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Tuesday, August 31st 2010

A Better Way to Package Cans:
Q & A with PakTech of Oregon


PakTech's carriers are the future for canned craft beer.

Maybe you've been noticing something a little bit different about the way those cans of craft beer you're buying are being packaged. Gone are the days of those cheap, annoying, unsafe and unreliable plastic ring holders. Today's better beer deserves a better way to get from the brewery to your refrigerator/cooler/mountain stream. PakTech of Eugene, Oregon thought about that as well. We can thank them for introducing those colorful new can "handles" we've been seeing keeping all our great beers safely together.

I wanted to learn a little more about PakTech, and their role in the canned craft beer industry, so I wrote to Amie Thomas, PakTech's Marketing Manager. Amie was quick to respond and full of great information. Cheers Amie!

(CC) Can you give us a little background about PakTech?

(AT) PakTech has been providing packaging carrier handles to the food and beverage industries for over 17 years and growing! We serve every major brand and processor with carrier handles for bulk secondary packaging, and most customer have automated application equipment to apply our handles at their facility. All of our services are under one roof- from handle design, tooling and manufacturing to application design, build and service. This provides optimum quality, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

(CC) When did PakTech start making six- and four-pack holders for beer?

(AT) We designed our first can carrier about 4 years ago, and the design has gone through several revisions – from fully open top to fully covered. We now have the ideal design, which is almost completely covered, but has ‘vented’ lids to make it easier to manufacture and prevents condensation on the can top. The handles also ‘nest’ together well and allow the product to stack atop one another easily. Maui Brewing was our first larger volume beer can handle customer, and they have been with PakTech since June 2008. Wow- they are growing so well – great beer and great packaging!

 


this machine can package 600 cans per minute!

(AT) I also wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about our new equipment, which applies our can handles automatically. The CCA600 applicator (pictured above), applies QuadPaks or 6Paks at the rate of 600 cans per minute. Maui Brewing just received their machine (our first in plant) and we are excited to be able to offer automation for our can handles – any speeds from manual up to 2400 cans per minute.

(CC) What are PakTech's carriers made out of?

(AT) All handles are made of HDPE, #2 plastic. This is the most universally recyclable consumer plastic and the ideal material for our injection molding process and products.

(CC) I've noticed they are recyclable, can you give me a little more information about the recycling process?

(AT) Again, #2 plastic is easily recyclable, and we are proud to provide a low-waste 100% recyclable packaging method. All of our ‘scrap’ material in-house (ie, from color changes) gets picked up by Denton Plastics, who reprocesses the material and resells it – to make products such as composite lumber for decking. We are also proud of our clean manufacturing processes, and have been recognized by Denton Plastics and the Oregon Business community (second year to be on the Top 100 Green Oregon Businesses). We are doing our part to be an environmentally-positive packaging provider. I am a very firm believer in recycling and encourage consumers do their part to recycle everything they can – especially their packaging!

 

(CC) About how many craft brewery clients does PakTech have now?

(AT) Oh my- the list is growing…Although we have had the handles for several years, it seems that the can handles are really growing right now. Plus, now that automated application is developed, we are marketing the heck out of them because we love these handles! (Its hard to sell handles without automated application options) We have about 15 customers who order can handles regularly, and we have dozens of proposals out there. The volumes on most orders are relatively small, and many are doing market tests and such. Ask me next year!

(CC) What are the benefits for breweries using PakTech's can holders?

(AT) Our handles in general provide a simple, low-waste, unique packaging solution, and Im sure this is true for craft brewers as well. Its nice to have an alternative to the standard 6Pack rings and cardboard, which is not ideal in wet or cold environments. Our newest designs also provide 98% more ‘dust/debris’ coverage compared to the standard 6-pack rings. We just completed an independent third party test in order to put a number on it and it was confirmed that the protection is substantial. This is important for consumers who often face nasty tops when they buy their favorite canned beverage – no need to sterilize the tops of cans when they have PakTech handles on them! Plus, OK, they look really good too! Colors are eye-catching…

 


packaged cans of La Gavilana's tequila! que bueno!!

(CC) Do you see the old six-pack holders becoming obsolete at some point?

(AT) HA- yes! Well, maybe- we like competition- it makes us better. But, yes, we are hoping that craft brewers will revolutionize canned beer packaging and that everyone will need PakTech handles! We certainly believe that our handles and application equipment provide an exceptional alternative.

(CC) I see you are located in Eugene, Oregon, home to many fine beers. What is your favorite Oregon craft beer?

(AT) Ahhh, Oregon is kind of beer heaven…I do love my wine though. OK, I also love Ninkasi’s pale ale – its not canned, but its delicious. What a cool company- they need to be in cans though- their large bottles aren’t very portable….

(CC) Thanks Amie for your time! Cheers!


Posted by Russ



Monday, August 30th 2010

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
(Half Acre Beer Company)

I finally manage to get my hands on some cans of Half Acre! So far they are just canning their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale and Gossamer Golden Ale but I've heard rumors of another canned offering this fall. We'll have to wait and see. For now I'll focus on the matter at hand. Daisy Cutter's reputation certainly precedes it so I am very much looking forward to this.

 

From the Half Acre site:

"A west coast Pale Ale chock-full of dank, aromatic hops. This one's a screamer, horde it."

Here we go...

 

Pour - soft, bright golden to peach in color with a big fluffy head. This almost jumps into the glass like a fish into a boat. Even before this hits the glass the aroma sets in...

 

Aroma - lots of fresh hop pungency escapes from the can almost immediately. I love that! Pineapple, mango, oranges are all very present and accounted for and so are those piney, greeny aromas that fresh hops provide the senses. This smells heavenly.

 

Taste - a nice citrusy bite on the tongue is a nice introduction to what Daisy Cutter has to offer once you get over the aroma and get it into your mouth. This is followed by a nice tanginess and a very well backed up malty presence, although the hops are going to stand out more than anything this APA. Very drinkable, light bodied and well worth the wait. This is definitely worthy of its reputation and certainly should be on any beer lovers "wants" list. 

 

Overall - absolutely stunning. This is one of the best American Pale Ales that I've been lucky enough to sit down and enjoy. Hits all the right marks and at just over 5% I'd say it proves that flavor and hoppiness don't require a coma-inducing amount of alcohol. Cheers to that! 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This would be on the grocery list each week if I lived in Chicago.

Note - Half Acre has also brewed a "Double Daisy Cutter". Their website describes it thusly, "The Double Daisy Cutter is a monster version of the original Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. A heftier grain bill amps up the ABV and double dry-hop insures there's enough hops to recede your gums." Wow! They need to put that in a can!

 


yes, it is!

 


Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 30th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, August 29th 2010

A canned tribute to The Goonies
Happy 25th Anniversary!


The Goonies Collection

The Goonies left an indelible mark on many of us and, as hard as it is to believe, the film celebrated is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. A 25th Anniversary Celebration was recently held in Astoria, Oregon, where much of the filming of the movie was done, but we couldn't attend. Bummer.

Since we couldn't make it we decided to give our own tribute to one of our favorite movies and one that brings back great memories of childhood. The Goonies collection, brewed by the fictitious Goondock Brewery, consists of eight regular releases and a special release. They were all previously bottled but Goondock Brewery got with the times and bought a canning line. A good move on their part we thought...and yes this is all made up.


The Goonies Collection was previously bottled but we now know cans are better!

We did our best to choose key moments from the film and to involve all of the main characters when coming up with these beers. Please enjoy and remember, Goonies never say die!

    

These three are the most approachable beers in the collection; "Willy's Gold" which is a Golden Ale, "Pinchers of Peril IPA" an American IPA and "Middle C ESB" an Extra Special Bitter. 

 

    

These three offerings are a little more complex. "Fettucini MCMLXXI" is an 8.1% barrel-aged porter, "Dad's Business" is an 11.2% barleywine and "Plank Walker Lager" is an oak-aged strong lager.

