When it was announced in October 2009 that Molson Coors – via its Creemore Springs subsidiary – would be acquiring Granville Island Brewing, it inspired a fair bit of speculation regarding how long it would be until brands from one of the breweries was introduced into the market of the other. Apparently the answer to that question was “just under two years”, as Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale made the trip east to Ontario back in July.
It was around that time that a friendly Creemore rep passed me a six pack to try, I’ve tipped back a bottle every now and then in the couple of months since, and having now finished the half-dozen, I’ve come to two conclusions: (1) I like it; and (2) I won’t go out of my way to drink it again.
Yeah, I know that these conclusions seem to be contradictory, but here’s the thing: English Bay Pale Ale is, as Stephen aptly puts it, a “highly quaffable ale.” It has a nice dark copper hue; a nutty caramel aroma with faint peppery tinge; and a flavour that could use a bit of a boost in the hops department, but which still fits nicely into the “well balanced UK-style pale ale” niche that appears to be the aim.
That said, it’s also a beer that leaves little in the way of an impression, lasting or otherwise. Even while it’s being consumed, there’s little to grab the drinker’s attention (which probably explains the somewhat generic nature of my tasting notes above), and even less remains on the palate or in the memory once the glass is empty.
In other words: It’s not a bad beer, but it’s also not a memorable one.