Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GABF Pre-Prohibition lager

While wondering around the convention center watching the crowd move about in beer induced euphoria, I was intrigued by the fact that a relatively large line was forming around the Coors booth.

"What the..?", I asked out loud to no one.
With all the exciting, amazing, unique, and mostly delicious varieties of beers available from every state in the Union, why would anyone choose to queue up for a mainstream light American lager that you can get at safeway or 7-11 anytime of the day or night? Well, I had to ask.

Super cold draft?

The answer I got back from a genuinely sincere (if not a little defensive) woman in line was, "'s just what I want right now."

"O.K. I get it." Was my response. "For you it's the right beer at the right time. I can't argue with that." Although I desperately wanted to. But I wasn't here to point out the great opportunity to experience a hard to find American lager produced by a micro brewery. I was simply observing and willing to accept the the choices people make.

But there had to be more going on here and I dug a little deeper. I asked an attendant who was pouring beer from the slopes of the two story cardboard cut-out backdrop of the snow covered Rocky Mountains, with the Coors name shaved into the simulated snowy peaks.

"Do you have anything special on tap, here at the festival?"

He did. He poured a sample from his pitcher and said it was their Pre-Prohibition lager. This caught my interest and I started to ask a question about it when he pointed to a nearby group of men and suggested I take it up with the brewer. Perfect.
I approached and asked if one of them was the Coors brewer and a couple of them said they were.

Coors Brewers Dave Thomas and Kent Richou

I had a brief conversation with retired Coors brewer Dave Thomas and the current Coors pilot program brewer Kent Richou(sp?) about the Pre-Prohibition lager that was being dispensed.

"That's an original Coors recipe. That's what Coors tasted like in 1913." Kent told me with some pride about this pilot program batch. Apparently Kent went back into the Coors archives and found the records to reproduce this beer exactly as it was brewed back then, with a couple of differences. They weren't able to use the same hops.

Kent said, "because nobody grows the same kind of hops then like they do now, so I had to substitute the hops that are in it." He continued, "I think I used New Zealand Saaz, hallertaur... I don't have my list on me." I asked Kent about adjuncts and he said that Coors uses corn but back then it was rice. So They needed to do a cereal mash with rice for this recipe and it comprises about 20% of the grist.

This beer, although still a very light lager has a fuller mouthfeel and higher bitterness than the Coors Banquet. With 25 ibu's it's has about twice the ibu's of the regular Coors.
Comment if you know if I spelled Kent's last name correctly.

1 comment:

Scott-TheBrewClub said...

That's interesting actually. Can it really taste like it did in 1913 if there are substitutions though? I guess that's nitpicking but still its a neat concept.

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