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Wednesday, November 30th 2011

A Buyer's Guide for Winter's Flurry of Canned Craft Beers

As fall quickly becomes winter and fallen leaves become fallen snow we turn our attention towards things darker and/or stronger in the beer world. This winter you've got quite a selection of seasonal canned craft beer to choose from. We've gone ahead and broken down each and every one of them below. Cheers!


Diesel from Sixpoint 

Diesel (Brooklyn, New York) is the brewery's second seasonal brew and one of their oldest recipes.


"Diesel stout has actually been offered each winter since 2005, the year after Sixpoint was founded. Rich, robust and deep brown-black, this beer will linger in your mouth like a streak of tar. Yet it’s surprisingly sessionable and effervescent, too. It starts with nutty roasted malts, which get combined with Columbus and Northern Brewer hops. Another dose of Columbus in the dry-hopping stage gives it a defiantly hoppy character. Poured in a glass, the head becomes thick and cappuccino-like, with lacing down to the last sip..."




Big Cock IPA from Great River Brewing

Great River Brewing (Davenport, Iowa)  has just released their Big Cock IPA, a winter seasonal for them, for the first time in cans. Don't ask us how they got a beer with that name through the TTB - even with a bird on the label! This is a 7% and 70 IBU IPA. 




Cavatica Stout from Fort George Brewery

Fort George Brewery (Astoria, Oregon)  continues to add to their canned portfolio having just released thier Cavatica Stout in cans for the first time. Cavatica is no lightweight and carries a punch at 8.8% ABV!


"An immense, bold, black as night, american stout beauty; Cavatica is no dry Irish anything. Made in the tradition of terminator, except stronger, one sip and you will surely take notice of what you're drinking. The name honors this brewer's affinity with arachnia. Be forewarned, this beer will stain your clothes." 

 

 


TEN FIDY from Oskar Blues


Oskar Blues (Longmont, CO) has released their seasonal behemoth of a stout. TEN FIDY is a 10.5% inky black monster in a can. Instant warmth in a can, just pop the top, pour in a snifter and sip away.


"Ten FIDY Imperial Stout – This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hide a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt.  Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer."





Winter Solstice from Anderson Valley


Anderson Valley Brewing (Boonville, CA) has released cans of their Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale for the first time this year. This Winter Warmer style brew just took gold at CANFEST in the dark ale category.


"Each year, when people are starting to unpack their winter clothes and replenish their firewood, our tiny brewery in the coastal redwoods of Northern California makes seasonal preparations of a different kind. As the cold arrives, we release a unique beverage created to add warmth to even the coldest and darkest of winter's days. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale begins with a very high original gravity to create a hearty and spicy brew with a deep amber hue and a smooth finish. Anderson Valley Brewing Company wishes you the very best for the holiday season and the New Year."




Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
from Anderson Valley


Anderson Valley Brewing (Boonville, CA) will be releasing their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in cans for the first time beginning in January. Certainly one of their more popular brews and a pretty clear example of how much AVBC is enjoying the successes of canning. This will be their fifth canned release.


"With its deep, dark brown-black color, thick, full-bodied, velvety-smooth mouth feel, mocha character, and, strong yet subtle hop bite, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is one of the thickest, richest, and most complex stouts on the market today."




Euphoria Pale Ale from SKA Brewing


SKA Brewing (Durango, Colorado) will once again be offering their Euphoria Pale Ale in cans. A hop-forward brew that pays homage to the mountains of Colorado, this beer has been brewed since 2004. 


"This seasonal beer is brewed in the Do It Yourself (DIY) spirit along with our friends from Bayfield at the Venture Snowboard Factory. An India Pale Ale, the Euphoria is crafted with piles and piles of Golding hops to provide a unique spicy finish. Great for after hitting the slopes."




Fireside Chat from 21st Amendment


21st Amendment (San Francisco, California) has once again released this Winter Warmer with both FDR and one of Santa's elves adorning the can.


"Like FDR’s Depression-Era Radio Addresses, which were like a kick in the butt and a hug at the same time, our Fireside Chat is a subtle twist on the traditional seasonal brew. We begin with a rich, dark, English-style ale and then we improvise with spices until we know we have a beer worth sharing with the nation. Celebrating the right to be original."



Narragansett Porter


Narragansett (Providence, Rhode Island) has their malt-forward porter back on shelves. This is one of four canned seasonals from 'Gansett. Fest comes in six-packs of pint cans at a ridiculously affordable price! 


"Roll out the Barrel: 7% Alcohol by Volume and 22 IBUs. This American-style porter has robust malt flavor with a slight hop character. Available in the Winter Season on tap and in 16oz cans. Quality Supreme: Porter is crafted in small batches at Trinity Brew House in Providence, RI and Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT under the supervision of Brewmaster Sean Larkin. It is brewed with summit hops, black malt, pale malt, roasted barley and ale yeast, and then dry hopped with Amarillo hops."




Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing


Santa Fe Brewing (Santa Fe, New Mexico) will once again be releasing their strong coffee stout - whose graphics we totally dig by the way. 


"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."


 


Dunkel Lager from Sly Fox 


Sly Fox Brewing (Phoenixville, PA) has their fall/winter seasonal, Dunkel Lager, on shelves now. If you enjoy a dark, flavorful lager that isn't too strong this is one for you. This is clocks in at 5.3% ABV with 21 IBUs.


"A traditional Bavarian style Dark Lager, made with Munich, Pils and German Roast malts and a variety of Bavarian hops. This became the third Sly Fox beer to be canned in October 2006."





Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company


Surly (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota) will release their uber-hoppy Double IPA called Abrasive Ale in late December.


"We brewed this beer originally at the end of 2008 as a farewell to growler sales. As usual, we underestimated the demand for the first Double IPA in Minnesota. We brewed the beer again in the spring and released it as a draft only beer. It was originally called 16 Grit, a size of abrasive grit used at the old Abrasive factory that once stood where the brewery now resides."



 


Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, November 29th 2011

Big Sky to Release IPA in Cans

Missoula, Montana's Big Sky Brewing Company is planning to release cans of their IPA for the first time this spring. The brewery has three new fermenters arriving next month which will allow for this addition to their canned lineup.

From the Big Sky site:

"In Montana, many classic memories are made right after someone says, “Hold my beer and watch this.” These bold, assertive moments deserve a bold, assertive beer – Big Sky IPA. A distinct hop presence and malty backbone will leave you refreshed and ready for your moment of glory. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride. Big Sky IPA has 65 IBU's, 5% alcohol by weight, and 6.2% alcohol by volume."

Big Sky offers both their Moose Drool Brown Ale and Montana Trout Slayer Wheat Ale in cans year-round and has done limited canned releases of their Scape Goat Pale Ale and Summer Honey.

        

 


Posted by Russ



Sunday, November 27th 2011

Redband Stout
(Great River Brewery)


Great River Brewery out of Davenport, Iowa has continuously made us happy with each of their canned releases thus far. We were pretty excited when we heard they were canning a coffee stout and equally excited when we actually managed to get our can-loving paws on some of it. This one comes highly touted so we can't wait!


From the Great River Brewery site:


"We love our local roaster’s New Orleans Iced Coffee so much we decided to use their beans in our brew. Redband Stout is made with Indonesian and Ethiopian beans using our 18-hour cold brew extraction method, resulting in a satisfying brew with intense coffee aromatics. The marriage of two of our favorite beverages."


