Alexander Keith’s Harnesses Social Media for Live Beer Tasting
When Nova Scotia brewery Alexander Keith’s decided to introduce three new beers into the United States, it embraced a novel way to do it.
It contacted a variety of beer writers, including Road Trips for Beer editor Gerard Walen, to join a “virtual tasting” on June 7. Each writer was mailed a sampler pack of the three beers: Nova Scotia Style Lager, Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale, and Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale, and a branded beer glass.
At the scheduled time, Alexander Keith’s brewmaster Graham Kendall appeared in a live video on the brewery’s Facebook page. He spoke a little about the brewery’s history and its founder, Alexander Keith, and then conducted the tasting, pouring each beer and talking a little about it. Finally, there was a question-and-answer session when participants could type in questions and comments to be addressed by Kendall.
Rather than give a blow by blow account, here’s a link to the archived video. (Note: The video does not include the Q-and-A section).
Previously, Alexander Keith’s brews were limited to those living in or traveling to Canada, but these three brews were brewed specifically for the U.S. market.
“We want the American beer movement to have an opportunity to taste some of these beers,” Kendall said.
A few notes:
- Though the Nova Scotia brewery and its breweries in Ontario and British Columbia still produce its Canadian line, the beers for the U.S. market are brewed at the AB-InBev brewery in Baldwinsville, N.Y., under supervision of brewers trained at the Nova Scotia facility. Alexander Keith’s is a part of the LaBatt’s brand lineup, which was acquired by Belgium conglomerate InBev, as was Anheuser-Busch.
- The brewery hopes to tap into the U.S. craft beer market, but most hardcore beer geeks will likely pass them by because of the AB-InBev association. There may be more luck attracting the “in-betweeners,” who are looking for something just a little more flavorful than mass-produced domestic lagers, but whose palates are not yet ready for hop-heavy IPAs, imperial stouts or sour Belgian styles.
- Despite the different styles, all three beers are brewed to clock in at 5.4 percent alcohol by volume.
- If you look at the bottle, it says “Brewed by A Keith’s Brewery Co., St. Louis, MO.” That’s because AB-InBev’s U.S. headquarters are in St. Louis. This is a technicality that allows the beer to be brewed at any of AB-InBev’s U.S. breweries, should demand require it.
The concept of the virtual tasting – officially titled “Alexander Keith’s First Taste – A Virtual Beer Experience” is brilliant. It seems like a great way for breweries to introduce new products, and would be very helpful for readers of Road Trips for Beer, who can learn about brews that aren’t necessarily sold in their home markets. Other brewers should take note.
Taste-wise, the beers were clean, but not particularly noteworthy when compared with many U.S. craft brews. The exception was the Brown Ale, which had a more solid body to it and a noticeable caramel-and-honey sweetness.
Regardless, there are certain beer drinkers who will find that these brews will hit the spot on a hot summer day. In that respect, they’re worth a try because if it tastes good to you, it’s a good beer!
The beers are available in Arizona; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Delaware; Florida; Indiana; Massachusetts; Maryland; Maine; Minnesota; North Dakota; New Hampshire; New York; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Wisconsin; and St. Louis (Missouri and Illinois).