 

    

We saved the best for last! "Hey You Geuze" is a traditional Belgian Geuze that weighs in at 5%, "Truffle Shuffle Stout" is a truffle-infused stout and "Hopperpot" is a special release, hoppy Old Ale that we categorize as an Imperial or Double IPA and which is now a "local legend". Cheers! 

 


Never Say Die!

 


Posted by Russ


Labels: The Goonies


Saturday, August 28th 2010

DESIGN A CAN AND WIN A BEER
T-SHIRT CONTEST IS ON!

Don't forget about our contest that is going on right now. All you have to do is design a can and send the image to us in an e-mail. We'll choose the best one on October 2nd. Above are some samples I've thrown together. To help people out, HERE is a great link that explains how you can wrap and moderate images.

FOR ALL OF THE  CONTEST DETAILS GO HERE!

 


Posted by Russ


Labels: Contests


Friday, August 27th 2010

Tule Duck Red Ale
(Buckbean Brewing Company)

The newest of the regular canned offerings from the good folks at Buckbean Brewing in Reno, Nevada. Tule Duck Red Ale is 16 oz. of malty fun for you to enjoy. Viva la Can!

From the Buckbean site:

"This rich, robust American Red Ale has a seductively smooth, full body, deep red color and a sweet, nutty malt flavor. A blend of finest hops yields a subtle, but satisfying hoppy aroma and finish."

Here we go...

Pour – dark auburn in color, looking very rich and almost as if its unfiltered due to the scarcity of light coming through. When held to the light things look nice and clear however. Nice fluffy head on top of all 16 oz. in this glass.

Aroma – toffee, butter rum ice cream, oranges, cream and iced tea.

Taste – caramel, sweet malt along with hints of vanilla and toffee. Very soft and almost creamy on the tongue. Some nice citrusy, orange and lemon flavors towards the end with a nice crisp finish. If someone gave me this and told me it was poured from a nitro tap I would probably believe them. Its that rich and creamy.

Overall - Solid brew with plenty of malt flavor and quite tasty to boot. I really enjoyed just how smooth this beer was and how amazingly quick it disappeared from my glass. That's always a good sign.

Would I buy more of it? - sure. This is a easy drinking amber/red ale and pint cans are always a big plus!

Note - The name "Tule Duck" refers to a duck decoy that was fashioned with reeds by the Paiute Indian tribe of Nevada. Tule is the material, similar to a reed, used to fashion the decoys. The Tule Duck Decoy is actually the official "State Artifact" of Nevada. 


limited release hand-labeled can and an actual tule duck



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Tule Duck Red Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Buckbean Brewing Company
City: 
Reno, Nevada  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-row pale, CaraMunich, Special Roast and Toasted Oats
Hops: Palisade, Glacier, Select
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 42
Date: August 27th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Friday, August 27th 2010

Sam Adams in cans? Founder Jim Koch says, there will probably come a day...


craftcans.com mock-up

Beer Business Daily recently posted an interview with Sam Adams' founder, Jim Koch. A number of things were touched upon in the interview with one major thing that stood out. One of the questions that was posed to Jim was whether or not Sam Adams would ever be sold in cans. His response was interesting to say the least.

This is quite a statement from Jim as it really shows how far the can has come in the world of craft beer. It also would mean that Sam Adams would have to re-write Article VI of their "Beer Bill of Rights" that states, "Beer shall be offered in bottles, not cans, so that no brew is jeopardized with the taste of metal."

The issues with BPA in the liners are currently being addressed by the major can manufacturers so I don't think it will be long before we see a BPA-free beer can. Once that happens who knows what other major brewers will enter the canning game.

 


Wouldn't this be nice?

The idea of a six-pack of Sam Summer in cans sounds pretty darn good. Let's hope this happens soon!

You can read this interview in its entirety by going HERE


Posted by Russ



Friday, August 27th 2010

Third Eye Pale Ale
(Steamworks Brewing Company)

Yet another canned IPA and from Colorado no less! Third Eye Pale Ale is one of three beers being canned by Steamworks Brewing Company. With Ska Brewing Company also being located in Durango it makes for one hell of a town to live in if you love craft beer in can! If you seek canned enlightenment you know where to go.

 

From the Steamworks Brewing site:

"Third Eye Pale Eye is one of our most heavily hopped beers, with a nice, light copper color. In the spirit of the super-hoppy English ales that originated in the early 1800’s, its larger grain bill produces plenty of residual sweetness."


Here we go...

 

Pour - very, very bright orange in color with some darker shades and an inch of stark white head. The color of this beer when held to the light is truly impressive.

 

Aroma - sweet orange, caramel, toasted bread, pineapple juice and mango. Lots of tropical fruits and a good dose of maltiness. Not sure where the hops are just yet. Its not a hefty hop bomb as far as aroma is concerned.

 

Taste - sweet and tangy with a less pronounced hop flavor than I was expecting. Its got a lot of orange and pineapple juice notes along with some bitterness in the finish. Extremely soft on the palate with a nice caramel malt flavor that meshes will with the moderate hoppiness.

 

Overall - not every IPA is a tongue numbing, IBU bomb. Some are balanced and taste great as they are without pushing any limits. This is one of those beers. I could definitely enjoy a few of these without a problem. 

Would I buy more of it? - sure, its a solid brew. Not the hoppiest canned IPA on the shelves but nothing I'd be ashamed to bring to the counter.

Note - Third Eye Pale Ale's can was printed using an innovated printing process from Ball called Eyeris®. Look for more cans going forward to utilize this method of printing to have more intricate designs and detail. You can see another example of this on Steamworks' Steam Engine Lager.  

 



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Third Eye Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Steamworks Brewing Company
City: 
Durango, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 65
Date: August 27th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, August 26th 2010

Half Acre Beer Company
(Chicago, Illinois)

Regardless of what time of day it is right now you know you want to crack open a nice cool can of Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. Admit it. Half Acre's switch to 16 oz. cans will do nothing but great things for the Chicago-based brewery. If you are lucky enough to live in the greater Chicago area and can get your hands on these you should definitely take advantage. Also, be on the look out for something else in cans from these guys in the fall. There are rumors of another canned brew from them. Possibly their Over Ale (a 6% brown ale)? Fingers are crossed. 

 

Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:

 

Brewery Name - Half Acre Beer Company

 

Location - Chicago, Illinois, USA

 

Year Brewing Began - 2006

 

Annual Beer Output - @2,000 bbls 

 


photo: the Chicagoist

 

Brief History - Half Acre was started in 2006 by Gabriel Magliaro. It opened originally as a Chicago-based beer business with its office located in Chicago's meat packing district. Half Acre's first beer, Half Acre Lager, debuted the week of August 13th 2006. They contract brewed this and all of their other beers in Wisconsin before moving into their own (Chicago) space in 2009. Now they brew, and package, all of their own beers on premise. Daisy Cutter Pale Ale and Gossamer Golden Ale both debuted in cans earlier this year (2010). They still do bombers (22 oz. bottles) but are no longer bottling 12 oz. beers. Go here for more...

 

Distribution - Illinois (Chicago-land)


Number of Beers Canned - 2

 

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale -"A west coast Pale Ale chock-full of dank, aromatic hops. This one's a screamer, horde it."

Gossamer Golden Ale - "A drinker. This Golden Ale is a quality travel companion that aims to please with subtlety and aroma pop."

 

Half Acre Beer Company Media Resources


  


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 26th 2010

Viennese Lager
(Bohemian Brewery)

One of two lagers that Bohemian is currently canning (the other being their Czech Pilsner). This "Viennese Lager" is actually a Märzen/Oktoberfest style brew as it is darker in color and sweeter in taste compared to actual Viennese Lagers. Very few craft breweries focus solely on lagers and I am pretty sure that Bohemian is the only one of those that is canning their beers. 

 

From the Bohemian Brewery site:

 

"Our full bodied amber colored lager is a result of combining our fine Pils malt with more darkly roasted malt to brew what has become our most popular beer. Slightly more hoppy than our other beers with a very clean and crisp finish. This beer is hard to put down."


Here we go...

