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Jamie Gordon of Cask Brewing Systems Passes Away
Ska Releases Cans of Hop Ivy, First Certified All Colorado Ale
Mispillion River Brewing Releases Zombie Cans for Halloween
Mike Hess Brewing Becomes First California Brewery to Go Lidless
Big Choice Brewing Introducing First Resealable Craft Beer Cans
Q & A with Nathaniel Miller
21st Amendment Debuts Ridiculously Awesome Mixed Pack
Deep Ellum Releasing Hop Seeker Fall Seasonal Wet Hop Beer
Victory Brewing Releasing New Vital IPA in Cans Only
Oskar Blues Expands With Plans for Brewery in Austin, Texas
Bell's Hopslam Coming to Cans!

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Saturday, November 21 2015

Jamie Gordon of Cask Brewing Systems Passes Away

amie Gordon at the Craft Brewers' Conference

(Calgary, Alberta, Canada) – On Sunday, November 15, longtime Cask employee and microcanning pioneer Jamie Gordon passed away in Denver, Colorado. He was 56.

Below is a statement from Cask founder Peter Love regarding Jamie and his role in the development of micro-canned beer around the globe for Cask.

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to announce that our wonderful friend and mentor, Jamie Gordon, passed away last week in Denver, Colorado.  He was doing what he loved best – working with his friends and customers in the craft brewing industry.

On Thursday, November 12, Jamie completed an installation at Grist Brewing in Littleton, Colorado, and went on to Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver to help the staff with an equipment issue. He then returned to his hotel in Highlands Ranch where he suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the hotel lobby.

The hotel staff gave Jamie CPR and emergency medical staff attempted to restart his heart before taking him to Littleton Adventist Hospital and placing him on life support. Unfortunately he did not recover and was removed from life support Sunday afternoon.

Jamie’s family graciously agreed to donate his organs to a donor association in Colorado, where he played such a large role in the development of our company’s micro-canning efforts. His organs will help save and improve numerous lives in Colorado and beyond.

Jamie has been instrumental in the growth and development of Cask Brewing Systems Inc. since he started working for us almost 30 years ago.  He initially sold homebrew kits

for us in Eastern Canada while he still operated his homebrew store in Montreal, Gordon’s Cave a Vin. 

He helped us grow in the “brew-on-premise” industry by designing a filing system to help these entities meet new government regulations for that burgeoning industry. 

During our work with those homebrewer-minded enterprises, a brew-on-premise owner asked us if we could somehow create a small canning system for the store. Jamie eagerly took up the challenge and designed our initial manual canning system back in 1999. The rest, as they say, is history. We soon formed our great association with Ball Corporation and introduced micro-canning to the craft brewing industry around the world.

Jamie Gordon has been a wonderful ambassador for our company in North America and around the globe. As one of our customers recently told Jamie’s son Andrew, “Jamie has rock star status in the craft brewing industry.”

Jamie was a certified beer judge. He presented at a number of industry events for the Master Brewers Association of America (MBAA) and the United States Association of Cider Makers. He was recently asked to speak to the Brewery Engineers Association of England at their annual Technical Day in Burton-on-Trent this coming March. 

His passing is a big loss to our Cask Brewing System’s family. A chapter in our company history is now closed.

Receptions to celebrate Jamie’s wonderful life will be held in his home town of Montreal this Saturday, November 21 and in Calgary the following Sunday, November 29. Details are at the bottom of this message.

Tool Shed Brewing in Calgary is brewing a “Flat Cap” stout in Jamie’s honor. The beer is named for Jamie’s beloved and signature driving cap.  They plan for the beer to be a staple in their standard beer list, with packaging graphics that include a picture of Jamie. 

Our deepest condolences go out to Jamie’s wife Anne Marie Fontaine and their two sons, Andrew Gordon and Alastair Gordon, in this difficult time.

Jamie Gordon will be missed, but never forgotten.

Peter Love.

November 18, 2015

Posted by Russ


Wednesday, November 11th 2015

Ska Releases Cans of Hop Ivy, First Certified All Colorado Ale

Ska Brewing Releases Hop Ivy, State’s
First Certified All Colorado Ale

DURANGO, Colo. -  Ska Brewing is releasing the first craft beer sourced entirely with Colorado ingredients available for year-round, statewide distribution.  Hop Ivy, which will hit the shelves by Thanksgiving, is also the state’s first beer to reach Platinum Certification status through the Real Colorado Beer Project.

“Hop Ivy is our chance to celebrate what our friends behind the scenes are doing for Colorado’s craft beer scene,” says Ska Co-founder and Colorado native, Bill Graham.  “At the consumer level, these suppliers are easy to overlook, but they are the unsung heroes thriving to create a meaningful connection from grain to glass.”

A recently released Economic Impact Study completed by the Colorado School of Leeds stated that – through collective efforts such as supporting Colorado suppliers, Colorado brewers generated approximately $1.15 billion in economic activity last year.

