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Monday, February 28th 2011

Cans Full o' Coffee Beers

You can't brew coffee with beer but you certainly can brew beer with coffee. Let's face it, whoever it was that first brewed a beer with the addition of coffee was just plain brilliant. The roasty, bitter flavors of coffee mesh together perfectly with most dark brews (and even some lighter ones). Popularized in the mid-90s, coffee beers are now brewed by just about every little brewery in the country, many doing so through a partnership with a local coffee shop. When it comes to those beers getting into cans, well we've only just begun.


Up until a few months ago it wasn't too tough to figure out which brewery was the first to can a coffee beer since there was only one. Surly Brewing Company's Coffee Bender hit shelves in late 2008 making it the first and only coffee beer canned in the US at the time. Coffee Bender, a coffee-fueled take on their popular Bender Brown Ale (no, its not a stout or a porter), is "brewed" (actually the beer is steeped in cold pressed coffee) with coffee beans grown in Guatemala and locally roasted at Coffee & Tea, LTD. in Minneapolis. If you're a coffee lover this beer is certainly a great example of what it can do for a beer. Since the beer itself is relatively light-bodied the dark, bitter, roasty flavors of the coffee really come out. This is a beer that is definitely worth seeking out.


Coffee beer lovers finally saw the second canned coffee beer appear late last year. New Mexico's Santa Fe Brewing Company released their Imperial Java Stout, a winter seasonal and their fourth canned offering, in December of 2010. This 8% Russian Imperial Stout packs some heat and plenty of flavor. It's brewed with East Timor coffee beans blended with New Guinea coffee beans and locally roasted by O'hori's Coffee House in Santa Fe. This beer is rich and malty with a super nice bitter chocolate flavor. 



What does the future hold for this alluring style when it comes to cans? The good news is that a couple more options are on the way. Iowa's Great River Brewery has just gotten label approval for 16 oz. cans of their Redband Stout. It's brewed with cold-pressed coffee from Redband Coffee Company and weighs in at 6% ABV. Also, Good People Brewing Company out of Birmingham, Alabama, who have just begun canning their beers, has plans to put their Coffee Oatmeal Stout in cans later this year. The brew, a 6% oatmeal stout, will feature coffee from Primavera Coffee Roasters, a local coffee shop. As soon as we hear of any others coming to cans we'll be sure to let you know! Cheers!

Coffee Scale:
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Posted by Russ

Labels: Coffee Beers

Sunday, February 27th 2011

One Hit Wonder
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

One Hit Wonder is a special release from Oskar Blues that coincided with the launch of G'Knight (the re-branding of Gordon). They canned and labeled only 200 cases of this Imperial IPA so once its gone, its gone. Here's to hoping we see more of these special releases from them in the future. Cheers!

From the Oskar Blues site:

"Fruity esters and generous dry-hopping give this 9% ABV ale the aroma of tropical fruit while a touch of English crystal malt provides the perfect backdrop for tangy hop flavors of tangerine and mango. The Tasty Weasel Taproom is the only place to get 6-packs of this pig."


Here we go...


Pour – beautiful orangish-reddish color with some very bright highlights and a soapy yet lacy head. Looks like a nice, clean pour. Very nice...

Aroma – lots of pine and lemon, perhaps even a bit like Pine-Sol (but in a good way). A couple deep whiffs of this and you certainly are going to get plenty of fresh hoppiness. There are also some faint hints of fresh cut grass, vinyl car seats, caramel and pineapple. I better not sit around smelling this anymore, my mouth is getting mad.

Taste – washing this over the palate brings about a lot of tropical flavors. I definitely get the tangerine and mango mentioned above as well as pineapple and papaya. It's sweet, tangy with a great bitter hoppy finish. This is not a hop bomb by any means, in fact its quite balanced with some amazing flavors brought out by the malt and hops. 


this beer is super fresh!

Overall - Don't expect to lose any enamel with this big IPA as it's only rocking 60 IBUs compared to many others that break the century mark. That being said, sometimes its nice to have flavors aside from bitterness. One Hit Wonder hits all the marks and I'm certainly glad I got a chance to try it. 


How it compares to GUBNA - despite being in the same style category, the two are very different. GUBNA is stronger and much hoppier. One Hit Wonder has balance, a lot more tropical fruit flavors and a very different hop bill. Both have a lot of sweetness but neither are too cloying. I'd love to do a side by side comparison, but for that I'll need more cans of One Hit Wonder. Sigh.


Note - Information about The Tasty Weasel Taproom from the Oskar Blues site:

"The Tasty Weasel Taproom located inside Oskar Blues Brewery puts you in the front row of beer soaked nirvana.  Drink OB brews including weekly specialty firkin creations along with Oak Aged selections while enjoying the view of stainless steel fermentation tanks.  The Tasty Weasel offers 7 taps, growlers to go and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of America’s hottest breweries.  Drink alongside brewery & cannery employees as you soak in the suds, smells & sounds of Oskar Blues beer culture."

Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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One Hit Wonder
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
Lyons, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: 60
Date: February 27th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Wednesday, February 23rd 2011

The Revolution will be Televised
(or at least featured on YouTube)

We've been noticing more and more videos related to canned craft beer circulating around so we decided to select a few that stood out and feature them below. If we've missed any other good ones please let us know. Cheers!


Sly Fox's "Respect the Cans"


"A Day in the Life of Ska Brewing"


How it's done at 7 Seas Brewing


SanTan Brewing's cans being fabricated and printed


Tallgrass Beer Presents: The Horror (1 of 4)


Big Sky's canning line is the only one of its kind


Good People Brewing's first cans being filled


a great look at Oregon's Caldera Brewing Company


Canning Siamese Twin Ale at Santa Cruz's Uncommon Brewers

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, February 21st 2011

Snake River Brewing to begin canning Pako's EYE-P-A

Snake River's Pako's EYE-P-A is coming to cans!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming's Snake River Brewing Company is one of the latest breweries to make the move to canning. The first of their beers to make that move to aluminum will be their Pako's EYE-P-A, currently a draught only brew. Pako's EYE-P-A was named for the brewery's canine mascot who had two different color eyes. Snake River hopes to have Pako's in cans by June 1st (just in time for summer fun) with other canned offerings to follow.

