Thursday, March 31st 2011
Bell's Brewery to can in 2012
Michigan is quickly becoming MichiCAN. Chris Knape is reporting over on mlive.com that Bell's Brewery will begin canning in 2012. One of Michigan's most respected craft brewers is planning to install a high-speed (500 cpm) canning line at their Comstock production facility.
Bell's will be joining at least a half dozen other craft brewers in the Great Lakes State that are putting their beers in cans. They'll also join Sierra Nevada and New Belgium as one of the nation's largest and most successful craft breweries that have made the decision to can some of their beers.
This news leaves us thirsting for a can of Two Hearted Ale or even a can of Hop Slam! We'll certainly be anxious to hear which of Bell's beers end up in whatever size cans they end up using. Cheers!
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Beer News
Thursday, March 31st 2011
Upslope Brown Ale
(Upslope Brewing Company)
Upslope's Brown Ale is the newest of their three canned offerings. It was first released in canned-format this past November and joins their previously released IPA and Pale Ale. As a malt-laden brew the Brown Ale rounds out the trip quite nicely. I look forward to their next release as well, whatever that might be!
From the Upslope Brewing site:
"Upslope Brown Ale. It’s an English-style Brown Ale with an American twist in that its sweet roasted-malt base is offset by a pronounced hop bitterness and higher alcohol content."
Here we go...
Pour - dark, dark amber in appearance. This is a very rich looking brown ale with a rather thin head that fades to a film of off-white.
Aroma - wow. Lots of big malty aromas coming from this brew. Some very pleasing smells of coffee, cocoa and malted milk balls. If I didn't know better I'd think this might be a coffee stout!
Taste - a malt-ensive wave of sweetness slams my taste buds and carries with it dark roast coffee, bitter chocolate, Tootsie rolls, dark rye bread and some biscuity flavors. This is a serious brown ale and a great candidate for those that have found brown ales to be rather lacking. Upslope has beefed this style up and really packed this beer with roasty/toasty flavors. Maltheads rejoice and for you hopheads this is one you wont want to pass up.
Overall - robust is the best one word description of this brown ale. Usually I am underwhelmed by most brown ales but this one has some "oomph". Nice bitter roasty flavors from beginning to end and a few ticks higher on the ABV scale to boot. One of the better brown ales we've come across.
Would I buy more of it? - definitely. I'd be a repeat offender with this one for sure. I'm definitely sad to see my last can go but hopefully I'll be able to source out some others in the near future!
Note - according to the can Upslope Brown Ale is brewed with the addition of brown sugar. That could surely account for the sweetness and the higher alcohol percentage.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (61) | Country (339) | Brewery (6) | Style (10)
Labels: Brown Ales
Monday, March 28th 2011
Good People IPA
(Good People Brewing Company)
One of the first two canned brews from the folks at Good People (the other is their Brown Ale). This IPA also represents one of the only two canned craft beers currently from the state of Alabama. Since both the IPA and the Brown Ale were just released, we're pretty psyched to get our hands on some as we know they're fresh!
From the Good People site:
"Copper in color with herbal and earthy hops being most prevalent. Light caramel flavors balance out this unique ale. Hop lovers will enjoy this unfiltered, dry-hopped IPA"
Here we go...
Pour - orangish-red in color with a thick, rich, brain-y head on top. At first it looks a bit like an unfiltered ale but as it settles it becomes more clean, clear and golden in appearance.
Aroma - big, sweet, citrusy hops! Lots or orange and grapefruit along with some cotton candy. The smell of this IPA is more than enough to entice any hop lover to shove their face in their glass.
Taste - instantly sweet on the tongue and then WHAM! the bitterness takes over and you get a nice dry, crisp hop-enduced bite. Why I think of Pop Rocks is beyond me. This is very well balanced with a solid malt profile. There is also a tanginess that's quite refreshing and that citrusy hop flavor is pungent to the senses, it's almost in the sinuses. This does the American IPA style proud.
Overall - If you like a bitter, hoppy brew than you'll certainly find this beer enjoyable. I know we did. Great job. Solid, super drinkable and refreshing. This may be the only canned IPA in the state of Alabama but it's definitely a good one!
Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I like to make the rounds with IPAs all summer long and this would certainly be on my beer list.
