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Tuesday, August 30th 2011

BRIK Irish-Style Red Ale
(MillKing It Productions)

 

BRIK is the second release from Royal Oak, Michigan's "MillKing It Productions", their first was their AXL Pale Ale. MIP is a small production brewery that also does some contract work for nearby Rochester Mills Brewing Company by canning their Cornerstone IPA. The unique name of the brewery pays at least some homage to co-owner Scott King. 

 

From the Millking It Productions site:

 

"Whereas hops are the star in AXL, the complex harmony of malt dominates this easy drinking Red Ale. Five different malts are skillfully blended to create a medium bodied, crowd-pleasing ale. The nose breathes caramel, malt and complexity. The beer is medium bodied, has the appropriate alcohol of 4.8% and is definitely a beer deserving the title, “session beer”.


 

Here we go...

 

Pour - deep ruby brown that borders on black.  Nice big brown head on top that receded rather quickly. Good lacing - persisted throughout our sampling.

 

Aroma - sweet malt and molasses nose with some fruit notes here and there similar to raisins or dates.  

 

Taste - sweet, brown sugary malt that is typical for the style. Thin-bodied with some sweet tea flavors at the start, a little zip of carbonation across the tongue in the middle before a watery finish that leaves no aftertaste.     

 

Overall - a light-bodied beer that was very smooth going down and easy to finish.  Judging to the style this is a pretty decent red ale, though personally I find the style challenging because the sweet and sometimes fruity aroma tricks my palate into expecting a much bigger beer with a more profound flavor profile.  Still, Brik Irish-Style Red is a very drinkable beer and is one to keep on hand for friends who prefer light and mildly sweet brews.

Note - according to the MillKing It Production website the brewery will be getting a new canning line soon which will increase their production capabilities and perhaps allow them to can some new beers soon. They've just released a Belgian-style White Ale called "SNO" so perhaps we'll see that in cans? It certainly would fit their motif nicely.

 

a recent MillKing It Productions ad


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
BRIK Irish-Style Red Ale
Style: Irish Red Ale
Brewery: MillKing It Productions
City: 
Royal Oak, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 30th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Saturday, August 27th 2011

A Buyer's Guide for Autumn's
Bounty of Canned Craft Beers

As the nights begin to get a bit cooler during the waining days of August the shelves at the local beer store begin to take on a new look. The summer beers are getting cleared out and they're being replaced with Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales. This fall you'll see quite a few canned offerings representing these styles and we're here to tell you what's new and what's making an annual appearance. Prosit! 

HERE'S WHAT'S NEW 
------------------------

Sixpoint (Brooklyn, New York) will add their first seasonal brew to their canned lineup this fall with the release of "Autumnation". This is NOT your typical pumpkin ale. Brewed with canned pumpkin added directly to the boil accompanied by fresh grated ginger, pepper and other spices AS WELL as 800 pounds of fresh harvested Amarillo wet hops added to secondary fermentation. Who says you can't combine a wet hop ale with a pumpkin ale? Autumnation is 6.0 % and 48 IBU’s. Sixpoint plans on making 2800 cases of this tasty fall brew. Look for 4-packs in September. 

 

Sun King (Indianapolis, Indiana) will release their first canned seasonal using their nifty customizable can. This Oktoberfest has "a clean malty start with a slightly spicy hop note and a crisp, dry finish." It weighs in at 5.5% and 23 IBUs. Look for cans in the Indy area soon. 

 

Stevens Point (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) continues to add to their canned portfolio by offering their Oktoberfest in cans for the first time. Point's Marzen-style lager is "craft brewed using Hallertauer Hops and sweet Vienna roasted malts result in a full flavored, finely balanced beer brewed in celebration of the upcoming season." 

 

Starr Hill (Crozet Virginia) released cans of Festie for the first time this year. What began as a seasonal release and grew to become a year-round offering, Festie is described as an Amber Lager but we know it has Oktoberfest roots. "Rich and malty, Festie is... our tribute to the great German lager. Its name invokes the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season." 4.8% ABV and 12 IBUs.


HERE'S WHAT'S BACK
------------------------

Sly Fox (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania) will once again be offering their Oktoberfest in cans. It made history as the first craft brewed Oktoberfest to be canned when it was released last year. Described as a "medium-bodied, smooth and malty brew made with German Vienna malts and German hops." Its 5.8% and 25 IBUs. 

 

Wild Onion (Lake Barrington, Illinois) will bring back the nation's first canned Pumpkin Ale! Described simply as "Our classic fall seasonal. Crisp malt flavor blends smoothly with a hint of spicy pumpkin." This is a very flavorful pumpkin brew with that's tangy and spicy without being overly sweet or too much like pumpkin pie.

 

Narragansett (Providence, Rhode Island) has their Fest Lager back on shelves this year. This is one of four canned seasonals from 'Gansett. Fest comes in six-packs of pint cans for an instant Oktoberfest! "Gansett Fest is a great example of a traditional amber-brown German Oktoberfest style beer. It is perfectly balanced with four varieties of malts and two styles of hops." Its 5.5% and 22 IBUs.

 

Santa Fe Brewing (Santa Fe, New Mexico) will bring back their eye-catching cans of Oktoberfest. We absolutely love the graphics on these cans and the beer inside is excellent to boot! "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."

 

Surly (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota) will release their fall seasonal SurlyFest in the coming weeks. Though the can might have you thinking Oktoberfest-style brew this is actually a Rye Beer. "SurlyFest is brewed with three different types of Rye and a single variety of American Hops. Malted Rye, Flaked Rye, and Crystal Rye impart a distinctive biscuit flavor to the lush Vienna Malt body, and dry-hopping with Sterling Hops adds bright, floral hop aromas. A single hop, dry-hopped, rye lager bier? Ja!" 6% ABV and 34 IBUs.

 

Surly (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota) also releases their mighty, mighty ode to the hop with WET cans hitting shelves in October. WET is one of the most amazing beers we've ever had. Not an exaggeration. "2,400 lbs of hops picked freshly in Oregon and shipped to Minnesota immediately. We brewed this beer three days later. This is a hop forward beer, dry with subdued malt flavors." Citra, Simcoe and Columbus hops galore! 7.5% and 90 IBUs. 

 

 


Posted by Russ


Labels: Autumn Ales


Friday, August 26th 2011

White Rascal
(Avery Brewing Company)

 

Avery started canning almost a year ago...how time flies. Every time I pass their cans at the beer store I have to ask why some people favor bottles for pure aesthetic reasons. All four of Avery's cans look great and the beers they hold aren't so bad either. I raise my glass to Avery for making the move to cans, to their upcoming canning anniversary and to many more years (and hopefully more beers) in cans. Cheers!

 

From the Avery site:

 

"A truly authentic Belgian style wheat or "white" ale, this Rascal is unfiltered (yup, that's yeast on the bottom) and cleverly spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel producing a refreshingly fruity thirst quencher.”


Here we go...

 

Pour - cloudy, golden straw color in appearance. Surprisingly opaque - when I pick it up and try and see through it, I can see my fingers blocking the light coming through the glass, but can't see through the beer. Off-white head with tiny bubbles. As this settles it becomes clearer with the head leaving some fine lacing.

Aroma - crisp, with hints of the fruity yeasty smells usually associated with Belgians. The coriander is spicy and definitely stands out. Some sweet citrus aromas as well.

 

Taste - first thing I notice is the carbonation. It's exceptionally fine, almost foamy across the tongue. Sour citrus flavors along with spicy coriander are upfront with hints of orange coming through towards the end. White Rascal is very thirst quenching and extremely refreshing. Each sip leaves me wanting just one more taste.

 

Overall - there are a lot of Witbiers available in cans these days and this is definitely one of the best. I like it more than Hoegaarden personally (and yes, even Hoegaarden comes in cans over in Belgium). If you're a fan of this style be sure to try this. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I picked up a few six-packs over the summer as this is a great beer for just having in the fridge or for hanging out on the deck.

 

Note -  three of Avery's four cans are beers that they first put in bottles and continue to do so. Their Joe's Premium American Pilsner, however, was a brand new beer when introduced in cans and it has never been bottled. If you haven't tried it yet be sure to pick some up and give it a shot. It's excellent.