The Snake River site has this short but sweet description of Pako's EYE-P-A:

"This full flavored, fully hop-evident IPA will have the hopheads rejoicing."


Snake River Brewing Company Media Resources



Posted by Russ


Monday, February 21 2011

Cherny Bock
(Bohemian Brewery)

The newest canned offering from Utah's one and only canning craft brewery. Not only is Bohemian the only canning show in the state but they've also exclusively canned varieties of lager thus far. This Schwarzbier is a departure to the dark side compared to their first two canned releases, a Vienna Lager and a Czech Pilsner. Thanks goes out Pete at Bohemian for hooking us up. We've loved everything from this brewery so we're excited to try this one!


From the Bohemian Brewery site:


"The word Cherny literally means ‘black‘ in Czech referring to the color of the rather surprising dark Schwarzbier with gentle bitterness to appeal to your palette.  A true gem to be discovered by specialty beer lovers.  2008 GABF Silver medal winner in the Schwarzbier category."


Here we go...


Pour - very, very dark brown with some slight hints of red/auburn when held to the light. The head on this is a good inch of coffee and cream colored foam which slowly fades leaving a thin bubbly head atop this intriguing brew.


Aroma - coffee grounds, vanilla beans, cocoa powder, burnt toast and plenty of good old dark-roasted malt. Cherny Bock has a great aroma, one that will certainly draw you in if you're not afraid of dark beer (you can be afraid of snakes or bears or even possums but you should not be afraid of dark beer).


Taste - lets start by saying that the second this hits your tongue you're going to notice that A) it is super smooth and B) it is a very light beer. The dark, roasty malt flavors are there but subdued and meld well with some light espresso and bitter chocolate. The finish is light on the tongue, its like it just fades away. 


Overall - at a super session-able 4% alcohol, this is a beer that you could enjoy during a long afternoon outside. Great flavor for a beer this light and certainly a great option for anyone looking for another beer to stock their cooler with. 


Would I buy more of it? - yes. This is another great canned lager variety from Bohemian. We need to make a trip out to Utah and visit their brewpub, I hear they do a great brunch!


Note - For everything you've ever wanted to know about this dark lager style from German go HERE!

"Darkness Cometh"



Cherny Bock
Style: Schwarzbier
Brewery: Bohemian Brewery
Midvale, Utah  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 21st, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, February 17th 2011

Bitter American
(21st Amendment Brewery)

The newest release from the folks at 21st Amendment. This is their sixth canned offering to date. I think they've got a winner here. Session ales are getting popular and a low alcohol yet hoppy beer should sit well with those of us who are active and see the portability of cans as a big positive. We should expect to see more of these session ales popping up going forward. Cheers!

From the 21st Amendment site:

"If you'd been rocketed into space against your will, you might be a little bitter too. Bitter American is our long-overdue tribute to unsung, unwitting heroes everywhere. This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have a little history to make.

Bitter American is our late winter seasonal beer available from January through March in six pack cans and on draft. This extra pale session ale has lower alcohol but all the flavor and hop aroma you expect from a much bigger beer. Give one, or three, a try.

Here we go...


Pour - bright orange, clean and clear. Very well formed head with some lacing. Part of this pour is definitely the aroma, it comes streaming out of this can at full force and is a lot more pungent than one might expect for a beer this low in alcohol.


Aroma - lots of grapefruit, wow. All that resiny, piney, citrusy goodness is in present. This just smells heavenly. For a hoppy, sessionable pale ale I don't think one could ask for a better smelling beer. 


Taste - nice bitterness, piney and grapefruity hop flavors with some malty undertones. Not too sweet, not too bitter. A nice balance and a very light body. This one skips along the tongue leaving you satisfied and not weighed down by either flavors or booziness. I absolutely love the amount of hoppiness this beer presents, its a very nice surprise as I wasn't expecting quite so much.


Overall - one sip and you'll be hooked. I know I am. Big flavors and low ABV. We need a lot more of these. I am not exaggerating when I say that this one is off the charts when it comes to "drinkability". This should be available all year round.


Would I buy more of it? - definitely, there are not enough of these low ABV, hoppy brews on the market. Maine's Baxter Brewing has one called Pamola Xtra Pale Ale that also fits into this category but I can't think of too many others.


Note - The "space monkey" on the can is Ham the Chimp (or AstroChimp). He was "the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in the American space program. Ham's name is an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission — the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico."


 21st Amendment's canned lineup thus far:





Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Bitter American
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, California  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Simpson's Golden Promise, 2-row Pale, Munich and Crystal
Hops: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe (dry hopping) and Centennial (dry hopping)
ABV: 4.4%
IBUs: 42
Date: February 17th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pale Ales

Thursday, February 17th 2011

Oskar Blues to Release Super Major Crazy Limited Canned Imperial IPA


"One Hit Wonder" will be available THIS Saturday in very limited amounts"

What happens when you're a brewery and you have to change the name of one of your more popular brands? Well, if you're Oskar Blues you take it all in stride and simply re-launch the brand and it's new name by having what they're calling their "Bona Fide G'Night Birthday and Launch Party" involving plenty of beer and cheer.


Adding to the fun of their (re)release of G'Knight (nee Gordon) at The Tasty Weasel (the official Oskar Blues taproom in Longmont, Colorado) will be the availability of a very limited amount of six-packs (in cans of course) of an Imperial IPA that Oskar Blues has dubbed "One Hit Wonder"

So, what is it? Well, according to their Facebook page, Oskar Blues says this about One Hit Wonder,

"our latest hop crazy creation (9% ABV, 60 IBU) will be available only at The Tasty Weasel starting THIS SATURDAY for the G'Knight Relaunch party. This pig is only available at THE TASTY WEASEL till it turns to bacon."

