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MadTree Releasing Cans of Blood Orange PsycHOPathy IPA
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Craft Beer's First 8 oz. Cans!
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Almanac Beer Company Releasing Cans Beginning this Summer
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Q & A with Rhinegeist Brewery

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Thursday, November 15th 2012

Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing Create Ten Year Caniversary Collaboration

Craft Can Pioneers Oskar Blues Brewery and Ska Brewing CANlaborate on “oSKAr the G’Rauch Smoked IPA” to celebrate the Ten Year CANiversary of Dale’s Pale Ale and Craft Beer In-A-Can.


Longmont, Colorado - Craft beer in-a-can pioneers Oskar Blues Brewery and SKA Brewing have come together to create a CANlaboration beer to celebrate the 10 Year CANiversary of Dale’s Pale Ale.  The Smoked IPA, “oSKAr the G’Rauch”, is the first official brewing collaboration between the two breweries that share much of the same Colorado lifestyle. Hell, you can’t spell Oskar without Ska.

The two brewers are ColoRADo kindred spirits of sorts, both hailing from inspiring mountain towns that shape their quality of life while doing things their own deranged way. Oskar Blues became the first American craft brewer to brew and can their beer with Dale’s Pale Ale in November of 2002 and SKA Brewing moved to can their ESB Special Ale a few months later. The two breweries have been leaders of the canned beer movement ever since. They have ridden the five-day “Tour of Bouldurango” charity bike ride from Boulder, CO to Durango, Co that was organized by Adam Avery.  A few years ago Ska purchased Oskar Blues’ canning line and the Oskar Blues crew delivered it through a snow storm to help install the machine and turned the adventure into a week-long ski vacation.

“We talked about doing a special beer for our CANiversary and we instantly knew we wanted to brew it with the Ska crew.  We’re always looking for a reason to get together with those guys.” said Oskar Blues beer traffic control freak Jeremy Rudolf.

“We couldn't be more humbled, brewing this beer with the fantastic brewers and our great friends at Oskar Blues. Ten years ago OB took a great leap of faith with their decision to put Dale's Pale Ale in cans, and we followed suit just months later, and have successfully ridden their coattails for the entire last decade.” said Ska’s Dave Thibodeau.

About the beer…What did oSKAr the G’Rauch say to the face?  Slap!  Aromas of freshly-peeled orange and apricots with a touch of……..smoke? Juicy citrus and fruit flavors dominate but don’t overpower the slightly sweet malt structure. Finish is all citrus rind ping-ponging with some smoky phenols.  8.5% ABV.  MANY IBU.

19.2 oz. cans of the Smoked IPA will debut at the 10th CANiversary party at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons, CO Saturday, November 17th.  The celebration will feature FREE LIVE MUSIC (6pm to 9pm) by “Erik The Viking”and “Interstate Stash Express” before a SOLD OUT show by Los Angeles’s “The White Buffalo” at 9:30pm to 1am. Get all the details about the Dale’s Pale Ale 10 Year CANiversary on November 12th, 2012.


Limited quantities of “oSKAr the G’Rauch” will be available in 19.2 oz. Single-Serve Cans and 16oz. 4-packs at the Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom and Oskar Blues locations while supplies last.

About Oskar Blues Brewery
Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 as a brewpub and grill, Oskar Blues Brewery launched their craft-brewed hand canning operations in 2002 in Lyons, Colo. They were the first American craft brewery to can their beer. Today more than 180 craft breweries are canning their beers. The original crew used a hand-canning line on a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont packaged 41,000 barrels in 2010, grew to 59,000 in 2011 and is on pace for 90,000 in 2012.  While celebrating 10 years of Dale’s Pale Ale the brewery has announced it will begin brewing beer in their new Brevard, NC brewery in December 2012. Visit www.oskarblues.com,  http://www.facebook.com/OskarBluesCans,  @oskarblues  for more information. 

About Ska Brewing

Based in Durango, Colorado, Ska Brewing was founded in 1995 and now produces over a dozen award-winning beers including the Pinstripe Red Ale, True Blonde Ale and Steel Toe Stout. Four Ska beers are now widely available in cans: ESB Special Ale, True Blonde, Modus Hoperandi IPA and the winter seasonal Euphoria Pale Ale. For information, music and a good time, visit www.skabrewing.com. Find out what “calamity howlers” are, chat us up, and get the latest news at facebook.com/skabrew and twitter.com/skabrewing.