 

              

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
White Rascal
Style: Witbier
Brewery: Avery Brewing Company
City: 
Boulder, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
Hops: Czech Saaz
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 10
Date: August 26th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, August 25th 2011

Sun King's Oktoberfest to be Brewery's First Canned Seasonal


Sun King Shows Off Its O-face
Oktoberfest To Be Released On Draft, In Cans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: August 25

(Indianapolis) – Fall is nearly here and Sun King is celebrating the coming season with the release of Oktoberfest, our take on the classic German lager.

Oktoberfest will be tapped on Thurs., Sept. 1 and the tapping will be accompanied by live music from Alpine Express and food from King David's Dogs. The tapping ends at 9 p.m. but the party will extend well into Sept. as Oktoberfest is the first seasonal beer to be canned by Sun King Brewing Co. During the second week of Sept., cases will be delivered to select Indianapolis-area liquor stores as well as the coolers in Sun King's Tasting Room. Sun King will publicize these locations via the company's official Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Sun King's Oktoberfest has a clean malty start with a slightly spicy hop note and a crisp, dry finish. If you would like to speak with us about this tapping or any other issues pertaining to Sun King, craft beer, or Indiana’s growing brewing industry, please contact Neal Taflinger at (317) 602-3702 or taffy@sunkingbrewing.com.

 

    
Sun King's canned releases thus far...

About Sun King Brewing Co.: Founded in 2009 by two award-winning commercial brewers, a mechanical engineer, and a veteran of the food distribution business, Sun King Brewing Co. won Indianapolis’ heart in 2010 with its lineup of stellar house beers (Sun Light Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, Bitter Druid ESB, and Osiris Pale Ale) and artfully crafted seasonal and specialty Lagers, Pilsners, Porters, Stouts, American IPAs, Belgian Wits, American Wheat beers. Less than two years after rolling the first full keg out the door, Sun King has grown into the third-largest beer brewer in the state of Indiana. The company’s commitment to handcrafted seasonal and specialty beers has been rewarded with multiple medals at the Indiana Brewers Cup, Great American Beer Festival®, and World Beer Cup® competitions.

 


Posted by Russ



Wednesday, August 24th 2011

Evolutionary IPA
(Two Beers Brewing Company)

Evolutionary IPA is one of the first three canned offerings from Seattle's Two Beers Brewing Company. The can is nice enough to tell the drinker that this IPA is indeed brewed using Washington Hops and Grain. You've got to be a bit envious of the brewers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. They live and work in the nation's "hop belt" and take full advantage of all those little green bundles of joy that grow in their backyards.

From the Two Beers site:

"Evo. IPA is made for hop heads, those that smell hops and start to shake, jitter, or obsess over the taste this fine plant imparts on beer. So in that sense, this beer is made for the adventurer, the one not afraid of the nuances of life, the complexity of life and the unknown turn in the road ahead. Cheers to the journey ahead."

The CAN reads:

"This beer is made for the adventurer, the one not afraid of the nuances of life, the complexity of decisions, or the unknown turn in the road ahead. So if you like to embrace life to the fullest then this beer is for you. Cheers! - Joel"

Here we go...

Pour - bright amber with lots of reds and oranges and a big, sticky white head on top. This has some serious lacing. All those tiny little bubbles cascading upwards sure is a nice sight to see as well.

 

Aroma - you want fresh hops? Perhaps the type of hop aroma that tickles the inside of your sinuses? Well, here you go! Evolutionary IPA has a lot of piney, resiny hoppy goodness going on and its very apparent even from a few feet away. Some nice citrus smell like grapefruit and lemon round out the aroma. Does it get much better than a very aromatic India Pale Ale? I think not...

 

Taste - a sip of this and you'll get a sense of where all 70 of those IBUs are coming from. Lots of hop flavor is packed into each sip and defended against lupulin overkill by a solid, sweet malty backbone. With Magnum, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops going into this IPA you're tasting some nice array of pineapple and other tropical fruits along with your typical citrus tastes like orange and lemon. This is an IPA that will make your tongue satisfyingly dry but bring it back to life with every sip. Delicious.

 

Overall - great IPA. This has all the features I'm looking for in an assertive West Coast India Pale Ale. Big hop aroma and flavor and bitter enough to make you know your not just drinking some hoppy amber ale. Well done and I think the aluminum outfit suits it well!

 

Would I buy more of it? - abso-HOP-lutely. Very tasty IPA with lots of great hop aroma and flavor. It pays to be near the source and you can taste it.

 

Note - one that thing that makes the cans from Two Beers a bit different than some of the others you'll see, and its not entirely obvious, is that their labels are actually shrink wrapped on to the cans. As this allows the brewery to can as few, or as many, cans as they want by just ordering shrink wrap labels and blank cans, this could be a cheap and easy way around the cost of ordering the rather large amount of cans many manufacturers currently require. 

 

      



Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Evolutionary IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Company
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Magnum, Simcoe, and Amarillo
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 70
Date: August 24th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, August 24th 2011

Philly's Memphis Taproom has
Craft Cans and Hot Dogs Galore

What do you want with your Suicide Dog? Perhaps a can of 21st Amendment's Watermelon Wheat? Once you know the answer to that question step right up to the truck and place your order. That's how you get things done in the beer garden at Philly's Memphis Taproom. 

This little Philadelphia eatery and drink-ery (yeah, another Philly bar that kicks ass) makes arguably some of the best hot dogs in the City of Brotherly Love, and above all, has a penchant for craft beer in cans. We caught up with Leigh Maida who co-owns Memphis Taproom with her husband Brendan Hartraft and got the low-down on what makes their place so special. 

(CC) Can you give us a little background on Memphis Taproom?

(LM) We opened in April of 2008. We're located in a neighborhood in the Kensington section of the city, which is a little north of the downtown (Center City) area. It's mainly a residential neighborhood with a good mix of old school residents and younger, first-time homeowners.

 


it's like an ice cream truck for grown-ups

(CC) What can you tell me about your beer garden? I hear you only serve cans?

(LM) We opened the Beer Garden this past spring (2011). The idea was to create a casual outdoor space where people could grab a bite to eat and a beer, without it being a huge production, or without it taking away from the experience inside. Our inside kitchen and bar are both just too small to accommodate more seats, so we went for the big time*: The Memphis Taproom Lunch Truck. We serve 10 different kinds of hot dogs, and our Fried Dill Pickles from inside the restaurant (they're so popular we were afraid people would knock the truck over if we told them they couldn't have the pickles outside!)

The canned beer menu came about partially because we wanted to eliminate any issue that might arise with opened glass bottles outside. Our neighbors are hugely important to us -- without their support we wouldn't have been able to open the Beer Garden at all -- so the cans help keep things neat, quiet, safe, etc. Plus they recycle a hell of a lot more times than glass will (which sounds like a poser thing to say, but we're actually really & truly into recycling.)

 

"The canned beer menu came about partially because we wanted to eliminate any issue that might arise with opened glass bottles outside."

 

Most importantly though, more and more craft breweries are moving towards canning their beers, so curating the beer list is a lot of fun. Inside the restaurant, our draft list changes at warp speed, and we have a ginormous bottled beer list. So canned beer is an exciting third option of us. If you look at the entire place as a package, we offer our guests as much variety as we can in terms of the craft beer experience.

(*Totally joking, we're SO lo-fi...)

 

(CC) How many varieties of canned craft beer do you offer on a regular basis?

(LM) We offer a dozen cans at any given moment. The list changes as new brands or more inventory become available in our market.

 


recycle or risk public shaming!

 

(CC) Do you provide glassware with the cans or do most folks just drink straight from the can?

(LM) Straight from the can baby. (And if you don't drop your cab tab in the charity recycling collection bucket when you're done guzzling from that can, we shame you publicly for it.)

 

(CC) Does Memphis Taproom host any canned beer themed events?

(LM) We had a movie night in the Beer Garden recently and showed Raising Arizona. We offered a special on Sly Fox's Phoenix Pale Ale (har har har) during the movie. You know, the season is now almost over and it occurs to me that we didn't really offer too many other canned beer themed events. Next year for sure!

 


the CALIFORNIA UBER ALLES dog


(CC) What is the general reaction of customers when it comes to drinking craft beer that comes in a can?

(LM) I think I had one email at the beginning of the spring that said "You know, you should really offer proper glassware..." but all in all, people get what we're doing out in the Beer Garden. It's casual and low key and the canned beer on our menu is just fine right out of the can. Inside we can offer about 80% of our bottles in properly branded glassware. Outside, you get a can, a paper napkin and a picnic table. There are options for every sensibility. 