Hop Ivy is a twist off of Ska’s previous semi-local Hoperation Ivy, a wet hop ale made with freshly picked hops from various small hop farms around the state.  Like Hoperation Ivy, Hop Ivy is a hop-forward pale ale showcasing local Chinook and Nugget hops harvested at Simply Grown LLC hop farm in Palisade.  The barley is grown and malted at Colorado Malting Co. in Alamosa and the yeast is from the Brewing Science Instiutute in Woodland Park.  Fresh snowmelt from the mighty San Juan mountains is the source of Hop Ivy’s water.

Hop Ivy’s initial release will be in draft with cans following at the first of the year—the beer will only be available in Colorado.  The Tasting Room at Ska Brewing World Headquarters in Durango will celebrate its release on Thursday November 19, 2015 from 5-7 pm with the help from the band The Great Contention and food specials featuring local Coloradan ingredients.


About Ska Brewing

Based in Durango, Colorado, Ska Brewing was founded in 1995 and produces over a dozen award-winning beers.  Many of Ska’s brews are widely available in cans including Modus Hoperandi IPA, ESB Special Ale, True Blonde Ale, and the ever popular Season Stout Series.  For information (a lot of it), music, and a good time, visit www.skabrewing.com.  Plug in to the latest updates, beer releases and shenanigans at facebook.com/skabrew and twitter.com/skabrewing.


About the Real Colorado Beer Project

The Real Colorado Beer Project is an attempt to support the real local Colorado economy as well as help the consumer recognize which tap handles, canned or bottled ales and lagers will provide the dew of real Colorado, and to what degree.  Theer are five levels of Real Colorado Beer:  Wild Platinim, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.  (www.RealColoradoBeer.com)


Posted by Russ

Thursday, October 29th 2015

Mispillion River Brewing Releases Zombie Cans for Halloween

Milford, DE – In honor of Halloween and the latest season of “The Walking Dead,” Mispillion River Brewing has released zombie versions of its cans.

With the help of Connecticut artist, Tom Ryans, the brewery converted the images on their beers Reach Around IPA, Space Otter Pale Ale, Black Tie Black IPA, and Holy Crap! Imperial Red Ale to zombies. While the cans regularly feature vibrant images of animals, the Walking Dead and Halloween inspired alteration has turned an innocent sloth, otter, and penguin (and a not so innocent t-rex) into un-dead versions of their colorful selves.

Sales and Marketing Ninja, Lauren Bigelow, stated, “Every now and then, you have to accept the fact that you're just not as normal as you'd like to be. We all came to terms with that months ago, when someone suggested the "zombification" of our cans and we thought that was a good idea. From now, until supplies run out, zombie versions of Holy Crap, Reach Around, Space Otter, and Black Tie will be popping up throughout our markets. Got to catch 'em all.”

Zombie cans can be found at the brewery and throughout Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Mispillion River Brewing aims to be recognized by its customers and the brewing industry for producing the highest quality craft beer. The brewery, located at 255 Mullett Run Street Milford, DE 19963, is open for samples, pints, and growler fills seven days a week.  For more information, visit mispillionriverbrewing.com

Posted by Russ

Wednesday, October 28th 2015

Mike Hess Brewing Becomes First California Brewery to Go Lidless

Mike Hess Brewing introduces its “Open Mike”—the beer can with a pull tab that removes the entire lid, a first in California.

One of the advantages of drinking from a glass is the large opening that allows more aroma, which dramatically impacts taste. For the host of situations where glass isn’t pragmatic or possible, Open Mike is the answer.

(San Diego, CA) – Mike Hess Brewing (MHB) has introduced its Open Mike™ beer can, becoming the only brewery in California to use Crown’s patented 360°™ technology. A simple pull tab removes the entire top end of the can, effectively turning the can into an instant pint glass.

“We could not be more excited to debut this breakthrough can design. For outdoor enthusiasts like me, Open Mike lets us experience the beer wherever we go, whether that’s at the beach or pool deck, stadium parking lot, or anywhere in the great outdoors and without the disadvantage of a standard can’s small opening. Craft beer, technology and the active lifestyle come together quite nicely here,” explained the brewery’s founder, Mike Hess.

The new cans and ends are fully recyclable and better for the environment than glass. As an added bonus, Open Mike™ ends use 10% less aluminum than other ends, so the switch also helps MHB’s overall sustainability initiative.

In addition to the Open Mike™ cans, MHB will be introducing their flagship 16 oz. canned beers in boxed six-packs. “Open Mike six-packs will be available as early as November 1st wherever Mike Hess beers are sold, including Southern California and the greater Phoenix, Arizona, markets. The first brand to feature the new packaging and Open Mike™ ends will be Habitus®, Double IPA, World Beer Cup gold award-winner in the Rye Beer category . “The boxed six-packs give our fans and retail partners 50% more beer than our current 4-packs in a familiar, approachable package branded to help identify Open Mike cans,” said Mike Hess Brewing's National Sales Director, Greg Hess.

MHB will continue to use 16 oz. pint cans produced by Crown Packaging, the manufacturers of the 360°™ end. The cans themselves are made with 68% recycled content.

