Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mister Beer vs. Six Pints Specialty Belgian Brown

Mister Beer is a Bottle Brew Brown Ale while Six Pints Specialty Beer was purchased at a new downtown Toronto brewery, Beer Academy.

Mister Beer is a do-it-yourself 2L bottle where you open the top to an already prepared liquid, add hops and yeast and let it sit for around two weeks. Chill for a few hours and then open er up and drink. It works out to about six beer and sells for somewhere around six dollars.  The idea of being able to brew a beer in a 2L bottle is like a siren call to me. If there was some way to create a picobrewery in your basement that gets around all the equipment where at worst, your experiment leaves you with five and a half beer that you can't drink then I'm all for it. I have even purchased Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz in order to take a better look at this.

As for the taste of this one... One of the things that I like about browns is the dark spiciness. In this one, the beer would definitely qualify as premium to the regular batch of macrobreweries but a little under the care taken by some craft brews. The spicing is a little muted and the overall taste was not as complex as I would like. To compare both of these brews, I pulled out one of the Belgian bruns that we made over a year ago at Fermentations on the Danforth. The one we made had a more developed taste with great smell of the Belgian yeast (still pretty banana like) and a small wine backtaste. But in defense, Mister Beer was fourteen days old and cost a dollar a beer. For that alone it deserves more considerations. Better than the majors and cheaper.

Six Pints is an interesting case. It runs Beer Academy in downtown Toronto. It talks about being a partnership with Creemore Springs and Granville Island Brewery. When you look at the story more closely, you can see that Creemore is owned by Coors Molson and Creemore entered an agreement to buy Granville Island Brewery a while back. Yes, they remain separate business units but they are backed by the majors. I wrote a little about some of these happenings as being like the alternative scene in the 1990s.

The relationship between the large corporation and its business units is really important. At this time, it looks as if this venture could work as a way of trying out new brews and maybe finding a way back to the major, like a small R&D incubator. I tried a few of the brews at the location and they were, on the whole, tasty and to style. You can see some strings when you talk to them about why they are brewing an English Style IPA (it's not as hoppy so that they can attract the ladies) but every business does their own market research in this way. I like the idea and hopes it floats.  Anything that can bring old styles to new people in a decent way has my vote.

Now, back to their Belgian Brown. The first thing that I notice is that it has the full ingredient list on the tag. I always like this because it appears a little ballsy. This is what is in it. You can watch us brew it behind us and its good. This beer is spicy and you can smell the telltale banana and cloves. There is a cleanness to the taste that verges on thin tasting. It was 13.50 for a growler or about 2.25 a beer. This is where the mathematics of taste comes in. Did I like this beer 2.25x greater than Mister Beer? Well, they were different and both could use a little aging.

 I found both of them worth it. I am going to try another of Mister Beer's flavours - it's a Canadian company and I am curious about this idea of picobrewing. I will also buy quart bottles of all the brews from Six Pints based on their current level of quality and taste. Neither of these will be my go to brew but they are good enough. Six Pints has a promising start and I will watch as it grows.

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