In order to keep the tournament as free from bias as we could, we conducted the tasting under “blind” conditions. How this worked was that my brother would pour the two beers into separate and distinct glasses, writing down the identity of each of the products. I would do the same for him as well. After we had wrote down our thoughts and ratings, we would reveal the brands to each other. After discussing our thoughts together, we both came to a decision as to which of these bright, golden yellow brands of beer we enjoyed the most based on our own preferences. With that said, let us begin the first round of the highly-marketed Canadian beers Brand vs. Brand Tournament!
Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale vs. Carling Lager
Our first round one matchup saw Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale going up against Carling Lager. A product of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada since 1820, Keith’s is brewed by Keith’s Brewery and contains an alcohol content of 5%. On the other hand, Carling is brewed by Molson and contains a slightly lesser alcohol content of 4.9%. Both brands boast an enjoyable and refreshing flavour of hops. However, the bitterness of hops in Keith’s is primarily experienced up front as an initial punch of flavour. Conversely, the Carling left us with a definite bitter aftertaste, as the hops was experienced significantly more on the back end. Both brands of beer were enjoyable, yet having preferred the smell and flavour of Keith’s, we chose it to move on to the next round over its competitor.
Winner: Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale
Steam Whistle vs. Labatt Blue
The next matchup included Steam Whistle pitting itself against Labatt Blue. Brewed by Steam Whistle Brewing, Steam Whistle has an alcohol content of 5%. Blue, a pilsener-style lager, is brewed by Labatt and similarly contains an alcohol content of 5%. Having drank Blue on a number of occasions, and never having personally experienced Steam Whistle, I thought I could easily point out the brands based on smell alone. I was wrong. Steam Whistle had a pleasant aroma that we preferred when compared to the lighter smell of Blue. Nevertheless, when it came to taste and flavour we both heavily favoured Blue. Steam Whistle left a very strong, bitter aftertaste that was not very good. On the other hand, Blue went down extremely easy and had a muted aftertaste that was exceptionally refreshing. Due to this, we both chose Blue to move into the second round.
Winner: Labatt Blue
Moosehead Lager vs. Lakeport Pilsener
Brewed by Moosehead Breweries Limited, Moosehead Lager contains an alcohol content of 5%. A Pilsener-style lager, Lakeport is brewed by the Lakeport Brewing Corporation and likewise has an alcohol content of 5%. Moosehead and I have had a long history together. It was my “premium” beer of choice during my first year of university. However, it has literally been years since I have tried it last. The smells were similarly enjoyable and equal, although the Lakeport was slightly muted in comparison. Lakeport had a stronger bite up front, defined by its character of hops. This strong bitterness dissipated quickly, much like the Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, leaving little aftertaste. Moosehead similarly had very little aftertaste, something that we both prefer. However, it was also much more refreshing and went down very easily in a similar fashion to Labatt Blue. This was definitely the hardest decision to make in the four round one matchups. In the end, the refreshing quality of Moosehead, with it’s considerably more muted hops flavour, we both chose Moosehead to advance into round two.
Winner: Moosehead Lager
The final matchup in round one saw Kokanee and Molson Canadian going head-to-head. Kokanee is brewed by the Columbia Brewing Company while Molson Canadian is brewed by Molson. Both lagers have an alcohol content of 5%. While both brands smelled relatively similar, Kokanee had the much brighter beer smell. Canadian had a strong initial bite of hops bitterness, however, it did not dissipate to the same degree that the Keith’s and Lakeport did. Thus, Canadian left a strong aftertaste that was bordering on the bitterness quality experienced with Steam Whistle. The Kokanee, in contrast, was smooth, light, and refreshing in the same manner as the Blue and Moosehead. The aftertaste was pleasantly boring, allowing for the burst of flavour to be experienced and then come to a conclusion. Following the same pattern of the previous first round matchups, we chose the brand that was much more refreshing, smooth, went down easier, and left little bitter aftertaste, and in this case, that would be the Kokanee.
The second and final rounds will be completed in the next few days. In round two, we have Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale vs. Labatt Blue in the first matchup, and Moosehead Lager vs. Kokanee in the second matchup. Check back in the see which brand will prevail in our first Brand vs. Brand Tournament!