 

(CC) What is something people might not know about Memphis Taproom?

(LM) You mean besides the bodies in the basement...?

 

(CC) Why is Philly such an awesome beer city?

(LM) I would like to pleasantly defer to my husband & partner Brendan on this one. He is the biggest champion of Philly I know, and I don't want to deprive him of the chance to answer this one. 

(BM) I think what makes Philly the best beer city is the camaraderie of everyone in the industry. The common motivation is to make the craft beer industry better as a whole as opposed to just personal gain.

 

(CC) Cheers and see you soon!

 


2331 East Cumberland Street
Philadelphia

 



Posted by Russ



Tuesday, August 23rd 2011

Bomb Lager
(Bomb Beer Company)

 

Bomb Beer Company is new to the beer scene having just recently released their one and only beer, Bomb Lager, in cans. Based in NYC, the company actually contract brews/cans at the Lion Brewery in Pennsylvania. 

 

From the Bomb site:

 

"Bomb is a traditional Bavarian Helles brewed with some of the best malts around.No adjunct. No surprises. Just quality ingredients from quality suppliers."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - very pale yellow pour with a nice white inch of head. Lacing is excellent for the style with heavy drapes hanging around the glass.

 

Aroma - a decent whiff of malt and very pronounced sour fruit notes. Any hop presence is noticeably absent.  


Taste - pretty sour at the start and a middle that was almost fruitlike. Taste is not unpleasant, but is also rather neutral.  Finishes with a quick flash of hoppiness before turning watery and leaving very little aftertaste. Body is thin, which makes it very easy to drink but also makes it easy to forget that you’re drinking. Wish this one had more hops to keep me interested.

 

Overall - tastes much more like a typical light lager than a Helles Bock. Bomb Lager isn’t undrinkable, but it is rather unremarkable. Put a Naragansett Bock and a Bomb Lager in front of me; I’ll drink the ‘Gansett while checking out the artwork on the Bomb can.

 

Note - There is no actual "Bomb Brewery" in NYC, that is simply where the company has their office. The artwork on the cans is done by Billy the Artist, a NYC artist whom you've probably seen work from elsewhere - it's hard to miss. Bomb Beer Company is releasing several Bomb Lager cans with different artwork on them. They are currently only available in New York State.

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Bomb Lager
Style: Maibock/Helles Bock
Brewery: Bomb Beer Company
City: 
New York, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 27
Date: August 23rd, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Labels: Bocks


Monday, August 21st 2011

Sankaty Light
(Cisco Brewers)

 

Sankaty Light is the second canned release from Nantucket Island's Cisco Brewers. It joins their Whale's Tale Pale Ale which made it into cans last summer for the first time. Both beers are being contract brewed and canned in Utica, New York by F.X. Matt (the same brewery that cans Harpoon's IPA and Summer Beer). 

 

From the Cisco site:

 

"Sankaty Light Lager is a light American Golden Lager. This delicious creation is light-bodied with tremendous balance and distinct hop character. At 3.8% alcohol and 126 calories this light beer ha s true flavor and body while being easy to drink and easier on the waistline. It is named after the famous lighthouse that has stood on a bluff on the southeastern side of Nantucket Island since 1849."

 

From the CAN:

"This American Golden Lager is the lightest lager we’ve made so far.  Its drinkability, crisp citrus hop elements, and smooth malty finish make it not too light but just right.  Don’t fall off the bluff!*"

*Note to get the joke: The Sankaty Light, after which this beer is named, was moved several hundred feet inland in 2007 to keep it from falling off an eroding bluff.  


Here we go...

 

Pour - very, very pale yellow.  Out of the bright light it’s almost olive drab.  Almost no lacing, though that is expected for a light lager.

 

Aroma - the mystery malt and mystery hops used in this lager combine to make this one carry a distinct aroma of lemongrass.  Very pleasant on a warm summer afternoon.  

 

Taste - in spite of its light body the flavor profile has some character. Starts off with some modest malt sweetness and finishes with a very mild citrus zing. Plenty of tight carbonation helps this one dry out considerably and by the end of each sip we were ready for another to quench our thirst.  

 

Overall - a fine summer beer for those of us who are (or should be) watching their waistlines by enjoying a couple lighter, lower calorie beers once in a while. Go into this one expecting a light lager and we’re sure you’ll find you enjoy it much more than most of the “lights” that are available nationally.  

 

Note - Sankaty Light is the lowest ABV craft beer currently being canned in the US. Not surprisingly many craft brewers don't feel it necessary to try and compete with the big guys when it comes to light beer in cans. 

 

       


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Sankaty Light
Style: Light Lager
Brewery: Cisco Brewers
City: 
Nantucket, Massachusetts  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 3.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 22nd, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Saturday, August 20th 2011

Saranac Summer Ale
(Saranac Brewing Company)

The third canned offering under the Saranac name from this prolific brewery. Their flagship Saranac Pale Ale showed up in 12 oz. and pint-sized cans last summer, and this year Summer Ale became the second of their 30-plus seasonals to benefit from the portability and protection of cans. The first was a limited canned run of their Pomegranate Wheat that they did back in 2008.

From the Saranac site:

"With more than 2,800 bodies of water in the Adirondacks, it's not too hard to find a sunny place to relax, rest your feet and look out over the water. To celebrate summer in the Adirondacks, we've brewed a beer with generous amounts of wheat malt for a light, refreshing taste. Look for subtle hints of lemon."

Here we go...

Pour - bright gold color with a thin but sturdy head and decent lacing.

 

Aroma - somewhat bready nose with faint notes of dry lemon citrus.  

 

Taste - starts off with a fairly strong tart lemon flavor before some sourness latches to the palate. Tight carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel dashes the sourness away at the finish leaving a rather dry, almost powdery citrus aftertaste similar to grated lemon peel.

 

Overall - a unique summer beer that is worth trying again. This is not your super sweet shandy-like brew, but one that offers more on the sour end of the lemon spectrum. Its light, thin body is always a plus for summer drinking, and the dry finish helped this one go down quickly.  Recommended if you liked the now-retired Pete’s Wicked Summer Brew.

 

Note - Saranac Brewing Company, which is a division of the FX Matt Company, has brewed and bottled at least 42 different brands in the past few years. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a few more of those in cans. Perhaps their IPA or Black Forest would be good candidates?

 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Saranac Summer Ale
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: Saranac Brewing Company
City: 
Utica, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-Row and Wheat
Hops: Tettnang
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 20th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Saturday, August 20th 2011

Anderson Valley to Release their Winter Solstice in Cans Next Month


Anderson Valley's NEW Winter Solstice Can

Just as those summer seasonal cans are starting to disappear from the shelves we start getting news that makes us excited for the shorter, cooler days ahead. Anderson Valley has announced that they'll be releasing their Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale in cans for the first time this year. Cans should be reaching shelves next month. With the addition of Winter Solstice, the Boonville, California brewery is now canning four of their beers. Winter Solstice joins their Summer Solstice as a seasonal canned release as well as their two year-round releases, Boont Amber and Hop 'Ottin IPA.

About Winter Solstice 

'"The holidays are a special time in Anderson Valley. The days are darker, weather colder, and foods richer. And Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is perfect for this time of year. Deep amber in color, with an inviting aroma of spice and nutmeg, it was made for the turkeys, cranberries, hams, and yams of the holidays. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale evokes a crackling fire, drifting snow, and smells of home. A hint of spice and hop bite to balance out the creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and medium sweetness." - avbc.com

Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice is 6.9% ABV and measures 6 IBUs. It is classified as a "Winter Warmer" style beer.

About Anderson Valley Brewing Company

A craft beer pioneer, Anderson Valley Brewing Company has been hand-crafting complex and balanced beers since 1987. Winner of over 80 awards, Anderson Valley's core lineup features Boont Amber Ale, Hop Ottin' IPA, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Winter and Summer Solstice Seasonals, Poleeko Pale Ale and Boont ESB. Always innovating, Anderson Valley Brewing Company also brew Belgian, Sour, Barrel Aged and Imperial Styles.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company is located in Boonville, CA. in scenic Mendocino County. Ever conscious of its environmental impact, Anderson Valley Brewing Company is solar powered and recycles nearly all of its waste product. The brewery grounds also features an 18-hole disc golf course.

For more check out  www.avbc.com

 

   
Anderson Valley's Lineup of Canned Offerings


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 18th 2011

Need More Hops in your Life?
Try B-Hoppy Hop-Flavored Candy!

