As most North Americans who live above the 49th parallel know, Canada turns 150 this year. And, debates over the appropriateness of observing this colonial development aside (there are many), canucks are undeniably subject to a deluge of patriotically dressed products. Independent brewing giant Moosehead Breweries Ltd. is no exception. But, more than other Canadian companies, Moosehead has a lot to celebrate this year: Moosehead is also turning 150.
Originally named The Army & Navy Brewery, Susannah and John Oland opened for business in Nova Scotia in 1867. Originally boasting an employee list of just 11 people, the Army & Navy Brewery changed name and location, eventually ending up in St. John, New Brunswick. Surviving two fires, the deaths of John, Susannah, and Conrad Oland, and the Halifax explosion, the company that became Moosehead Breweries Ltd. in 1947 stayed in the hands of the Oland family. And, 150 years and five generations after Susannah and John opened their doors, Moosehead Breweries Ltd. is still owned and operated by the Oland family.
So, what better way to celebrate Moosehead’s sesquicentennial year than enjoying the brew that put Moosehead on the map? No, I’m not talking about the previously reviewed and ever-popular Moosehead Lager. I’m talking about Moosehead Pale Ale, the first brew to sport the Moosehead name. I’ve never tried this beer before — in fact, I didn’t know it existed — but as a lover of pale ales I’m excited to sample this piece of Canadian brewing history.
Moosehead Pale Ale – First Sip
Moosehead Pale Ale pours a transparent light golden colour with a thick layer of foam that gradually fades to a film at the top of my glass. I notice a grainy aroma as I take my first sip and enjoy its well-rounded flavour, similar to that of Moosehead Lager. In fact, I’m a bit surprised at just how similar Moosehead Pale Ale is to Moosehead Lager. I’m ashamed to say that in a blind taste test this reviewer would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Moosehead Pale Ale has a slightly more bitter finish than its lager counterpart, but in terms of mouthfeel the two brews are, again, very similar.
Moosehead Pale Ale – Last Sip
Though Moosehead Pale Ale may be similar to Moosehead Lager, that’s no great strike against it. Both are tasty all-occasion brews with well-rounded flavours and semi-sweet aftertastes. I got mine in a tall can, basically a pint, and though I had but one I would’ve drunk many more if I had the opportunity.
Again similar to its lager counterpart, Moosehead Pale Ale has a respectable 5% ABV rating that makes it a good beer to have a few of along with the comfort food of your choice.