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Monday, July 26th 2010

Butternuts Beer and Ale
(Garrattsville, New York)

Butternuts Beer and Ale hails from the small town of Garrattsville in Upstate New York. The brewery itself is a converted dairy farm and the name "Butternuts" refers to the Butternut Mountains in which the farm/brewery sits. So, yes, these truly are "farmhouse" ales (just like the cans say!).


Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:


Brewery Name -Butternuts Beer and Ale


Location - Garrattsville, New York, USA


Year Brewing Began - 2005


Annual Beer Output - @2,700 bbls 


History - Butternuts Beer and Ale was founded in 2005 by Chuck Williamson. Chuck is also the head brewer and has a simple goal of brewing good beer. They've always canned their beers, even before it was cool. I am also happy to say that they are consistently some of the most reasonably priced craft beers available, something that the brewery is proud of as well.



Number of Beers Canned - 4


Snapperhead IPA - A decent IPA, not a total hop bomb and more malty than you may be expecting but not bad for a camping trip or a day on a boat.

Moo Thunder Stout - An American stout thats full bodied and very roasty in flavor. One of a few American stouts thats so far made it into a can.

Heinnieweisse Weissebier - One of the best canned wheat beers I've found. Wheat beers don't get canned often. This is very drinkable on a hot summer day/night.

Porkslap Pale Ale - probably a name you'll never forget. This well balanced pale ale has a very nice addition of ginger. Yes, that flavor you taste is ginger. Once you get used to it its very nice.


Butternuts Beer and Ale Media Resources



Posted by Russ

Wednesday, July 21 2010

Euphoria Pale Ale
(Ska Brewing Company)

There is never a better time than the middle of a ridiculously hot summer to crack open a hoppy winter seasonal brew. Okay, some people might argue that but Ska's Euphoria should be proof of how well a can of craft beer will hold it's flavor and hopefully provide some comfort on yet another warm evening.

From the Ska site:

"“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. Anarchic enlightenment: (1) Brewed in strict accordance to D.I.Y. methodology, the beer of choice for epic powder days. (2) brewed and bottled (I think they mean canned) by Ska Brewing Company, Durango Colorado using the finest hops, yeast, malted barley and San Juan waters.”"

Here we go...

Pour - clean, clear dark amber, sort of chestnut in color with a nice thick head on top. Looks absolutely gorgeous after being freed from it's aluminum prison after many months.


Aroma - citrusy hops, lots of lemon aroma along with some spicy or astringent notes. Some powdered sugar along with a nice sweet caramel smell. After thing is in perfect order, just as it was when it went into the can quite some time ago. 


Taste - a big sip and a nice smack of bitter, yet spicy and very citrusy, hops coat the tongue. This is tangy and finishes with a sort of peppery flavor. A decent amount of malt back things up and the dryness of my tongue keeps plunging my face back into the glass. Very balanced, no massive hop bomb nor has it become in anyway a malt bomb from its time in the can. If this was in a bottle I doubt I could say the same thing.


Overall - great brew from the folks at Ska. It may be a winter offering but its definitely doing the job on an 80 degree night here in New England. This is a lot different than Ska's IPA as its got a much spicier hop profile. I think of this one as more of an English-style IPA with a little more assertive hoppiness. Anyway you look at it you'll be happy once its in a glass and headed towards your mouth.


Would I buy more of it? - definitely. This was a rare treat and I'd like to thank my friend Tim in Arizona for hooking me up! Cheers Tim!


Note - Ska Brewing also cans their Modus Hoperandi IPA, ESB Special Ale (the second craft beer ever canned in Colorado) and True Blonde AleI highly recommend all three if you can get you hands on them!


Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
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Euphoria Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Ska Brewing Company
Durango, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: East Kent Goldings
ABV: 6.1%
IBUs: ???
Date: July 21st, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pale Ales

Thursday, July 21 2010

They should call it CAN-orado!