We tend to go on and on about the virtues of cans, one of which is the portability factor they offer. Well, they've got nothing on these little guys. Want a mouth full of hoppy goodness but can't crack open a beer because you're at work, behind the wheel or standing in line at the DMV? Now you've got an option that will please your palate and satisfy all your lupulin needs. 

 


finally, hop-flavored candy!

B-Hoppy, "The Original Hop Candy", is the brainchild of Ohioan Bob Bero. Bob's been cranking out batches of these hop-flavored hard candies at home for the past decade. Unfortunately the feds weren't so keen on the idea of hop candy until only a couple years ago. But now its legit and these little hop-laden candies are in high demand. 

We tried both the Fuggles and Cascade flavored hop candies and the differences were quite noticeable - even the colors were unique. You can truly appreciate the different qualities each hop variety offers. Much like the single hop IPAs and Pale Ales that are currently popular these give you a chance to notice the subtle flavor differences the hop varieties add to beer. They taste very much like fresh hops, floral and citric with a sweetness that keeps them from being too bitter to enjoy. They're made with actual hop oils by the way so its not some artificial hop flavor you're tasting. I can't help but think that these taste the way you'd want a mouthful of hops to taste! Why didn't someone market this idea sooner? Cheers to you Bob! Let us know when you get a batch of Citra candies made up!

B-Hoppy doesn't yet have a website running but you can buy these hop-flavored candies from a number of on-line retailers - we've listed them below. They go for about $5 a bag and some sites allow you to buy them individually for a quarter. If you're a hop fan you'll love them.

Where to get them:

Freshops

Northern Brewer

MoreBeer

Adventures in Homebrewing


The Grape and Granary

 


all of these contain lots of HOPS!

 



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Posted by Russ


Labels: Hop Candy


Wednesday, August 17th 2011

483 Pale Ale
(Great River Brewery)

Great River Brewery became Iowa's first canning craft brewery in May of 2010. To date they've released four different canned offerings, all of which have been in 16 oz. pint cans. 483 Pale Ale and Roller Dam Red Ale were the brewery's first two cans released. They've also canned their Redband Stout (a stout brewed with coffee) and, as a special release for the local "Bix Street Fest", their Copper Ale.

From the Great River site:

"True to the style, our pale ale is brewed with pale malt and a touch of crystal malt which gives it that copper hue. Then we aggressively hop it with centennial hops for a big citrus hop aroma and taste. Beer for the hop lover. Nice bitterness and a good long aftertaste with a smack of grapefruit."

The CAN reads:

"Great River Brewery’s 483 Pale Ale is named after our mile marker on the mighty Mississippi. A classic American pale ale, it uses generous amounts of centennial hops and a final dry hopping of cascades, creating a bold floral and citrus aroma with a balanced malt body. "


Great River gives you the lowdown on cans right on their cans!

Here we go...

Pour - Deep, dark copper color with a loose bubbly head that sustains itself very well. 

 

Aroma -  This one has the holy trinity of my favorite hoppy ales:  citrus,  a little bit of pine, and floral notes emerge as it warms up.  A great start!  

 

Taste - Centennial hops played a major role in my transition from adjunct lager can-chaser to a craft beer hophead, and this beer is chock full of them.  Big hop bite at the start that is immediately countered by just the right amount of malt.  Not too dry,  but not too sweet either.  Finishes with some lingering bitterness that reminds me of some of my favorite IPAs.  Is this really a pale ale?  

 

Overall - I’ve thought long and hard about it and decided this is the best APA I’ve tried – canned or bottled. It drinks much more like an IPA than a pale ale but has an ABV that lets you manage more than just a couple per session. 483 Pale Ale reminds me a lot of Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter but with a bigger malt backbone. The folks at Great River and all Iowans should be very proud of this excellent brew! 

 

Note - Did you know that American Pale Ale is the craft beer style you're most likely to find in a pint can? It's true. 30% of the craft beer that is put into pint cans is American Pale Ale followed by American Red Ale (21%) and India Pale Ale (20%). 

 

 



Hops Scale:
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483 Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Crystal
Hops: Centennial, Cascade
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: 48
Date: August 17th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Tuesday, August 16th 2011

21st Amendment & Ninkasi Brewing to Release First Ever Canned Collaboration Beer

For quite some time I've been wondering which brewery would be the first to can a collaboration brew and NOW we have an answer. The folks at 21st Amendment will be canning a yet to be named Old Ale style brew (the first canned Old Ale we might add) with the help of Oregon's Ninkasi Brewing Company. Cheers to Beer Street Journal for letting us share this story. This sounds amazing...

From Beer Street Journal

21st Amendment Brewing and Ninkasi Brewing (Eugene, Oregon) have been working on a new “yet to be named” collaboration. I got to sit down with 21st’s Shaun O’Sullivan over beers and a slew of charcuterie plates and get to know 21A a bit better.

This collaboration is born out of friendship. Shaun O’Sullivan and Ninkasi’s Jamie Floyd used to work together at Steelhead Brewing Company in San Francisco. Each one has gone on to found very successful brewing company’s, but the respect for each others work is very evident.

The forthcoming brew is an old ale – but as Shaun O’Sullivan puts it – “there’s nothing old about it.” Each of the duo have brewed a version of the base old ale recipe before. Jamie Floyd took bronze with it as Fort Pointe Olde Ale at GABF in 1997. What’s not so old about it? Brand new hop styles and speciality ingredients of course. The Shaun and Jamie used Falconer Flight hops, a young blend of some of the best aromatic hops in the U.S. made by Hopunion to honor legendary homebrewer Glen Hay Falconer. California dates give the old ale added flavor and complexity.

 


yep, that is the artwork for this can

 

The ale will be canned as a part of 21A’s Insurrection Series with Monk’s Blood & Hop Crisis. It has a World War II theme, echoing “The Big 3 Alliance” – Russia, England & the U.S. banding together to defeat nazi Germany. This new alliance in a can teams up Ninkasi, 21A and you, the drinker to fight the “bigger” element. [Think large beer.] The cans will look like 1940′s newspapers. Expect this beer by year’s end.

Beer Specs

Style: Old Ale brewed with California dates

Availability: 4pks cans, Draft. Distributed through 21A’s network

8.7% ABV


Posted by Russ



Monday, August 15th 2011

Piney River Brewing Brings
Craft Beer in Cans to the Ozarks!

Every one of America's close to 1800 breweries has a story to tell. Joleen and Brian Durham's story is one that a few others may share parts of but its also one that is uniquely theirs. For this husband and wife team a love of brewing became a business earlier this year in the form of Piney River Brewing Company. Now that brewery is expanding and adding a canning line and the years not even over yet! We sat down (virtually) with Joleen who was great about answering all of the questions we had about running a small craft brewery in the Ozarks and their upcoming move to cans. Thanks so much Joleen and we wish you and Brian all the best! Cheers!

CC) What's the background story on Piney River Brewing Company?

JD) Piney River Brewing Company is owned by Joleen and Brian Durham.  The brewery is located in the heart of the Ozarks in Bucyrus, MO, just upstream from the Big Piney River, a storied floating and fishing river that flows throughout Texas County.

Brian is the brewer. Joleen is the sensory panel and communications guru.  Together we do everything from cleaning the floors to filling kegs. It’s definitely a hands-on partnership. We both have day jobs, so brewery work involves weekends and late nights. As Joleen likes to say, “We can sleep when we die.”

True to the do-it-yourself Ozark tradition, we began brewing on our kitchen stove, fermenting our beer in the cellar of our 100-year old farm house.  Our friends and family were drinking our handcrafted homebrew faster than we could make it, which made us decide to take our entrepreneurial spirit, business know-how and love of craft beer to a new level.  Renovating a 70-year old barn on our property for a brewery and a tap room (renamed “BARn”), Piney River Brewing Company was born. We were licensed in December 2010, and we had a soft opening of the brewery in March 2011.

We weren’t really sure how long we would be a nanobrewery when we started the BARn renovation and applying for our federal and state licenses.  It became apparent very quickly that there was a demand for more craft beer options in the Ozarks.

We are currently in the middle of installing a 7-barrel brew house with 15-barrel fermentation vessels.  We’ve been so caught up in the brewing that we still have work to do to complete our tap room in the BARn, but the customers love checking out our progress as we have time to work on the tap room.

 


Piney River Brewing Company's Joleen and Brian Durham

 

CC) What made you decided to go with cans over bottles? Why 16 oz. cans and not 12 oz.?

