What’s in Your Beer?

More about Beer – and additives

It is not just beer any more.  It has been a long time since I was a fan of beer like Coors Light or Molson Golden.  I tend to like beer with more flavour though sometimes something lighter is desired.  Recently, I did some research as to what the major breweries mostly in North America put in beer.  Pretty scary.

There are numerous sites for research on this but recently (October 2013, I think) Food Babe ( a very comprehensive article covering most aspects of what is commonly used by major breweries.  Here is a list of what you will find in the beer you drink that is produced my the major breweries in the United States and Canada:

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Propylene Glycol (that’s the stuff that kills your dog in anit-freeze)
Calcium Disodium EDTA 
“Natural Flavors”
High Fructose Corn Syrup
GMO Sugars – Dextrose, Corn Syrup
Caramel Coloring 
FD&C Blue 1 
FD&C Red 40 
FD&C Yellow 5 
(The three ‘colors’ above are all petroleum products.)
Insect-Based Dyes
Animal Based Clarifiers
Foam Control – glyceryl monostearate and pepsin
BPA (Bisphenol A is a component in many can liners and it may leach into the beer. BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen and may affect sperm count, and other organ functions.)

Not quite up to ‘German Beer Purity Law’ that allows only certain ingredients.

I have friends that would not be able to drink beer as they would get headaches and feel bad the next morning even after one beer.  When these people tried a craft beer that had no additives they could enjoy a beer without feeling like crap the next day.  I’m quite certain that the reason that advertisements for beer encourage one to drink it ice cold is so that you can’t taste it. Historically, people drank beer warm.  (See: Warm Beer )

I remember one of the best advertisements I ever saw.  It was a picture outside of an old English pub: “Beer is not only a breakfast drink”.  Great marketing.

With most craft beer, one can drink it a bit warmer and there will be some taste and flavor that is appealing.  Not so with beer from the major breweries – to my experience anyway.  Warmed up or at room temperature they taste like crap.  Really, though, this is not about taste. It is about health.  Alcohol can be damaging all by itself.  One should be temperate in drinking.  That said, if you are going to drink, make sure it is not full of all kinds of crap that is even more damaging to your body.  I know many people that will be extremely careful about the food they eat: no GMOs, etc but then they will drink a cheap beer full of the above ingredients.

Over the last number of years most grocery stores carry more and more ‘natural’ foods because of the demand.  Personally, I don’t mind paying a little extra knowing my health is at stake.  And the same with beer.  If I am going to drink, spend for a craft beer or micro brew to support them.  Then, hopefully, two things will happen.  One, those prices will come down and two, major breweries will have to change their tune and produce something that is a little healthier.


Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments

Ontario Beer Monopoly

I recently spent a month in Ontario.  I had lived in Ontario until about 20 years ago.  I like beer. I don’t drink tons of it but I like the taste and like to vary the

types of beer that I drink.  My heart goes out to beer drinkers in Ontario.  There is a monopoly of the beer market there(more on that in a minute) and this makes it very difficult for craft and micro breweries to market their wares.

While at the Royal Winter Fair last week I had a chance to speak to a representative of McAuslan Brewing based in the GTA(Greater Toronto Area).  It was a great conversation.  They were serving and promoting their beer at one of the licensed areas at the Royal.  To serve the customers properly she would, as any good server, ask what kind of beer they liked so that she could choose one that would suit the person’s tastes.  The problem was that many of the people that came there to have a beer were only familiar with the North American swill that is called beer.  The stuff that needs to be ‘ice-cold’ to be able to drink it.  Most of the time she would get blank stares even when she tried to reword the question.  She soon realized that many were only interested in cold and clean and not flavour.
(check out their product: McAuslan Brewing)

I’m sure if you surveyed, most Canadians would believe that The Beer Store in Ontario is owned by the Ontario government.

This taken from CBCNews Toronto(CBC News):
“‘The Beer Store’ in Ontario is owned by the U.S.-based Molson Coors Brewing Company, Sapporo of Japan and Anheuser-Busch InBev of Belgium which are all foreign based companies.  “

So, if you like to try different beers with some real flavour or want beer that is brewed without additives you pretty much have to buy it in restaurants.  Often smaller craft beer companies are purchased by one of the above conglomerates and they can then alter the product.

I might not have noticed this but for having lived in Alberta for the past four years.  It is quite easy to purchase a much greater variety of beer and wine than in Ontario.  So come visit.

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments