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A Time and Place

gwboriginal16I went to the final of the Brier last night down at the concrete circle I stubbornly still call Northlands Coliseum. While the game was not that great (although Stoughton’s spin-a-rama to concede the game was highly entertaining), I did get the pleasant surprise of not being forced to buy over-priced Molson Canadian in plastic cups for once. That unavoidable beast at all hockey games was bumped for a week because a sponsor of the Brier is Great Western Brewing. Which meant drinking overpriced plastic glasses of Original 16, instead.

And I can say unequivocally that it was exactly the right beer for watching a few ends of curling. It has a soft pilsner malt character, a light fruitiness and a very clean palate. It has enough flavour to keep me interested, but not so much that it distracted me from the curling men throwing rocks and pushing brooms. The price ($8 for a 16-oz pint) was an irritation, but I can’t blame Great Western for that.


Mr. Stoughton performing his spin-a-rama, possibly after consuming one too many Original 16. (Photo courtesy of Edmonton Journal)

Now, maybe a big stout or a citrusy IPA might have been just as enjoyable, and that I should chock up my appreciation to the event itself (much like the famous Mexican beach effect – ANY beer tastes good when you are sitting on a hot sandy beach in Mexico). Or maybe my relief at not being forced to drink Canadian upped my pleasure meter.

Possibly. But I think that, somehow, Original 16 is well matched with watching (or even playing) curling. It is honest, straight-forward beer that has more character than the average lager. Sounds a lot like curling. Honest, a bit quirky but quintessentially Canadian. Western Canadian for that matter, for curling is bigger on the prairies than anywhere else, possibly on the planet.

Evidence that there is a time and a place for every beer – as long as it is well-made at any rate.

5 comments to A Time and Place

  • I find it a little too soft, sweet and flabby. I’d rather drink GW Pilsner.

    Looking forward to trying GW Copper.

    • beerguy

      That is an interesting take, Mark. I have paid little attention to GW Pilsner, assuming it wouldn’t be much of a pilsner. You make me think I should pick up a bottle or two.

      • I certainly don’t go out of my way to order a GW Pils, but I won’t turn one down either.

        Last year, I was at 3 “mainstream” bars in a single night. Ending up tasting GW Pils, Molson Canadian, and Molson Pilsner. It was shocking how much better the GW Pils was compared to the Molson products. I’m not saying GW Pils rivals the quality German or Czech pils, but I can enjoy it for what it is.

        Also recently had a couple cans of PBR at a family gathering in the US. I really dug it. No off flavours.

        I’m not in the anti-corn crowd anymore. Corn has flavour, it was historically used in classic American beer styles, and it can be quite tasty when used in a well made beer. Been thinking about making a Classic American Pilsner or Cream Ale with 20% corn.

        I’m sure many of you read this last year, but it is a good read:

  • I spotted this in the liquor store in my neighbourhood the other day and initially gave it a pass, assuming it was nothing special (my local store doesn’t have the best selection); after reading this, I may pick up a sixer. Sounds like it might be a games night brew, when I want something interesting but not overwhelming.

  • Right on, Jason! Sometimes a deep, complex, strong, hoppy beer is not called for, as much as we may love them. Just because one appreciates “advanced class” beers doesn’t mean that there is not a time and a place for a well made brew that doesn’t fit the profile of a “Beer Nerd Beer”. “Beer guy” doesn’t have to mean “beer snob”.

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