The Moosehead story starts back in 1867, in the town of Turtle Dove, Nova Scotia, when a housewife by the name of Susannah Oland decided she would try her hand at home-brewing in an effort to entertain some family and friends. Her first brew was a dark ale and proved to be very popular with nearly all who had an opportunity to drink it. John Oland, the husband, encouraged his wife’s efforts, and soon after the couple began selling Susannah’s beer commercially.
Their first real brewery was opened in 1869 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shortly thereafter, however, John Oland tragically died, leaving Susannah Oland to manage the brewery by herself; her eventual success would make her one of the most successful businesswomen of the 19th century.
During WWI, the Halifax brewery, which was located near a military munitions depot, was destroyed beyond repair when there was an accident at the depot, which killed 2000 and destroyed everything in the area.
In 1917, the present Moosehead brewery in St. John, New Brunswick opened. And today the brewery is still owned and operated by the Oland family (the 6th generation), making it one of the most successful independent breweries in North America.
Their most popular brew is their Moosehead Lager, which is a 5.0% (ABV) pale lager. It’s sold in a green bottle, which while aesthetically pleasing, is a problem right out of the gate in regards to taste. It only takes about one day of sitting on a supermarket shelf exposed to light before beer in green bottles gets skunked. Some people like a skunky taste, but I’m not one of them. It’s not what the brew masters intended. Which is why I purchas my Moosehead in a half-case. It’s not a bullet-proof solution, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a skunked-out Moosehead in an unprotected six-pack.
Now, in regards to the beer, itself, with my pour, I couldn’t get anything but a pretty thin head, with a lot of carbonation. The lacing, of course, was nearly non-existent. Its color is a kind of golden straw, which is not entirely unattractive. Moosehead uses corn as an adjunct, and it’s pretty obvious in the aroma and taste, but that’s not really the most terrible thing in the world. (Rice could be worse, if the folks over at Anheuser-Busch are listening.) To my taste, the barley in a Moosehead seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the yeast, which is why I think I’m getting a taste of bread. Most interestingly, I’m distinctively getting a grassy taste, which I can only imagine is coming from the hops.
In the end, Moosehead is an eminently drinkable beer and can be a reasonably good session beer when camaraderie is more important than the quality of the beer, and I think I can highly recommend it for those whose host Sunday afternoon football parties. Moosehead would be an upgrade from what is mostly served and would be a welcomed change of pace.