Note - Good People plans to can their Snake Handler Double IPA in the future. It's a 9.3% hop bomb with 103 IBUs that's guaranteed to pack a serious bite. We can't wait for that to hit shelves.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (3) | Country (339) | Brewery (2) | Style (52)
Labels: American IPAs
Friday, March 25th 2011
Q & A with Wild Goose Engineering Makers of the Micro-Can System
Colorado has certainly distanced itself from the other states when it comes to canned craft beer. The state clearly has the lead with 14 different breweries canning their beers (and more to come). It should come as no surprise that one of America's first company's to produce canning lines for craft brewers should hail from such hallowed ground. This is precisely where Wild Goose Engineering calls home and they're on the verge of making a big impact on the craft beer industry in this country with their "Micro-Can System". We wanted to know more about them and their canning lines so we posed a few questions to which they were nice enough to respond. Cheers and best of luck to you guys!
(CC) Can you give us some background on Wild Goose Engineering (history, location, what you do etc.)?
(CC) Are there any other canning lines being produced in the US?
(WG) Yes, there are at least two others in North America. One is Cask, whom you reference, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The other is PPM (Processing & Packaging Machine Corp.) from Merced, CA; a larger company specializing in bottling, but who have recently added small canning lines to their offering.
(CC) What breweries are using, or will be using, your canning lines?
(WG) Upslope in Boulder is running the beta system just about daily now (and sometimes well into the night!) in line with their production schedule.
We are very happy to say that our first production model automated line is in the works at the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, CO where it will package not only the Wynkoop cans, but those for Breckenridge as well. Michigan Brewing Company in Lansing recently joined up and placed an order for systems as well. We have a manual system in the construction phases for Austin Beer Works, and additionally we are currently in serious discussion with several other craft breweries in Colorado and elsewhere. We are confident of a steady and continuing interest in the Wild Goose Micro-Can systems, but would prefer to refrain from naming names until the deals have been done, and we are fully 'partnered' with these breweries.
(CC) Is there anything that sets your lines apart from those already being made?
Additionally, we are truly the manufacturer, in that, we computer design and machine every part in house in our own machine shop. This has several major impacts on the design process as well as the finished product. First, it means we get to test every configuration in the computers first, and ensure every component fits together exactly before we make it. Then when we do make them, we're not stuck with having to make 50-100 of them to make the pricing work. We can do singles or small batches, and if for whatever reason revisions need to be made, we're not stuck feeling married to a design because of investment in inventory. Of course, every part we've ever made is stored, so we can easily do replacements should the need arise! This has allowed us to truly hone the automated line because during the development if we need a special part to do something or other, we would simply just make it an bolt it in and if it worked better, it became the new standard.
Wild Goose Engineering/Micro-Can Media Resources
Posted by Russ
Wednesday, March 23rd 2011
Brewery Hats for Spring
Spring. The season we put up with since it precedes summer. When we think of spring we think of finally getting outdoors without wearing 3 layers, of baseball games, of Bock-style beers and what lies just around the corner, warm weather. With all of these things in mind we decided to showcase some beer-related headwear worth sporting this spring. Below are some kick-ass caps from some great breweries (all of which can at least some of their beers).
Wear it while drinking either their Vortex IPA or 1811 Lager, both now available in 16 oz. cans! We love the Vortex hop logo on the back.
Wear it while drinking what else but Ranger IPA, a great canned offering from the folks at New Belgium. We keep wondering when they'll make this brew more available in cans.
Super low profile, this is a pretty sweet lid from Big Sky. They also have an awesome Moose Drool hat available as well. Wear this while dreaming of more cans of Scape Goat. Rumor has it that they'll be making another appearance soon.
Starr Hill is set to begin canning both their Northern Lights IPA and Festie Oktoberfest any day now. Be prepared to drink those brews this summer with this sweet hat.
New from Oskar Blues is this rad pinstripe hat. Sport this hat while drinking some of their super limited edition "One Hit Wonder" Double IPA or any of their other canned delights.
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Beer Products
Tuesday, March 21st 2011
Imperial Java Stout
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)
One of only a handful of canned coffee beers currently available in the US and this being one of the strongest on offer. Imperial Java Stout is Santa Fe's winter seasonal release. It's high alcohol content, rich taste and strong coffee aroma make this one a real winner. We'd love to see more canned coffee beers in the future.
From the Santa Fe Brewing site:
"This is the kind of beer that gives the word "stout" a reputation. Extra generous quantities of barley malt, followed by vigorous fermentation leaves this "imperial" heavy weight with 8% alcohol A.B.V. and a body as full as chocolate bread pudding. A complimentary and complex array of bitter notes comes form potent American hops, earthy British hops, black-roasted malts and, of course, coffee. Santa Fe Brewing Company uses only top-quality ingredients like organically grown East Timor coffee beans blended with New Guinea coffee beans, locally roasted by O'hori's Coffee House. Its heavenly flavor and aroma can't be beat or imitated."
Here we go...
Pour - deep, dark, almost black in color with a big mocha colored head that's thick like pancake batter. Wow, this looks mysterious and delicious.
