My first time visiting the Trainyards LCBO location was just this weekend, and while the beer selection wasn't out of this world, they had some interesting picks that I don't see at my regular LCBO stops (Innes and Blair locations usually.) Now while I don't usually go out of my way to buy a Moosehead product, their Boundary Ale jumped out at me. I loved the artwork on the can and I was curious to see who brewed this mysterious craft-looking-beer.
I was surprised and a little miffed to see that Moosehead was trying to pass of one of their products as craft beer by only having their name written in small letters off to the side. The craft beer lover in me quickly became outraged that this big player was employing tactics similar to those of other big players, ie let's try to cut into the profits of the little guys by creating products that "look" like they come from a microbrewery and get them on that valuable shelfspace that is typically reserved for craft breweries. They even throw "well-crafted" onto the label, which is an ambiguous term that can be used to catch the eye of budding craft beer enthusiasts. To add to this, they don't even list the product on their website! Sneaky, sneaky! However, I will play devil's advocate on myself for a moment and state that they do share pictures and talk about the product on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, so they aren't completely trying to hide that they brew this ale.
These are, of course, just my opinions and feelings about it. Maybe it wasn't their intent. Maybe this wasn't them using the tactics of the other big brewers to try to eliminate the little guys. Who knows? Now I'll be honest, I was ready to tear them a new one and leave it at that. But I let the beer sit a day in my fridge so I could calm down and be a little more objective in my post. So now that I've had time to relax, here I am sampling this beer. Let's see how it fares.
I was logging this beer into Untappd and it's listed as a Pale Ale. This beer feels like a cross between a Pale Ale, a weak Bitter and an Amber Ale to me, though. Since they don't have the product listed on their website, I can't tell what style they were going for other than "ale".
It definitely looks like an Amber as it pours a clear amber/copper hue with an off-white head. Head retention is good with some fine lacing.
There's definitely some floral and earthy hop notes in the aroma along with some very distinct caramel, lightly roasted malts and toasted bread. I can also smell some toffee in there.
Let's dig into the flavour. It's rather straightforward and to the point in what it delivers. Caramel, bread, extremely low hop bitterness in the end. Not bad, just no complexity.
Mouthfeel is slightly creamy with the right amount of carbonation.
Overall, I'm actually impressed with this. Don't get me wrong, this is NOT on the quality level I would expect from a microbrewery. However, for a big boy like Moosehead to put out something like this, I will admit to being pleasantly surprised. I am disappointed in how this beer is presented to the consumer, but I am satisfied with the product they deliver.
Available at the LCBO for $2.80/473mL can.