JD) When we realized that the demand for craft beer in our area was there, we began discussing packaging options.  A friend had given us some Oskar Blues long before we were starting our own brewery, and we really enjoyed it.  We did our homework on cans versus bottles.  We knew that the best way to preserve the flavor of our handcrafted beer was to use a can.  We knew that cans made more ecological sense because they don’t weigh as much to ship and they are easier to recycle.  We also knew that a canned craft beer would be sought after in an area like the Ozarks where most outdoor activities benefit from beer in light, non-breakable packaging.  In fact, glass is not allowed on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  As canned craft beer has become more readily available, we have enjoyed craft beer while floating and fishing, and it takes craft beer to a whole new level!   You’ll see on all of our cans--“Pack it in.  Pack it out.  Enjoy nature.” 

We are very excited to be the first microbrewery in the state of Missouri to can our own beer on site!

16 oz. vs. 12 oz?  Since we are celebrating the Big Piney River, we thought it only appropriate to have “Piney pints”.

"...glass is not allowed on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  As canned craft beer has become more readily available, we have enjoyed craft beer while floating and fishing, and it takes craft beer to a whole new level!"

 

CC) What type of canning line will you be using?

JD) We will use a Second Generation Micro-Can MC-100, 2-head automated canning system from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder, CO. We are excited to have the first Micro-Can system installed in the state of Missouri.

 

CC) Which of your beers will we see in cans first? When?

JD) Our first two beers in cans will be Missouri Mule India Pale Ale and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale.  We hope to have them available about the first part of October.

 

CC) Where do the names for your beers come from? 

JD) Our beer names are inspired by the Ozarks.  Here’s what you will read on our two forthcoming cans:

McKinney Eddy Amber AleIn the heart of Texas County, McKinney Eddy on the Big Piney River was home to our friend and master blacksmith, Charlie McKinney.  Charlie toiled over an anvil with purpose, passion and pure Ozark creativity—an inspiration for our handcrafted amber ale.

Missouri Mule IPA Missouri mules hauled hundreds of wagons across the West and packed supplies in World Wars I & II. For decades, mules were also the most reliable Ozark farm hands. Like a Missouri mule, you can rely on our handcrafted India Pale Ale. This IPA packs a hop explosion that will not let you down.

 

CC) You guys started as a nanobrewery brewing 10 gallon batches, are you officially a craft brewery yet?

JD) Piney River Brewing has always been recognized by the TTB as a microbrewery. However, about the time we were starting our microbrewery, the craft beer world began to buzz with nanobrewery news.  We’ve had a lot of fun with our nanobrewery status in the past few months as we’ve brewed our hearts out on our Sabco, 10-gallon system. Many people are interested in watching the success of a nanobrewery and whether or not the brewery can cross over to a larger system successfully.  We are very close to crossing over to a full-fledged microbrewery with our new brewing system. We will have the BARn taproom where we’ll have our five beers available year round as well as some seasonal beers. Through our distributors we will provide our canned beer and kegs to retail establishments.

 

CC) Where are your cans going to be available for purchase?

JD) Currently, we have a distributor that covers a lot of the Ozark region, Grellner Sales and Service, and when we have cans, they will supply them to retail stores in the Ozarks.  We also have interest in our cans from distributors in other territories near us, and we hope to bring additional distributors on board soon.

 


the BARn at Piney River Brewing Company

 

CC) What is something people might not know about Piney River Brewing Company?

JD) Between our web site, our blog, Facebook and Twitter, it’s hard to have any secrets.  One thing that some people find to be very interesting is that we feed all of our spent grains to our small beef cattle herd (which we call “the girlfriends”).  The girlfriends love the spent grain so much that when they hear us outside the BARn, talking or opening and closing doors, they will moo to us-just checkin’ to see if we might be bringing some warm grains out to them.

 


Piney River Brewing is located in Bucyrus, Missouri (pop. 1500)

 

CC) What makes the Ozarks a great place to live and brew beer?

JD) The Ozarks were settled by hard working people looking for elbow room, a place to scratch out a living and a place with great water for their homes and livestock.  Today in the Ozarks there is still a great respect for anyone that’s willing to work hard, and there’s a deep appreciation for everything from homegrown tomatoes to pasture raised beef to handcrafted beer.  We are blessed to have excellent fresh water sources in the Ozarks, and our beer comes from water pumped out of the ground just a few hundred feet from the BARn.  The water in our beer is simply fresh, pure and tasty, and we are excited to have the privilege of using it to craft our beer.

 

 

CC) Where is your favorite place to relax and have a beer?

JD) We have a large fire pit in our back yard where we enjoy building large and small bonfires.  There are no street lights, so it’s just us, the moon and stars and any Ozark night creatures in the shadows.  We turn some great tunes on and listen through our outdoor speakers, preferably something with a little banjo.  Then, we kick back in the Adirondack chairs and find that the beer goes down really easy.

 

CC) Cheers Joleen and Brian, best of luck with everything!


Piney River Brewing Company  Media Resources


    

 


Posted by Russ



Monday, August 15th 2011

Trailhead India Style Session Ale
(Two Beers Brewing Company)

One of three canned offerings now available from Seattle's Two Beers Brewing Company (with a couple more on the way). Trailhead ISA (India Session Ale) is a great example of the movement to provide more sessionable beers to an increasingly craft-leaning American drinking base. A great idea for their summer seasonal and hopefully a first of many low ABV IPAs to come.

From the Two Beers site:

"Trailhead ISA is being released as our Summer Seasonal. A Northwest India-style Session Ale (ISA) aggressively dry-hopped with Columbus and Cascade hops and brewed with light crystal and honey malts. A hoppy crisp beer perfect for the sunny days of summer."

The CAN reads:

"Toss this in a backpack and hit the trail to find freedom, escape, and a more simple life. As the sky above and good friends keep you company this generously dry-hopped ISA will complete the trinity of the good life. Pack it in. Pack it out. Cheers!"

Here we go...

Pour - nice golden, peachy color in appearance with a half inch or more of white foam on top. Carbonation looks great and this beer is screaming drink me.

 

Aroma - as soon as I opened this can I could get a whiff of the hops. The late addition dry hopping sure leaves a lasting aromatic impression. Fresh, green, sticky, piney hop aromas are very, very present. 

 

Taste - right away you can feel that this IPA isn't carrying a lot of weight compared to a lot of other IPAs that are weighing in closer to the 7% mark. Trailhead packs a nice citrusy punch and a light to medium malt backbone. Not to sweet and not too bitter. The aroma each time you stick your nose in the glass really adds to the enjoyment this beer brings. I get a bit of a peppery flavor from this as well as that of orange peel. Not sure where that is coming from but it works for me. Good stuff right here.

 

Overall - it seems that many brewers are scaling back these days and offering something that provides a lot of the flavors beer lovers crave but without the high alcohol - something that isn't always easy to get right. Trailhead does a great job providing a lot of the hop flavor and aroma without the booziness brought on by many bigger IPAs. I'd love to see more and more session IPAs in cans, it just seems like a perfect match especially during summer. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would as this is a great sub 5% IPA and a perfect candidate for these hot August days working in the yard. I'm looking forward to trying their Evolutionary IPA - which is also now in cans. 

 

Note - one that thing that makes the cans from Two Beers a bit different than some of the others you'll see, and its not entirely obvious, is that their labels are actually shrink wrapped on to the cans. Great River Brewery in Iowa has also done this with a couple of their cans as well. As this allows the brewery to can as few or as many cans as they want by just ordering shrink wrap labels and blank cans, this could be a cheap and easy way around the cost of ordering the rather large amount of cans many manufacturers currently require. 

 

      
Two Beers Brewing Company's current canned offerings




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Trailhead India Style Session Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Company
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Light Crystal and Honey Malts
Hops: Columbus and Cascade
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 48
Date: August 15th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, August 15th 2011

Detroit's Atwater Brewery Announces Plans to Can Beers

Michiganders can add yet another brewery to their growing list of those offering cans. Detroit's Atwater Brewery announced, on both their website and via Facebook, that they too will be offering cans in the near future.

Atwater hasn't fully disclosed which of their beers they'll be canning but we can count on at least those pictured in the marketing piece above, neither of which are brands they currently bottle. The brewery should be announcing a release date for their cans soon.