 

Pour - nice dark amber or golden in color with about a half inch of bubbly white head. Reminds me of the color of autumn.

 

Aroma - grainy malt, like sticking your head right in the fermentation tank. Some flavors of bread dough, yeast and caramel also come to mind.

 

Taste - sharp on the tongue, like a malt whip setting the stage. This dark amber lager has lots of malt flavor up front followed by some apple and caramel sweetness. I'm loving the way the carbonation makes each sip very crisp and refreshing. The grainy flavor I smelled is very apparent once this hits the lips. If you like an all-grain lager brewed with heart and soul than this is for you. Solid, straightforward and superb. 

 

Overall - smooth, crisp and malty. Pretty light on the tongue and very well-balanced. Excellent lager with plenty of flavor from start to finish.

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is another winner from the good folks in Midvale, Utah! 

 

Note - thanks goes out to Bohemian Brewery for hooking me up with samples of both of their canned offerings. I really appreciate your generosity and enjoyed both beers immensely.

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Viennese Lager
Style: Vienna Lager
Brewery: Bohemian Brewery
City: 
Midvale, Utah  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Canadian 2-row pilsner malt
Hops: Noble
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 26th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, August 25th 2010

Rail Yard Ale
(Wynkoop Brewing Company)

Rail Yard Ale was first brewed in 1992, four years after Denver's oldest brewpub first opened. This is my first taste of Wynkoop's flagship beer and the first beer they canned.

 

From the Wynkoop Brewing site:

"Our most popular beer for nearly 20 years, Rail Yard Ale puts a unique twist on the biggest-selling style of craft beer in Colorado.

It’s made with the malts and hops typically used in a German Octoberfest lager, but fermented with a classic English ale yeast. The result is a hearty, refreshing and uniquely Western craft beer.

Rail Yard is an elegant, mahogany-colored beer with a creamy tan head, aromas of biscuit malts and sliced apples or pears, and flavors of toasted malts and caramel."


Here we go...

 

Pour - ruby-ish amber in appearance with some nice bubbles streaming upwards into a dense mat of off-white foam. It looks malty and sweet just from the appearance. Hold this one up to the light and you've got something to sit back and enjoy with your eyes...but who really wants to do that for very long?

 

Aroma - sticking my nose into this I get a big whiff of delicious warm maltiness, toasted bread, fresh pressed cider, brown sugar and perhaps a slight tinge of citrus. This smells great!

 

Taste - toasty, malty and yet very light on the palate. I was expecting something much richer and sweeter. Baked apples meets toasted brown bread. Crisp in the finish with a touch of sweetness left on the tongue. I am impressed by this rather straight forward brew. 

 

Overall - light, refreshing and yet full-flavored. Great malt profile but not overly sweet. This is actually close to perfect when it comes to a solid American session ale. I really think Wynkoop nailed it with Rail Yard. Fantastic stuff for any occasion.

Would I buy more of it? - if I could, I would. I actually think I could turn some non-craft beer drinkers around by giving them a glass of this. Actually, I am pretty sure I could turn around some folks that think canned beer is bad beer by giving them a glass of this as well. Good stuff.

Note - Wynkoop recently released a second canned offering called Silverback Pale Ale. 50% of the profits from the sales of Silverback Pale Ale will go to the Denver-based Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Rail Yard Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Wynkoop Brewing Company
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 30
Date: August 25th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Monday, August 23rd 2010

Hop Shock IPA
(SanTan Brewing Company)

 

SanTan just recently released their Hop Shock IPA and Hefeweizen in cans. They are yet another Arizona brewery to move to cans. The Grand CAN-yon State is really picking up steam when it comes to canned craft beer. There are now six craft breweries in the state offering beers in cans. Nice!


From the SanTan Brewing site:


"Warm copper amber in color, SanTan brewers have re-defined this classic English Ale. An intense bitterness derived from the distinct citrus/pine flavor of Pacific Northwest Hops. A dry, crisp malt character & aggressive alcohol dominate our I.P.A. and make this bitter beer a hop-head’s passion! Pairs excellently with spicy foods and strong bleu cheeses."

Here we go...

Pour - a beautiful dark auburn liquid floods the glass and shines with some great looking red and yellow highlights. Carbonation seems spot on as a big, thick head of foam adorns this pour. 


Aroma - this is a work of art when it comes to aroma. Big citrusy bursts come at your nose that deliver a powerful dose of grapefruit, lemon with an almost eye-watering hoppiness. Talk about fresh aroma. You like your beer smelling hoppy than this is for you.


Taste - thy tongue will be dry and beaten to a pulp. Hop Shock is indeed a "shock of hops" to the taste buds. This has a pungent hop flavor that assaults the senses with lemon, lime, green apple, grapefruit sourness...just an all out barrage of bitterness. Want IBUs? I think you got them. I'd say this definitely leans towards hop dominated as the malt plays only a minor supporting role. I get a little caramel and an eency amount sweetness in the background but this is truly for those of us that are masochistic when it comes hops. 


Overall - lots of hop aroma and flavor packed into a can. Don't expect a balanced brew just open the can, pour it into your favorite glass, take a big whiff and enjoy the pleasure of having your tongue beaten by hops. This is not a wimpy IPA by any means.

Would I buy more of it? - sure, I love beers like this. I am a hop head at heart.

Note - SanTan Brewing also cans and their HefeWeizen Wheat, Devil's Ale and Epicenter Amber. 

 

      



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Hop Shock IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: SanTan Brewing Company
City: 
Chandler, Arizona  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row Barley, Wheat, Caramel 80, Munich, Victory
Hops: Columbus, Tomahawk, Zeus - (CTZ), Amarillo
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 85
Date: August 23rd, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Monday, August 23rd 2010

Whatever happened to Leroy?

Back in December of 2005, Oskar Blues released two canned "seasonal" beers within the confines of their home state of Colorado. A total of 400 cases (9,600 cans) of each was hand-canned and hand-labeled. Oskar Blues founder, Dale Katechis, called them "a canned gift to our fans". One of them would become very well known and the other would never be seen again.

The well known one was a very hoppy, very big (9.3%) and very bold (85 IBUs) ale that defied all categories at the time. It was billed as "the world's hoppiest canned beer". It's name was Gordon.

The other beer conversely was a solid, unfiltered, malty American Brown Ale brewed with five different malts and four kinds of US and UK hops. It weighed in at an extremely sessionable 5.2% and was to be the answer to all the Oskar Blues lovers that yearned for something in a can that was a little lower in alcohol. It's name was Leroy. .....................photo:Oskar Blues


   9,600 cans of Leroy were hand-canned and hand-labeled  

An excerpt from the 2005 Press Release reads:

"Some people," (Dale of Dale's Pale Ale) Katechis says, "have told us our beers are too strong for them. We don't know what they mean by that, but Leroy is for them." 

Based on the online reviews we'll assume that "those people" enjoyed all 9,600 cans of Leroy. So whatever happened to this sessionable brown ale? We know what became of Gordon. I would have thought a sessionable brew from Oskar Blues would have been a bigger success. Leroy would certai nly go over well now as people are starting to return to session beers after spending the past few years destroying their palates and their livers (myself included) on hop bombs and massive Russian Imperial Stouts. 

 

UPDATE:

I needed answers so I wrote to the folks responsible for the "canned beer apocalypse" to find out more about Leroy's early fate and to see if we may one day see Leroy in cans again. Last night I got a call from Chad Melis, the Marketing Director at Oskar Blues, who shed some light on things. He told me the following:

 

Leroy was indeed only brewed once and part of the reason why it was not put into full production was because of the name. Quite a few other "Leroy Browns" are in existence and Oskar Blues is/was striveing to offer something more unique. They continued to brew Leroy at the brewpub in Lyons but they eventually stopped, tweaked the recipe, and began offering a different brown ale called One Nut Brown. So, Leroy is officially retired and will not be returning to cans. Such is the life of a special release beer!

 

Thanks Chad for filling us in. Cheers!