Aroma - big notes of espresso, hot chocolate, bitter black chocolate, tiramisu and fudge. It's amazing how much this beer smells like a shot of espresso thrown on top of some sort of chocolate dessert.
Taste - up front is a lot of bitter, dark roast coffee combined with a smooth cocoa and dark chocolate flavor. This is a stout that will make any fan of coffee beers happy. If you like the earthy, bitterness of a nice dark cup of coffee than you'll enjoy this. Lots of emphasis on coffee flavors and plenty of maltiness supporting them. My tongue is a bit dry and I'm getting flashbacks to the espresso I had at 6:45 this morning but man this is good stuff!
Overall - This is a very rich and flavorful brew and one that warms your stomach and makes you feel like having another before you've gotten halfway through the one you're drinking. We really loved this beer, it hit all the marks of a great stout and the coffee flavors were spot on as well. Nothing too intense or overdone, just super flavorful, smooth and delicious.
Would I buy more of it? - sure, this is a great coffee stout and perfect during a cold winter evening OR with dessert anytime of year. To be honest I don't need a specific season or a specific food pairing I could drink this all year long and be very, very happy.
Note - Along with Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout, their winter offering, they're releasing three other seasonal canned beers. Freestyle Pilsner in the summer, Oktoberfest in the fall and Viszolay Belgian-style Dubbel in the spring.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (6) | Country (339) | Brewery (5) | Style (2)
Saturday, March 19th 2011
Craft Canning on the Kenai River
A few weeks ago a truck load of empty beer cans arrived at Soldotna, Alaska's Kenai River Brewing Company. Since that day, the brewery's owner and head brewer, Doug Hogue, has been a busy man. He and a host of others have been busy hand filling and seaming can after can of Skilak Scottish Ale probably to the point where they could do it in their sleep. This is a labor of love for Doug and the others at Kenai River Brewing Company as well as many other small brewers nationwide that also can their beer. Thankfully the fruits of their labor are pretty tasty and provide a much needed incentive at the end of a long day.
We wanted to know a little more about Kenai River Brewing Company's decision to become only the second craft brewery in Alaska to can their beer so wrote to Doug who was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer our questions which we truly appreciate. Cheers Doug!
(CC) When did Kenai River Brewing open and how many different beers are you guys brewing?
(DH) We opened Kenai River Brewing Company in June 2006 and currently brew 8 different ales along with 1 seasonal and one Single Hop IPA.
(CC) What led to the decision to can your beer?
(DH) We had built into our original business plan to begin packaging our beers by year 5. The question has been, what package? We pretty much decided to pursure cans by 2009 and began diligently working towards that reality in July 2010. Alaska is such an outdoor state and Kenai River Brewing Company is situated right by the best salmon fishing river in the world, that cans just made perfect sense to us. Besides - good craft beers tastes better in cans!!!
(CC) What type of canning line are you using?
(DH)We purchased a new Cask Manual Canning System.
(CC) Which of your beers are you canning now and which do you hope to put in cans eventually? Where will they be available?
(DH) We are currently canning our flagship ale Skilak Scottish Ale. We are finalizing artwork and have ordered another fermentation tank to prepare to can Sunken Island IPA by the start of the summer. After this we are considering both our Oatmeal/milk stout - Breakfast Beer, and our extra pale ale - Arctic XPA. Not sure which will be number 3....
(CC) Who designed the artwork on the Skilak Scottish Ale can?
(DH) Our local graphic designer Chris Jenness.
(CC) What are the biggest challenges facing a brewer in Alaska?
(DH) For us little guys - shipping! It gets pretty expensive bringing malt up to AK!
(CC) Do you feel that cans have any advantages over bottles in Alaska?
(DH) Great advantages - the perfect package for fishing, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing...
(CC) The only other craft beer that is canned in Alaska is "Urban Wilderness" from Sleeping Lady Brewing in Anchorage. Do you think other Alaskan breweries will also eventually begin canning their beers?
(DH) We know that at least one other brewery is in the process of moving into canned beer here in the state.
(CC) When you're not at the brewery what is a great way to spend the day in Soldotna?
(DH) Hiking or fishing
(CC) A beer lover has one day in Soldotna, what should they do?
(DH) Hit the Kenai River early, catch a 50+ pound King Salmon, stop by the brewery for a celebration pint of one of our great beers, grab a 6 pack to enjoy later that evening, then there are two ways to take advantage of our 20+ hours of daylight, choice 1 - hike one of the many scenic mountain trails while enjoying the 6 pack you purchased earlier, choice 2 - visit one or three of the other local breweries on the Kenai Peninsula. Don't forget another 6 pack to check in your bag to take home.