A little more about this beer,

"Fruity esters and generous dry-hopping give this 9% ABV ale the aroma of tropical fruit while a touch of English crystal malt provides the perfect backdrop for tangy hop flavors of tangerine and mango. We brewed 200 cases of this small-batch one hit wonder, celebrate with us at the Tasty Weasel and grab a 6-pack before this pig turns to bacon (No pigs were harmed during the making of this beer)."

If you're lucky enough to live close to Longmont and are free this Saturday you should definitely swing by and enjoy a few beers and get some of this super limited edition beer. You may never see it again and most of us will never see it period. Cheers!


Posted by Russ


Wednesday, February 16th 2011

Widow Maker Black Ale
(Keweenaw Brewing Company)


If you're ever up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula there are several things you need to do. One is eat a pasty. Two is spend some time outdoors. Three is have a few beers at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton as well as The Vierling in Marquette. 


From the Keweenaw Brewing site:


"Don't let it's looks deceive you. Clean and smooth, easy on the hops and easy on the palate; this light bodied ale has a surprising depth of malt flavors with pleasant hints of a smoky molasses."


Here we go...


Pour - dark, dark brown with a big fluffy tan head. The head on this actually fades fairly quickly but the dark, dark color of this beer isn't going anywhere.


Aroma - dark roast coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, molasses, some dark fruits as well some faint hints of earthy hops.


Taste - roasty and tangy. There are a lot of the bold flavors that come with the dark malt but also a tangy zip of a finish that is dry and reminds me a bit of red wine. Its a nice balance between the roasty coffee ground and caramel flavors and this sort of vinous, earthy flavors. Very drinkable and certainly a nice beer to have with a meal or with dessert.


Overall - solid, dark yet light-bodied beer. What is a black ale anyways? What we've been calling a Black IPA is technically now called an American Black Ale yet this one is classified as a American Brown Ale. Anyways, regardless of what its called and what color it is, this is worthy of your glass.


Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. Do they do a mixed pack?


Note - Keweenaw Brewing has just started canning and distributing their fifth beer which is called Olde Ore Dock Scottish Ale. We need to get our hands on some of those.


Are you wondering what a "widow maker" is? Well, the can reads:

"The 'Widowmaker', a pneumatic drill that operated without benefit of water to lubricate the bit and cut the dust, was introduced to Copper County mining in the 1890's. While greatly improving productivity, the drill became known as the 'Widowmaker', killing many of the miners who used it from illnesses related to prolonged dust inhalation."

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Widow Maker Black Ale
Style: American Brown Ale
Brewery: Keweenaw Brewing Company
Houghton, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: February 16th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Brown Ales

Tuesday, February 15th 2011

The Century Mark: Canned Craft Beer Reaches Major Milestone

the number of craft breweries canning beer has now reached 100

How canning craft beer went from a joke to big business in less than 10 years

At 5pm today it was announced that Battle Creek, Michigan's Arcadia Brewing Company had purchased a canning line and that they would begin putting their summer release Whitsun, a pale wheat ale, in cans this April. This announcement means that we can proudly proclaim that their are 100 craft breweries canning or in the process of canning their beer. So how has canning craft beer gone from being a joke to such a growing "trend" in the industry? We decided to take a look back and reflect.


Arcadia Brewing Company will be the nation's 100th craft brewer to can their beer

If a can of beer could talk you’d probably find that the very first can of Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale would have a lot to say about today’s craft beer scene. When that can came into being, back in late 2002, it was in all respects very much alone. It was the sole beer being hand-canned by the only craft brewery in the nation willing to take a gamble on something even it found laughable.

Now, in less than 10 years’ time, that can of beer has been joined on shelves and in coolers by over 250 other canned craft beers and Oskar Blues is just one of 100 different craft breweries canning their beer. That’s right, 100! How did we get here? How is it possible that we’ve reached a hundred craft breweries canning their beers when less than a decade ago there was just the one?

When you sit back and think about it, with a beer of course, it’s hard to imagine that the folks at Oskar Blues’ could have ever envisioned their own astounding growth and popularity, let alone the number of other breweries that would one day inhabit the little canning world they once had all to themselves. Theirs is a remarkable story, one of risk and reward, of creative marketing and branding, of breaking down stereotypes, and of the production of great beer. It's also one that many other breweries try and emulate. In fact, someone should write a book about it. Maybe I will...

Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale is no longer alone

Oskar Blues’ put Dale’s Pale Ale in a can without a clue as to how it would be received by the craft beer drinking populous. This was a pretty big risk for a small brewpub in a tiny Colorado town. To their surprise Dale’s sold well, not entirely because it was a novelty, but because the beer inside the can actually tasted good and its aluminum packaging offered something glass could not, portability.

When you combine the portability factor with the other added benefits of cans (light and oxygen protection, weight, recyclability etc.) and the renegade-esque marketing and branding approach Oskar Blues is known for you start to see some of the ingredients coming together in a recipe for success.  The biggest challenge that faced Oskar Blues, one that canning breweries still face today, was the stigma attached to the lowly beer can. People might take to the idea of a pale ale in a can but a 10% Russian Imperial Stout? Really? And what about that metallic taste? Just kidding.

Since the beginning, Oskar Blues has challenged consumers’ perception of canned beer. Early on it was something they had to do in order to get people to grab that six-pack of Dale’s instead of one of a multitude of bottled beers available. Today, their “Canned Beer Apocalypse” is in full swing and they’ve made canned beer cool for outdoorsy and indoorsy folks alike. The main point is that their marketing worked and it worked well. People associate canned craft beer with their product, they’ve proven that an Imperial IPA called “GUBNA” isn’t a gimmick and they’ve made the words “Dale’s Pale Ale” synonymous with the notion of “good canned beer”.