Posted by Kelly

Thursday, November 8th 2012

House Brand IPA
(Big River Brewing Company)

Earlier this year Big River Brewing Company made canning history when they became the first brewery in their state to begin offering their beers in cans. They released both their House Brand IPA and their Big River Pilsner in cans during the summer and both were an instant hit with consumers in the Volunteer State. You can also find both of them on tap, as well as quite a few other offerings, at any of the four different brewpubs they operate.

From the Big River site:

"This classic copper colored ale has a pronounced hop aroma and assertive bitterness. American- grown Galena and Cascade hops are the star of this fragrant and citrusy dry-hopped masterpiece."

Here we go...


Pour - light auburn in appearance with a good inch of white head on top. Carbonation looks spot on, a very nice looking pour.

Aroma - pine and citrus, pineapple juice and other tropical fruits, apricots, along with some floral notes. Very aromatic.

Taste - first first sip is crisp with a strong hop flavor, plenty of those tropical fruit flavors as well. A nice malty backbone balances out the hoppiness which is assertive but not astringent. Plenty of IPA goodness is packed with love into this can. 


Overall - a solid IPA from the good folks in Chattanooga. Nicely balanced with great hop aroma an almost juicy hop flavor .Very easy drinking with a nice hop profile along with a fresh aroma nice sweet tropical notes. It would be easy to drink a lot of these...

Note - if a 12 oz. can isn't enough to satisfy your thirst you'll be happy to know that Big River also puts both their House Brand IPA and their Pilsner in 5-liter mini kegs!



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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House Brand IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Big River Brewing Company
Chattanooga, Tennessee  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Galena and Cascade
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 55
Date: November 8th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Monday, November 5th 2012

Fresh Off the Hop Farm
(Q & A with Bale Breaker Brewing)

Any brewer will tell you that fresh beer is best and when it comes to hoppy beers, the fresher the better. With that in mind, you propably can't get much fresher than having your brewery located in the middle of a hop field, right? Well, that is just where Washington State's Bale Breaker Brewing Company is setting up shop and where they plan to brew and can their beers in the coming months. We caught up with Bale Breaker's Meghann Quinn in order to find out more about the brewery and what we can expect in the near future. Cheers Meghann! 

(CC) Tell us a little about Bale Breaker Brewing Company?

(BBBC) Bale Breaker Brewing Company is a new brewery starting up in the heart of the nation’s hop country, Yakima, Washington, by fourth-generation hop growers and siblings, Meghann Quinn, Kevin Smith, and Patrick Smith, and Meghann’s husband, Kevin Quinn. The Yakima Valley is responsible for producing about 75% of the nation’s hop crop each year, and our family has been growing hops on land in this area since 1932, the year before Prohibition ended. Now, 80 years later, our love of hops and passion for craft beer has led us to where we are today – in the midst of building a craft brewery surrounded by our family’s hop fields, just down the road from where we were born and raised.

hops are harvested on the family hop farm

(CC) For those that might not know, where did the name "Bale Breaker" come from? 

(BBBC) When hops leave the farm, they are packaged in 200 pound, burlap-wrapped bales. Hop processing companies then use a specialized piece of equipment, called a bale breaker, to break apart these compressed bales of hops before sending them into the pelletizing machine. Not only did we think Bale Breaker was a cool name for a brewery, it’s fitting for us since our family has spent 80 years sending bales off to other breweries who have effectively “broken” those bales in order to make great beer. Now, it’s our turn!

"Not only did we think Bale Breaker was a cool name for a brewery, it’s fitting for us since our family has spent 80 years sending bales off to other breweries who have effectively “broken” those bales in order to make great beer. Now, it’s our turn!"

Bale Brewing Company taking shape

(CC) In a crowded world of great craft beers, what makes Bale Breaker's beers special?

(BBBC) Many of the great craft beers in the marketplace today showcase Yakima Valley hops, but none have such a close connection to a hop farm as Bale Breaker does, with the hops literally being grown in our backyard. We hope that our unique story and long family history of hop farming will make people take notice and want to try our beer initially, but we know that what’s in the pint and can has to truly stand out in order for people to want more. Our handcrafted, hop-forward ales will feature the world-class hops grown in the Yakima Valley with loads of hop aroma and flavor in each glass.



(CC) Which of your beers will you be canning and when will they be released?

(BBBC) We will be canning our two flagship beers – Topcutter IPA and Field 41 Pale Ale. Our production facility is currently under construction, but we’re optimistic our cans will be released during the 1st quarter of 2013.