Here we go...

POUR: pitch black, looks just like fresh-brewed French roast was poured into the glass leaving a nice, earthy-colored foamy head. 

AROMA: you haven't smelled a great coffee stout until you've held a glass of this up to your nose. Wow. So much aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans, vanilla, toffee and dark chocolate malts. This definitely comes across like a coffee milkshake. Creamy, sweet with tons of bitter, coffee aromas. Absolutely incredible.

TASTE: Redband hits the palate with a taste that's smoother than a jazz song playing in your dentist's office waiting room. This is quicksilver laced with coffee gliding down your throat. Tons of great dark roast coffee flavors along with a creaminess that definitely makes this come across as the best iced coffee we've ever had! Roasty, toasty flavors without a huge ABV masking the great profiles of the malt and the hard to produce "actual" coffee taste ("18-hour cold brew extraction method"). Not the easiest coffee stout to get your hands on but if you do you will NOT be let down.

 

"Redband hits the palate with a taste that's smoother than a jazz song playing in your dentist's office waiting room. This is quicksilver laced with coffee gliding down your throat."


OVERALL: hands down one the best coffee beers we've ever had, be it in a can or otherwise. Such strong coffee flavors that meld so well with a equally well-produced stout. Great River Brewery has yet to do anything but impress. Very, very, very well done!

NOTES: there are a few other coffee stouts available in cans nowadays. The first to be released was Surly's Coffee Bender in late 2008. Santa Fe Brewing also released their Imperial Java Stout last year. Word is Good People Brewing down in Alabama will eventually release their Coffee Oatmeal Stout. We'll keep an eye out for that and any other coffee beers that come to cans. Cheers!


      
other canned coffee beers worth checking out...





Coffee Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Redband Stout
Style: American Stout
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 36
Date: November 27th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, November 27th 2011

An Iconic Brand is Reborn
Q & A with CEO Mark Hellendrung
(Narragansett Beer Company)

The original Narragansett brewery, located in Cranston, Rhode Island, shut its doors for good in 1981 after almost 100 years of brewing ales and lagers for hearty New Englanders. For close to 25 years the brand name lay dormant. Then, in 2005, and in a very different beer-drinking world, it was reborn. 

Narragansett Beer Company (or simply 'gansett) currently brews it's flagship Narragansett Lager and Narragansett Light out of the old Genessee plant in Rochester, NY, all the while socking away funds to build a brewery to call their own in Rhode Island. Along with their more mainstream brands, the brewery also brews and cans four seasonal beers and has plans to release a new year-round beer (either a Rye Ale or a Cream Ale) in the near future. With this investment in a fifth canned craft offering, and a new brewery on the horizon, we decided to reach out to Narragansett's CEO Mark Hellendrung to get his take on the brand's resurgence and it's dip into the craft market. Cheers Mark!


(CC) With the recent announcement that Narragansett is planning on adding another canned craft beer to their lineup (either a Cream Ale or a Rye Ale) is it fair to say that craft offerings are a big part of the brewery's future?

(MH) The crafts are a big part of the brewery’s future, but our award-winning flagship lager is still our primary focus. Narragansett has been making a variety of beers since 1890 including some of our current craft styles, but the lager has always been the anchor. It’s the cornerstone of our success.

 


one of these will be the next year-round offering 

 

(CC) Speaking of the brewery's future, how are things coming along with the building of a Narragansett Brewery in Rhode Island?

(MH) We’re currently costing out the equipment and beginning the process of site selection. Our goal is to have the brewery open no later than the end of 2012.

 

(CC) Narragansett sells its craft beers in 6-packs of 16 oz. cans at prices that are lower than most 4-packs. How do you guys do it without an impact on the quality of the beer. 

(MH) With the success we’ve had, we’re able to produce large batch runs that keep the cost down.

 


Narragansett's four seasonal offerings

(CC) What has been the best selling seasonal canned release for Narragansett?

(MH) They’ve all been equally successful within their given seasons. The Summer Ale really exploded for us this past summer.

 

(CC) Narragansett has done a great job bridging the gap between nostalgic branding and the current craft beer market. Where do you see Narragansett's future with canned craft beers?

(MH) We look to continue building the portfolio specifically with the release of our next year-round style, the Cream or Rye, and we expect to keep building that stable true to our heritage, but also embracing new and evolving style.

 

(CC) We've heard that Narragansett is working with Trinity Brewhouse in Providence. What is the connection?

(MH) The connection is brewmaster Sean Larkin who has created award-winning beers for Trinity, and is now doing the same for us. About four years ago, we partnered with him for our craft beers.

 

(CC) When the day comes and Narragansett is once again a working brewery in Rhode Island, what beer do you think you'll sit back and celebrate with?

(MH) We are going to celebrate the new brewery with a new style – an anniversary beer of sorts – and I look forward to that momentous occasion.



Posted by Russ



Saturday, November 26th 2011

Today is Small Brewery Saturday
Shop Local, Drink Local!



While you're out and about today doing your shopping or running some errands be sure to stop in and support your local brewery! Many of this country's small breweries operate in the same way that small local businesses do and they depend heavily on local support to stay alive. Drink Small! Cheers!


Posted by Russ



Friday, November 25th 2011

Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
(Uncommon Brewers)

The first Baltic Porter to be brewed and canned in the US. We've not yet confirmed if it's the first in the world. There could very well be some small brewery in Russia or Poland that put a Baltic Porter in a can first. The research will continue. By the way, a Baltic Porter differs from a regular porter because it is actually bottom fermented as a lager instead of top fermented as an ale. 

From the Uncommon Brewers' site:

"Late in the 18th century Britain's great brewing families were working hard to break into new markets. For the Baltic Sea ports they created an export version of the traditional British Porter. Styled like an IPA to preserve them for the voyage, those profound Baltic Porters served to ward off the chill winds of that northern sea.

That said, we weren't satisfied with the Baltic Porter's traditionally subtle hint of black licorice. This ale features a blend of whole licorice root and star anise to create an uncommon addition to that traditional export Porter's hearty character."


Here we go...


Pour  very, very dark. This is pitch in color pretty much with only a thin coffee-colored head. This is pretty much impossible to see through and looks rich and flavorful.


Aroma – molasses, licorice, Tootsie-Rolls, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, Play-Doh and some earthy notes. Quite a lot going on in the nose with this beer.


Taste – one sip and you know this is something unique. Lots of dark roasted malt flavor combines with the licorice and molasses notes and there is an effervescence on the tongue that is hard to describe. A bit of a sweet, dry finish almost like eating dried fruits. There is also just the faintest hints of citrus hop flavor and some bitterness biting in the end.


Overall - very good. Uncommon Brewers does this one well, perhaps well enough to be the best of their canned offerings so far. Well done. You've got to know a little bit about this particular style of beer to fully appreciate it. It's an interesting history of an interesting style.


Note - like the other canned offerings from this Santa Cruz, California brewery, this one is totally organic. Uncommon Brewers has also announced plans to can their Bacon Brown Ale in the coming months. This will be the fourth addition to their canned offerings and the first ever "bacon" beer to be canned.

