My Fellow Inebriates,
Until breweries start spontaneously sending me booze, I’m on a budget just like the rest of you. So it warms my heart when I find something cheap and good. This one I have to credit to my dad. As much as I resent the lack of serious thought my parents put into buying hootch, every once in a while they do get around to it, and in this case my dad managed to keep his ear to the ground, suspend whatever reservations he had about beer in cans, and try something new.
And Cariboos Honey Lager is no slouch. For reference, my go-to honey lager has been Sleeman, for that creamy smoothness with a hint of sweetness. Cariboos is a comparable offering, and once you’ve poured it into a glass it might even be better.
This morning I got up early for the express purpose of taste-testing Sleeman Honey Lager against Cariboos only to find myself up at this painful hour for no good reason, staring into the sun streaming through the kitchen window as my lecturing parents reiterated the socially-constructed idea that drinking in the morning is a slippery slope. So I didn’t get to do my taste challenge. But from memory I’ll tell you that if you like Sleeman Honey Lager you won’t be disappointed by Cariboos.
And 5.5% alcohol, people! Sleeman boasts 5.2%, moving its honey lager to second place in this bear’s heart.
All this got me thinking about a lecture I saw by Malcolm Gladwell: http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html I didn’t think my attention span could handle a talk ostensibly about Prego Sauce, but I kept watching Gladwell because of his crazy hair, and he got me thinking—many times packaging dupes us into spending far more money than we need to on products that are quietly being trumped qualitatively by competitors with smaller branding budgets.
I would like to get drunk with Malcolm Gladwell sometime. I like his hair a lot and I bet he knows as much about the beer market as he does about pickles and other edibles that are otherwise irrelevant to liquorstore bears like me. We could line up a bunch of glasses and pound them, then laugh at each other’s hair/fur.
His big thing is that products increase their foothold in the market by tapping into variety. People don’t know they want extra-chunky sauce until a marketer tells them they want it. Likewise with beer. Years ago you just bought cans—Black Label or Pilsner were the only things that ever entered the house, and you didn’t think about their shortcomings or nuances; you just drank them and were happy you had beer. With the dawn of microbreweries, new tastes we never knew we had were awakened. Did I know I would like honey lager? I had no idea, but OMG, I love it now. In fact, I have to have it as early as possible every day.
So I googled “Cariboos” today because that’s the way the name appears on the can. It wasn’t even first on the hit list, because the brewery’s called Cariboo Brewing. Good to know. And although they may not have pockets as deep as Sleeman, they’ve done their homework about variety, offering four flavors, three of which my dad didn’t bother telling me about because I guess he doesn’t care about my life or interests or whatever.
I’m gonna keep calling it Cariboos because it sounds like boooooze. The honey lager comes in a Hallowe’en-colored can with a big antlered beast on it, and get this—for every case sold, Cariboo Brewing plants a tree to combat deforestation. Pretty cool. As a bear I value a habitat full of trees, and if drinking beer assists with that I’m willing to do my furry bit. RECOMMEND.