Kenai River Brewing Company Media Resources
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Q and As
Thursday, March 17th 2011
5 Stouts for St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland. He did that for YOU! You owe it to him to tip back a few quality beers on this day and not to drink green swill or resort to plastic cups of poorly poured Guinness. Here are 5 great stouts that will help keep the snakes away on this day of beer drinking days. Cheers and Slainte!
1. Tallgrass Brewing's Buffalo Sweat
Low in alcohol. Smooth, almost creamy and velvety in texture. Tons of delicious coffee and cocoa flavors come out and cover the tongue. Nice and sweet but not cloying. - craftcans.com
2. Southern Star's Buried Hatchet Stout
Love this beer. Tons of goodness..cocoa, vanilla, malted milk balls, dark roast coffee, toffee. Lots of rich, roasty flavors are packed into this dark beauty. - craftcans.com
3. SANTA FE'S IMPERIAL JAVA STOUT
Get an early start or a late finish with this equally delicious breakfast or dessert brew. Lots of coffee and cocoa flavors with a nice little kick! - craftcans.com
Solid brew with a good deal of dark bitter chocolate and dark roast coffee notes. Easy drinking, super smooth and sessionable. - craftcans.com
Perhaps you can handle this beer, perhaps you can't. This 10.5% giant goes down super smooth and doesn't skimp on flavor. Lots of big malty flavors come through in this brew that's well worthy of a snifter glass. - craftcans.com
Posted by Russ
Saturday, March 5th 2011
Sierra Nevada to Begin Canning
We are pretty happy to share some news that we've been anticipating/dreaming about for quite some time. A few confirmed sources have made it clear that Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will indeed begin canning as early as this fall and that you should begin to see cans of their iconic Pale Ale by the end of the year. A beer that we've been saying should be canned for quite some time now.
The folks at Beernews.org, a great source for all news related to beer, broke this story earlier and referenced a post on DRAFT magazine's site. After checking that out it seems that Sierra Nevada's founder, Ken Grossman, gave a presentation during Arizona Beer Week and officially announced that cans were coming.
A little more information, again thanks to Beernews.org for the reference, came out on BeerAdvocate with a post from Sierra Nevada's Brewing Communications Coordinator, Bill Manley, who wrote,
We'll continue to follow this story and see if we can learn anymore about which of their other brands will possibly join Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale in cans. It's certainly getting hard to keep up with all the news related to canning craft beer these days and now that Sierra Nevada has made this announcement I'm thinking some other breweries are really going to take notice.
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Beer News
Wednesday, March 2nd 2011
Narragansett Bock Cans Released
Providence, RI – The Famous Narragansett Beer announces the seasonal release of its spring craft brew, Narragansett Bock. Distributed throughout New England at leading package stores, bars and restaurants, Bock will be available on draught and, for the first time, in ‘Gansett’s signature 16oz. Tallboy cans.
Narragansett Bock is brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin at Trinity Brew House in Providence, RI and Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT with light and dark Munich malts, Pilsner malt, Malted Wheat, and hopped with Northern Brewers and Hallertau hops. A traditional Bavarian helles lager beer, Narragansett Bock is deeply flavorful with a rich golden color and full body. Drier, hoppier, and slightly more bitter than a traditional bock, it still has a relatively low hop flavor, making for an extremely approachable craft experience. Narragansett Bock is 6.5% Alcohol by Volume and 32 IBUs.
Narragansett Bock originally debuted in the 1930s after the repeal of Prohibition. Its popularity grew quickly due in large part to the annual Bock Beer Festivals held on the brewery’s grounds each spring. The English translation of ‘Bock’ is literally ‘ram,’ and is the reason that the ‘Gansett’s Bock Tallboy can features the animal in paying homage to German lore surrounding the beer’s history. Many believe the brew’s name originates from the abundance of billy goats that descended from the mountains in spring when the beer was brewed, while others claim that the term was used metaphorically to reference the strength of the beer.
For further information on Narragansett Bock or to find a retailer near you, visit: www.narragansettbeer.com/products/bock
ABOUT NARRAGANSETT BEER:
Narragansett Beer….. Brewed since 1890, ‘Gansett is a straight-forward,quality beer that has been a New England tradition for generations, producinga classic family of award winning American lagers & ales. Today ‘Gansett is produced at top-rated breweries in Rochester, NY and Latrobe, PA, with their craft-brews being produced in Providence, RI and Pawcatuck, CT.
Narragansett Lager is available for purchase in local restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout New England, Florida, Southern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Western North Carolina.
Thirsty for more? Visit: www.narragansettbeer.com
Posted by Russ
Labels: Press Releases