SKA Brewing Company was the 2nd craft brewery that took a chance on canning

When you’ve marketed a good product very well you may see success. If you do see that success, others will likely follow, which in this case they did. It came a few months later when Colorado brewing brethren, SKA Brewing Company out of Durango, took a chance and put their ESB Special Ale in cans. Whether the handful of other craft breweries that also started canning within the following year were doing so because of Oskar Blues or just because they too saw the benefits may never be known. A few of those breweries no longer can their beers or they simply no longer exist. However, it was that first wave of risk-taking breweries that shook up the industry, gave Oskar Blues’ credibility, and started a movement.

As that handful of original canning breweries slowly grew into a tiny hill on the craft brewing landscape it wasn’t just the beer drinkers that began to take notice. Slowly more and more of the nation’s craft breweries saw the successes and the marketing opportunities that cans brought with them. The craft beer world is, after all, one of sharing, especially when it comes to successes. The vast array of beer styles that are now available in this country is proof of that. Many of which were adopted by one brewer after another (ie. Imperial Stouts, Double IPAs, Black IPAs ) after success was seen.  

Minnesota’s Surly Brewing puts 9 of their beers in 16 oz. cans

A mere nine years later since our non-talking can of Dale’s was born, we’re in the midst of an even faster growing movement towards canning. This is a movement pushed forward by canning success stories like that of Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Company and Hawaii’s Maui Brewing Company. Both breweries have seen substantial growth and financial success in recent years, two things that many small breweries would like to replicate. In 2010, we saw over 25 breweries begin canning on some level and this year we’re slated to see quite a few more. Some of these breweries have purchased state-of-the-art automated canning lines, others are canning by hand like Oskar Blues once did and more than a few are simply “contract canning” a few offerings with the help of another brewery that has a canning line. Regardless of how they’re getting their beers into cans, today many craft breweries are looking to canning as a key to their success in a very crowded industry.

Maine’s Baxter Brewing is part of a new generation of craft breweries that can

In the years to come the stereotypes of canned beer will continue to be broken down as more and more craft breweries can their beers until one day the fact that the Belgian IPA you’re drinking (look for Brewery Vivant’s Triomphe later this year) comes in a can will be an afterthought. It’s very likely that the day will come sooner than that first can of Dale’s Pale Ale could ever have imagined. So, what would that can of Dale’s Pale Ale say if asked about the state of today’s craft beer world and all the other cans of craft beer now available? It might start by saying something like, “Where did all of these guys come from?”  It would probably also say, “It sure is nice to finally have some friends. Cheers!”

Below is a list of all 100 American Craft Breweries that are currently canning, or in the process of canning, at least one of their beers. This list is NOT in chronological order despite the beginning and the end of the list giving that impression. Our apologies for any confusion this may cause. 


Posted by Russ

Tuesday, February 15th 2011

Roller Dam Red Ale
(Great River Brewery)


The Great River Brewery started canning this past summer and in doing so they became the only craft brewery in Iowa that currently cans their beer. They've released two canned brews to day with a third on the way. If you're like me and you're wondering what a "Roller Dam" is you can go HERE for an answer. While you do that I'll be cracking open this beer.


From the Great River Brewery site (short and sweet):


"Delicious, malty ale with a hint of caramel and a peppery hop finish."

Here we go...


Pour - dark amber with some reddish hues indeed. A nice looking inch of off-white foam on top. It looks like its glued on there and isn't going anywhere. Clean and clear. This is looking pretty tasty.

Aroma - lots of cereal and grain aromas in the first whiff. A beer like this is definitely focused on the malts and not the hops. Slight hints of orange or lemon as well as bread dough and even cinnamon(?). 


Taste - lots of sweetness on the tongue and on the palate, honey and caramel combine with a slightly fruity, almost strawberry-like flavor as well. This definitely has a strong focus on all things malty and I'm actually surprised its only 5.3%, it almost drinks like a stronger brew. 


Overall - sweet and tasty. Not a bad brew and certainly one that a malt-head might enjoy. What I like about it is that its not cloying, overly sweet, like some red ales and it doesn't leave me looking for a water (or other beer as the case may be) chaser.


Would I buy more of it? - St. Patrick's Day is about 4 weeks away. Time to load up...


Note - The owners of the Great River Brewery (Paul Krutzfeldt & Scott Lehnert) started Old Capitol Brew Works in Iowa City in 2004. It was actually one of the first craft breweries to can their beers, putting paper labels on blank cans, but the brewpub stopped canning after a few years and focused more on food and in-house drink. The two always wanted to run a brewery, not a brewpub, so they started Great River in 2009. Great River Brewery also cans their 483 Pale Ale and will soon be canning their Red Band Stout.


that's a roller dam!


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Roller Dam Red Ale
Style: Irish Red Ale
Brewery: Great River Brewery
Davenport, Iowa  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 15th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, February 13th 2011

The IPAs Have It!
Hoppy Beers in Cans Dominate

big on hops, big on taste and big with canned beer drinkers

When it comes to converting the masses to the idea of great beer coming in a can, we are confronted with many misconceived notions. One that is at the forefront is that any can filled with beer is filled with a rather lackluster liquid meant more for chugging than for exciting taste buds. It's time the word gets out that cans are definitely not reserved for the bland, tasteless lagers that once dominated the US market and one doesn't have to look hard for proof of that.

America's first canned craft beer was also it's first hop-centric beer in a can

When Oskar Blues' hand-canned the first batch of Dale's Pale Ale, almost a decade ago, a precedent was set. Big, flavorful beers could indeed be put in cans and perhaps even accepted (gasp) by the beer drinking populous (which they were). Fast forward to today and the craft beer landscape is very different than it was in 2002. Cans are now filled with a multitude of styles from nearly 100 different American craft breweries. We broke down some statistics and were pleasantly (hoppily?) surprised by what we found. 


What does this tell us about the new age of canned beer?