 

   



Can Scale:
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Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
Brewery: Uncommon Brewers
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 25th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, November 25th 2011

Goose Island to Begin Canning

It's not a big surprise to learn that Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale will be headed down the canning line soon. It was just a little over six months ago that Goose Island was bought by brewing behomoth Anheuser-Busch for close to $39 million dollars. Since then, a bulk of the brewery's production has shifted to the town of Baldwinsville, New York (pop. 7,053)  and the A-B plant. It's sort of funny when you think about it, Goose Island is a brewery which still depends on its origins in Chicago for marketing purposes whose beers are now being brewed and packaged in a tiny town in upstate New York. It's even funnier when it's this beer whose name signifies the Windy City's area code and it's so close to Baldwinsville's area code which is 315!

In all seriousness we wouldn't be too disappointed if Goose Island started putting their IPA in cans. Hint, hint. Look for 12 oz. cans of 312 Urban Wheat Ale sometime before summer of 2012. Cheers! 

From the Goose Island site:

Brewer's Notes:

Inspired by the city of Chicago and densely populated with flavor, 312’s spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body that's immensely refreshing.

Recipe Information

Style: Urban Wheat
Alcohol by Volume: 4.2%
International Bitterness Units: 20
Color: Hazy Straw
Hops: Liberty, Cascade
Malts: 2 Row, Torrified Wheat


Posted by Russ



Tuesday, November 21st 2011

Allies Win The War!
(21st Amendment/Ninkasi Brewing)

21st Amendment and Ninkasi Brewing first teamed up to brew this collaboration ale a few years back. Collaborative brews are nothing new to the craft beer world but this marks the first time one of those beers has been canned. Allies Win The War! is also the first "English-style Strong Ale" to be canned. 

From the 21st Amendment site:

"In a surprising turn of events, rival superpowers have joined forces to bring a beer of might to the world. According to top-secret documents, recently unclassified, brewmasters for 21st Amendment in California and Ninkasi in Oregon began their brewing careers together many years ago. The two leaders reunited recently at a secret camp in the Sierras to devise their master plan. “We are more alike than we are different,” said 21st Amendment’s Shaun O’Sullivan. “We must unite in our common cause,” added Ninkasi’s Jamie Floyd. The resulting collaboration, an ale brewed with California dates, an aggressive arsenal of all-Northwest hops and an unmistakable aroma of victory, deals a unified blow to unoriginal beers everywhere."

From the CAN:

"The beer uses California dates and an aggressive arsenal of all Northwest hops (Falconer's Flight)." 


Here we go...


Pour - dark amber in color, reminds me of a dunkel or a dubbel - your choice. Decent-sized foamy off-white head on top. Nice, clean appearance.


Aroma - love that first whiff. Malty, toasty, roasty, hoppy and caramel-y. I'm surprised by the amount of citrusy hops I get in the nose. This reminds me of a hoppy barleywine when I stick my nose in the glass. There is also some subtle hints of the alcohol volume that this is hiding. Very appealing and certainly enticing.


Taste - one sips quick lap around my mouth has me thinking that this is more complex than it leads on. Very resiny, bitter with some essences of dried apples and prunes. I'm left deciding whether this is going the way of hoppy or malty and for the first time that I an remember I really don't know where to place this beer. It has some nice malty flavors but not enough to take over and the hops are certainly not overpowering.There are some hot alcohol notes that come out in the finish as well as some pear and peach flavors. 


Overall - very unique and a little hard to place. A solid beer by all means but one that may boggle your mind if you think about it too much. Very nice caramel and citrus flavors, smooth mouthfeel and warming without being too boozy. Let this one warm up a bit as things begin to take a little better shape after this has sat awhile.


Note - if you click on the label below you can see a close up of the actual design. Look closely and you'll notice that the heads of three allied forces leaders have been swapped out for (from left to right); Ninkasi Brewing's Jamie Floyd, 21st Amendment's Shaun O'Sullivan and 21st Amendment's Nico Freccia.



Ninkasi Brewing is located in Eugene, Oregon. The brewery does not currently have plans to can their own beers and although this beer was a collaboration between a California brewery and an Oregon brewery the beer itself was brewed and canned in Minnesota - where all 21st Amendment beers are canned.


      


Can Scale:
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Special Edition: Allies Win The War!
Style: English Strong Ale
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
City: 
San Francisco, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Munich, Dark & Light Crystal, Imported Chocolate Malt
Hops: CTZ, Willamette, East Kent Goldings, Falconer Flight
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 52
Date: November 22nd, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, November 21st 2011

How to Survive Your Thanksgiving with the Help of Canned Craft Beer

Let's face it, beer is a very integral part of Thanksgiving! It provides the potentially perfect pairing with all the food you're stuffing in your face, it goes extremely well with football, and it makes all your crazy relatives that much more bearable. So, what goes well with turkey, canned cranberries, mashed potatos, stuffing and the like? Here are some options that will hopefully hit the spot. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at CraftCans.Com!

         

These are the types of beers you'll want to crack open as you mill around waiting for food to be done cooking. You want to drink something light on the palate so you are ready to cram your gob with lots of heavy-flavored, calorie-laden, buttery goodness. Drink these session-type brews while catching up with the relatives and watching some football.


       

Whether you're scooping up a big heap of mashed potatoes, spooning some gelatinous can-shaped cranberry sauce on your plate or enjoying mounds of healthy vegetables made totally unhealthy by the careless addition of butter and/or cheese - these are the types of beers that will help guide those sides into your belly without leaving you too full for the main attraction.

 

          

Here it is! What you've been trying to hold out for without much luck. It's Turkey Time! Turkey sometimes needs a helping hand when it comes to finishing your plate and for that we recommend something with a little strength and perhaps a little sweetness to go with the savory-ness of that flightless bird meat. These might be the types of beers you'll want to go for when it comes to the main course.


       

The gluttony is certainly not over yet my friends. Your belt may be stretching but you've got still got plenty of pie, cake, ice cream and cookies still to come. Might we suggest pairing those sugar-laced goodies with these types of beers? Sure, why not. If you're wondering why we put Porkslap Pale up there it's because it's brewed with ginger. Seriously, that is why it tastes a little different - but in a good way.


       

What goes well after a nice meal? Perhaps some coffee? Or something equally as roasty and delcious. Try one of these types of brews to help you avoid the tryptophan-induced coma you feel coming on - or is that diabetic shock from all the dessert you wolfed down?  

  

       

At this point anything goes. You're probably eating stuffing with your hands and fighing over the last piece of pumpkin pie. Right? Well, if you're still up trying to get your calorie intake into the 5 digits then we say try one of these types of BIG beers. Thanksgiving is only once a year and you've got plenty of time to work it all off! 

 


Posted by Russ


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Saturday, November 12th 2011

Winter Solstice
(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

This is a big review for us here at CraftCans.Com, it's the 200th review on the site if you CAN believe that. As this is a special review we decided to take it just a little bit further than the others by having it be a joint review. Russ and Trent will both be cracking open a can of Winter Solstice and sharing their thoughts together in this post. Cheers!

Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice is the brewery's second seasonal canned release, after their Summer Solstice, and their newest canned release to date - having just hit shelves in late October. The brewery also cans their Boont Amber and Hop 'Ottin IPA. Winter Solstice is one of only two Winter Warmers being canned in the US. The other being 21st Amendment's Fireside Chat

From the Anderson Valley site:

"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."

Here we go...