Is it any surprise that a state that's well known for hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, camping and insert your favorite outdoor activity also leads the country in the number of craft breweries canning their beers? Probably not. 

We all know the story behind Dale's Pale Ale by now and how in 2002 Oskar Blues took an idea that was laughable at the time and turned it into one of the most successful business plans in modern craft brewing history (we're talking double digit growth year after year and changing the perceptions of even the staunchest beer geeks when it comes to good beer coming in cans). Oskar Blues continues to charge forward with what they call the "canned beer apocalypse" but they do so now with the help of eleven other breweries.

Colorado has an astounding 12 craft breweries canning and distributing 31 different beers spread out among 13 different styles! Oskar Blues may be the most well known of the bunch but when it comes to great canned beers the others are equally as impressive. Brewers such as Revolution Brewing, the nation's smallest craft brewery that cans their beer, located in the tiny town or Paonia in a building that was once a church or Ska Brewing in Durango which was the second brewery in the state to put their craft beer in cans. They did so in when they started canning their ESB Special Ale in 2003 (a year after Dale's first hit the shelves). Don't forget about the tiny little Silverton Brewery or good ol' New Belgium, both can three of their beers. Yep, Coloradans have it good when it comes to canned beer. 

With all these great breweries canning their beers it only seemed fitting to put together an event to showcase all of them. Oskar Blues did just that when it held it's first ever "Burning Can" festival in their hometown of Lyons. A true celebration of canned craft beers and Colorado! Every brewery in the state that cans their beers was in attendance. The nice folks at Oskar Blues even allowed breweries that don't can their beers, such as Left Hand, to can beers especially for the event. Next year's event should prove even bigger and better!

What's next for CAN-orado? Avery Brewing will be releasing it's much anticipated canned offerings sometime later this year. Old favorites Ellie's Brown, IPA, White Rascal and their brand new Joe's Premium American Pilsner will all be available in cans for the first time. This will make the Rocky Mountain State an even bigger leader in the canned craft beer movement with a "brewer's dozen" worth of craft breweries putting their brews in cans! Who's next? Only time will tell. 

just a few of Colorado's many fine canned craft beers!


Posted by Russ

Wednesday, July 21 2010

21st Amendment Brewery
(San Francisco, California)

21st Amendment is quickly becoming one of the more recognized craft breweries canning their beers in the US. Their Brew Free! or Die IPA and Hell or High Watermelon Wheat beers are widely distributed and they've just added the first canned Black IPA to their lineup. Things are looking good for 21st Amendment and this year they celebrate their 10th anniversary. If you're ever out in San Francisco be sure to stop into their brewpub, you won't regret it.


Here is a little more information about this brewery and their canned offerings:


Brewery Name - 21st Amendment Brewery


Location - San Francisco, California, USA


Year Brewing Began - 2000


Annual Beer Output - @1,200 bbls (all cans are brewed and packaged at Cold Spring Brewing in Cold Spring, Minnesota)


History - "In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan founded the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood. The popular brewpub is now at the heart of the new city center, just south of the financial district and only two blocks from the San Francisco Giants baseball park. In addition to eight rotating taps of multiple award-winning hand-crafted house beers, the pub has been voted “Best Brewpub”, “Best Burger” and “Best Happy Hour” by the San Francisco press." You can read the rest of the story here...


Distribution - AK, WA, OR, CA, ID, MN, GA, VA, MD, OH, PA, NJ, NY and MA

Number of Beers Canned - 4


Brew Free! or Die IPA - "This aromatic golden IPA starts with a sucker punch of six different hops to the nose, quickly balanced by a solid malt backbone." Solid IPA with plenty of hop profile to keep a hop head happy. 


Hell or High Watermelon Wheat - a surprisingly refreshing brew. Do not be turned away by the idea of watermelon in beer. It works and it works very well. This is "a straw-colored, refreshing beer with a kiss of watermelon aroma and flavor."


Back in Black - the first ever Black IPA in a can! "Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish."