Well, it certainly speaks volumes about America's love affair with hops! The number one most canned craft beer style is currently the American IPA followed closely by the American Pale Ale and down the list at number 8 is the ultra-hoppy American Double or Imperial IPA. These three hop heavy styles account for a large amount of the total craft beers currently being canned in the USA. The outstanding ability cans have when it comes to keeping all those delicate hop aromas and flavors fresh is more than just an added bonus, its a huge benefit and one that should not be overlooked.

When beer is packaged in a can it is sealed away from ultraviolet light and seamed tightly to prevent oxygen from entering. Even dark bottles leave beer prone to some ultraviolet light. The only ingredient in beer that is affected by light is hops and that affect can be crucial to your beer's taste. When exposed to light, the alpha acids in hops break down into free radicals that then react with sulfur-containing proteins to make a chemical called 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol. This can result in beer tasting off or "skunky". Unfortunately, like anything chemically organic, beer's flavors and aromas will eventually fade and there isn't too much we can do about it. Packaging in cans can help to slow this affect and certainly help to preserve the things we love about hops for a bit longer. Bonus.


just a few of the many hoppy beers canned by American craft brewers

Something else that this list shows is the fact that American craft brewers are simply canning the styles that are popular with craft beer drinkers. They aren't necessarily pandering to the canned lager drinkers in hops of wooing them to the craft beer world. Why bother? There are plenty of craft beer drinkers to convince that cans can hold great beers, be them hoppy or otherwise.

Looking at the rest of the list its not surprising to see the ubiquitous styles such as American Amber or Red Ale, American Blonde Ale and American Brown Ale. These are the styles that are popular at brewpubs and with canning and bottling breweries alike. Joined by the American Pale Wheat Ale, the style of many American summer beers, these four styles tend to be seen as more "approachable" for non-beer geeks and sometimes considered "gateway styles" as they lead the consumer to possibly try more adventurous beers down the road...like IPAs and eventually Double IPAs.

more canned IPAs are coming soon!

For now its clear that breweries have no qualms with putting their delicate hop laden brews in cans and beer drinkers have no problem drinking them. This is a fact proven not only by the current can statistics but also by upcoming canned beer releases. Some highlights of those Class of 2011 releases include Buckbean Brewing's Black Adder India Black Ale (the second of its style to be canned), The Alchemist's very highly regarded Heady Topper (a Double or Imperial IPA) and a special beer known as Triomphe, the nation's first ever canned Belgian IPA, from Michigan's Brewery Vivant. See below for a list of all the new hoppy beers coming to cans this year.

So, whether your an all out hophead or just a part-time enjoyer of a pale ale or two be sure to seek out some of the hoppy beers that are available in cans. Not only do they dominate the overall spectrum of craft beers in cans but they can also more than hold their own against anything in a bottle. Cheers!



American Pale Ales

Cut Throat Pale Ale (Finch’s Beer Company)

Fire Pit Pale Ale (Upstate Brewing Company)

Peacemaker Pale Ale (Austin Beerworks)

Public Pale Ale (DC Brau)

American IPAs

Corruption Ale (DC Brau)

Fire Eagle India Pale Ale (Austin Beer Works)

Good People IPA (Good People Brewing Company)

Hitchhiker IPA (Good People Brewing Company)

Hop Knot IPA (Four Peaks Brewing Company)

Hop Ottin’ IPA (Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Northern Lights India Pale Ale (Starr Hill Brewery)

Vortex IPA (Fort George Brewery)

American Double/Imperial IPAs

Heady Topper (The Alchemist)

Snake Handler Double IPA (Good People Brewing Company

American Black Ales/Black IPAs/Cascadian Dark Ales


Black Adder IBA (Buckbean Brewing Company)

Belgian IPAs

Triomphe (Brewery Vivant)


Brewery Vivant's Triomphe will be the nation's first canned Belgian IPA


Posted by Russ

Labels: Opinions

Friday, February 11th 2011

The Indestructible and Indespensable Silipint!

pint-sized innovation

Last summer we were introduced to an innovative 16 oz. silicone pint "glass" called the Silipint. Being very intrigued by this product, we contacted the Bend, Oregon company and did a Q & A with Silipint President/CEO Rick Fredland. We learned that Silipint was still putting the finishing touches on "the world's first and only silicone pint glass" and producing Silipints mainly as promotional items for things such as the Bend Ale Trail. It's been a few months now and we thought it time to revisit the Silipint, talk a little about our own experience with the product (that Rick was kind enough to send us) and share why we think it meshes so well with the canned beer revolution!

Here we go...

Pour/Look - the Silipint that we received is slightly opaque, this is because you can't make silicone totally clear like glass. No worries, the beer (an IPA in this case) is plenty visible and the head retention is very good. There is even some lacing left. The logo for the Bend Ale Trail stands out quite nicely on this as well. Silipints can be made in any color apparently as well.

Feel - the Silipint itself feels pretty solid, heavier than you might expect and not too rubbery. It's quite grippy and doesn't become slippery with condensation at all. No way you'll drop your pint with one of these without trying! You can also squish the Silipint in a way similar to a paper cup that actually makes drinking your beer safer with less chance of spillage as well. An added bonus for any outdoor leisure activity.

Taste - the rim of the Silipint is pretty thick but we're assuming that is based on the durability factor. These things are pretty much indestructible. Drinking from the Silipint doesn't really change any of the flavor elements of the beer, we actually did a little side by side comparison to see. 

some reasons why we like our Silipint

Cleaning - since you can put these in the oven they are fine in the dishwasher. I've run this through our at least a dozen times. The good thing is that even after all that washing their doesn't seem to be any flavor/smell associated with the Silipint, its clean and has no residual aromas. Nice.