Pour 

(RP) amber-red in color with a murky sort of appearance. Lots of nice bubble action streaming upwards and forming a thin, yet creamy, head. When held to the light this beer really has some vibrant coloring. Looks good to me!

 

(TR) deep, richly colored amber.  Moderately aggressive pour results in a very big head that eventually settled down to a finger and a half high.  We’re left with a dense, creamy head the likes of which I most often find with canned beers and rarely from bottles.  There might be some science out there to back up my potentially biased, pro-can observation.


Aroma 

(RP) that first whiff really hits you with some sweetness reminiscent of baking bread, brown sugar, caramel and some dark fruits. I pick up some prunes and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg as well. As this warms the aroma definitely comes on stronger.

 

(TR) malty nose that is beyond toasted but short of roasted, like some of those thin, light imported crackers you find in specialty cheese shops.  A very modest hint of spice comes through now and then. Overall the aromas are very reserved. 

 

Taste 

(RP) malty and rich with some very interesting flavors hitting the tongue. It's not cloyingly sweet and it some hints of vanilla, orange and just the faintest bit of hops in the finish. Very smooth as far as mouthfeel goes, this is almost creamy in texture. No real spices in this but you almost expect something like cinnamon or cloves to be present. Quite tasty for a style that can vary quite a bit in flavor. Wait a second, this is close to 7%? I didn't expect that based on how easy it was going down! Now comes the warming!

 

(TR) Amazing!  And how could I not smell what I taste here?  Flavors of spiced pecans and vanilla swirl around and across the tongue. The pour released most of the carbonation and the few remaining bubbles introduce a nice, smooth finish. Mouthfeel is exactly how I like my cold weather beers – full, round, and warming. If I were asked to describe this beer to my less beer-adventurous friends I’d have them imagine the qualities they like in Lienie’s Fireside Nut Brown, multiply those qualities by a couple hundred and you’d have something close to Winter Solstice.   

 

Overall 

(RP) A nice addition to the AVBC canned family and definitely a beer that will see some action as the cold weather hits the country. Not overly strong nor too sweet - a solid brew that is certainly worth picking up to share with friends and family this winter. Cheers!

 

(TR) I really, really like this beer, and it’s a new favorite for me.  As soon as I had my first I knew I had to get more.  I can - and will - visit this one often this winter.  Cheers to AVBC!



Winter Solstice won some hardware at CANFEST 2011!

Notes

Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice is the only canned craft beer that has the word "winter" in it's name. The actual Winter Solstice usually takes place on December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere and on June 20th or 21st in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice will occur at 5:30am on December 21st. This will mark the point in which the earth's north polar hemisphere is tilted furthest from the sun and in which the shortest day/longest night occurs.


     


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Winter Scale:
(See All Rated)
Winter Solstice
Style: Winter Warmer
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
City: 
Boonville, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: 6
Date: November 12th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Saturday, November 12th 2011

CANFEST 2011 Winners Announced!

The results are in! A hearty CANgratulations to all those breweries that participated in the competition side of The Third Annual CANFEST, currently being held in Reno, Nevada. CANFEST was the first canned beer only festival and is put on by Buckbean Brewing Company. It has been attracting more attention and more attendees since it's inception back in 2009. This year there are close to forty participating breweries - not all of which took part in the actual competition side of the event. 

The competition divided the canned entries into six different categories as well as a "Best in Show". Here are all the results from this year's competition. Cheers!


GOLD | PAKO'S IPA | SNAKE RIVER BREWING COMPANY
SILVER | EPIC IPA | MAMMOTH BREWING COMPANY
BRONZE | HOP KNOT IPA | FOUR PEAKS BREWING COMPANY



GOLD | CALDERA PALE ALE | CALDERA BREWING COMPANY
SILVER | EPICENTER AMBER | SANTAN BREWING COMPANY
BRONZE | PALE ALE | SNAKE RIVER BREWING COMPANY



GOLD | WINTER SOLSTICE | ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING CO.

SILVER | PILE 'O DIRT PORTER | CROW PEAK BREWING CO.

BRONZE |  GUINNESS | GUINNESS BREWERY



GOLD | G'KNIGHT | OSKAR BLUES BREWERY
SILVER | SKILAK SCOTTISH ALE | KENAI RIVER BREWING CO.

BRONZE | MOOSE DROOL BROWN ALE | BIG SKY BREWING CO.



GOLD | HEFEWEIZEN | SANTAN BREWING COMPANY
SILVER | SUNBRU | FOUR PEAKS BREWING COMPANY

BRONZE | GOLDEN STATE ALE | UNCOMMON BREWERS



GOLD | COORS LIGHT | COORS BREWING COMPANY
SILVER | MAMA'S LITTLE YELLA PILS | OSKAR BLUES BREWERY

BRONZE | COORS | COORS BREWING COMPANY



PAKO'S IPA
CANFEST 2011's "BEST IN SHOW"
SNAKE RIVER BREWING COMPANY

 

We look forward to next years event and hope to finally be able to attend CANFEST! Cheers!



Posted by Russ


Labels: CANFEST


Friday, November 11th 2011

Intuition Ales Coming to Cans!
Q & A with Owner/Brewer Ben Davis

Great news our can-loving Floridian friends! In 2012 you'll have plenty of canned craft brewed that you can call you're very own. Three different Florida breweries are making the move to cans in the coming months and by early next year you'll find beer store shelves stocked with as many as nine different brands!

 

One of those breweries making the move to cans is Intuition Ale Works. The Jacksonville brewery is celebrating its first anniversary next week so we thought it might be a good time to catch up with Intuition's Owner and Head Brewer, Ben Davis. Thanks for your time Ben. Cheers and Happy First Anniversary!

(CC) Can you tell us a little about Intuition Ale Works?

(BD) We brewed our first batch on October 8th of 2010 and produced over 1100 barrels our first year. The idea came about after I had moved back to Jacksonville in 2008. I had been living in Northern California since 2002 and was making wine under the label "Tallulah". I started the brand in 2003 but sold it in 2008 after my wife and I were expecting our first child and wanted to move back home to Jacksonville.

The idea to start Intuition came after some friends of mine suggest that I open a brewery in Jacksonville. I had home brewed in college and always loved beer even when making wine. The joke in the wine industry is it takes a lot of beer to make wine. I started taking classes at Siebel institute when I could and enrolled in the Diploma program in the fall of 2009. I completed the first 2 modules. I felt like my background in winemaking had really aided me in identifying characteristics in beers and how to create them in our own beer.

It took almost 2 years to find a location that was suitable for mix use of a taproom but also ight industrial. I signed a lease in May of 2010 and began construction in August of 2010. We opened are taproom November 20th of 2010.

 
Intuition Ale Works has 15 beers on tap in their tasting room

The concept behind the name Intuition is two fold. I go with my gut when it comes to the style of beer we make.I do not have a boss, accountant or marketing guy telling me what to brew. We brew what we like and feel that we can educate our consumer on the different styles we produce. We currently have 15 of our beers on tap in our tasting room.

"...I go with my gut when it comes
to the style of beer we make."

The other part of the name comes from one of my favorite songs but that is top secret!


Intuition's canning line literally arrived YESTERDAY!
 

(CC) Where is your canning line coming from?

(BD) We purchased a CASK 5-head automated line.

 

(CC) Which of your beers do you initially plan to can?

