Review: Moosehead Anniversary Ale Limited Edition

2017 isn't just the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation but also the 150th anniversary of Moosehead Breweries. Today, Moosehead Breweries is the oldest independently owned brewery in Canada. In the mid to late '00s, I was a big fan of Moosehead's lager - it was affordable, easy to drink and quite often came with free swag with purchase. I probably would have kept buying Moosehead more if they still gave away swag, but in reality my tastes just changed for beer.

For their 150th anniversary, Moosehead launched a limited release product called "Moosehead Anniversary Ale". The anniversary ale is brewed with only Canadian grown ingredients with Galena, Columbus, Cascade and Chinook hops sourced from Thompson Okanagan, BC, Ste-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario and Moose Mountain, New Brunswick. The malts sourced include Beyond the Pale from Neustadt, Ontario and Pale 2 Row from the Canadian Prairies.

Appearance: Aside from their Hop City beers, this is the cloudiest Moosehead product I've ever seen. It's a cloudy copper body with a light amount of carbonation and a light amount of off-white head on top. As the head diminishes ever minimally, it leaves behind a bit of lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma: Honestly, this smells like an expired IPA to me - If you have the misfortune of accidentally aging IPAs, this is what it reminds me of. The aroma has that smell of that the hops in the beer were at one time floral and bitter but have aged and turned into a very sweet malt-forward beer with a bit of nuttiness to it. I'm finding that there's notes of caramel, a bit of a crisp grainery graininess and a bit of lemon. The non-fresh IPA aroma is what I keep noticing the most.

Taste: Thankfully the tasting notes are much better than the aroma. Here, I'm not getting that past its prime taste (like kind of cardboardy) to it. The beer is pretty much a malt-forward ale but there's a decent amount of complexity to it, which surprises me coming from Moosehead. There's a decent bitter hop profile that gives off notes of pine, grass and a hint of citrus. There's a crisp light graininess in there that's reminiscent to a typical lager but there's also a good deal of sweet caramel malt and a light roastiness at the very end of each sip, almost like toasted puffed wheat to an extent.

Overall Thoughts: The aroma sucks and is pretty misleading, but in the end, this is actually a solid ale. While it's not juicy, tropical or barnyard funk - it's a decent English-style pale ale with lots of malt forward notes to it and a good amount of bitter hops to give it a bit of balance. Also, Moosehead's Pale Ale is back in Manitoba and re-branded with retro '60s style design to it - I tried it at Brandon Beer Festival, it was alright but the Anniversary Ale is definitely the better ale of the two.

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