Overall - we're sold on the Silipint. It's very familiar shape and design make it easy to get used to and the sheer fact that it's unbreakable is a huge plus for anyone who loves drinking beer in the outdoors. I've brought a glass camping with me so I didn't have to drink straight from the can/bottle and all I worried the whole time about it breaking, that problem is solved. That is why someone designed silicone plates, bowls and even wine glasses. The silicone pint glass was overdue and we're glad its finally here!


get your own Silipint

Where to get a Silipint - Silipint just finished a nationwide launch. They've also just started selling individual Silipints on their website for $10 each. We wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing these at concerts, beer festivals and for sale with brewery logos branded on them. They go very well with the canned beer revolution and the idea of being able to be mobile with great beer. Cheers and best of luck to Rick and his team at Silipint out in Bend! 

Canned Craft Beer + Silipint = Awesome!

Posted by Russ

Labels: Products

Thursday, February 10th 2011

40 States, 100 Breweries in 2011?

We're barely two months into 2011 and yet we're very much on the verge of two major landmarks when it comes to canning craft beer. We break it all down below...


40 States + DC

Only two more states and we hit the nice round number of 40 (or 80% of states). Currently we're at 38 different states with canning breweries plus Washington, DC. So if you count the District we're just about there. The states that are not yet represented by at least one brewery canning their beer are; Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. 


Who will be number 100?

Who will be the 100th craft brewer to can their beer? This seems to be the big question right now. We're currently sitting at 97 with a number of projects in the works. We're confident that we'll see 100 craft breweries canning beer before year's end (possibly before the summer). Potential candidates for being the lucky number 100 are Short's Brewing in Michigan, Boneyard Beer in Bend, Oregon and Upstate Brewing in Campbell, New York. It will likely be a photo finish!


Who's new in 2011?

Quite a few breweries have made plans to can their beers this year. Below are the breweries, that we are aware of, that will be (or area already) canning their beers for the first time in 2011:


Good People Brewing Company (Birmingham, Alabama)


Kenai River Brewing Company (Soldotna, Alaska)


Tailgate Brewery (San Diego, California)


Finch Beer Company (Chicago, Illinois)


Baxter Brewing Company (Lewiston, Maine)


 Short's Brewing Company (Bellaire, Michigan)


Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery (North Conway, New Hampshire)


Upstate Brewing Company (Campbell, New York)


Fort George Brewery + Public House (Astoria, Oregon)

Boneyard Brewing Company (Bend, Oregon)


Austin Beerworks (Austin, Texas)


Magic Hat Brewing Company (South Burlington, Vermont)

The Alchemist (Waterbury, Vermont)


Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia)


Fremont Brewing (Fremont, Washington)


DC Brau (Washington, District of Columbia)

Cheers! As always, if we missed anything please let us know!


Posted by Russ

Thursday, February 10th 2011

Joes Premium American Pilsner
(Avery Brewing Company)

Joe's Premium American Pilsner is the only one of Avery's beers that appears solely in a canned format (well, that and draught but NOT in bottles). This was a beer that was made by the brewery for the sole purpose of being a canned release and we should be so lucky. 


From the Avery site:


"A contemporary rendition of a classic style, Joe's is hopped with purpose: beautifully bitter and dry with an abundance of floral, Noble German hops. Uber sessionable. Utterly American. This is Premiuim American Pilsner."

Here we go...


Pour - very light straw color, pretty bright sunshine-like yellow when the light hits this. Head is sort of soda-like yet dense and about a half-inch in thickness. Looks nice and clean and clear as it should with some tiny bubbles streaming upwards to freedom. 

Aroma - a bit malty, some fresh-cut grass notes, a bit of citrusy hoppiness and slight hints at earthiness.


Taste - that first sip will have you re-thinking the mere notion of a canned pilsner. Erase every possible thing you've been told because this is something entirely different. One taste and the bite of the hops, the solid malt profile and the addictive crispness snap of a finish and you'll be hooked. Plenty of bitterness from all those hops as well as a mineral, almost iron-like, flavor as well. This one has the dryness associated with the style but that just keeps your face pressed in the glass after each sip. 


Overall - The hoppy bitterness and the all out bite of a finish of this pilsner are what really sets it apart. I could get used to drinking pilsners if they all tasted like this! Share this with any potential craft beer drinker and call it you're good beer deed of the day.


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely! I'm bummed that this was my only one. I need more for when all the snow melts and its time to barbecue.


Note - Along with Joe's Premium American Pilsner, Avery has also canned their White Rascal White Ale, Ellie's Brown Ale and their absolutely delicious Avery IPA! Try 'em all!


Can Scale:
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Joe's Premium American Pilsner
Style: American Pilsner
Brewery: Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row barley
Hops: Magnum and Hersbrucker
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: 42
Date: February 10th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Lagers, Pilsners

Saturday, February 5th 2011

Vermont's The Alchemist to can one of America's best big IPAs

8% ABV and 120 IBUs of IPA greatness is coming to cans!

Some exciting news has broken that definitely has me feeling warm and toasty on a cold, snowy winter day. The Alchemist Pub & Brewery of Waterbury, Vermont made a big announcement on their blog this morning. They're going ahead with plans to open a small 15 bbl production brewery and will be putting their award-winning Heady Topper Double IPA in 16 oz. cans hopefully by May/June of this year. 

Heady Topper has a solid A+ rating (150+ reviews) on BeerAdvocate and a 99 on ratebeer. Not too shabby! If you're unfamiliar with this beer or The Alchemist that's okay. The small brewpub in Waterbury, 30 minutes from Burlington, has only recently bottled some bottles of this beer, before that you needed to trek to Northern Vermont to try it from the tap. It's a small place with an amazing reputation for great beer (and great food).

Heady Topper has a solid A+ rating on BeerAdvocate and a 99 on ratebeer

If The Alchemist's owner, John Kimmich, believes in the benefits of canning craft beer that definitely says a lot. He has a reputation for being very careful about maintaining the quality of his brews and taking the big step of putting one of his more popular beers into production for distribution is a pretty big deal. 