(BD) We plan on canning 3 brands, our Peoples Pale Ale, I-10 IPA and our Jon Boat Ale.

 


this canning line is hungry for some cans!

 

(CC) Who did the can designs? They look great!

(BD) Our cans were designed by Mad House out of Austin, Texas.

 

(CC) When can we expect to see cans of Intuition on the shelves?

(BD) We hope to have our cans available in January 2012 if not sooner.

 

"We hope to have our cans available
in January 2012 if not sooner."

 

(CC) Will you just be distributing locally at first? Any plans to extend beyond the Florida border?

(BD) We plan on staying local with the cans at first to keep up with the demand. We plan to expand into Gainesville, Tallahassee and Tampa as soon as possible.

 



(CC) As of right now there is not a single craft beer from the state of Florida that comes in a can. That will be changing soon as at LEAST three craft breweries in Florida are planning to can some of their beers in the next year (Intuition, Cigar City and Tampa Bay Brewing). Do you think it was just a matter of waiting until the market was ready? Is the market ready?

(BD) I think Florida has always been a little behind the trends in the Craft beer industry for a couple of reasons.

1 - We can not self distribute so that limits the channels of distribution for us initially. Therefore start-up costs for breweries are much larger in Florida because we have to be capable of making more beer to compensate for the lower margins. Also what if you open up in a market with limited distribution options or bad distributors. In Florida once you sign on with a distributor it takes an act of God to "divorce" them!

 

2 - The large Macro Breweries, and to some degree the distributors that represent them, would like us (Florida Craft breweries) to go away and will fight to keep us off of store shelves. Budweiser wholesalers are fighting the Florida Brewers Guild on the issue changing our stupid container sizes (a half gallon growler is illegal in Florida but a quart and gallon is not) Budweiser wholesalers are also challenging our right to have a taproom on-site and are also using a prohibition era law that prohibits the possession of a re-sealable "alcoholic" container.

But these same wholesalers are courting in-state and out of state Craft breweries. Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

I will get off my soap box...

I think the market is ready and the cans suit our lifestyle in Florida. Cans are perfect for the beach, around the pool, on golf courses,etc... There is no reason not to can our beers.

"I think the market is ready and the cans suit our lifestyle in Florida. Cans are perfect for the beach, around the pool, on golf courses,etc... There is no reason not to can our beers."

We just have to hammer the point that the beer will taste better out of the can and that cans are better for the environment. Our beers will not get light struck and are less prone to oxidation. Our distributor is very excited and so are the consumers here in Jax.

 

(CC) What is the best part about the craft brewing industry in Florida?

(BD) The Best part of being in the Craft brewing Industry is that we are all part of something new and growing. Our state is lacking in the number of breweries and to be one of the first in Jacksonville is really cool.


(CC) Where are some great places in Jacksonville to get a pint?

(BD) Our taproom of course! Also Mellow Mushroom, Kickbacks Gastro Pub, Engine 15, European Street Cafe, Bold City Brewery and Green Room Brewing in Jax Beach.



Posted by Russ



Thursday, November 10th 2011

Pamola Xtra Pale Ale
(Baxter Brewing Company)

 

Pamola Xtra Pale Ale was one of Baxter's first two canned offerings. The name "Pamola" comes from Abenaki mythology and refers to a legendary bird spirit that has the head of a moose, the body of a man and the wings and feet of an eagle. It is said that Pamola is the protector of Mt. Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine. This figure is also used as the logo for Baxter Brewing Company. 

From the Baxter Brewing site:

"Brilliant clarity, bright golden in color. Pours a nice creamy head. Subtle malt and hop aroma. Crisp, clean, effervescent start with a touch of malt character and a balanced bitterness. Hop flavors linger nicely. Finishes clean, crisp and dry with a light body. Beautiful lace left all the way down the glass. Extremely drinkable."


Here we go...

 

Pour - bright orange and yellow in color with a good half-inch of fluffy white head resting on top. Nice looking pour with carbonation levels looking just right. 


Aroma - light citrusy notes, cotton candy, caramel malts along with some biscuity aromas. Very balanced aromas. Altogether a fairly "light" smelling brew.


Taste - initial tastes are that of lemon and orange peel, hints of earthy hops, bready/biscuity malts with a crisp, semi-sweet finish. Light and effervescent on the tongue and not too heavy on the palate. Every brewery should try and roll something out that is as easy drinking as this beer. 

 

Overall - Sort of reminds me of a blonde ale with a bit more oomph from the hops. Very easy drinking and very refreshing. I can see this one selling really well during the summers in Maine. If you want something sessionable than here you go!

 

Note - Below are the "Technical Specifications" of this beer as provided by Baxter Brewing Company.

  • A proprietary blend of North American 2-row malted barley, including barley grown in Northern Maine’s Aroostook County
  • Domestic and imported “Character” malts provide complexity, color and body
  • 3 different hop varieties, all with European roots and grown in the Pacific Northwest
  • Fermented cold and then cold conditioned
  • Clean, well attenuating, top-fermenting American ale yeast
  • Pure, soft water from Lake Auburn, Maine

 

           



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Pamola Xtra Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Baxter Brewing Company
City: 
Lewiston, Maine  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.9%
IBUs: 28
Date: November 10th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Labels: Pale Ales


Wednesday, November 9th 2011

Anderson Valley Brewing to Release Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in Cans

Anderson Valley Brewing Company has just announced that they'll be releasing their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in cans. The award-winning stout will be available from January 1st through March 31st. This will be the California brewery's fifth canned release and their third seasonal can.

More about Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout from the AVBC site:

"Barney Flats is the Boontling name for Hendy Woods State Park, a deep redwood forrest with a tree canopy so thick it can seem like nighttime at high noon.

It is no wonder that Anderson Valley Brewing Company named its deep, rich, dark oatmeal stout after Barney Flats. Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is full-bodied with a decadent mocha character and smooth mouthfeel balanced by a subtle hop bite. Near and dear to our hearts, Barney Flats was our first gold medal winner in 1990, but recently took bronze at the 2010 World Beer Cup.

Great on its own or as the perfect desert beer. Pair with chocolate and you’ll never have anything else.

As with all of our products, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is never sterile filtered nor heat pasteurized."

Style - Oatmeal Stout
Strength - 5.7% ABV
Bitterness - 13 IBU

“It’s not just shy sluggin gorms neemer.”

 

        
the current AVBC canned lineup


Posted by Russ



Tuesday, November 8th 2011

Cigar City Unveils Can Designs!
Q & A with Artist Geiger Powell

Ever since we first heard that Tampa, Florida's Cigar City Brewing Company was going to start canning their beers we've been excited. Very excited. Which of their beers would they be canning? What would the cans look like? When and where can we find some of those cans? Questions like these have been filling our thoughts, well, along with the awesome notion that we'll soon be able to crack open a cold can of Jai Alai IPA. 

Until just recently we didn't have many answers to the Cigar City canning questions. That was until Geiger Powell, Media and Marketing Director at Cigar City and the artist behind the brewery's labels and now can designs, got in touch with us. Talk about making our day! Geiger was kind enough to share the graphics he designed for five different brands of Cigar City beer. He was also kind enough to answer all the questions we had been wondering about for some time now. Cheers Geiger- awesome job with the cans, they look great!

(CC) What was it that ultimately pushed Cigar City to look into canning some of their beers?

