Canadian Manufacturing

Molson digs up an old recipe book, will brew a historic 1908 pale ale

Brewer says the limited release will be the first in a series of historic launches



Molson Brewery in Montreal. The company says it is launching a series of historic beers from is recipe archives. PHOTO: Phil Cossette

Molson Brewery in Montreal. The company says it is launching a series of historic beers from is recipe archives. PHOTO: Phil Cossette, via Wikimedia Commons/caption]

TORONTO—Molson Coors Canada is looking to give modern tipplers at taste of a century-old brew.

The company has announced it will release a limited edition ale dating from 1908 to celebrate its 230 years selling suds in Canada. Dubbed “John H.R Molson and Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale” the company said the brew will be authentically recreated by combining malts, heirloom hops, and century-old fermentation techniques.

“To try and replicate the flavours and nuances of the early twentieth century recipe, we went deep into the archives to uncover every last detail behind this historic brew,” Keith Armstrong, Brewmaster at Molson Coors Canada, said. “We sat down with malsters, barley and hops breeders from across the globe to identify the correct ingredients to mix with Molson’s ancient ale yeast derived from the same primordial strand John Molson used in the 1700’s.”

[caption id="attachment_163061" align="alignright" width="224"]The brewer's John H.R Molson and Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale. PHOTO: Molson The brewer’s John H.R Molson and Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale. PHOTO: Molson

Dating from a time when horse and buggies still dominated the streets of Toronto and Montreal—and a time when international brewing conglomerates and thousand-hectolitre-scale production were distant prospects—the recipe was found deep within the Molson archives. With more than 400 cartons of historic documents filling its archives, the company said the release will be the first in a series of historic launches.

The release comes at a time when the global beer market is both consolidating and splintering. As multi-nationals such as Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev build up their lineups with more unique offerings, small brewers have re-emerged across North America in the now widespread craft movement. While the jury is still out on how much of the market independent brewers can snatch from the established players, it’s clear the evolution has resulted in significantly more choice for beer aficionados.

Molson said each batch of unfiltered “John H.R Molson and Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale”—whose name is a mouthful in itself—will have its own unique qualities and flavour nuances.

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