Monk's Blood - a special release dark Belgian-style ale. One of the more unique canned brews on the market (when it is on the market). Lots of flavors to mull over as you sip this somewhat mysterious dark brew. "21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium to develop the recipe for this special beer, visiting small, traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders, not far from the famous Trappist abbey of Westvletren."



21st Amendment Brewery Media Resources


Posted by Russ

Tuesday, July 20th 2010

Avalanche Amber Style Ale
(Breckenridge Brewing Company)

Avalanche Ale was Breckenridge Brewery's first canned offering, its also the brewery's best selling brew. Recently the brewery announced that they will be releasing their Lucky U IPA in cans as well. I say the more the merrier. 

From the Breckenridge Brewery site:

"Subtlety. That's what makes our Avalanche amber ale such a treat. We blend pale and caramel malts – and just a kiss of bittering hops – to create a refreshing-but-flavorful, any-time beer. Aromas of pale grains, a semi-sweet middle and a clean-as-Colorado-snow finish make this our best-selling beer."

Here we go...

Pour - amber in color (thats a good thing) with some reddish hues and an inch of off-white head that fades relatively quickly.


Aroma - caramel, steeped grains, a little astringent as well as some very slight hints of grass or hay. 


Taste - malty, tangy with a little sweet citrus kick. Mainly caramel malt with a decent body but not too much depth as far as flavor goes. A little dry and sweet in the finish. Solid but nothing amazing.


Overall - straightforward and "subtle". This is a great session brew or a good candidate for a gathering. There is a reason this style sells so well. 


Would I buy more of it? - can I try some of the Lucky U IPA first and then decide? 


Note - Breckenridge Brewery began its life in 1990 when Richard Squire opened the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in Breckenridge, Colorado. In 1992 a second location was opened in downtown Denver. Nowadays they also operate a BBQ joint in Denver as well as an Ale House in Grand Junction. Breckenridge beers are available in 25 states. 

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Avalanche Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
Denver, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row Pale, Munich, Roasted Barley, Chocolate
Hops: Willamette, Chinook, Tettnang, Hallertau
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 19
Date: July 20th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Monday, July 19th 2010

Back in Black
(21st Amendment Brewery)

One of 21st Amendment's most recent canned releases, Back in Black, just hit shelves in the past couple days. The first of the so-called Black IPAs or Cascadian Dark Ales to be canned, Back in Black was previously a draft only release. I can't wait to crack this open! 

From the 21st Amendment site:

"Inspired by Paul Revere's midnight ride, we rebelled against the British style IPA, embraced the more aggressive American version and then recast it in bold, brave, defiant black. Our Black IPA is a Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the expected.

Back in Black is our newest year-round beer available now in six pack cans and on draft. Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish."

Here we go...


Pour - dark auburn and ruby reddish in color as it floods the glass. A thick, rich, pancake batter-esque head develops on top. This looks both impressive and inviting. Hold this to the light to really see how dark this IPA truly is!


Aroma - spicy, piney, citrusy goodness emanates from the glass as soon as the beer hits the bottom. There are also some rich chocolate and malt aromas that give this almost a chocolate covered candied orange aroma. I'd like to dive in now please.


Taste - not quite an IPA meets stout flavor but it does have some IPA meets American-style Porter qualities with the maltiness and the more pronounced hop profile. I taste chocolate and orange, or even pineapple, along with the very unique flavor that the simcoe hops impart (eucalpytus?) as well as the boldness of the Columbus and Centennials. The hops truly shine in this unique brew and it makes me realize that this whole "Black IPA" thing is pretty badass. It's awesome. It's all awesome! 


Overall - This is absolutely delicious. The flavor combo of hops and dark malt is perfect and my taste buds are left wondering what the hell just happened. Sweet citrus meets chocolate and then is walloped with a dose of Pacific Northwest hops. Hooray for new styles of beer! American brewers never stop innovating.