(GP) We feel that cans are a better container for beer than bottles for numerous reasons. The infinite recyclability, the lighter weight, the impenetrability to light...the list goes on. Cans truly are the superior container for beer.

 

"Cans truly are the superior container for beer."


(CC) What sort of timeline are you looking at as far as getting the canning line up and running and the first cans being shipped?

(GP) Hopefully by the end of the first quarter of 2012. We already purchased a canning line, we're just waiting on everything else to fall into place.



(CC) Which of your beers do you expect to be in cans first? Will all five brands that you've done can designs for make it into cans in 2012?

(GP) First and foremost we'll focus on five brands: Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown Ale, Tocobaga Red Ale, Hotter Than Helles Lager and Florida Cracker White Ale. We're also exploring some others, including Table Saison and Hot Blooded Foreign Stout, and possibly a brand new beer we've not brewed before, as well as potentially some very special beers.


(CC) Will your canning line have the ability to package both 12 and 16 ounce cans?

(GP) We're looking into it, but it should have the ability to do multiple size cans. We're certainly interested in exploring the idea beyond just 12 ounce cans.



(CC) Will cans of Cigar City be available in all of your current markets? Will cans enable you to expand distribution?

(GP) We'll focus first on our home base in Florida but eventually the cans will leak out to other markets. And we're focusing on our current markets for the near future before expanding much further beyond current projections.


(CC) What will the move to cans mean for Floridians? What can they do and where can they go with cans that they couldn't go with bottles?

(GP) For Floridians, canned beer means they can take their beer to the beach, to some parks that allow cans, boats, tailgating, and other activities where bottles are a hassle, or outright not allowed.



(CC) As the designer of Cigar City's cans. What was the biggest challenge? What about the benefits of the can as far as graphics go? 

(GP)The challenge was to come up with designs that popped as well as spoke true to what the beer inside is. We went over tons of prototypes before settling on where we are now, which is more closer to our bottle designs. The benefits of the can is being able to completely cover the vessel with our design. This creates a much more eye-popping product.

 


(CC) Is the world ready for Jai Alai IPA in a can? We say, Hells Yes!

(GP) We like to think so. There is still a minor stigma associated with cans and craft beer, but we look to change that.

"There is still a minor stigma associated with cans and craft beer, but we look to change that."



Coming to Cans in 2012!



Posted by Russ



Saturday, November 5th 2011

2012: A Pint Can Odyssey


Is the 16 oz. pint can the craft beer vessel of the future?

Are craft beers meant to be housed inside the walls of 16 ounce cans? Yes. We CAN't help but feel that this is a wave that the craft brewing industry is going to continue to ride and many breweries are helping to prove our point. Next year we're going to see some pretty familiar labels faces on 16-ounce cans as well as some new ones that just might have those bottle lovers shaking their heads.

Major brands like Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium are all planning to release 16 oz. cans in 2012. Why? Why not? Aluminum is like gold in the craft brewing world right now and the move towards bigger cans is on.


Oskar Blues has been doing some major renovating and upgrading at their brewing facility in Longmont, Colorado. One of the big additions to the brewery is a new canning line that will allow for packaging of 16 oz. cans. They shook things up a bit when they announced that their Deviant Dale's India Pale Ale would be the first of their beers to appear in pint cans. The 8% hop-forward beer won a silver medal at this past GABF and has previosuly only been available on draft. Expect to see those cans in the spring and perhaps a few old favorites will also make it into those bigger cans.


Ahh, Sierra Nevada. The world is still waiting to see those first green cans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA. Slated to hit shelves in their home state of California before the end of the year, the cans should be nationwide in early 2012 - or so we keep hearing. Torpedo Extra IPA weighs in at 7.2% and is one of the brewery's more aggressively hopped beers. We can't wait to have some of those cans on our hands.


New Belgium Brewing Company made some major news recently with their announcement about overhauling their canning abiltiies and upgrading to a bigger, faster, much more expensive line that will allow for the filling of 16 oz. cans. Look for tallboy cans of Ranger IPA (hooray) and their flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale in January or February. To add a bit of mystery to all of this the brewery has also announced that it will put a "a new, yet-to-be-named beer" in the larger format cans as well. What could it be? I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

 

Other Tallboy Notes. 

Uncommon Brewers has announced that they'll be adding a fourth pint can to their current offerings. Look for cans of their Bacon Brown Ale, yes BACON, on shelves in 2012.

Fort George Brewery out of Astoria, Oregon is going big with plans to put their Cavatica Stout in 16 oz. cans. Cavatica is an Imperial Stout and clocks in at close to 9% ABV. UPDATE: Fort George will also be putting their Quick Wit and Oatmeal Pale Ale in 16 oz. cans next year.

LA's Golden Road Brewing had a soft opening during LA Beer Week with plans to release their two initial canned offerings in 2012. Both their Hefeweizen and their Point the Way IPA will be in 16 oz. cans.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company will be entering the canning game in 2012 when they begin putting their Olde Elephant Foot IPA in 16 oz. cans.

Finch's Beer Company will enter their second year in 2012. They've got plans to add Threadless IPA to their current tallboy lineup.

Rochester Mills Brewing Company will be releasing their Milkshake Stout in 16 oz. cans sometime in the next couple months. It will join their Cornerstone IPA as the brewery's second tallboy can.

Missouri's Piney River Brewing should be releasing their first two 16 ouncers in the coming months. Look for their Missouri Mule IPA and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale on shelves soon.

We're also hoping confirm that Brewery Vivant, makers and canners of Belgian-style brews, will be putting their Zaison (a "Super Saison" ale) in 16 oz. cans in 2012.

Crabtree Brewing Company will be working with Mobile Canning to release their Syzygy Black IPA in pint cans sometime in the early part of 2012.

If you know of any that we missed please give us a shout! Cheers and Viva la Can!


 


Posted by Russ



Saturday, November 5th 2011

Velvet Rooster
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

The world's first ever Belgian-style Tripel in a can! The folks at Tallgrass sure have taken a bold step by putting this 8.5% golden-hued beauty in 16 oz. cans. We're really looking forward to trying yet another first in the world of canned craft beers and very glad to see that today's craft brewers aren't shy about putting big, complex beers in cans. Cheers! 

From the Tallgrass site:

"This beer is a Belgian Tripel that lives up to its name. Smooth and carefully crafted like a fine velvet painting, but with an 8.5% ABV this bird has some spurs! The beer pours a golden straw color with brilliant clarity. Topped with a lofty pure white head the beer has a wonderful floral nose, with subtle fruit notes.  

The taste is clean and crisp, with subtle fruit notes and a touch of candy like sweetness. The beer has a Champagne-like effervescent that provides a crisp offset to its sweet finish.  While a pint glass is always nice, Velvet Rooster would also be at home in a tulip glass or Champagne flute. Something to crow about."

Here we go...

Pour - soft, golden yellowish-orange in color with a wispy white head on top. This is almost opaque despite the color and it definitely pours "heavy" with great carbonation. An innocent looking brew that certainly hides it's complexity.


Aroma - strong aromas of candy sugar, Belgian yeast spiciness and some warm toastiness. The spiciness from the yeast is very apparent and really draws you in. If you like what yeast can offer a beer in both aroma and flavor than this will definitely please your senses.