With the addition of Atwater, Michigan now has seven breweries offering beers in cans. This figure is set to change soon as both Michigan Brewing Company (brewers and canners of Badass Lager - Michigan's native son Kid Rock's beer) and Bell's Brewery are both planning to offer cans in the future. 

About Atwater Brewery (from their site):

"Located in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, and housed in a 1919 factory warehouse, Atwater Brewery was founded in March of 1997 with the purpose of carrying on the rich history of breweries in Detroit. Our brewing process, however, is over 200 years old."


Posted by Russ



Sunday, August 14th 2011

2012 Black Ale
(Stevens Point Brewery)

 

The newest canned offering from the folks at Point. 2012 Black Ale was previously only available on tap and in bottles. 2012 makes reference to the forecasted end of days according to the Mayan calendar. What better way to enjoy such an uplifting event than by enjoying a few beers? Cheers!

 

From the Point site:

 

"Thousands of years ago the ancient Mayans of Central America developed a "Long-Count" round calendar that ends ominously on December 21, 2012.  Some predict this symbolizes the end of time as we know it.  Inspired by this mystery, we offer Point 2012 Black Ale to help contemplate this 'end of time' or perhaps a 'new beginning.'  Dark rich roasty and complex, Point 2012 Black Ale is hand-crafted with Pale, Munich, and Roasted Malts with Cluster, Saaz, and Cascade hops for the robust flavor and finish.  Enjoy -- while there's still time."

 

Here we go...


Pour - dark as pitch with only some hints at ruby red when the light hits it just right. A rather big coffee-colored head sits atop this pour and dwindles away to just a ring. Dark and mysterious.


Aroma - coffee with lots of sugar, caramel, molasses, cocoa powder and chocolate cake batter.

 

Taste - roasty and toasty with a sweet and tangy finish that reminds me of bread dough a bit. Fairly light bodied despite it's appearance. This actually quite a refreshing beer with a nice malt profile, little to no hop presence and rather light carbonation. 

 

Overall - this beer is more like a stout in some ways than a brown ale. It's got a lot more roasty flavors and an almost dry, espresso-like finish without the sweetness a brown ale usually brings. If there was an actual "Black Ale" style category this would fit nicely into it! 

 

Would I buy more of it? - possibly. Although I'm not within their distribution range. This is a nice beer, nothing too fancy but solid. If you like dark beers with a lot of flavor but not too heavy this is a good one. 

 

Note - With the recent announcement that Point will be canning their Oktoberfest this fall, this will make six canned offerings from the Wisconsin brewery. They also can their Cascade Pale Ale, Nude Beach Summer Wheat, Point Amber Classic, Point Special Lager and of course their 2012 Black Ale

 

     


Can Scale:
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2012 Black Ale
Style: American Brown Ale
Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
City: 
Stevens Point, Wisconsin  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Munich, and Roasted Malts
Hops: Cluster, Saaz, and Cascade
ABV: 4.6%
IBUs: 9
Date: August 14th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Labels: Brown Ales


Saturday, August 13th 2011

Wheach
(O'Fallon Brewery)

 

Who doesn't love a beer related portmanteau? O'Fallon Brewery found an obvious winner when they combined wheat and peach to make Wheach! First canned last year and now back for a second summer, Wheach is fun to say and if you're a fan of fruit beers it's also fun to drink. 

 

From the O'Fallon site:

"Imagine our smooth, clean wheat beer with a touch of peach and you get the idea behind O’Fallon Wheach, our peach wheat beer. Refreshing and crisp, it’s perfect for warm summer weather."

 

The CAN reads:

"The Riverfront Times’ Best Beer in St. Louis, 2007"


Here we go...

 

Pour - bright yellow with a very thin, white head.  Lacing is essentially non-existent and only a few lone bubbles cling to the side of the glass.    


Aroma - peaches, a little sweet wheat, peaches, some dry crackers, peaches, and more peaches.  

 

Taste - wow, this is really fruity.  It’s no surprise that the peach prevails, but there’s more than “a touch” in the can.  Thankfully it has a very fresh peach flavor, not the syrupy canned version of peach many of us had to endure in our grade school cafeterias.  The mouthfeel is dry throughout with some powdery tartness near the finish.  The fresh peach experience is reinforced by the absence of any heavy, overly sweet aftertaste.  If this isn’t made with real fruit then the folks at O’Fallon have me completely fooled.

 

Overall - these cans recently showed up in my local market in no less than 12 packs, and since I’m not the biggest fruit beer fan  I really thought I was taking one for the CraftCans team when I offered to buy a dozen to write a review.  As it turns out it Wheach is one of the best fruit beers I’ve tried, and I’m glad I have more in the chiller.  A great summer beer and a must-try if you like fruit beers.  And peaches.

 


Peach + Wheat = Wheach      

 

Note - like Schlafly’s Summer Lager, O’Fallon Wheach is brewed and canned under contract by Stevens Point Brewing in Wisconsin. It is their first canned offering, and here’s hoping more of their beers find their way into our favorite containers (may we suggest their German Alt Sticke It To the Man would be the next best candidate?)   

Founded in 2000 by Tony and Fran Caradonna, the O’Fallon brewery was recently sold to a former Anheuser-Busch marketing executive. We’re pleased to hear the new owner has kept both the head and assistant brewers on staff, giving us hope that O’Fallon will stay the craft beer course for many years to come.    


Can Scale:
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Wheach
Style: Fruit/Vegetable Ale
Brewery: O'Fallon Brewery
City: 
O'Fallon, Missouri  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pilsner, White Wheat, Bonlander
Hops: Glacier
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 7
Date: August 13th, 2011

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Labels: Fruit Beers


Friday, August 12th 2011

Summer Wit
(Wild Onion Brewing Company)

New to cans this summer from Wild Onion is this seasonal offering. It only makes sense for a brewery that's already putting some beers in cans to get something out for the summer market. In today's craft beer world SUMMER + CANS = Cha-Ching!

From the Wild Onion Brewing site:

"Light and refreshing, this Belgian-style wheat beer is subtly spiced with orange and coriander for perfect summer harmony."

The CAN reads:

"Our warm weather seasonal is perfect for enjoying the long-awaited days of spring and summer.  This Belgian-style White Ale is traditionally brewed from a large dose of wheat malt and a splash of coriander and orange peel."

 


Here we go...


Pour - bright golden pour with surprising clarity for the style.  Dozens of tiny white bubbles push easily to the top of the glass and produce a big, fluffy, bone-white head.  Thick, ropey curtains of lacing cling to the glass as the head recedes.

 

Aroma - nose is full of sour citrus and some wet biscuit and sweet wheat notes emerge as it warms.  

 

Taste - A very sour start fades into a tart middle and the moderately high carbonation leads us to a semi-dry, reasonably clean finish.  The coriander is more prevalent as it warms up, which adds some complexity to an otherwise straightforward summer witbier.

 

Overall - Wild Onion’s offering is a good representation of how American brewers have taken to Witbiers and other Belgians and stayed true to the style.       

 

Would I buy more of it? - Like most beers of the style, this one would be good to have on hand for cooler summer days, and might be best enjoyed when paired with complementary foods.   

 

Note - Wild Onion Brewing is now canning five different brews! They're also going down in the craft can record books for being the first American brewery to can a pumpkin ale! 

 

        

 


Can Scale:
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Summer Wit
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: The Wild Onion Brewing Company/The Onion Pub and Brewery
City: 
Lake Barrington, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.4%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 12th, 2011

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Friday, August 12th 2011

Sixpoint to Can their Diesel Stout

The folks at Sixpoint unveiled the label for their Diesel Stout this morning over on Facebook. A departure from their other cans, this one will be all black it appears. Diesel will be a winter release and will follow their Autumnation, a pumpkin ale they'll be releasing in cans this fall, as their second seasonal canned release.

A bit more about Diesel (from the Sixpoint site):

"The Diesel is our version of stout, and with a name like "stout" we needed something with character...something with substance. Something with a deep roasted flavor, something with a full-bodied toffee sweetness. Something with cleansing, citrus, and grassy hop bitterness after every swallow. 

Out of our needs and desires for more power the diesel emerged."

There are surprisingly few stouts being canned by craft brewers thus far so this is a welcome addition to both the Sixpoint lineup as well as the canned craft beer world. Cheers!


