In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new beer in town. It’s called “St. Urbain,” available in several varieties, and its merchandising is highly evocative of that storied street right in the heart of our fair burgh. Unfortunately, it’s just another Labatt product.
That’s right. You won’t find “Labatt” anywhere on the box or label, but if you look closely it says it’s from “Oland Specialty Beers.” Oland is the Nova Scotia brewery that was bought by Labatt some 20 or so years ago. Before then, Oland was a regional brewery. Now the name persists only for marketing purposes, and as a subsidiary company that distributes so-called “specialty beers” like Keith’s and St. Urbain.
I don’t hate the big domestics (Labatt and Molson), but I don’t like them either. Despite the proliferation of craft and micro brews that have come on the market in the past 20 years, the big domestics are still the market leaders by a long shot. So why do they have to fake it by coming up with fake microbrews like St. Urbain (and, incidentally, the Rickards line, which is made by Molson)? Shut up and let the little guys have some success in the small but competitive market of craft beers.
By the way, there’s already a review of St. Urbain Blonde up on Ratebeer.com. It says:
(2.2) Boring blond body with heavy carbonation and a fading white frothy head. Fair malty/hoppy aroma that carries grassy and bready notes. I cannot say that the taste is particularly bad. However, it definitely lacks complexity. Ends with a short bitter finish. Boring.