Taste - this is a sipper. As soon as you get this on your tongue the sweetness and the spiciness really take hold. Lots of flavors mingling and smoothing out as this warms. Some earthy notes are also detectable as are some faint hints at citrus (sweet oranges). Velvet Rooster is velvet-soft on the palate and the strength is so well hidden it's scary. 


Overall - absolutely incredible! I had no idea what to expect when I heard Tallgrass was canning a Belgian-style Tripel. This was a pretty big departure from their other offerings. I am very happy to say that they nailed it with this one. Velvet Rooster can strut proudly in a Belgian henhouse full of native varieties of this particular breed.


Note - Tallgrass currently cans six different beers covering a broad spectrum of styles from light and refreshing to malty to big and hoppy! Velvet Rooster is a great new addition to the Kansas brewer's portfolio. Cheers!



 



Monk Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
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Velvet Rooster
Style: Belgian Tripel
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 5th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, November 4th 2011

Ball to Bring Imperial Pint-Sized Cans to North American Market


A New Can Size is on the Way

For most of the past decade craft brewers that have chosen to can their beers have been doing so in 12- or 16-oz. cans. That is likely to change in the near future with this news from Ball Corporation, the can manafacturer which supplies a majority of the aluminum cans for the craft brewing industry. Which brewery will be the first to utilize this new can size? We shall have to wait and see...

Ball Corporation First to Introduce Popular European Can Size in North America

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Nov. 4, 2011— Ball Corporation [NYSE: BLL], the largest supplier of beverage cans in the world, is the first beverage can supplier to manufacture a 568mL can – about 19.2 ounces –  in North America. The new can size extends Ball’s global beverage can portfolio leadership.

"The 568mL can, often called a royal or imperial pint in the United Kingdom, offers Ball’s North American customers a new option to differentiate their brands and appeal to consumers,” said Robert M. Miles, vice president, sales, for Ball's metal beverage packaging division, Americas. "Can size has proven to be an important element of branding and Ball now offers more than 20 can sizes worldwide.”

The sleek looking 568mL beverage can’s unique size – approximately the height of a 24-ounce can and the diameter of a 16-ounce can – provides beverage makers with valuable on-the-shelf differentiation and is ideal for energy drinks, teas, alcoholic beverages and other premium products.

As with all Ball aluminum beverage cans and aluminum bottles, the 568mL can contains the highest percent of recycled content on average of any beverage substrate, chills quickly, is stackable and 100 percent recyclable.

Ball Corporation is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2010 sales of more than $7.6 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit http://www.ball.com/.


Posted by Russ



Friday, November 4th 2011

Crazy Mountain Amber Ale
(Crazy Mountain Brewing Company)

Crazy Mountain Brewing Company opened it's doors in January of 2010. Their Amber Ale is their first, and only as of right now, beer that they're canning. We love the design of this can, it's so simple yet very eyecatching and altogether unique. That's something it might need to be as it's got a lot of canned competition out there in Colorado!

From the Crazy Mountain site:

"This delightfully floral American style Amber Ale displays a wonderful balance while still maintaining a profound hoppy goodness. We load this beer with a ridiculous and obscene amunt of West Coast hops that are added late in the boil, resulting in a hoppy beer without any bitterness"

Here we go...

Pour - dark, rubyish-red to auburn. Almost reminds me of a rbown ale as this is a lot darker than some of the other amber ales I've seen. The head is pretty tight and foamy. At first I wondered if this was under carbonated but it all came together nicely and left some lacing inside the glass.

Aroma - Tootsie-Rolls, honey, brown bread, pumpernickel bagels, caramel and Fudgesicles. Lots of maltiness in this one with only some faint hints of citrus from the hops.

Taste - lots of those malty flavors come out on the tongue. That Tootsie-Roll aroma certainly is a major flavor component. Lots of caramel malt and again some slight hints of hoppiness but not much in the way of bitterness. Well put together ale with some nice toasty notes and a brown sugar sweet finish. 

Overall - There is plenty of flavor packed into this 12 oz. can of amber ale that is for sure. If you're a fan of a malt-forward brew in this category than this is for you. We could easily find our way through a six-pack of this in no time at all. Crazy Mountain Amber Ale is crazy drinkable. 

Note - a big thank you goes out to Jonathan Cowan and Kevin Selvy. Jonathan lives locally to Crazy Mountain and wrote to us telling us how much we needed to try some of their beer. He got in touch with Kevin, who is a co-founder of Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, and he sent us some cans. Awesome. Cheers guys!


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Crazy Mountain Amber Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Crazy Mountain Brewing Company
City: 
Edwards, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 25
Date: November 4th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, November 4th 2011

Boont Amber Ale
(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Boont Amber is Anderson Valley's flagship brew. It was the second beer they put in cans and is their most popular brand. The name "Boont" comes from the language spoken in the area around Boonville, California - known as "Boontling". Boont actually means "Boonville" in "Boontling". "Bahl Hornin", which is printed on the top of each of Anderson Valley's cans means "good drinking" or "cheers"!

From the Anderson Valley site:

"From deep in the Anderson Valley comes the world-famous, award-winning, crowd-pleasing Boont Amber Ale.  The Anderson Valley Brewing Company has been hand crafting this amazing ale for over twenty years, making Boont Amber Ale one of the most respected, enjoyed, and sought-after craft beers of all time.

Boont Amber Ale is an ode to balance, with a deep copper color offset by an off-white head.  The slightly sweet malty backbone is balanced perfectly with a subtle hop bite and aroma, and a wonderfully fruity yeast profile."

Here we go...

Pour - fills the glass with a dark, mahogany amber to auburn color. Head is a third of an inch of off-white foam. Carbonation looks spot on and this is clean and clear. Can't ask for much more.


Aroma - bready, biscuity smells along with caramel malts, honey and light molasses. Raw sugars and some slight hints at pears or citrus. Some resemblance to hard cider in aroma.

 

Taste - sweet, malty, cirtrusy, crisp and delicious. Love this beer. Great malt profile with a not-too-sweet backing to what is a very well balanced hop flavor. Some nice grassy and citrusy notes play well with the brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Plenty of solid flavor in a style that sometimes gets overlooked by the beer geek in all of us. Throw a six-pack of Boont Amber cans in your fridge and see how long they last.

 

Overall - This is one very well put together amber ale. It has all the components fitting perfectly into place. Nice maltiness to go with the pronounced but still subtle hop flavors. A cold six-pack of this would not be more than welcome at most social, or anti-social, gatherings. 

 

Note - When it comes to the origins of Boontling Wikipedia explains that, "the Anderson Valley, of which Boonville is the largest town, was an isolated farming, ranching, and logging community during the late 19th century. There are several differing versions as to the origin of Boontling. Some assert that the dialect was created by the women, children, and young men in the hop fields and sheep shearing sheds as a means of recreation, and that it spread through the community as the children continued using it when they grew up." You can buy your own Boontling dictionary on Amazon if you want to try your hand at an altogether unique dialect. 


      



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Boont Amber Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
City: 
Boonville, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: 15
Date: November 4th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, November 2nd 2011

Q & A: Pat Hartman and Ron Popma from Mobile Canning, LLC

Mobile Canning, LLC

One of the biggest obstacles for any craft brewery that wants to put their beer in cans is the cost of buying, maintaining and running a canning line. Not to mention storage of all those cans – and the labeling. We had the fortune of getting in touch some people who want to change all that. Pat Hartman and Ron Popma from Mobile Canning took the time to answer some questions about their potentially industry changing concept and what it means to lovers (and brewers) of craft beer everywhere!


