fall/Winter `09 exhibition, Hugging & Wrestling. Sufficiently wiped out after a long evening at work I decided some cold ones were in order. I stopped at the very last gas station I pass before I get home, or at least the last one that's still open at 11pm. I wandered back to the beer cooler and perused their selection. There were a few surprises, most notably Great Lakes Brewing Company's Glockenspiel. A robust, malty brew with a handful of spices added in for good measure, Glockenspiel is at once familiar and foreign, and if you find a four pack I highly recommend picking one up since it's seasonal.

But this and most of their other oat sodas were a little pricier than I had intended on, so I scooted over a case and checked out their tall boys. A rather limited selection, I considered a few options, mainly that old warhorse Miller High-Life, but finally decided I'd let Canada duke it out for cheap bear supremacy. The would-be pugilists: Labatt Ice and Molson Canadian Ice.

First up was Labbatt, and what I figured would be the winner. We put away a fair amount of Labbatt Blue in college and I've harbored a certain fondness for the stuff ever since. Light and crisp, like any decent lager, the Labbatt Ice still had that certain funk that comes from Ice beers, especially those in cans. Wholly drinkable, for sure, but nothing to write home about, even if home is in Saskatoon.

Second volley in this beer civil was fired by Molson. A solid stand-by beer, and a better choice than most mass market American lagers--I'm looking at you Budweiser and MGD--the Molson Ice managed to edge out the favorite by bringing a rounder, fuller flavor to the party while maintaing that crisp lager-ness. The Molson tasted more like beer than beer flavored drink-liquid.

This isn't to say either one will be replacing that king of bargains Pabst Blue Ribbon any time soon, but now i know what to keep an eye out for next time the gas station is PBR-less.


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