Creemore has come along way since its inception into the Ontario brewing industry back in 1987. For years they brewed and marketed only one brand, Creemore Springs Traditional Lager, then introduced a seasonal beer in UrBock, and in 2005, after years of steady and profitable growth, Creemore was purchased by the Molson-Coors Brewing Co.
I was just starting to experiment with craft beer at that time and the fact that such a small brewery that I looked to for inspiration sold to Molson-Coors was saddening to say the least. I look back on it now and see, and read, about how some people took it, going so far as to abstain from ever drinking Creemore again because they can't in good conscious support the large multi-national ownership. Thankfully I didn't take that approach. I continued to drink the beer and support the brewery because it was the taste of the product that I was mostly concerned with.
In the years I have been doing this I've been fortunate enough to be invited out to the Creemore brewery on a number of occasions for tastings or special brewery events and the only thing that I have ever heard changing due to the sale is the capacity increase and quality control measures that Molson instituted. Marketing and distribution are the obvious and most significant changes that have occurred for the brewery since 2005, which allowed Creemore to introduce another beer, Pilsner, to their line-up as a seasonal (to celebrate their 20th anniversary) only to see it sell extremely well, so well that Creemore has since decided to make it a year round offering.
Now Creemore, even though still owned by Molson-Coors, has started playing the 'I'm a craft brewery' angle again, advertising their brands more so than ever, bringing back they tagline they introduced in 1987 - A hundred years behind the times, and it's great to see Molson-Coors giving them the extra tools to bring us new and interesting beers.
Creemore certainly is 'a hundred years behind the times' with their most recent seasonal offering - Creemore Kellerbier, reviving an old style of beer first introduced in the middle ages, which made its debut last month at an event held at Toronto's Victory Cafe. Many Bar Towel members who tasted the beer had nothing but positive things to say about it, and Stephen Beaumont declared it to be one of the best new beer launches in Ontario. Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising and Creemore has accomplished that by simply creating a well crafted old school style of beer.
The can is attractive and full of educational reading material for the individuals out there looking for something new (you've seen these people standing in the beer section at the LCBO reading all the cans). The unfiltered Kellerbier (cellar beer) pours a lovely hazy tarnished gold with a strong bold white layer of foamy protection that decides to hang out with me for the duration of the tasting, covering my glass with thick lacing.
My nose awakens as I dip it into the glass to get a big whiff of aromas, aromas that take me to an autumn day in the country. Floral, biscuity and a slight grassiness are picked up along with some sweet fruit, white peppery notes and a little citrus. The first sip is a good one. The second is even better. Caramel notes and some of that Creemore fruitiness, along with some of the left over yeast is found up front leading into a nice subtle hop body that sparks a slight peppery touch ending in a nice dry, yet clean and refreshing finish. The malt base plays nicely with the hops and only has a mild cloying effect on the palate.
This unfiltered lager is bursting with flavour and aromas, resembling a cask conditioned ale in a can, which is essentially what a Kellerbier is in Germany. Creemore has certainly taken the ball and ran with it on their latest seasonal, which will hopefully awake some of the smaller craft breweries in this province who produce lagers. Get some while it's fresh as the brewery has only produced enough for 80,000 cans.