Open Mike™ cans hit shelves November 1st, 2015.

About Mike Hess Brewing

Mike Hess Brewing is one of the premier craft breweries in San Diego, and has experienced rapid growth, doubling in output each of the last three years, growing from the region's smallest brewery and original nano to its 12th largest. MHB’s world-class production brewery and tasting room is in the heart of San Diego’s North Park (recently named one of the hippest neighborhoods in the U.S. by Forbes magazine); they also operate a small pilot brewery in the Miramar area as well as a tap-room in beautiful Ocean Beach.

The Mike Hess Brewing Odyssey blog, started in 2009, has become the de facto manual for opening a nano-brewery and is widely read across the nation and abroad and has inspired and helped launch hundreds of nano-breweries across the country.

Mike Hess is recognized as the national expert on nanos, and has spoken on the topic at the AHA’s National Homebrew Conference, Beer-Con, and multiple times at the California Craft Brewer’s Association’s regional conferences. Visit www.mikehessbrewing.com.

About Crown Holdings, Inc.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Crown Holdings, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of packaging products for consumer marketing companies around the world. Crown makes a wide range of metal packaging for food, beverage, household and personal care; and industrial products, metal vacuum closures, and caps. As of December 31, 2014, the Company operated 149 plants located in 40 countries, employing 23,024 people. For more information, visit www.crowncork.com.

For more information, contact:

Michael Hess, Proprietor/CBO, Tel: 1 (619) 255-7136; mike@hessbrewing.com

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, October 13th 2015

Big Choice Brewing Introducing First Resealable Craft Beer Cans
Q & A with Nathaniel Miller

The growing popularity in canning over the years has bred a number of incredible innovations that have truly changed the brewing industry. From the rapid rise in mobile canning technology - to removeable lids -  to the almighty Crowler - the canning game is constantly changing for the better. Now, Big Choice Brewing out of Broomfield, Colorado has announced plans to release the first can featuring a resealable tab. Ever since Westword broke the news we've been curious about how it all came together and what this might mean for the craft beer industry. We reached out to Big Choice and threw a bunch of questions at Owners/Brewmaster Nathaniel Miller. Cheers Nathaniel!

(CC) Where did the idea for this come from? How did you hear about the technology?

(NM) We were originally approached by XO Solutions during one of our canning runs. They were interested in seeing if we’d be interested in testing a couple lids to see if we could use them. We were pretty hesitant at first, because not often will a 12oz can need to be resealed. We weren’t sure how we could use them.

(CC) Speaking of technology, who is manufacturing these cans and how is this particular modification made in the process?

(NM) XO Solutions is the company who manufactures the lids. Their headquarters are in Munich, with a sales office right down the street from us in Lafayette, Colorado. They have done several years of R&D to make sure the lid will perform in both it’s open function for pouring, as well as the sealed function for freshness. The lids have been used primarily in the energy drink industry. These lids are compatible with the standard 202 lid from the other manufacturers, and fit the seamers that are designed for the 202 lid. We have had to make no modification with our current canning line.
(CC) What are the major benefits behind this form of canning/packaging?

(NM) When we took a serious look at using this lid, we were looking to find a way to use cans instead of bottles for bigger beers that traditionally came in a 22oz “bomber” glass bottle. We package our other beers using our own canning machine, but for bombers we had to get a bomber filler on loan from somewhere else. It didn’t seem efficient in production to try and use a process that we didn’t use already. We wanted to see if this lid could help us use larger cans to supplant what we felt was a standard “bomber” beer instead of bottles. The major deciding factor was that the bigger beers are not usually drank in one shot—this lid allows for the consumer to enjoy some of the beer from the can when they want to instead of having to finish the beer before it loses too much carbonation. For the consumer, there is less waste from old, flat beer with this resealable lid. 

Cans of OBEAH go on sale on October 21st

(CC) What can you tell us about OBEAH, the first beer going into these cans? Sounds amazing…

(NM) The first beer we decided to use for this can/lid combo is a pull from things we have experienced in our lives. It is a Russian Imperial Stout base beer, but we couldn’t leave well enough alone. We had to make it “ours” by adding Caribbean jerk spices and aging it in rum barrels. We had spent a few years in the Cayman Islands many years ago, and the smells of jerk stands still tantalizes our taste buds, and the Caribbean is known for rum. We did a couple  test batches to try and get the right balance of jerk and rum influence. It has a rich, chocolate taste, permeated by light taste of rum and just a hint of spices. It is not cloyingly sweet, but finishes dry with a kiss of heat from the scotch bonnet. 

(CC) Any plans for future beers utilizing these tabs?

(NM) This first beer will definitely be watched for performance. We have other beers waiting for packaging in the coming months, so it is a good possibility these lids will be used sooner than expected.

(CC) Are any other breweries using these tabs?

(NM) From what we are told, we are the first craft brewery in the world using these tabs. Miller Genuine Draft utilized them in some fashion in Russia, but to what extent we don’t know. 



Posted by Russ