Would I buy more of it? - definitely, this is unique and delicious. As soon as this glass is empty another can will be opened and it will be refilled. 


Note - Wikipedia never ceases to amaze me. Someone has contributed the following about this emerging style of American craft beer:


The Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) or "Black IPA" is a relatively new variant of IPA, with a characteristically dark or black appearance, due to roasted malts, while retaining the hop aroma typical of the IPA style. Examples of this style include Hopworks Urban Brewery Secession Black IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewery W'10, Laughing Dog Brewery Dogzilla, Cascade Brewing Dark Day, Deschutes Brewery Intergalactic Black IPA, Thornbridge Brewery Raven. The name refers to the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States ("Cascadia"), where many current commercial versions are made. The style was invented by Greg Noonan in Vermont in the early 1990s, and by the mid-2000s there were several commercial versions made in that state.

Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Back in Black
Style: American Black IPA (Cascadian Dark Ale)
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, California  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Rahr Pale Malt, Crystal 45L
Hops: Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 65
Date: July 19th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, July 18th 2010

Lancaster Kolsch
(Lancaster Brewing Company)

The first, and thus far only, canned release from the folks at Lancaster Brewing Company. This one hit the shelves just in time for summer. Hopefully we'll see more canned releases from the these guys in the future. 


From the Lancaster Brewing site:


"Our NEW German style Kolsch pays homage to the traditional beer of Cologne. It pours a pale straw color and delievers floral hop notes and smooth malt character from extended cold aging, crisp, flavorful and refreshing, our German Style Kolsch is the perfect summer craft beer."


Here we go...


Pour - pours a golden, straw color that is a bit hazy and topped with a decent-sized froth of bright white foam. Some nice lacing is left as the foam slinks away. 


Aroma - a little grainy with some slight citrus notes. Not a whole lot to be said about the nose on this, the style doesn't have a very pronounced aroma.


Taste - crisp, sharp and clean. That is a refreshing beer straight from the first sip. Some grainy sweetness is followed by a lip smacking, tongue snapping bite of bitterness followed by a lingering tangy flavor. Some slight lemon noted can be tasted as well. 


Overall - I can honestly say that this is as an outstanding beer for a hot day. Its crisp and refreshing with a nice bite and very clean finish. Its like biting into the perfect apple, except that apple is in a glass and its beer and its awesome! 


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I could throw a 12-pack of this on ice and be set for a weekend. This may be the only beer these guys put in cans but they sure as hell did a great job with this one. 


Note - Lancaster Brewing Company is located in Amish Country and pays homage to this with their Amish Four Grain Pale Ale. 

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Lancaster Kolsch
Style: Kolsch
Brewery: Lancaster Brewing Company
Lancaster, Pennsylvania  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row, Wheat Malt, Biscuit Malt
Hops: Tettnang, Vanguard
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 18
Date: July 18th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Kolsch

Sunday, July 18th 2010

The Canned Beer Revolution in Europe has Begun!

Bad Attitude is a fitting name for a small craft brewery that defies the mainstream with blatant disregard for what the populous may be thinking. This crew of beer lovers is shaking things up across the pond to say the least. Echoing the successful roots of American canning cousin Oskar Blues, Bad Attitude is challenging both consumers and brewers alike in its native Europe by putting great beer in a shiny aluminum package.

Having just started canning and distributing this year, Bad Attitude is brand new. The beer is currently being brewed and packaged at Birrificio Ticinese, which is located in Stabio, a small Swiss town on the Italian border less than 50 miles north of Milan. It will be distributed in both Switzerland and Italy but by most measures this is an Italian brewing project. Look out Europe, another revolution has begun!

I was able to find out a little more about Bad Attitude from Alessandra Modignani, one of the Bad Attitude crew. She was nice enough to answer my questions (below) about Europe's first true craft beer in cans. Cheers Alessandra! 

Bad Attitude's Hobo (an IPA) and Bootlegger (a California Common)

(CC) What made you decide to can your beers?