 


Posted by Russ



Saturday, August 21 2010

Nude Beach Summer Wheat
(Stevens Point Brewery)

As summer seems begins to wind down I thought I'd take advantage while I still CAN and review this seasonal release. Nude Beach Summer Wheat is a brand new canned release from the folks at Stevens Point Brewery hitting the shelves at the beginning of the summer.

From the Stevens Point Brewing site:

 

"Point Nude Beach is the perfect summer pleasure. Available only during the warm months of summer, this lively and unfiltered wheat ale is well balanced using “au naturel” raw and red wheat, then delicately finished with Yakima hops. With a refreshing light flavor, Point Nude Beach is perfect while enjoying summer activities or just hanging out with friends. Clothing optional."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - soft golden straw-color with a wispy head on top. A little cloudy at first but this one settles clean and clear, even if it is unfiltered.

 

Aroma - grainy, lemony, some sweet orange peel and a little fresh cut grass. Not a whole lot of aroma but that is par for the style.

 

Taste - light and tangy. This has a great citrusy bite to it and a nice malt profile. Its nothing complex but I think that is it's strong point. Goes down way too easy. Put a cooler of these near me on a warm day and I'd be all set.

 

Overall - ridiculously easy to drink! I had my hesitations but Nude Beach surprised me. This was a solid brew with great flavor and a stand out for the style in my opinion.

 

Would I buy more of it? - I really dig this beer. It's very easy drinking and a great canned alternative to other light summer wheat beers (a la Sam Adams Summer).

 

Availability - May-July

 

Note - Stevens Point Brewery also canned summer-release beers for Schlafly Brewing and O'Fallon Brewing in neighboring Illinois this year.

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Nude Beach Summer Wheat
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
City: 
Stevens Point, Wisconsin  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-row, 6-row, Vienna, Crystal, Red Wheat Malt and White Raw Wheat
Hops: Mt. Hood and Yakima
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 7
Date: August 21st, 2010

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Sunday, August 21 2010

21st Amendment to release new canned holiday seasonal in October

Not long after the release of their Back in Black, the first canned Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale, 21st Amendment has announced another canned offering to hit shelves in October. Referred to as a "holiday spiced ale", "Fireside Chat" will be brewed with spices such as cinnamon, coriander and orange peel. I'll post more details as I get them but this sounds like an interesting beer for sure.

Fireside Chat will hit shelves a few months before Monk's Blood reappears in December. If you missed out on that last year be sure to pick up some this time around. You should never be short on beer during the holidays...

 

 

Personally, I am glad to see yet another canned brew from 21st Amendment. They are rapidly establishing themselves as the frontrunners when it comes to unique and widely distributed canned offerings (Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, Monk's Blood, Back in Black etc.). Cheers!


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 19th 2010

Freestyle Pilsner
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)

Freestyle Pilsner is the first of four canned seasonal releases from Santa Fe brewing. Its also their second canned offering after Happy Camper IPA which is their only year round canned release. The can shows a hop with devil horns on one side and on the reverse its a hop with a halo. I love it!

From the Santa Fe Brewing site:

 

"The assertively hopped Freestyle pils exudes the flavor and the aroma of the classic Saaz hop (a tribute to “the original” pilsner), while maintaining enough body to balance but not overpower this hop’s pleasant, spicy tone. An unhurried lagering process so frequently overlooked by American craft brewers is strictly adhered to in the production of Freestyle, which makes this beer by far the most light, clean, and quenching beer in the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s line up."


Here we go...

 

Pour - light golden, straw-like in color with a thin head that is quick to disappear. Clean and clear in appearance with a good carbonation level.


Aroma - a little bit grainy, hay, grass with a touch of citrus.

 

Taste - grainy, malty with some nice hints of floral citrus and bitterness from the hops. This is light bodied and very refreshing on the palate. It finishes dry with some tanginess and a lingering hop bite. A very well done pilsner that has some nice unique touches to it. 

 

Overall - smooth, satisfying and very refreshing. A solid and unique take on a traditional style. Easy drinking and well worthy of the investment.

 

Would I buy more of it? - sure, there are a few canned craft pilsners and this is one of the better ones.

 

Note - Along with Santa Fe's Freestyle Pilsner, they'll be releasing three other seasonal canned beers. Freestyle Pilsner will be followed by an Oktoberfest this fall, Java Stout in the winter and finally their Viszolay Belgian-style Dubbel in the spring. I can't wait to try them all. 

 

      

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Freestyle Pilsner
Style: American Pilsner
Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Company
City: 
Santa Fe, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Hallertau and Saaz
Hops: Pilsner and Vienna
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 19th, 2010

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Labels: Pilsners


Thursday, August 19th 2010

Avery's Cans to be Released on 9/2


photos by Avery Brewing Company

It's Official! After finally firing up the canning line for the first time just a few days ago, Avery has announced via their Facebook page that the long awaited cans will be made available to the public on Thursday, September 2nd at a release party at the Avery Tap Room. 

Those of you lucky enough to be within driving, biking or walking distance can go and pick up a six-pack or two (or three or four) of Avery IPA, Ellie's Brown Ale, White Rascal and/or their new Joe's Premium American Pilsner (and maybe ship a few east to your humble narrator). They should hit Colorado liquor stores soon but I am still not sure how far they'll distribute outside the state (if at all). Hopefully the love will be shared. Viva la Can!

                                  


Posted by Russ



Wednesday, August 18th 2010

Happy Camper IPA
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)

One of two recently released cans from New Mexico's oldest craft brewery. Happy Camper IPA is a new recipe from the brewery designed especially for the canned release. You've got to love the can that this brew comes in! If you're not sure where this IPA hails from you need to go and study your State flags.

The Happy Camper IPA can reads:

 

"Wiping your rear with a pine cone is as rough as camping should get. That's why we invented this portable IPA in a can. A hoppy, refreshing beverage that goes great with campfires, bears, granola and mosquito repellant. Happy camping! "


Here we go...

 

Pour - comes out of the can a rich amber color with some red and orange highlights and a fluffy white head that stands a full inch at the top and leaves some well formed lacing within the walls of the glass.


Aroma - honey, grapefruit, mango, caramel, lemon peel, cotton candy and cocoa powder. 

 

Taste - lots to go on once this hits the tongue. A burst of sweet, sweet malt is doused by an intense amount of citrus and bitterness that is accompanied by a great flavor of tropical fruits. I love IPAs that have a tropical fruit flavor and this one certainly has just that. The malt profile is pretty heavy and yet it not overpowering. The finish is tongue numbing but I'm left with a bit of cocoa powder (just like I smelled). I can only guess that is from the grain bill but who knows. This is good stuff!

 

Overall - while this may not fall into the "unique" category it does fall into the "solid IPA" category and I do love the tropical fruit flavors! Great aromas, fresh hop taste and a nice malty backbone make this a B+ of an American IPA. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. This is a great all around IPA to have in the cooler. 

 

Note - Happy Camper IPA will be Santa Fe's only year-round canned release. It will however be joined by four canned seasonal releases. Currently available is Freestyle Pilsner, their summer seasonal, which will be followed by an Oktoberfest this fall, Java Stout in the winter and finally their Viszolay Belgian-style Dubbel in the spring. I can't wait to try them all. 

 

 



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Happy Camper IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Company
City: 
Santa Fe, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-row pale, Munich and Crystal
Hops: Cascade, Simcoe, Bravo, Amarillo and Summit
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 18th, 2010

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Wednesday, August 18th 2010

Santa Fe Brewing Company
(Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Santa Fe Brewing Company is brand new to the canning game having just started putting two of their brews in cans this summer. They've done a great job of packaging and marketing so far and are planning on putting three more of their beers in cans in the future. We've got a lot to look forward to from the oldest craft brewery in the Land of Enchantment.

 

         

 

Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:

 

Brewery Name - Santa Fe Brewing Company

 

Location - Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

 

Year Brewing Began - 1988

 

Annual Beer Output - @ 11,000 bbls 

 

History - Mike Levis started brewing the company's flagship Santa Fe Pale Ale back in 1988. For a decade or so the brewery established itself and added beers to its portfolio. In 1997 the brewery expanded into a new location with more staff and a loftier outlook. Another expansion and move took place in 2005 where the brewery is in operation today. A very in depth history of Santa Fe Brewing Company can be found on their site.

