Brewsday: Antigravity Light Ale
I have to admit, I’m torn over Anti Gravity Light Ale.
On the one hand, it’s the very definition of a Canadian micro-brew. It’s locally-owned, it’s cleverly and attractively marketed with a neat name. It has one of those neat thermo-sensitive labels that tells you when the beer is cold enough, and features a wee little dude in a space suit tending to his brewery in front of a starry night sky. It’s pleasant and a bit goofy, and makes you at least appreciate that someone is trying to inject personality into light beer.
On the other hand, you’re not quirky when you have to tell people how unusual you are — you’re annoying. You’re god damned annoying and you’re trying desperately to cover up how boring you are, with your striped socks and corduroy vests and your vintage frames for glasses you don’t even need, you and all your packaging that can’t cover up the dull, dull content within.
I’m a little emotional, I’m sorry. I told you I was torn!
Produced by the Robert Simpson Brewing Company, a micro-brewery so small that their website still features a 1995-style “Under Construction sign on a sawhorse” animated GIF as its principal feature.
This is the only graphic on their website. For real.
You might think it’s adorable and charming, might you not? Particularly when elsewhere, they say things like:
Our small brewery is right on the waterfront in the heart of downtown Barrie — not in some bland industrial unit. We spend summers watching sailboats on the bay from the windows of our brewhouse; we watch the ice huts spring up in winter; and, when “the world is too much with us,” it’s a five minute drive to escape the light pollution and haze of Big-BoxMart-Depot-Land. Visit us. Our tours give the full micro experience: the passion; the love; the squishy stuff in your shoes … well, maybe not the shoe thing. But we guarantee you’ll see all craft beers in a new light.
Yeah, we get it. You’re different and laid-back. Barrie is the Vancouver of Central Ontario, not at all the bleak industrial gateway to the actual cottage country to the north. And you’re in it for the looooooove. So if your beer turns out to be kind of bland, well, does it really matter when you’ve got so much gosh darned personality? Yes, none of this hippie mellowness seems contrived in the slightest.
Oh! And did I tell you that it actually says, “Inspired ales made for drinking, not posing” on the label? Because posers don’t drink micro-brews at all, do they? Especially quirky ones with astronauts on the god damned label, oh no. Good thing that Anti Gravity is here to give you some way of standing apart from all those posers with their Dos Equis! Your beer has cute little semi-philosophical sayings etched under your bottle caps, so you can be sure you’re different! Thank God for that.
Oh, it’s just so easy to get angry about this beer. And you know what really pisses me off? What really twists my shorts? Honks my schnoz? Chaps my delicates? It’s good.
Honest to God, it’s a good light beer. I know that’s like saying it’s a luxurious compact car or an enjoyable night in Detroit, but here I stand as a witness. In among all the twee marketing, there’s a promise of a beer that’s “not too watery or hoppy”, which describes it well. Unlike most major-label light beers, Anti Gravity greets you with real, honest-to-goodness flavor; it’s light but substantial, friendly and actually refreshing to drink.
Outside of the embrace of its marketing delivery module (i.e. bottle), Anti Gravity is a bright yellow ale, fizzy but not foamy. It is best served at the suggested frostiness, which generally benefits light beers but gives this one a bit of an extra boost — rather than masking the blandness (see: Coors Light’s insane endorsement of “coldness” as a flavor to be enjoyed), some cold helps to amplify that this is a light beer that actually tastes like something. This is an easy one to drink, built for stowing in a cooler or stuffing into the freezer for the fifteen minutes between when you get home and when the hockey game starts.
So you can see my dilemma, right? Cutesy-poo feel-good mellow-down-easy-man marketing on the one hand; tasty, reasonably-priced light beer on the other? It’s a tough one to manage — do I risk people thinking I’m a cottage country hippie, just for the sake of a delicious beverage?
Do you even need to ask? Jeez, chill out and, like, let someone else run the planet today.
Rating: 4 astronauts out of 5