You may or may not have seen the intriguing art that festoons the can of Mad and Noisy’s Hops and Bolts at your local LCBO store or plastered on walls around the city and in print ads in newspapers and magazine. And you may or may not have, like me, seen the cool art and the word “hops” figuring prominently in the name of the beer and thought, “Fuck yeah” and happily bought an eight-pack of tall cans with no hesitation.
And if you’re like me, you were thoroughly disappointed.
To back track just a bit, I’m something of a cynic (Who, you?!) and I’m therefore naturally suspicious of the Mad and Noisy brand given that it seems a lot like an attempt by the big boys to muscle in on the craft market. Mad and Noisy is a “crafty” offshoot of Creemore, which is wholly owned by Molson-Coors. It’s not too much of a stretch then to presuppose that Mad and Noisy’s commercial success might just lead to Molson-Coors entering the world of “crafty” beer even more explicitly and that could mean shit could get very weird in an industry which I have come to love–and that might jeopardize my supply of sweet, sweet local beer. Indeed, one might even liken the Mad and Noisy brand’s stated function as a “Craft Beer Exploration Series” to the role of a scout checking things out before a murderous, plundering hoard comes over the hill after that scout, raping and pillaging in an orgiastic frenzy or carnage leaving the land behind razed and infertile for future generations.
Er…if one were so inclined.
Anyway, borderline-paranoid delusional hypotheses notwithstanding, I was still willing to give Hops and Bolts a chance because, as I’ve stated elsewhere, all that really matters when it comes to beer is taste. The Creemore brand may now be owned and distributed by Molson-Coors, but they make some quality beer. If they had put that beer-making skill toward making something hoppy and delicious, I figured, it would probably be pretty good.
And plus, cool can!
Alas, it wasn’t all I’d hoped for. Hops and Bolts poured an orangey amber with a nice toap foamy head and while its aroma didn’t knock my socks off, it was a little floral so I hadn’t given up before I sipped it. But when I did, there wasn’t much to be said for the beer. The taste certainly combines a pale ale and lager as the name “India Pale Lager” would leave you to believe, however it seems to me to achieve the opposite of what it intended and instead of enhancing both, takes on none of the characteristics that make either style great. Instead it is all bitterness without the hoppy florals that make IPAs and pale ales intrigueing and tasty and is simultaneously all the blandness of a lager without the clean, quenching qualities one wants from a good example of that style.
The beer falls short of doing what I imagine it was intended to do which is to either introduce more mainstream drinkers to hoppy beer or entice hops fans away from those hoppier brands like Muskoka’s Mad Tom who are doing it all right and reaping commercial success.
It should be noted that the beer found a few fans among my dinner guests and softball team members when I pawned a few cans off on them over the last week, but for me the beer gets a resounding “meh.”
Nice cans though.