 

Also, the Santa Few New Mexican did a great write-up about Santa Fe Brewing's delve into the world of canned craft beer.

 

Distribution - NM, CO, AZ, OK and TX

 


Number of Beers Canned - 5 in total. 1 year-round release and 4 seasonal releases. 

 

Happy Camper IPA - "A classic beer for those beer lovers who love their hops, Happy Camper IPA will take the Pepsi Challenge (or IPA challenge, as we say in New Mexico) against any other pretenders to the throne. Was it divine providence that made this beer the king of the IPA world? Was it a tireless pursuit of glory? No, this IPA has a top-secret recipe to thank for its success, and this meticulously formulated combination of several different hops combined with a very specific brewing process give Happy Camper IPA a spicy, citric, and floral infusion of hop character, which is masterfully counterbalanced with the full-bodied maltiness characteristic of the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s distinctive beers."

 

SEASONAL RELEASES

Freestyle Pilsner (summer) - "As its name suggests, this Pilsner does not like to be categorized. Inquiring whether it is a German, Czech, Bavarian, American, or any other style pilsner will result in an impatient sigh and the explanation that the whole philosophy behind this pilsner is that it does not fall into any categories. True, it is brewed with traditional ingredients (soft water, pilsner malt, saaz hops, and German yeast), but it is the way that these ingredients interact, and the characteristics of the yeast, that cause this particular pilsner to defiantly stand alone. The assertively hopped Freestyle pils exudes the flavor and the aroma of the classic Saaz hop (a tribute to “the original” pilsner), while maintaining enough body to balance but not overpower this hop’s pleasant, spicy tone. An unhurried lagering process so frequently overlooked by American craft brewers is strictly adhered to in the production of Freestyle, which makes this beer by far the most light, clean, and quenching beer in the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s line up."

Oktoberfest (fall) - "Though it is not necessary to drink this beer out of a mug that is larger than your head while dancing to polka music and wearing your lederhosen, you will find this lager's unbridled festivity difficult to resist.  This ode to Germany's classic fall lagers is as clean, clear, and quaffable as any that has ever weighed down the table of a German Beer garden.  The crisp maltiness of classic Munich malt compounded with the delicious notes of Bavarian hops gives this clean-finishing beer just the right flavor for the end of the summer."

Java Stout (winter) - "A hearty si p of the Santa Fe Stout delights one’s taste buds first with a generous Irish serving of roast malt that rolls off the tongue with a creamy bitterness reminiscent of the finest coffee. Supported by the complex, yet light body only possible with a good Irish yeast strain, this coffee-like creaminess eventually yields to the warmth of a subtle variety of hops, and their mild, full flavor. A favorite with regular customers, this rare brew can occasionally be found on draft at restaurants in Santa Fe, but is more likely on tap at the Brewery's tasting room. Despite its intimidating dark color, this brew has an uncanny ability to convert those who claim not to like beer. The balance of flavors and complexity of aroma are recognized and appreciated by all who taste this fine brew."

Viszolay Belgian (spring) - "Viszolay is a distinctly continental ale with a hint of the southwest. Belgian malt, Bavarian and Czech hops, and a secret blend of German and Belgian yeast strains provide this beer, inspired by the Trappist’s Dubbel style ale, with a strong traditional base, while a hint of New Mexico wildflower honey infuses it with that ethereal quality that we New Mexicans simply call, “enchanting”. Like the Trappist ales from which it sprung, Viszolay is light and refreshing. The hop’s subtle notes are overpowered by complex fruity flavors derived from the Belgian yeast, leaving Viszolay a very drinkable (yet rather potent) addition to the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s family of beers.


Santa Fe Brewing Company Media Resources


 

 


Posted by Russ



Tuesday, August 17th 2010

Maui Brewing Company
(Lahaina, Hawaii)

Maui Brewing Company recently became the largest craft brewery in the state of Hawaii (and is still the only craft brewery in the state that cans their beers). MBC definitely deserves this title as they are 100% Hawaiian and are one of the best examples in the craft beer world of both being environmentally responsible and acting locally. Along with a their ever-growing production facility in Lahaina, Maui Brewing also runs a 7-barrel brewpub in the town of Kahana. They brew with local ingredients, give their spent grain to local farmers and even can their beers, adorned with labels by designed by local artists, in cans produced on nearby Oahu. Okole maluna!

 

Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:

 

Brewery Name - Maui Brewing Company

 

Locations - Lahaina (brewery) and Kahana (brewpub), Hawaii, USA

 

Year Brewing Began - 2005

 

Annual Beer Output -  10,000@ bbls, capacity is now at 22,000 bbls

 

History - Garrett Marrero came to Hawaii from California with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur. In 2005 he and his wife Melanie bought and the one and only brewery on the island of Maui. They quickly established Maui Brewing Company, formerly called Fish and Game Brewing Company and Rotisserie, as a local company that cared about its roots and that makes great beer. In 2007 the first cans rolled off the line at a new production facility and business has been booming ever since. Recently they've expanded distribution to Oregon and parts of Idaho and have added a fourth member, Mana Wheat, to their canned beer lineup. If you want to learn a lot more about Maui Brewing Company check out this great article by Cambria Griffith for Drink, Eat, Travel.

 

Distribution - HI, ID, CA and OR

 

 

Number of Beers Canned - 4

 

Mana Wheat - "Mana Wheat is a fresh handcrafted American hefeweizen brewed with organic wheat, malted barley and fresh local Maui Gold Pineapple. Our crisp and refreshing wheat ale is lightly hopped to allow the fruity sweetness of the pineapple to shine."

CoCoNut Porter - "Our CoCoNut Porter is a fresh handcrafted robust porter brewed with six varieties of malted barley, hops, and hand-roasted coconut. It begins with a malty-toasted coconut aroma followed by a rich silky feel with tastes of dark malt, chocolate, and hints of coffee. It then finishes with flavors of toasted coconut and hoppy spice to balance the finish."

Bikini Blonde Lager "Our filtered Munich Helles Lager brewed with floral hops and Pilsner and Munich malts. This is the closest thing to an American lager from Maui Brewing Co. but not skimpy of flavor. Bold, smooth and refreshing."

Big Swell IPA - "Our handcrafted India Pale Ale brewed with four different Northwestern hops and malted barley...dry-hopped to perfection. Its flavor begins smooth and malty and is followed with a big burst of dry hop flavor."


Maui Brewing Company Media Resources


 


Posted by Russ



Monday, August 16th 2010

Resurrection
(The Brewer's Art)

My first can of craft beer from Maryland and my first beer from The Brewer's Art in Baltimore. This is their only canned offering and it was produced and canned for them by the good folks at Sly Fox Brewing Company in Royersford, Pennsylvania. The Brewer's Art is a restaurant that serves great food and great beer/wine/spirits that also brews a number of their own beers. They only can this one but you'll find bottles of a number of their other brews in the Baltimore metro area.

 

From the Brewer's Art site:

 

"During the fermentation of the first batch of this Abbey-style ale, the yeast "died" and was "resurrected" by brewer Chris Cashell. Made with five types of barley malt and lots of 
sugar, this beer is quite flavorful, without being too sweet."


Here we go...

 

Pour - a very clean and clear dark amber appearance with a half inch or so of fluffy head on top. When held to the light this has a lot of bright red and mahogany hues to it. That head really likes to stick around too. 

 

Aroma - sweet, buttery toffee, some clove spiciness, stewed apples, unfiltered cider, pears and some hints at that unmistakeable Belgian yeast aroma. Lots for your nose to enjoy.

 

Taste - lots of fruity ester-y flavors up front along with some caramel apple notes and some slight spicy yeastiness. This has a dry finish, almost like an apple wine. This is not overly sweet and in my opinion it hits the marks for the style quite well. 