According to John's post today on the Alchemist's blog, here were his reasons for choosing cans as the medium for packaging Heady Topper:

"The decision to put it in cans and not bottles rests on several reasons. First of all, the recyclability of the cans; add to that the non-issue of breakage, the superior protection from UV light, and the low levels of oxygen uptake. All of these factors will play a part in providing an unsurpassed hop experience to you, our loyal customers."

Hopefully we'll be seeing cans of Heady Topper by early summer. You can follow the Alchemist's progress with their new brewery by utilizing the following social media options. 

Click to read today's blog post by The Alchemist 

The Alchemist Media Resources



Posted by Russ

Saturday, February 5th 2011

AXL Pale Ale
(MillKing It Productions)

From a brewery that has a name like no other comes this pint can of pale ale. AXL Pale Ale was the first release from Millking It Productions, who also brew and can beers for nearby Rochester Mills Brewing Company.   

From the Millking It Productions site:

"This classic American Style Pale Ale has been honed and perfected for over 15 years. Tens of thousands of pints have been joyfully savored. The beer has a light amber color and a medium body. The hops grab center stage and carry the flavor with a light drying citrusy palate. Although hoppy, the beer is easy drinking and contains a mid-range alcohol level of 5.8%."

Here we go...

Pour - looks great coming out of the can. Big, bright orange and amber colors shining in the glass with a big, thick fluffy off-white head that looks like it might stick around for awhile. 


Aroma - nice caramel malty sweetness along with some slight citrusy hop aromas and some of that biscuity/bread dough smells as well.


Taste - first sip presents a sweet and bitter rollercoaster. Up front this has a lot of caramel/toffee flavors but that is quickly taken over by some citrusy bitterness that isn't super piney or grapefruity but more of a straightforward hop flavor. This is the type of pale ale that leans towards an amber ale and is very approachable to beer lovers everywhere. Super balanced with just a tinge of bitterness in the finish. Well done.


Overall - great brew. No frills, just a well-balanced pale ale with plenty of maltiness and plenty of hoppiness. It leaves just enough hops on the tongue to keep your mouth dry and your glass held up. 


Would I buy more of it? - definitely. When it comes to balanced (very balanced) pale ales this one shines. I like beers like this one once in awhile to give my palate and liver a break. 


Note - to date Millking It Productions has canned AXL Pale Ale and Cornerstone IPA and will soon be canning BRIK Irish Red Ale and Milkshake Stout. You can learn more about Millking It Productions by going HERE.

AXL Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: MillKing It Productions
Royal Oak, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 5th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, February 3rd 2011

Indy's Sun King Brewing
Expands and Innovates

Sun King currently cans three different beers, but that will be changing

At a time when many companies are struggling Indianapolis' Sun King Brewing Company is doing well, very well. In their first year they reached maximum output, produced a staggering 50+ different beers and canned three products that have been accepted with open arms by a beer-loving and non-bottle-biased consumer audience. They did all of this while staying local and true to their goals of quality and freshness. Now, before their brewing equipment is hardly worn in, they are in the process of a major expansion which will see the installation of a brand new tailor-made 30 bbl brewhouse designed specifically for them by Newlands Systems Inc.. But that's not all...

there's something special about these cans...

The success Sun King has seen has come not only from hard work but also from being creative, adaptive and innovative. That last trait probably best describes the way Indy's only production brewery managed to find a rather simple solution to a major problem plaguing small commercial canning breweries. They beat the numbers game. By that we mean the large amount of cans (minimum order is 150,000 cans) a brewery must order every time they want to sell a new canned product or re-order for an existing product. Enter, the customizable can.

Enter, the customizable can.

Sun King ingeniously designed a multipurpose can to which they can adhere a clear label to and fill with any beer they choose. This rather simple idea is going to have big (figuratively, literally and deliciously) implications for the canned craft beer market so prepare yourselves.


Sun King can put a label on the can for any beer they choose

This new can will be used to put out small batch, specialty and seasonal beers and will not replace existing cans used for existing products nor will it mean no more new cans. We touched base with Sun King's Brewer/Owner, Clay Robinson, who explained what this new can will mean for the brewery and the consumer:

"...we are going to put Johan the Barleywine in them first since it is the first beer we ever brewed and we have been cellaring it for just this occasion! After that we are going to start releasing our Bourbon Barrel aged series that we've been working on for some time and includes beers like: Cupcake's Revenge (a Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Stout aged on locally grown tart pie cherries), Buffalo Mac (Our Wee Mac aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels), Buffalo Fest (Buffalo Trace Barrel Aged Oktoberfest), Buffalo Dominator (Buffalo Trace Barrel Aged Dominator Dopplebock), Tipping Point (Belgian Dubble) and Buffalo Tipping (Buffalo Trace Barrel Aged Tipping Point) along with a host of other beers we've got in barrels becoming more delicious!

"...we are going to put Johan the Barleywine in them first since it is the first beer we ever brewed and we have been cellaring it for just this occasion!

We are in the final stages of our label research to make sure that we get a cost effective label that is easy to apply and will hold up over time... After we nail that down, we'll be good to go. We will probably eventually use the cans to package some of our more popular seasonal beers in limited quantity, but that can't happen until we finish the massive expansion we have in the works during the first quarter.

...All of this will allow us to continue to grow and meet the increasing demand for our beers in Central Indiana. We still have no plans to expand our market to other states as our tag line is Fresh•Local•Beer. We do plan to add increasing variety to our canned offerings with this new can and eventually add a few new seasonal beers with their own cans, but for now we're focusing on quality and consistency during a period of rapid growth." - Clay Robinson, Brewer/Owner 

Sun King Brewing Company Media Resources


Posted by Russ

Thursday, February 3rd 2011

BrewFarm Select Golden Lager
(Dave's BrewFarm)

Dave's BrewFarm is just that, a farm that brews beer. Dave Anderson, the farmer, grows the ingredients and brews a select number of beers with the help of an on-farm wind-powered generator. BrewFarm Select is the only beer they currently can, but their Matacabras, a bottled Belgian dark ale, is also fantastic. 