(CC) Can you give us a brief background on Mobile Canning and the people involved?

(MC) Mobile Canning, LLC was started by two avid homebrewers in Longmont CO who saw the rapid growth of not only Craft Beer in Colorado, but Craft Beer in cans in Colorado and throughout the country.  Pat Hartman and Ron Popma are the principle owners of Mobile Canning and products of the West Chester Area School District in West Chester Pennsylvania.  After relocating to Colorado in the mid 90s to follow their love of the Mountains, both Pat and Ron found their love of home brewing and a passion for great beer, especially great beer in a can.

(CC) Where did the idea come from?

(MC) Pat attended the University of California at Davis Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing in June of 2011.  While talking with classmates, the concept of mobile bottling was discussed.  Out of this concept, Mobile Canning was born.  “Why couldn’t a mobile canning line work, the mobile bottlers have been doing it for years?”

(CC) What is the basic business model you hope to utilize/incorporate? What services will you offer?

(MC)  Mobile Canning brings the canning line to the brewery, eliminating the capital expense, the need for in house canning expertise, and the headache associated with the care and feeding of the equipment.  We supply blank cans and apply the breweries label or fill the breweries pre-printed cans, all right next to their bright tanks.  If a brewery purchases pre-printed cans, we can warehouse the empty cans and bring what’s needed on a scheduled canning day which frees up the breweries space for what we all want them to focus on – Brewing more Beer!

 (CC) What sort of labeling will you be doing for the cans?

(MC) We offer a few different options depending on the breweries needs.  We can apply a shrink label to a blank can or we can store the preprinted cans in our facility. We also offer canning without a label and leave that up to the brewery.  In the end, we will work with the brewery to get the job done.  We strive to have the same kind of ingenuity and innovation that we see in the craft beer industry.


"Many startup breweries have invested a great deal of money in the brewing equipment.  So when it comes time to enter the retail market, the capital may not be there."
 

(CC) Who do you think is the ideal client for your business? Any clients lined up yet?

(MC) Our ideal clients will be small to medium sized breweries who see the need to enter the retail market in cans.  These are breweries who want to distribute beyond their tasting room and go beyond bottles.  With our services, we allow them to reach these goals at a very low cost.  The upfront capital investment in the canning line and the minimum order of cans becomes irrelevant when using Mobile Canning’s services.  Breweries that might only need to can once or twice a month and breweries that want to test their beer in cans before making the investment are perfect for our services.  Many startup breweries have invested a great deal of money in the brewing equipment.  So when it comes time to enter the retail market, the capital may not be there.  These breweries need to focus on what they do best, make great beer.  Leave the packaging logistics to Mobile Canning.

We’re happy to announce that Crabtree Brewing Company in Greeley Colorado will be utilizing Mobile Canning’s services.  Crabtree just won two medals at the Great American Beer Festival this year.  Their Oatmeal Stout won a Silver medal and their Berliner Weisse Ale earned Gold.  We will be canning their Syzygy Black IPA in 16 oz. tall boys which was aged in wine barrels and took Gold at the Colorado state fair this year.  Look for it in stores on 11/22/11.

(CC) Are you by chance working with Wild Goose Engineering there in Boulder to acquire the canning line you'll be using?

(MC) As a matter of fact we are utilizing a Wild Goose Engineering canning line.  They are located in Boulder, which is considered by many to be the mecca for craft beer and they are engineering some great systems. Wild Goose has a great story and we are lucky to have them in our back yard.

(CC) Colorado is far and away the leader when it comes to canned craft beer. Why do you think that is?

(MC) Since Oskar Blues started canning Dales Pale Ale almost 10 years ago, the shift from glass to can has been occurring.  The idea that glass is the best package on the market today is slowly shifting towards cans.  Less carbon footprint to ship cans, full protection from UV light and oxidation, the introduction of the water based lining so beer and metal never touch and cans chill quicker, are just a few reason why cans are becoming the superior package.  Oskar Blue’s brewery in Longmont CO is in our backyard and Dale and his team have been a great industry resource.

Colorado is not only home to two pioneers in the craft beer industry, Boulder Beer Company and Wynkoop Brewing Company and over 100 registered breweries and counting, but also home to an incredible amount of outdoor enthusiasts.  These climbers, bikers, skiers, kayakers, hikers, and many other outdoor activity addicts make up a large portion of craft beer drinking community.  Colorado also hosts over 300 days of sun, so people are outside a lot and outside in places that don’t always allow bottles like the park and golf courses. 

(CC) Having started the business that you did, you must be a fan of canned craft beer. What are some of your favorites?

(MC) That’s a tough one.  I can say I’m biased to Colorado, for now.  I’m for sure a fan of Oskar Blues Gordon (G’Knight).  Avery White Rascal is very tasty along with Ska’s Modus Hoperandi.  Boulder Beer’s Hazed and Infused is also one of our favorites.  I can honestly say that I have not had a bad craft canned beer to date.

(CC) Thanks Pat and Ron! For more information about Mobile Canning you can visit their website at: www.mobilecanning.com or find them on Facebook here!


Posted by Kelly



Tuesday, November 1st 2011

Great Crescent IPA
(Great Crescent Brewery)

 

From the brewery that brought the world the first ever canned barrel-aged stout comes this 16 oz. can of IPA. We don't know too much of the specifics about this particular beer - such as it's strength or it's IBUs not to mention we also have no idea which particular hops or malts are used in brewing it. Oh well, sometimes it's fun to guess. 

 

From the Great Crescent site:

"The beer that was created to make the ocean voyage to India when it was a British Colony lives on today in many interpretations - all hoppy, some a lot more than others. Great Crescent IPA is made in the classic British style and maintains some balance between the malt and the hops. There is a moderate hop aroma with a carmel malt presense. Hop flavor and bitterness come through very cleanly in the finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - great looking orange to peach colored IPA. Head resembles pancake batter and leaves some ridiculously thick lacing inside the glass. Very good looking beer coming out of this can.

 

Aroma - citrus along with some Christmas tree pine aromas that sort of lean towards being astringent and soapy smelling. Not a whole lot of malt sweetness detected in the nose. This almost has the aroma of plastic a bit. Hmm...

 

Taste - first taste and I get some more of that astringent bitter flavor. It reminds me of pine but perhaps a bit more than I'm used to tasting in an IPA. Some malt backbone comes into play but this lacks much in the way of hop flavor. The flavor profile of this particular India Pale Ale leaves me scratching my head and tapping the glass.

 

Overall - not overly impressed by this one. I can't help but feel that there are some off flavors and something isn't quite right. Even if this was more of the British-style of IPA I'd be getting more hop flavor and aroma along with a solid malt backing. The astringency of this brew is a little off-putting. Bummed as we've loved the other beers we've tried from Great Crescent. Perhaps it was just this particular batch?


Note - Great Crescent cans every one of the beers they brew. They do so by utilizing a can that allows them to adhere a label denoting the style within. This is similar to what both Sun King Brewing Company and Dolores River Brewery are also using. 



Can Scale:
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Great Crescent IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: November 1st, 2011

Posted by Russ


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