 

Overall - Big fruit flavors with good carbonation levels make this quite refreshing even at 7%. Sometimes this style can be a bit too sweet for my taste but this was quite enjoyable. Putting this in a can was a great move by the folks at The Brewer's Art. All of those subtle, and not so subtle, flavors are really well preserved and this is an overall very enjoyable brew.

 

Would I buy more of it? - totally. This is a great beer to sit back and sip and really enjoy. There is a ton of flavor to appreciate and at this strength its a nice beer to end the evening with. 

 

Note - Resurrection is one of only two canned Belgian-style dubbels currently available in the US. The other is Siamese Twin Ale by Uncommon Brewers in Santa Cruz, California. 

 



Monk Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Resurrection
Style: Belgian Dubbel
Brewery: The Brewer's Art
City: 
Baltimore, Maryland  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 16th, 2010

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Monday, August 16th 2010

Posts about Craft Beer in Cans from around the web

It seems that craft beer in cans is quite the topic of interest around the web these days. Below are some great posts on the subject. Check them out!

 

Lee Reiherzer of Oshkosh Beer wrote a great article about the history behind Chief Oshkosh Red Lager. This short lived Wisconsin beer was quite possibly the first canned craft beer in the US when it was released back in 1991. I found it very interesting that almost 20 years ago it was advertised almost exactly as today's craft beer in cans!

 

 

Alan McLeod of A Good Beer Blog, one of the oldest beer blogs out there, recently put up a post titled "Dear Craft Brewers: Get a Canning Line" . It reads like an open letter to Allagash owner Rob Tod suggesting that brewers should save the corked and caged bottles for their bigger releases and put their more sessionable brews in cans. There are some great comments about the subject of this post so keep reading...

 

 


Ilya Fernberg of Damn That's Good Beer put up a post telling it like it is, If You’re Not Willing To Try Craft Beer In a Can…You’re Probably a Beer Douche… Not only can I thank Ilya for adding "beer douche" to my beer glossary but also for making some very valid points about canned craft beer and posing some important questions to all those beer lovers who stray away from cans. 

 


Posted by Russ


Labels:


Friday, August 13th 2010

Belgians Getting Canned!
What's Next?

Open the cooler door in most Belgian corner shops and you might be shocked to see beers like Rodenbach, Belle-Vue Kriek, Mort Subite and Hoegaarden in cans. The mere thought of the almighty Belgian beer in cans might be a bit too much for the beer purists out there to swallow. However, American brewers have followed suit and begun canning their own Belgian-style beers with plenty of success. 

Surly Brewing Company was the first to can a Belgian-style beer when they released CynicAle, a Saison or Farmhouse Ale, in 2007. It remains, to this day, the only beer of its style made available in cans.

 

In 2008, Uncommon Brewer's unleashed their one and only canned release, Siamese Twin Ale. One of the most unique beers available in cans, Siamese Twin is a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with coriander, kaffir lime and lemon grass.

 

21st Amendment's Monk's Blood, a special release Belgian-style Dark Ale, hit the shelves in 2009. Monk's Blood was the first oak-aged beer to be canned and was the first in the brewery's "The Insurrection Series". There is still no word on what the next release in that series will be.

 

      

2010 has seen two more Belgian-style beers made available in cans. Brewer's Art of Baltimore has released Resurrection Ale, a Belgian-style Dubbel, with the help of nearby canning brewery Sly Fox. Finally, New England Brewing Company recently put out a special release called 668 Neighbor of the Beast which was a strong Belgian-style Golden (or Pale) Ale.

All five of these Belgian-style Ales are excellent and at least five more Belgian-style releases are on the way! Could this be a growing trend in the canned craft beer world? We can only hope!

 


Coming Soon!

Be on the look out for Durham, North Carolina's Triangle Brewing Company's Triangle Belgian Golden Ale and Belgian-Style White Ale which should both be released soon. Also, new comers to the canning game Santa Fe Brewing Company will be releasing their "Viszolay Belgian", a Belgian-style Dubbel, as a fall seasonal release. Avery has just started canning their first round of beers which will include their White Rascal (a Belgian-style Witbier). Finally, DC Brau, the District's only distributing and canning brewery, will release The Citizen, a Belgian-style Pale Ale once they are up and running later this year. 

What's next? Hopefully we'll continue to see an ever expanding variety of styles getting canned. Perhaps a Belgian-style Tripel or Quad may end up in cans soon and hopefully a few more Saisons for the summer months. If a Belgian-style beer can taste great from a can is there any argument as to why any style of beer wouldn't be great from a can? I think not. 

Op uw gezondheid! A votre santé! Cheers!

 


Posted by Russ



Tuesday, August 10th 2010

THE "DESIGN A CAN AND WIN A BEER T-SHIRT OF YOUR CHOICE" CONTEST!

DESIGN A CAN AND WIN!

Do you have some artistic talent lurking deep down inside of you? Do you love beer? Here is your chance to prove it and win a pretty sweet prize for your troubles. The rules are simple, the prize is simple, and this should be a lot of fun!

THE RULES: Use the blank can above and design your dream can of beer. You must use this template (click on the can for a bigger, blank version to work with). You can do WHATEVER you'd like. You can make a canned version of a beer that you'd love to see in a can or you can design your very own can. We don't care. Be as creative as you'd like. Just don't submit something that someone else did. That wouldn't be cool. Be cool. Also, you must be located in the USA or Canada. 

 

 

THE PRIZE: A beer related t-shirt of YOUR choosing. If you win you can go to any American brewer's online store  and choose your t-shirt (up to $25 before shipping) and we'll do the ordering and the paying. Just send us the link and consider it done.

HOW YOU WIN: We'll keep the contest open until midnight on October 1st. Between now and then you can enter up to 5 cans. On October 2nd we'll choose the can we think is the best and announce the winner. 

HOW YOU ENTER: Please send ALL entries to us via EMAIL

STUFF TO REMEMBER: All entries become the property of CraftCans which means we can post them on our website for the world to look at. Really all that means is some free press for you so we hope you don't mind. All entries must be submitted no later than midnight on October 1st, 2010.

Cheers and best of luck!


Posted by Russ


Labels: Contests


Monday, August 9th 2010

Czech Pilsener
(Bohemian Brewery)

One of two lagers that Bohemian is canning (the other being their Viennese Lager). This Czech Pilsner is brewed in the traditional style and represents the homeland of Bohemian Brewery's owner, Joseph Petras. Very few craft breweries focus solely on lagers and I am pretty sure that Bohemian is the only of those that is canning their beers. Na zdraví!

 

From the Bohemian Brewery site:

 

"Our Czech Pilsener (a.k.a. Bohemian Pilsner) is the purest of beers - in our eyes. Clear and golden in color, light and crisp in taste. Our lager is well aged from real Pilzen Malt and actual imported Czech Yeast from Branik - Prague, Czech Republic. Only the finest Saaz hops are used to emulated this outside-of Pilzen, Pilsener. Crafted after one of our favorite Pilsners, Pilsner Urquell - you won’t be disappointed in this true Czech beer. The closest thing to Bohemian Pilsner you can get without actually being in the Czech Republic."


Here we go...

 

Pour - very clean, light golden in color with a nice sharp looking head. Just looking at this cold beer in a glass makes me want to stop thinking about it and just start drinking. Thankfully I've got more!

 

Aroma - grainy and slightly citric. This smells a bit sulfuric and spot on for the style.

 

Taste - first gulp and my thirst is almost quenched. This is a sharp, crisp tasting pilsner that tastes almost perfect on this 90 degree evening. Some nice noble hop flavors come out and match well with the slight grainy sweetness. A nice finish leaves the tongue a little dry, the lips a little wet and your brain moving your head back to the glass. 

 

Overall - if you want crisp and refreshing this is your beer. When you think pilsner I hope your thinking of a beer like this because it truly showcases what this not-so-easy to brew style should be. These guys are brewing up some lager-ific magic out in Utah! 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is one of the best pilsners I've had to date and a perfect beer to stock a cooler with on a warm summer day.