From the BrewFarm site:

"Full-flavored and full of character, yet smooth, crisp and easy to drink. Here's BrewFarm Select spec’s: six-row and Briess Caramel 20 malts, Cluster and Perle hops (’bout 25-30 ibu’s), 5.5% abv. Comes across as a “hoppy pils” - medium- to full-bodied, lingering bitterness, hint of malt sweetness but finishes dry. Easily sessionable."

Here we go...

Pour - very clean, light golden in appearance with a decent soapy white head on top. This certainly looks refreshing after shoveling lots of snow.


Aroma - grainy, hints of lemon or orange, some sweetness but overall a very clean and somewhat muted aroma.


Taste - first taste presents malty sweetness on the tongue and crisp, dry and refreshing finish. Like the descriptions this has some lingering bitterness along with malty sweetness. Its also got that crispness comes with the lager territory. Not a lot of aftertaste but some nice, subtle hop characteristics. 


Overall - I can see why this would be "easily sessionable". Your palate won't be all that exhausted after a few of these which is a nice way to change things up. What really excites me about this beer is the opportunity to introduce a non-craft beer drinker to a very well brewed style they might enjoy. Great job Dave!


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I really enjoyed this beer as well as the Matacabras. If you see either one be sure to give it a shot.


Note - BrewFarm Select was first canned in October of 2009, a year after the brewery was started. You can read more about that first canning by going HERE!

Can Scale:
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BrewFarm Select Golden Lager
Style: American Pale Lager
Brewery: Dave's BrewFarm
Wilson, Wisconsin  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Six-row and Briess Caramel 20 malts
Hops: Cluster and Perle
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 30
Date: February 3rd, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Lagers

Wednesday, February 2nd 2011

Pile O' Dirt Porter
(Crow Peak Brewing Company)

The second canned offering from the folks at Crow Peak (the first being their 11th Hour IPA). Not only is this the only canned craft beer from South Dakota but one of only a handful of breweries in the state. We love the designs for the cans Crow Peak has released thus far. Keep em coming!

From the Crow Peak site:

"This robust porter is black in color, is medium-bodied and has a rich, roasted malt flavor ending with a pleasing hop flavor and mild hop bitterness."

Here we go...

Pour - very, very dark. Pitch black in color with a thin coffee-colored head that quickly fades into the mire leaving traces of lace and islands of foam.


Aroma - cocoa, dark coffee grounds, earthy with some hints of dark fruit. Lots of roasty aromas. I'm drawn to this like the sound of my coffeemaker in the morning.


Taste - big, roasty and malty with a nice bite. Lots of coffee and cocoa flavors and big on the roasted malt but at the back of the tongue there is a nice bitterness that rounds it all out and gives this beer a nice finish. There are some tastes of molasses and/or licorice that come out at times. I also love the bitter coffee flavor and hoppy citrusy combination this has. I wish I had more...


Overall - to me a good porter should be dark and malty but not too sweet with some bitterness or hoppiness. This one hits all the marks. Well done and definitely worthy of your attention so seek it out. If you like plenty of flavor in a beer and the abyss of a dark brew doesn't intimidate you than you'll certainly enjoy this one.


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely, this is a great porter. 


Note - it's great to see breweries take the leap of faith and go straight to cans and bypassing bottles altogether. Crow Peak, in the relatively small town of Spearfish, South Dakota, should see a good deal of success with their canned offerings and I look forward to seeing what else comes off their canning lines in the future!


The side of the Pile O' Dirt Porter can has a link to a site called funkpottery.com. The site pays homage to a brewery friend, Shawn Funk, who passed away after a car accident. Shawn made all of the mugs (see below) that Crow Peak uses for their mug club. The brewery hopes to one day offer a scholarship to a local art student in Shawn's name. 



Can Scale:
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Pile O' Dirt Porter
Style: American Porter
Brewery: Crow Peak Brewing Company
Spearfish, South Dakota  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: February 2nd, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Porters

Tuesday, February 1st 2011

Wind River Blonde Ale
(Wind River Brewing Company)

Our first canned craft brew from the Cowboy State. Wind River Brewing Company is a name that references the Wind River Mountains which lie next to its hometown of Pinedale (pop. 1,412) which lies in the central part of western Wyoming. 

Perhaps someone can confirm whether or not this is the same beer as Wind River's Korruption Kolsch. This beer is not mentioned on their website but I'm thinking these two are aliases. 

Here we go...

Pour - nice soft, hazy looking light orange to yellow color. Slightly cloudy when held to the light with a thin wispy head. Everything looks in place for a blonde ale.


Aroma - a little spicy, some apple notes, perhaps some peach or apricot as well. This has a nice subtle fruity/floral aroma that seems to be saying, "hurry up and drink me and stop worrying about the aroma you beer nerd". Fine, I will.


Taste - one big gulp later and I am on to the flavor of this brew. This is light on the palate and slightly dry in the finish. It has some melon flavors along with a bit of yeasty spiciness. Refreshing and not overpowering in any way on the tongue. This will appeal to the masses quite well and provide much needed thirst quenching to participants of many an outdoor activity.


Overall - well done. This is a style that I am not one to seek out but this is a good beer. Sometimes your tastebuds need a break from all those strong stouts and hoppy IPAs and its beers like this that can give you that much needed reprieve.


Would I buy more of it? - I'd love to venture out to Wyoming and try the other Wind River brews that is for sure. But, until then, this is a brew I wouldn't turn down. 


Note - Wind River also plans to can their Pale Ale. Did you know that Cheyenne is the biggest city in Wyoming with just under 60,000 people?


Can Scale:
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Wind River Blonde Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: Wind River Brewing Company
Pinedale, Wyoming  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 1st, 2011

Posted by Russ

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