Friday, July 2, 2010

Cheap Beer No. 3: Mountain Creek Classic Lager

“Craft Brewed In Small Batches.” At least that’s what it says on the can. If that ain’t sucker bait I don’t know what is. Only the most dangerously naive would buy a case of lager for $9.49 under the assumption that they’ll soon be soaking up a premium beer. No, if you put your money down for this you know just what you’re going to get: Flat-out macro swill. It’s light and grainy, with a hint of malt and a whisper of hops and nothing so troublesome as too much flavor to get in your way. And that’s what puts Mountain Creek a cut above its cheap-beer cohorts. Flavor-wise, there’s nothing singularly offensive about it. You can actually drink this one without cringing. You’re not going to love this beer (unless you’re a die-hard miser), but you’re not going to reflexively scowl as you pour it into your face, either. It’s a camping beer. The sort of brew you guzzle while staring vacantly at a campfire, occupying your mind with anything other than what’s draining into your mouth.

Knowing the backstory of this beer isn’t going to make you like it any better, but here goes anyway. The beer originated in 2003 in Canada as Mountain Crest (it’s now sold as Minhas Creek in Canada). The brother and sister team of Ravinder and Manjit Minhas set out to make an ultra-cheap brew for sale to Canucks tired of being gouged by the Canadian beer duopoly of Labatt and Molson. They contract brewed their beer at the Huber Brewery in Monroe and the City Brewery in Lacrosse then trucked the suds back to Canada in cans draped with maple leafs to obscure the fact that what they were selling was actually an American-made brew. That raised a small shit-storm up North. The resultant media flap brought them to the attention of Canadian lagerites concerned more about prices than patriotism and soon the Minhas family was selling a lot of beer. In 2006 they bought Huber Brewing, changed the name to the Minhas Craft Brewery and began selling this stuff in the States. It’s been pouring into Oshkosh ever since. The story has an oily feel about it and the “Craft Brewed In Small Batches” note that they stamp on their cans only helps to reinforce the vague duplicity that seems to be the company’s earmark. They’re no worse than Budweiser, of course, and at about half the price I know which beer I’d buy, but there’s no getting around the fact that this beer is all about money. Hey, nobody said you have to feel good about buying this crap. Like many things related to industrial beer, it helps if you don’t think about it too much. Pair this with a summer day and an empty head and you’ll be on your way to a cheap, good time. Though you might not respect yourself in the morning.

Final verdict: Would I buy this again? Probably not. I’m tired of handing cash over to people who operate this way.
Archie Says No!

8 comments:

  1. I'm not a fan of anything Minhas does. It's like they're in a hurry and everything they make tastes that way.

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  2. I agree, Scott. Across the board, their beers have been underwhelming.

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  3. Well I do get into my cheap mode. To drink an ice cold beer in quantity $9.99 is the way to go! Stores in the camper much easier than my IPA's without worrying about breaking the bottles. And I do still like some of the Berghoff beers though I don't buy them often. The summer was a decent Wit and the Porter was good and much less a 6 pack than the other micro brews. Some of which have flavor profiles that make the pedigree of the brewmaster suspect!

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  5. I love this beer, and have been drinking it for quite a few years. I use to drink Miller Light and have switched. This is not an IPA and thats the way I like it! Oh yeah I tried Minhas' Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale and loved. So I disagree with your guyrs review

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  6. Decent beer when you consider the fact that it's 33 cents a can.... When compared to micros, especially those of the American pale ale variety, it kinda loses it's luster... As does the credibility of those who would make that comparison. As a craft beer lover and amateur homebrewer who likes to keep my expensive drinking habits in check, mountain creek/crest is a regular in my fridge. It's better than millerbudcoors, and about half the cost... But falling for the slogan and comparing it to a craft beer is hilarious

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  7. I have been drinkin it for a few years and think it is good .. I grew up drinking Pbr and old style. I cant stand a light beer I want my beer to taste like fermented stuff that what beer is. if I had a choice between a miller and a glass of water I would rather have a mountain creek . no my taste buds arnt broke . I really enjoy the taste of it.

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  8. I think it is a great human entrepreneurial story. This gets great reviews everywhere for it price range. I just wish I could find it. I go back to before micros, when "Canadian" was the cheapest import in the Northeast US. Molson wasn't that great, O'keefe wasn't bad (haven't seen that in decades), Moosehead, if I remember right, was skunky. So at the the time-late 70s-, LaBatt was just right: crisp, cold refreshing and pretty cheap. It was less than Molson's back then, and better. I heard they were trying to "upscale" their image by the early 80s, which consisted of price increases and little else. Now I even see the metric Labatt's with a missin' beer in every 12-pack! So if the sellers can make a "Canada-style lager" -anywhere-, and cheap, bravo! Bring it on. I wish I could find it in Providence/Boston area. Still lovin' LaBatt's Blue for good everyday use. My taste: where I'm coming from; my favorites are German Pils like Radeburger & Jever, even Warsteiner. (when I want to spend more). There are price ranges in all products. THERE IS ALWAYS A WELCOME PLACE FOR REFRESHING LAGERS THAT ARE INEXPENSIVE AND DON'T TASTE LIKE SKUNK!

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