Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Coors gets back into cask

Molson Coors, the Canadian-American brewing giant that owns the former Bass breweries in Burton-on-Trent, is testing the temperature of the cask beer market with a new beer, Red Shield. The name indicates the company is cashing in on the success of Worthington's White Shield, the legendary bottle-conditioned India Pale Ale that was first brewed in Burton in the 19th century.
Red Shield is 4.2% and is still being tweaked by head brewer Steve Wellington until the company is satisfied with all aspects of the beer -- colour, aroma and flavour. It will replace Draught Bass in the Molson Coors' portfolio. It's an indication of the curious state of the brewing industry in Britain that Draught Bass is owned not by Bass's successor but by AB InBev, which gets Marston's to brew the beer a couple of miles up the road from the old Bass breweries.
Red Shield is a genuine pale ale, brewed only with pale malt. The hops are English Bramling Cross and two American varieties, Cascade and Centennial. A large amount of late hops are used at the end of the copper boil for additional aroma and flavour. The beer has a tangy citrus fruit aroma plus a delicious hint of pear fruit. Steve Wellington doesn't want to overpower the aroma with citrus as he feels American hops can offer too much grapefruit on the nose and palate. The fruitiness is balanced by a fine juicy malt note. The beer has honeyed malt, tart fruit and hop resins in the mouth followed by a finish that, in typical Burton fashion, balances sweet malt and tangy, bitter hops. Red Shield has 18 units of bitterness.
Meanwhile, production of White Shield has been moved to the historic North Brewery within the Molson Coors complex to keep up with demand.


Blogger The Beer Nut said...

Sounds lovely.

But I'm confused: can you run through those tortured brand issues again? If Bass beer is owned by A-B InBev, not MolsonCoors, then MolsonCoors can't be replacing something they don't have.

Is this likely to have an impact on A-B InBev's production of the execrable kegged and canned Bass ale in the UK? There's the further complication that this is made at Wellpark, which isn't owned by A-B InBev any more.

My head hurts. Basically, does this mean canned Bass will disappear from my local supermarket? Please say yes.

11 November 2009 at 12:15  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

When Bass sold its breweries in 2000 they were bought by InBev. The government said this breached monopoly guidelines and InBev, which also bought Whitbread (including Boddingtons),sold on the former Bass breweries to Coors. But InBev retained ownership of Draught Bass and other Bass brands. Hence it has Draught Bass brewed for it by Marston's. So I'm afraid it doesn't mean canned Bass will disappear.
Hope that's clear.

11 November 2009 at 20:07  
Blogger The Beer Nut said...

That's clear, but where does Red Shield fit in? How will it "replace Draught Bass in the Molson Coors' portfolio" if Draught Bass is in the A-B InBev portfolio.

Am I just being thick here?

11 November 2009 at 20:11  
Blogger Ed said...

I think what he's saying is that Coors bought Bass but without the Draught Bass so need something to fill that gap.

11 November 2009 at 20:26  
Blogger The Beer Nut said...

Ahhh... So nine years later the gap is starting to make itself felt? Gotcha.

Phew. We didn't have to break out the flashcards.

11 November 2009 at 20:33  
Blogger Barm said...

18 units of bitterness? That's not very much for pale ale, is it?

Well done to Coors for launching a new real ale nonetheless. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it gets the same promotion millions as the likes of Cobra and Blue Moon.

12 November 2009 at 21:41  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

Yes, 18 BUs is low, though the beer does have a good hop note. But Coors clearly goes along with the thinking of all the global brewers that drinkers don't like bitter beers.

13 November 2009 at 09:15  

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