Millennium Buzzkill

Greetings gentlefolk,

It’s been a while since I ranted to you about my carbonated passion. I blame my studies for robbing me of the time to post, but rest your furrowed foreheads— they have not stopped me from enjoying brews galore.

In fact, Toronto (my place of study and partial residence) lends itself to all sorts of fermented opportunities, and after a long day in the lab, nothing’s better than a fantastic beer— even more so if it’s on a student budget.

Given the sheer number of excellent pubs downtown, I tend to enjoy my delicious cereal beverages in one of these establishments whenever possible, but since the situation last week called for bottled drinks, I decided to stop by The Beer Store just south of Spadina and Bloor. This locale is an example of how The Beer Store should be stocked, very much in contrast to the pathetic waste of space that Burlington has to offer. Here was a store with some variety, one that had an honest shot at satisfying my beerlust.

Full of glee, I picked up a six-pack of Wellington Dark Ale  to split with a friend (4/5 heads for Welly), and a four-pack of a beer that had caught my eye a long time ago, but that I had never had an opportunity to try. This beer was none other than the Cool Beer Brewing Company’s Millenium Buzz.

For those of you not familiar with this beer, the picture says it all. It’s a red lager made with roasted Alberta malt and German hops, as well as hemp from British Columbia. It’s cold-filtered, natural, and allegedly wholesome. But above all, it’s meant to be cool!

Finally, a beer that you can drink in front of Mom and Dad to bring up the topic of marijuana and make them feel old-fashioned— A beer you can drink with your mentally-prepubescent friends and compare how stoned you feel after drinking it— A beer that allows you to flaunt your superiority by showing how chill you are about illicit drug use. Of course, you’ll have to get a beer hat to drink this out of, and take up smoking as a fashion statement. Cool? morel like tool.

As anyone capable of turning on a light switch knows, hemp does not contain the mind-altering chemical THC. The being the case, why is the Cool Beer brewery capitalizing on a hemp leaf version of the marijuana icon that has flooded our society over the last couple of decades? How could this beer have so much publicity based on an ingredient that has so little to do with the image it sells? Could the answer be in the stamp-like unforgettable icon? I mean, this beer’s managed to get the attention of everyone I’ve mentioned it to!

“Oh, the one made with marijuana leaves or whatever?”

Their advertising is incredibly effective. Had this beer been marketed around something other than the image of this famous leaf, and simply as an all-natural beer of which hemp was just an ingredient (rather than the main event), then I would still respect this beverage… especially if some effort was put into figuring out how to make it taste a bit less unremarkable. But I really shouldn’t be complaining— I mean, I got four beers for $5.50, and they weren’t terrible… they just weren’t any good—especially after a Wellington Dark Ale.

It has some hints of… something. If you try real hard, you can even imagine the hemp aftertaste. Plus, who knows? Maybe it’s going to inspire more breweries to use hemp as a major ingredient. That would be fantastic, especially if they manage to capture its skunky essence! As I finish the last one in the four pack, I write these closing remarks.

If I tried this beer out of an unlabeled bottle, given to me by a kind elderly man, I might give it three (maybe three and a half) heads. But undeservingly capitalizing on a cultural icon does not go unpunished. Over all, I consider this beer a novelty item, rather than an actual beer. This beer is to the beer world what penis-shaped pasta is to the world of haute cuisine.

Two out of five heads. And you know which heads I’m referring to.

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5 Responses

  1. The dick pasta is hilarious. Were those meant to be ‘lighthouses’ or something stoopid like that? I could see that being one of those intentional accidents.

    Masterful review. I MIGHT try this beer just to understand what you mean about the general lack of hemp flavour. Plus I can easily and provocatively flaunt my neutrality of illicit substances.

  2. Pretty sure they were meant to be dicks. No way making those was an accident.

    I’m not going to lie, this beer never intrigued me BECAUSE of the icon on the label. I’ve always associated the use of the hemp leaf in marketing with retardation.

  3. Listing the price on the box as an incentive = no
    Using hemp in a lager = no
    Using hemp in an ale where the flavors are actually present = maybe
    Lager = clean, crisp, no flavour, no
    Skunky lager = no
    Buzz beer = no

  4. Yeah – very gimmicky. I bet Drew Carey’s Buzz beer is better.

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