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 11th 2011

SummerBright Ale
(Breckenridge Brewery)

SummerBright Ale is one of three canned offerings from Breckenridge Brewery and the only seasonal they're currently canning. The other two beers in cans are their flagship Avalanche Ale and their Lucky U IPA. You can now find their canned offerings in quite a wide distribution area. According to the Breckenridge Brewery site their beers are sold in at least 25 different states (Massachusetts isn't listed but they definitely sell their beer here). 

 

From the Breckenridge Brewery site:

 

"The brewmaster's goal: the perfect ale for summertime quaffing, nothing more. Breck Brew's SummerBright is the result. The craftsman's touch combines white wheat, two row pale and munich malt with the pacific northwest's most intriguing hops to create a bright, clean ale ideal for picnicking, evenings on the screen porch and enjoying the whims of the summer breeze."


Here we go...


Pour - pale yellow color suggests this will be a nice light summer guzzler. Plenty of carbonation creates a very large, bright white head that leaves just a few thin curtains of lacing on the side of the glass. 

 

Aroma - faint hint of sweet citrus and grassy notes with some pale malts pushing through to let you know you have an ale in front of you.  It even smells refreshing!


Taste - meets all the expectations that were set by the pour and aroma. Light and refreshing with some lemon citrus in the middle and a slightly tart but crisp, clean finish. Citrus flavors become more pronounced as it warms up a bit. 

 

Overall - The folks at Breckenridge deliver on what they promised.  This ale is perfectly suited for hot summer days.

 

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely. SummerBright just made my go-to lawnmower/boating/beach beer list.  

 

Note - SummerBright Ale is available from April through August and can be found in both bottles and cans. Below is retro-esque ad that they ran in All About Beer magazine a few months back promoting SummerBright's portability now that it's in cans. Cheers!

 


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SummerBright Ale
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row Pale, White Wheat Malt, Carapils Malt, Munich
Hops: Fuggles, Cascade, Willamette
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 15
Date: August 11th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Wednesday, August 10th 2011

Whitsun
(Arcadia Brewing Company)

Yet another canned brew from the state of Michigan! Whitsun flooded the inside of cans for the first time earlier this summer and should be a seasonal favorite for all those enjoying the lakes, rivers and streams of the Great Lakes State. Look for more offerings in cans from the folks at Arcadia in the coming months.

 

From the Arcadia site:

"Enjoy the warmer weather of spring and summer with Whitsun, Arcadia's refreshing and smooth drinking wheat ale that's light enough to quench your thirst after mowing the lawn or that awesome workout, and enough body and "legs" to satisfy the beer enthusiast with an quaffable and full-flavored summer brew.

Brewed in the style of a mid-19th Century English Festival Ale, this unfiltered wheat beer boasts a translucent orange color topped with a creamy, white head. Its full-flavored drinkability makes it the perfect choice for any warm weather events, while the unique flavors pair nicely with many dishes."

Here we go...

 

Pour - A deep orange color that gets awfully close to amber.  The cloudiness and floaters confirm this one is unfiltered.  Carbonation is limited, resulting in a thin head.  The sticky lacing and low carb suggest this one has a pretty big body for what is marketed as a seasonal summer brew.

 

Aroma - as expected, orange and some peppery coriander come to the forefront.  The coriander aroma gets stronger and more prevalent as this warms a bit.


Taste - flavor profile is consistently sweet malt and orange throughout and I daresay we found some clover honey in some of the sips though it’s not suggested as an ingredient. The mouthfeel proves out to be what we suspected at the pour – this is big-bodied for a summer ale. The orange sweetness is more pronounced as it warms which brings some tart acidity to the party. 

 

Overall - A unique pale wheat with low carbonation, a heavier body/mouthfeel, and on the heavy side of refreshing.  For me, this one is best enjoyed cold.  

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would, and I have!  This one is good to have in the fridge for those cool early and late summer nights around the fire pit.   

 

Note - Whitsun is Arcadia’s first brew to be offered in cans, and was the 100th brewery to make the CraftCans.Com list of American breweries that are canning their beer. Their canning line was previously owned by Maui Brewing, so it has plenty of prior experience filling cans with wonderful craft beers! Look for their Sky High Rye in cans this fall. Cheers!

 

 


Can Scale:
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Whitsun
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Brewery: Arcadia Brewing Company
City: 
Battle Creek, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 17
Date: August 10th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Tuesday, August 9th 2011

Where is my beer actually brewed? Some thoughts on contract brewing

Ever look closely at the can or label of the beer you're drinking? What about the small print on the side or on the back? If you have you might have noticed that once in awhile that beer you're drinking was brewed, packaged, bottled or canned somewhere you didn't expect. When this happens it means that the beer is contract brewed, a term that applies when one brewery utilizes the brewing and/or packaging equipment, such as a canning line, of another brewery.

Contract brewing is what enabled Samuel Adams to become what it is today and is currently allowing many small breweries to package their beers utilizing the necessary equipment they might not have. In many ways its a great example of the working partnerships between American craft breweries. However there is a stigma attached to the term as many times the consumer can feel as if they've been deceived and that quality may have been jeopardized in the contract brewing process. Brooklyn Summer Ale, 21st Amendment's Bitter American and Sixpoint's Righteous Ale are all contract brewed and are all excellent beers.

Many other great beers are also contract brewed and we see no reason that one should feel slighted if that great beer they're drinking was brewed in another brewery. However some "breweries" are not actual breweries but what are called Beer Marketing Companies. This means they don't actually have a brewery of their own and they either rent the space of an existing brewery or pay someone to brew their beer for them somewhere else. This isn't a bad thing unless you're made to think they have an actual brewery somewhere when its nothing more than just a one room office. As a consumer you want to know what you're buying and it all comes down to disclosure.

 

     
O'Fallon and Schlafly can their summer beers at Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin

By law the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) requires a company to make note on the label/can where the beer is actually brewed. 

§ 7.52 Mandatory statements.

(a) Responsible advertiser. The advertisement shall state the name and address of the brewer, bottler, packer, wholesaler, or importer responsible for its publication or broadcast. Street number and name may be omitted in the address.


until Narragansett builds a brewery they are brewing (and canning) in Rochester, NY

Some well-known breweries that contract brew and/or can:

21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA) brews and cans their beers at Cold Spring Brewery in Cold Spring, MN.

Redhook (Woodinville, WA and Portsmouth, NH) brews and cans their Copper Hook at Cold Spring Brewery in Cold Spring, MN.

Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA & Windsor, VT) uses the canning line at FX Matt in Utica, NY to can both their Summer Beer and IPA. They brew those beers at their Windsor, Vermont brewery.

Cisco Brewers (Nantucket, MA) brews and cans their Whale's Tail Pale Ale and Sankaty Light at FX Matt in Utica, NY.

Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY) brews and cans both their Brooklyn Lager and their Brooklyn Summer Ale at FX Matt in Utica, NY.

Sixpoint Craft Ales (Brooklyn, NY) brews and cans their beers at Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Schafly (St.Louis, MO) cans their Summer Lager at Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, WI.

O'Fallon Brewing (O'Fallon, MO) cans their Wheach at Steven Point Brewery in Stevens Point, WI.

Magic Hat (South Burlington, VT) cans their #9 at High Falls Brewing Company (Genessee) in Rochester, NY.

Pyramid (Seattle, WA) cans their Hefeweizen at High Falls Brewing Company (Genessee) in Rochester, NY.

Narragansett (Providence, RI) brews and cans their beers at High Falls Brewing Company (Genessee) in Rochester, NY - until they get their own brewery.

To sum things up, there is nothing wrong with contract brewing as long as the consumer feels they are being provided with honest information. Plenty of breweries contract brew to keep up with demand and when it comes to cans we're likely to see more breweries can their first beers at another brewery before investing in their own canning line. It's all good - well, as long as the beer is too. 

In an effort to provide clearer information to consumers of canned craft beer, we at CraftCans.Com will be working on making it more apparent where the beers in our database are actually being brewed and/or canned. 

On a personal note I've come to think of beer like I think of music. If I like it great, if I don't that's okay too. If I feel it's produced well and with some honesty and integrity it doesn't bother me so much if it comes from a large brewery, a small brewery, if it's contract brewed or if it comes from my friend's first attempt at homebrewing. Beer is beer and good beer is good beer.


