Prohibition was a dark time in American history. A Teetolater named Carrie Nation took to entering saloons with an axe to destroy bottles and kegs of liquor and beer, often greeting the bartender with a cheery “Good morning, destroyer of souls.”
Meanwhile the Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union furthered their support of Prohibition of alcohol by using photos like the one below (and seriously, would this photo have convinced YOU to quit drinking?) Concerned about alcohol’s link to wife beating and child abuse they argued that outlawing drinking would eliminate corruption, end machine politics, and help Americanize immigrants. In December 1917, Congress passed the 18th Amendment that prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor.
Prohibition had a permanent effect on America’s beer palate. Of the 1,392 brewers in operation before Prohibition, only 164 remained afterward. When beer became legal again 14 years later, it was never the same. A generation that had known nothing but soft drinks rejected the bitterness of the Bavarian-style beers that had been popular in America before Prohibition and demanded something sweeter. Modern American beer, less characterful than traditional beer styles, became ubiquitous, and it would only be after the 1979 legalization of homebrewing and the growth of craft brewing that America would once again know an interesting variety of beer styles and tastes. Batch 19 is supposedly based on an old beer recipe found in the basement archives of the Coors brewery dating back before Prohibition, and is supposedly inspired by the last batches of beer brewed before 1919.
Now on to the real test, eh? Pouring a golden caramel amber with a generous slowly dissipating off-white head, it really did look great in my pint glass. The aroma is somewhat bready and cracker like, with notes of grain and a touch of floral hops. True to style for an American Adjunct Lager, the taste was again of cracker, grain with hints of malt, rice and that familiar American corn sweetness followed by a slight, subtle hop bite. Medium bodied and very smooth. The mouthfeel was light, carbonated and extremely chuggable. At 5.5% ABV, that’s do-able.
In summation, I’m impressed to realize that Coors CAN produce a tasty lager if they put their minds to it. 4.5/5