(CC) Where will folks be able to find your beers?

(BBBC) To begin, our distribution footprint will be fairly local, concentrated primarily in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. At some point, we hope to enter the Seattle market, but we’ll wait to see what the demand is like before making that decision.

(CC) We love the designs on the cans. Who is responsible for those?

(BBBC) Thanks! We had the help of the talented folks at Taphandles in Seattle, WA in designing our cans.


(CC) Speaking of designs. The hop in your logo has the number 41 in it. What is that about?

(BBBC) Our brewery is being built in the middle of hop field #41 on our family’s hop farm, so the 41 in our logo is a nod to our roots. Three acres of Cascades in field #41 were sacrificed in the name of craft beer!

(CC) What made you choose cans over bottles? What do you tell people about that choice?

(BBBC) Not only do we feel that cans are the best package for beer quality, we love how easy it is to pack cans in for a day on the ski hill or a weekend camping trip. Beyond that, the recyclability of aluminum played into our decision to can as well.

imagine what this smells like...

(CC) What are some of the best things about being located in the Yakima Valley? Of course there are the hops, but what else?

(BBBC) It’s the hops, for sure! Wine tourism in the Yakima Valley (also known as the Columbia Valley) has really picked up over the past decade, but hops are really this area’s heart and soul. The Yakima Valley has been a premier hop growing region since the late-1800’s, but very few breweries call the area home. Since wineries are often built in a vineyard, we think it’s time for a brewery to be built on a hop farm!

But, besides the hops, Yakima is also known for great weather (self-proclaimed as “The Palm Springs of Washington”) and a central location in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We’re a short drive to the top beer cities of Seattle, Portland, and Spokane. We hope folks from around the area take advantage of Yakima’s great location and come tour the brewery and hop farm this summer!

(CC) What are some things that people might not know about Bale Breaker Brewing?

(BBBC) We’re all die-hard University of Washington Husky fans. All six of us (the three siblings and our significant others) received our undergraduate degrees from UW in Seattle. We’ll know the brewery has made it when we have a “Bale-gater” RV parked outside Husky Stadium every home football game! Additionally, we’re very passionate about ALS research and finding treatments and a cure for this terrible disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We look forward to our brewery being an outlet to raise awareness and funds to fight ALS.

The Bale Breaker crew (Meghann Quinn, Kevin Smith, Patrick Smith, and Kevin Quinn)

Posted by Russ

Saturday, November 3rd 2012

PRO-AM Ale 2012 Double IPA
(Southern Star Brewing Company)

Since 2009 Southern Star Brewing Company has hosted an annual homebrew contest. Local homebrewers submit their beers with the winning entry getting brewed at the brewery using their professional equipment. This year's winner, a Double IPA, submitted by Steve Capo and Charles Vallhonrat - a.k.a. The Sly Bastards, was the first to be put into cans and the brewery used their multi-functional seasonal can with a PRO-AM sticker around the top. 

From the Southern Star site: 

"A Double IPA and is full of juicy citrus hop aromas and flavors."

Here we go...

Pour - amber with some reddish highlights and a big, sticky, white head that looks like it might just cling to the inside of the glass for a few days.

Aroma - opening the can is like walking into the cooler at a brewery where all the hops are stored. It's a blast of citrus, pine, pineapple, and fresh-tastic hoppiness. This smells big even if it looks innocent enough in the glass.

Taste - wow, this is definitely a double IPA - no joking around here. Big hop flavors are backed up nicely by a big malt backbone. Loads of tropical fruit sweetness and resiny hop flavors abound. Very balanced despite the ABV and IBUs being on the upper end of sane. This is probably something for a snifter and a beer you want to sip and enjoy each flavorful mouthful - but its also a beer you want to get nice and cold and pour into a pint glass and just enjoy all that fresh hoppy goodness. 


Overall - awesome beer. Loads of all the good stuff any hophead is looking for and without being too astringent or over the top - even at ~10% and god knows how many IBUs. It's awesome to see these sorts of contests as they really connect the brewery with the community. I'm sure Steve and Charles had an awesome time at the brewery brewing up this beer on a much bigger scale! Congrats!!!

Note - Southern Star has now released three different beers using their "Seasonal" can design. We're excited to see what comes next. 


Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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PRO-AM Ale 2012 Double IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Company
Conroe, Texas  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus
ABV: 9.9%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 3rd, 2012

Posted by Russ

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