 

Note - thanks goes out to Bohemian Brewery for hooking me up with samples of both of their canned offerings. I really appreciate your generosity and enjoyed both beers immensely.

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Czech Pilsener
Style: Czech Pilsener
Brewery: Bohemian Brewery
City: 
Midvale, Utah  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Canadian 2-row pilsner malt
Hops: Saaz
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 9th, 2010

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Monday, August 9th 2010

Bohemian Brewery
(Midvale, Utah)

Bohemian Brewery doesn't brew a Double IPA. They don't even brew a regular IPA. In fact, these guys don't brew any ales at all. Instead Bohemian Brewery focuses all of their attention on brewing lagers and great lagers at that. This is because the brewery is inspired by its Czech owner and the great lager beers of Europe. 

 

Currently Bohemian cans two of their offerings, a Czech Pilsener and a Viennese Lager, and they're only available in their home state of Utah. As the only craft brewery that cans their beer in the state they are providing the goods for all the Utah-proud adventurers. In a state mad about skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking and every other outdoor sport imaginable, Bohemian is sitting pretty. 

 

Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:

 

Brewery Name - Bohemian Brewery

 

Location - Midvale, Utah, USA

 

Year Brewing Began - 2001

 

Annual Beer Output - @????

 

History - In 1980 Czech immigrant Joseph Petras came to America. He worked hard doing non-beer related things for a long time. Then, in 2001, he bought a brewery right outside Salt Lake City. He was determined to share his passion for beer and his homeland with others and to have a family business. Bohemian Brewery was born (and so was a restaurant). 

Bohemian is run by Joseph, his wife Helen and their son Peter. They brew traditional lager beers that tend to be low in alcohol, which works great in a state like Utah, and all of them adhere to the German Purity Laws or Rheinheitsgebot. Their beers have won numerous awards and should you visit their brewpub you'll have the chance to pair them nicely with some great food. 


photo by Peter Petras

Distribution - all over the great state of Utah


Number of Beers Canned - 2

 

Czech Pilsner -"Our Czech Pilsener (a.k.a. Bohemian Pilsner) is the purest of beers - in our eyes. Clear and golden in color, light and crisp in taste. Our lager is well aged from real Pilzen Malt and actual imported Czech Yeast from Branik - Prague, Czech Republic. Only the finest Saaz hops are used to emulated this outside-of Pilzen, Pilsener. Crafted after one of our favorite Pilsners, Pilsner Urquell - you won’t be disappointed in this true Czech beer. The closest thing to Bohemian Pilsner you can get without actually being in the Czech Republic."

 

 

Viennese Lager - "Our full bodied amber colored lager is a result of combining our fine Pils malt with more darkly roasted malt to brew what has become our most popular beer. Slightly more hoppy than our other beers with a very clean and crisp finish. This beer is hard to put down."

Thank you to Bohemian Brewery for sending samples of both their canned offerings. They are both excellent! 


Bohemian Brewery Media Resources


 


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 5th 2010

Alaska's Only Canned Craft Beer
Q & A with Greg Mills, Head Brewer
(Sleeping Lady Brewing Company)

Alaska is well-known for it's rugged beauty, outdoor adventure and great beer. There are more than a few (14 to be exact) craft breweries in the state and no shortage of craft beer drinkers. What is amazing is that only one of those fourteen craft breweries is canning beer and they currently can only one.

That one is Urban Wilderess Pale Ale and it's brewed and hand-canned by the folks at Sleeping Lady Brewing Company in Anchorage. This piqued my interest so I wrote to them to ask a few questions about Urban Wilderness and about canned craft beer in Alaska in general. Greg Mills, Sleeping Lady's Head Brewer, was prompt to respond and I am very thankful to him for taking time out of his busy brewing schedule to do so. Cheers Greg and congratulations on winning a Silver Medal at this year's World Beer Cup for your "Frozen Kriek"!

(CC) When did Sleeping Lady first decide to can Urban Wilderness? Is that the only beer you guys have ever canned?

(GM) I believe the canning operation started 7 years ago. It was here before me, and I have been here 4 years. Urban Wilderness Pale Ale is the only beer that we have ever canned. It was chosen because of the various awards at World Beer Cup and GABF.

World Beer Cup - Silver Medal in 2000 and 2002, Bronze Medal in 2006
GABF - Silver Medal in 1998 and 2002


(CC) What kind of canning line are you using? 

(GM) The system is made by Cask in Calgary. It is manual, fills 2 at a time, has a single seamer, and does six-packs in hi-cone rings.

 


(CC) Has there ever been another craft beer in cans that was brewed in Alaska?

(GM) This is the first and only canned (craft) beer in Alaska. I have heard talk from other guys who wish to get into canning around here, but we will see.


(CC) How have Alaskans responded to craft beer in cans? Do you think other Alaskan breweries might begin putting their beer in cans?

(GM) Alaskans have responded to cans amazingly well and I believe that there are several reasons for this. There is no glass recycling here, it is light in weight, a local product, and a pretty good beer.

 


(CC) What is your favorite beer to brew at Sleeping Lady?

(GM) I have no idea what is my favorite beer to brew. I experiment a lot, the Fish On! IPA smells the best while brewing, the Goldrush Golden might be the easiest, and the Bravehart Scottish is a labor of love.


(CC) If a beer lover was to visit Anchorage for the weekend what would you to tell them to do?

(GM) Anchorage (and all of Alaska) is an amazing place. Outdoor adventures are waiting at your doorstep. Also, there are so many beer destinations. The four breweries in town have restaurants and do tours: Midnight Sun Brewing, the Glacier Brewhouse, Moose's Tooth, and me. There will be another brewery opening soon. The Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna. Kassik's, Kenai River, and St. Elias are in the Kenai area. Homer Brewing Company in Homer. Silver Gulch just outside of Fairbanks. And there are many more. For drinking in Anchorage, there is Humpy's Alehouse, Cafe Amsterdam, Taproot Cafe, Firetap, and others.

And, if you ever find yourself in the area, please feel free to visit the brewery. If the music is playing and the lights are on, then I am here.

 


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 5th 2010

CynicAle
(Surly Brewing Company)

CynicAle is one of four year-round releases from Surly and probably the one that's best suited for summertime (although Furious isn't far behind). It is also the ONLY saison currently canned in the entire world as far as we know. The saison style is perfectly constructed to be refreshing and light on the palate. Surly's CynicAle takes the traditional Belgian Farmhouse Ale and puts a bit of an American twist on it by working with Columbus hops to create something pretty damn special.

 

From the Surly site:

 

"Oh great, a fizzy yellow beer in a can, that's just what the craft beer world needs! CynicAle melds Old World ingredients in a new school style. French malted barley, English oats and Belgian yeast create honey & black pepper flavors. Lively Slovenian hops provide the floral, apricot and peach notes. Toss your doubts away, toss one back and enjoy!”


Here we go...

 

Pour - bright, bright orange with some yellow hues. Clean, clear with about a half inch of bubbly head that is quick to dissipate. A little hazy in appearance. Looking good.

 

Aroma - the spicy smell of the Belgian yeast is the first to hit my nose. This is followed by some sweet brown sugar and some orange or lemon and even watermelon. 

 

Taste - one sip and you'll be hooked. CynicAle is spicy with some citrus and sweet fruit flavors that are perfectly refreshing. You definitely get some of the peach and apricot mentioned above and it has a nice hoppiness to it, not so much bitter but floral. I am happy to have 16 oz. but wish I had access to more of this.

 

Overall - an outstanding take on a very traditional style that is great to drink during the warm summer months, like it was originally intended. Bold, flavorful and thirst quenching. If you've not had this try and get some. I'd love to see more saisons in cans!

 

Would I buy more of it? - like all the other Surly beers I've had, you bet.

