Now sold as Extra Gold Lager, Coors Extra Gold was introduced in 1985 as a fuller-flavored addition to the Coors Brewing Company lineup, aimed at Budweiser drinkers who found Coors Original (then known as Coors Banquet Beer) too watery.
By 1988 Extra Gold was available throughout the United States, and in 1989 and 1990 the beer won consecutive gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. In the absence of effective marketing1, though, Extra Gold never caught on, and in the years since, Coors seems to have slowly abandoned the product. It is no longer available in most of the eastern U.S., the Coors name is no longer displayed on the label, and Extra Gold is the one Coors beer not served on tours of the Coors Brewery. Today you'll find it, in cans only, on a shelf next to Coors' budget-priced Keystone family2 of beers.
Despite Coors' apparent loss of faith in Extra Gold, relics of its former glory remain. The Coors website describes the beer as "a rich full-flavored lager that has a deep golden color," and the ad copy on the front of the black-and-gold cans reads:
Brewing Extra Gold Lager requires uncommon patience. Patience in the slow aging of the roasted malts. Patience to take the three extra brewing steps3 needed to craft every batch. This added time and effort yields an exceptional, refined lager.
It takes time to produce the flavor of the rich lagers of the past. The traditional, old world lager recipes allow no shortcuts.
The beer inside predictably fails to live up to the description. While visually appealing, with its bright golden color and foamy, white, rather short-lived head
, Extra Gold is not particularly full-flavored, and lacks the malty smoothness of Coors Original.
By some accounts Extra Gold is actually a mixture of Coors Original and Killian's Irish Red, also made by Coors. This seems unlikely, but it is true that Extra Gold is brewed using both the caramel malt used in Killian's and the unroasted malts used in Coors' flagship beers.
1. I would blame Extra Gold's failure on its mediocre taste, but for the contemporaneous success of Corona.
2. Keystone Premium, Keystone Light, and Keystone Ice. "Bottled beer taste in a can," my ass.
3. I have no idea what these are. Call the Coors information line at 1-800-642-6116 if you'd like to ask.
Baum, Dan. Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty. New York: William Morrow, 2000.
Brews- Coors Extra Gold http://www.coors.com/brews/extraGold.asp 8/26/1979
Great American Beer Festival http://www.beertown.org/events/gabf/winners.htm