Posted by Russ


Labels: Opinions


Monday, August 8th 2011

Sockeye Red IPA
(Midnight Sun Brewing Company)

This year alone has seen the number of craft breweries canning in the 49th state jump from one to three. Midnight Sun's Sockeye Red IPA is now out in cans and available only in Alaska (for now). These were first released in early July and word is they are selling fast...really fast! A big thanks goes out to Jim in Anchorage for making it possible for us to try this one. This is one of three Alaskan craft beers (soon to be four and who knows how many after that) that are being canned now, although I'm not sure if Sleeping Lady has got their canning line back up and running yet. Here's to the canned craft beer scene in The Last Frontier, cheers!

From the Midnight Sun site:

"Brewed in the bold spirit of Alaska, Sockeye Red IPA is a finely crafted Pacific Northwest-style India Pale Ale with a real bite. Ample pale two-row malt creates a fresh, firm body while specialty malts impart a spawning red hue. The predominant character of this fiesty catch comes from outlandish portions of Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe hops, giving this beer tremendous citrus and floral aroma and flavor.

Determined and bitter but amazingly balanced,Sockeye Red IPA is gnarly enough to take you hook, line and sinker. Forget about a bigger rig; grab a bigger glass."

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber in color with some reddish highlights and a nice inch of foamy, off-white head on top. This is rather dark for an IPA and personally I like that as it means there is likely to be a solid malt backbone.

 

Aroma - sweet, tangy, citrusy with some nice pineapple notes as well as orange and mango. Lots of hoppy smells emanating from this glass. I'm excited to dive in as it's the perfect evening for an IPA from Alaska!

 

Taste - that first taste hits the lips, the tongue and the back of the throat with a blast of bitter citrus and resiny pine. This is followed by some of that sweet pineapple I caught in the aroma and a malty caramel finish. There are some honey notes as this one warms a bit and those hop flavors start to really stick and dry out the tongue. Delicious.

 

Overall - definitely more than a just one-sided IPA and the perfect candidate for Midnight Sun's first cans sent down the line. I can imagine this would be a big hit with all the outdoors folks up in Anchorage as it would fill a lot of coolers quite nicely. Great stuff and am glad we were able to taste it while it was fresh!

 

Would I buy more of it? - if it meant a trip to Alaska I'd certainly love to get more but without that expensive airline ticket I think I'll have to wait until they expand their distribution considerably. 

 

                          

 

Note - Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), also called red salmon or blueback salmon in the USA, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. There are also completely landlocked populations of the same species, which are known as the kokanee. Sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum salmon. The name "sockeye" is an anglicization of sθə́qəy̓, its name in Halkomelem, the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River. - wikipedia.com

 



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Sockeye Red IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Midnight Sun Brewing Company
City: 
Anchorage, Alaska  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 70
Date: August 8th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, August 7th 2011

Northern Lights India Pale Ale
(Starr Hill Brewing Company)

Another canned offering from the growing craft beer-land that is the American Southeast. Northern Lights IPA is joined by Festie as one of the first two canned brews from Starr Hill with more to come we'd imagine. Cheers!

 

From the Starr Hill site:


"A classic American-style India Pale Ale, Northern Lights weighs in at 52 IBUs and 6.5% ABV. Characterized by its full-flavored bitterness and poignant citrus-floral aroma, a perfect blend of barley and hops make this a very balanced IPA. For the craftbrew connoisseur, Northern Lights is a deliciously crafted piece of the heavens."


Here we go...

 

Pour - nice looking amber to dark golden in appearance with some nice rubyish highlights and an inch or so of foamy white head on top. Some lacing present in the glass before I can manage a sip. Not a bad looking pour. 


Aroma - the first things I get from sniffing the glass are lemon juice and caramel malt. Some other sweet citrus aroma are present but not a whole lot of hops going on here. More on the sweet to malty side in the nose.

 

Taste - following suit with the aroma, the first taste on my tongue is that of sweet malt. Not overly cloying but definitely sweet. There is some decent bitterness hitting the back and sides of the tongue but not a defined hop flavor, just bitter. A couple sips in and I begin to enjoy this beer. The flavors begin to melt together and that sweetness begins to balance out with the hop/bitter flavors that are present. 

 

Overall - Sure, this is more on the malty side when it comes to IPAs but you can't hold anything against it for that. Creative license is the name of the game when it comes to making beer. Style guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Drinkable and tasty at that. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - if I find myself in Virginia again for work sometime in the foreseeable future I'd certainly pick some more of these up. Having visited the brewpub in Charlottesville a few years back I'd also be happy to check that place out again too. 

 

Note - According the the Starr Hill site, "Northern Lights is a beer that used to be called Stinky; it has a lot of hops." I'm also thinking that the Northern Lights reference may not be a reference to the Aurora Borealis and perhaps a reference to a kind relative of the almighty hop. Hmmm....



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Northern Lights India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Starr Hill Brewing Company
City: 
Crozet, Virginia  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row, Caramel, Munich & Wheat
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 52
Date: August 7th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Saturday, August 6th 2011

Italian Craft Brewer Releases
Canned Tribute to Kurt Cobain


Kurt Pale Ale from Bad Attitude Craft Beer

One place Nirvana fans might not have expected to see their beloved Kurt Cobain's visage pop-up after so many years might have been on a can of craft beer from across the pond. Well, rejoice my former flannel-wearing friends! "Kurt" Pale Ale is the latest canned release, from the folks at the aptly named Swiss/Italian brewery Bad Attitude Craft Beer.

From the Bad Attitude site:

"Kurt, for us, means going back to our roots.

Served in cans and in kegs, it's a Pale Ale made to be drank in big amounts.

Hoping that Kurt will be the perfect "Gateway Beer" for those who have only ever drunk industrial lager, we also want it to be appreciated for beer lovers on sunny summer days.

Kurt is brewed with Maris Otter malts and hops from the New World (Riwaka e Motueka). We use untreated water for brewing, which makes it's unique mineral properties enhance the grassy notes of the hops."

Kurt Pale Ale
Alc. Vol. - 4.32%
IBUs - 31 

"Kurt, for us, means going back to our roots."

Kurt Pale Ale first hit shelves a few months back and is currently only available in Europe - word is Bad Attitude is currently working with potential distributors to get their beers over to the US. We're big fans of Bad Attitude as they're working hard to push the idea of canned craft beer in a part of the world that has yet to embrace it. We consider them the Oskar Blues of Europe in some ways. Look for a review of Kurt soon. Cheers!


Posted by Russ



Friday, August 5th 2011

Lucky U IPA
(Breckenridge Brewery)

Lucky U IPA is one of three canned releases from Breckenridge Brewery, the first was their flagship Avalanche Ale and the other is their seasonal SummerBright Ale. You can now find their canned offerings all over a wide distribution area. According to the Breckenridge Brewery site their beers are sold in at least 25 different states (Massachusetts isn't listed but they definitely sell their beer here). 

From the Breckenridge Brewery site:

"We like to think this is an ale for everyone who believes you make your own luck. We sure did. And the result is a well-balanced, soulful IPA with just the right amount of hoppiness. An even keeled ale that goes down clean and refreshing, but still lets you know it’s been doted on by the Brewmaster. It's true to it’s IPA heritage, but also highly drinkable. Lucky U. And we seriously mean that."

Here we go...

Pour - bronze and copper color; clarity lets you watch the hundreds of tiny bubbles dance around in a spiral on their way up to form a very large white head.

Aroma - light, sweet notes of pineapple at first. A grassy aroma joins the citrus party after the head settles down.

Taste - this one leans strongly towards the malt side of the IPA range with some very mild caramel sweetness at the start. Some hoppiness appears near the end of the swallow as the high carbonation dashes across the tongue and dries out the finish.

Overall - Lucky U is a fine example of a malt-forward IPA. It is a very smooth, drinkable brew with a nice flavor profile and a reasonable ABV for the style.

Would I buy more of it? - My favorite IPAs are hop-forward and make my eyes water a little bit. However, this would be a very good craft brew to have on hand for friends who want a good ale but might not be ready to try one of the hop bombs in your fridge.

Note - Lucky U IPA, which is available in both bottles and cans, pays homage to the Tivoli Brewery. 5% of the proceeds of the sale of this beer go to the Tivoli Foundation for the continued restoration of the Tivoli Brewery building in Denver, Colorado. The Tivoli brewery’s history began in 1866 and was named after a famous amusement park in Copenhagen.  This impressive Colorado landmark now serves as a student union but still bears the Tivoli name.  



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Lucky U IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row Pale, Munich, Carmel, Torrified Wheat
Hops: Amarillo, Magnum, Perle, Cascade, Apollo, Fuggle, Goldings
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 68
Date: August 5th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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