American Classics: Coors

2010 October 15
by Dave

My stepfather was a Coors man. Coors isn’t a very popular beer where I live. The macrobrew market is dominated by Budweiser and Bud-Light. He was a rebel, my stepdad. He never did things the way that others did them, and he drank his beer is way, Coors from a long-neck, straight out of the fridge. I can see him now sitting outside after cutting the grass, slowly nursing a frosty brew. We used to go camping a lot up in Toledo Bend, and there was always a case of Coors in the gear box. In fact, Coors is so important to my childhood, that there is still a Coors Party Ball box full of kindergarten art sitting around somewhere in my parent’s house. It was at the top of my closet growing up.

I find that Coors is the most illustrious, and often unsung macro beer that made the American Beer tradition great. It’s a mysterious beer that not too many talk about. But I think you’ll find, if you’re bold enough to give it a try, that you’ll enjoy it as much as me. And you don’t even have to smuggle it in from Texarkana anymore!

1847: The Adventure Begins.

As with all great American beers, Coors was started by a German immigrant. As with great American immigrants, his name was Adolph. Adolph Kuhrs. He was born in Barmen, which at that time was part of Prussia. His mother passed away in 1862, and his father followed later that year. Feeling like a goldfish in a small bowl, young Adolph left for America in 1868.  Along that trip, somewhere in Chicago, his name got Americanized to Coors. He worked in Chicago for a short time, but in 1872, set his sights on Denver Colorado. There, he met up with a partner, bought an old tannery, and began brewing beautiful golden beer.

When Prohibition struck, Coors stayed alive producing pottery and malted milk for ice cream shops across the country. He did not, however, see the repeal of the laws, taking his own life in 1929 just months before the stock market crash. According to biographers, the suicide was not surprising, as the whole family was a little odd(Baum, 2000).

Up to Present

The lore of Coors continues. Their distribution slowly creeped westward and gentlemen around the US thirsted for a taste of the golden brew. In 1959, Coors introduced the first fully aluminum beer can, and drinkers around the world rejoiced. There was no longer a need for church keys to open the heavy steel cans they were used to.

In 1977, a little movie staring a mustachioed mad-man called Smokey and the Bandit was released. If you’ve never seen this, do yourself a favor and go buy a copy. It’s old, and thus will be cheap, and after the first time you see it, you’ll want to watch it over and over. At that time, the distribution of Coors beer was still limited. It gained a cult status of sorts. Everyone wanted a taste of this delicious beer. It was a beer that meant style and refinement,  not some locally bottled swill that anyone could get. This was a beer of gentlemen.

It wasn’t until 1991 that all the states in the Union carried Coors. In 2004, Coors Brewing Company merged with Canadian Beer giant Molson. To this day, Coors stands in Golden, Colorado, and is the largest single site brewery in the nation. They keep saying something about the water.

The Beer

Coors is a golden yellow Continental lager, sitting in good company with Miller High Life. It has a thin head, and medium carbonation. It smells of corn and tastes of grain. It smells very off-puttingly sweet. This is probably the main reason I never drank much of it up to this point. I’m not a sweet beer kind of person. Until very recently, I would think of Coors and throat would burn from the toughs of sweet beer.

The sweet smell, however, is only that. It tastes strongly of cereal. In fact, I would venture to say that one could pinpoint the grains used. It’s smooth. Probably the smoothest mass-market beers I’ve ever tasted. There is a little bite of hops that accents softly and is far from strong. It slides down as easily as Coke.

While my heart is true to the High Life, I would venture (and with little opposition) that this might be the best of all the mass-market beers. It was Glenn’s beer of choice, and it will always have a place in my fridge.

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