 

Note - Saison” is the French word for season, because these ales were traditionally brewed in the autumn or winter for consumption during the late summer harvest for farm workers who were entitled to up to five liters throughout the workday during harvest season. After brewing, the ale was stored until the late summer harvest. Although now most commercial examples range from 5 to 8% abv, originally saisons were meant to be refreshing and thus had alcohol levels less than 3%. Because of the lack of potable water, saisons would give the farm hands the hydration they needed without the threat of illness." - Wikipedia

 



Monk Scale:
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Can Scale:
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CynicAle
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Surly Brewing Company
City: 
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pilsner, Aromatic, Oats
Hops: Columbus, Slovenian Styrian Goldings
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: 33
Date: August 5th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, August 4th 2010

668 Neighbor of the Beast
(New England Brewing Company)

 

668 The Neighbor of the Beast is the second limited release can from NEBC. Following in the footsteps of the big, bold hop-monster that was Gandhi-Bot, 668 is a strong "Belgian-style Golden Ale" in a big can with a stuck on label. Let's see what this all about, shall we?

 

The can reads:

 

"“Good fences make good neighbors . . . unless you live next door to Satan. Then you may need something more than a fence to accept that your neighbor is the Prince of Darkness; like our “668.” This HELLaciously delicious Belgian Ale is brewed with pilsner malts, candi sugar and blended with American and German hops. It will help you accept that cloven-hooved guy next door.””


Here we go...

 

Pour - wow. This just looks great in a glass. Yellowish orange and soft with a beautiful bubbly, smooth head on top. Lots of little orbs streaming upwards adding to the foamy goodness. A little opaque but not really cloudy. 

 

Aroma - zesty, Belgian yeasty and spicy. Its a familiar smell of Belgian yeast but also some tangy citrus, orange peel and a kiss of caramel. Fresh and aromatic. I am ready to dive right in.

 

Taste - one big sip and this is flavor city my friends. Tons of spiciness from the Belgian yeasties, a nice chunk of orange and lemon citrus as well as some vanilla and cinnamon flavors. Extremely soft on the palate and a little sharp and dry in the finish. This has some tripel-esque characteristics, especially at 9%. The tangy sweetness really sets this apart from its Belgian counterparts. Its so fresh and so drinkable. I blame the American hops or maybe its my close proximity to the brewery. Whatever the case this is some amazing stuff. 

 

Overall - another winner from New England Brewing Company. I need to find this on tap and get a nice fresh pour as I can only imagine how good that tastes. This is incredible coming right out of the can with so much flavor and complexity but yet so easy drinking...which is scary as 2-3 cans will put you to sleep on the couch at 8 o'clock. Find some of this and enjoy. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - yes. yes. yes.

 

Note - New England Brewing is doing a lot of great things lately and I look forward to seeing what their next special canned release will be. Although, I will always feel like they missed that opportunity to put their famous Imperial Stout Trooper in cans. That would have been pretty sweet.

 



Monk Scale:
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Can Scale:
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668 Neighbor of the Beast
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Brewery: New England Brewing Company
City: 
Woodbridge, Connecticut  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pilsner malts
Hops: American and German hops
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 4th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, August 3rd 2010

The Greatest Craft Canned Beer Drinking Glass Ever!?!


yep, it's a can-shaped glass to hold your beer!

You're looking at a can-shaped pint glass commemorating Oskar Blues' 1st annual "Burning Can" festival held earlier this summer. This epic union of Colorado canning craft breweries included 13 different brewers from throughout the state and I missed it. Boo-hoo. That being said, I was on their site earlier and saw these for sale for only $5, so I snagged one. What better way to drink a can of craft beer than by pouring it's luscious contents directly into a can-shaped glass? I can't think of anything...

 

GET YOUR CAN-SHAPED PINT GLASS HERE!

(they won't last)

 

 


Posted by Russ



Monday, August 2nd 2010

Mana Wheat
(Maui Brewing Company)

Brand new to the Maui canned lineup, Mana Wheat has just been released and is pretty much the perfect brew for a warm summer day wherever you may be. I loved their CoCoNut Porter so I am pretty excited about what they've done with pineapple juice in this brew. Aloha!

From the Maui Brewing site:

"Mana Wheat is a fresh handcrafted American hefeweizen brewed with organic wheat, malted barley and fresh local Maui Gold Pineapple. Our crisp and refreshing wheat ale is lightly hopped to allow the fruity sweetness of the pineapple to shine."


Here we go...

 

Pour - pours a slightly cloudy orangish, reddish color with about an inch of white foam that is gone almost before I can grab the camera. It quickly fades away completely leaving what looks like tropical fruit juice in my glass. 

 

Aroma - slightly sweet and sour initially. Some wheat and malt is accompanied by a rather unique smell of pineapple juice and caramel. Its not overly sweet and actually has some citrus notes along with an unmistakeable Belgian yeastiness. Quite intriguing...

 

Taste - one gulp and swish around the tongue and I am sort of stunned by how well the idea of pineapple and wheat beer come together. Mana Wheat has a spiciness from the yeast that really comes out but its backed up nicely by the sweetness from the pineapple juice in a perfect way. Nothing really dominates and that acrid taste I am left with from some wheat ales is not present whatsoever. Pineapple does to this beer what it does for pork. It just makes it awesome. This is soft on the palate, sweet, spicy and extremely refreshing. Hells yeah. I want more.

 

Overall - Mana Wheat definitely lived up to my expectations. Another extremely solid and Hawaii-rific offering from the folks at Maui. Unique, flavorful and thirst quenching on a whole new level! Thanks goes out to Cambria at Drink Eat Travel for sharing this with me. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - if only I could! I'd be stocking up on this and the other Maui cans on a regular basis.

 

Note - Maui now cans four of their beers. You can find their CoCoNut Porter, Bikini Blonde and Big Swell IPA as well as Mana Wheat canned and available for purchase in Hawaii, California, Washington, Idaho and Japan. 

 


Can Scale:
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Mana Wheat
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: Maui Brewing Company
City: 
Lahaina, Hawaii  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Organic wheat and malted barley
Hops: Tettnanger and Liberty
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 18
Date: August 2nd, 2010

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Monday, August 2nd 2010

Southern Star Brewing Company
(Conroe, Texas)

Southern Star Brewing is one of two craft breweries canning their beers in the Lone Star State (the other being Spoetzl - makers of the Shiner brand). This relatively small brewery located outside Houston is in their third year of production and things are heading in the right direction (they are expecting to produce twice as much in 2010 as they did in 2009). They now can three beers, the newest being their Buried Hatchet Stout which is one of only a handful of canned stouts available in the country. Hopefully we'll see their rauchbier in cans one day!

 

Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:

 

Brewery Name - Southern Star Brewing Company

 

Location - Conroe, Texas, USA

 

Year Brewing Began - 2008

 

Annual Beer Output - @1,500 bbls 

 

History - Southern Star was founded by Dave Fougeron and Brian Hutchins. The two actually met playing a round of disc golf. Dave had brewed previously at Saint Arnold Brewing in Houston and Brian was a long time homebrewer. In 2007 they patched together a brewery in the town of Conroe and by the following spring they were producing beer. Their first , and the only one in 16-ounce pint cans, was their Pine Belt Pale Ale which is named after the Pine Belt region in Texas. This was followed by their seriously drinkable Bombshell Blonde and finally their rich and strong Buried Hatchet Stout. If you'd like to know more about Southern Star The Houston Chronicle wrote up a great article about Southern Star, check it out!

 

Distribution - TX, IN, KY, OH, AL & SC


Number of Beers Canned - 3

 

Bombshell Blonde -"A rich, creamy golden colored ale fermented at a cool temperature to give a clean finish. Hints of yeasty bread and a touch of hops combine to make a beer that is truly more than the sum of its parts."

Pine Belt Pale Ale - "A deep copper colored ale with a substantial malt backbone accented with British crystal malts with aggressive hop bitterness and substantial American hop flavor and aroma. The yeast profile is neutral."

Buried Hatchet Stout - "Jet-black in color, this monster smells of coffee and chocolate. The taste is much of the same, with hints of creamy toffee and roasted malt. Smooth and delicious, this medium bodied ale is all about the malts, but has enough hop bitterness to be balanced."


Southern Star Brewing Company Media Resources


 


Posted by Russ