(BA) What made us choose beer in cans was the fact that Italian craft breweries are too posh and take themselves too seriously. The Italian craft breweries market their beers as an elegant and expensive product and we wanted to create a whole new concept of craft beer that appeals to young and modern people. Cans are more practical and can be carried to places where glass is forbidden. Furthermore, craft beer in cans has also a very strong environmental quality that makes it cheaper, lighter and more easily recyclable, and contributes to reduce our carbon footprint in many ways.


(CC) Do you think consumers will have any negative reactions to your beer being in cans?

(BA) Our canned beer received a lot of appraisals from beer lovers, other brewers and from the whole craft beer scene. They loved the whole concept of a more portable and eco-friendly beer. There was a bit of skepticism from the so-called “beer experts” that remain fans of the expensive bottled beer.

(CC) Are there any other Swiss or Italian craft breweries canning their beers?

(BA) Nope - we’re the first in both Switzerland and Italy.

(CC) Which of your beers are you canning?

(BA) Bad Attitude so far cans all of its beer. Right now we are canning Bootlegger, a California common beer with spices; Hobo, a tasty and aromatic IPA; TwoPenny, a porter; and finally Hipster, our newest arrival which is our first organic beer.


(CC) Where is your beer being sold?

(BA) Our aim is to be “indie” also when selling our beers. We want to avoid the big faceless wholesalers and try to sell our beer to beershops, beer lovers, bars and pubs that share our passion and also through our webshop.

(CC) Do you think Europe is ready for great beer in cans or will it take some time?

(BA) We think that Europe is ready for canned beers. Only the beer “dinosaurs” will have trouble accepting it at first - but they’ll overcome their prejudice quite soon.




Bad Attitude Craft Beer Media Resources



Posted by Russ

Sunday, July 18th 2010

Lift Bridge Brown Ale
(Keweenaw Brewing Company)

My second can from the good folks located on the Keweenaw (pronounced KEY-wuh-naw) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Keweenaw is well known for its massive amount of annual snowfall and great outdoor activities. If you ever get the chance to travel to this amazing place be sure to stop in for a pint at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton. 


From the Keweenaw Brewing site:


"Reportedly the widest and heaviest double-decked lift bridge in the world, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connects the cities of Houghton and Hancock here in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. So get a lift from this American Brown Ale; a rich, dark brown color, complex malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel and a mild hop finish."


Here we go...


Pour - dark auburn, brown and somewhat murky in appearance. Fairly large head stands atop this hearty looking brew.


Aroma - lots of sweet brown sugar, caramel and dense malt aromas. Some hints at orange or citrus along with a little vanilla.


Taste - lots of sweetness up front, a little like a Twix bar on the tongue but this is met with a nice hop bite that was a little unexpected. Things get balanced out quickly and this turns into a very delicious brown ale. Plenty of flavor packed into this beer and yet it still pretty light tasting. A nice surprise from the good people in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan)!


Overall - tasty brown ale. Lots of flavor yet balanced and drinkable to the max. This screams session ale and campfire. 


Would I buy more of it? - totally. I really need to round out things and find a way to get my hands on their Blonde and Black Ales. 


Note - Keweenaw Brewing is canning four of their beers. Along with Red Jacket Amber Ale you'll also find Lift Bridge Brown Ale, Pick Axe Blonde Ale and now Widowmaker Black Ale all in cans. 


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Lift Bridge Brown Ale
Style: American Brown Ale
Brewery: Keweenaw Brewing Company
Houghton, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: July 18th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Brown Ales

Wednesday, July 14th 2010

Yazoo Brewing poses the can question to their fans!

Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville, Tennessee is at a crossroads. They are currently looking to invest in some new bottling equipment to help speed things up but are wondering if cans are the way to go moving forward. As any great brewery knows, it is best to keep your beer drinking public happy since they keep you in business. What better way to do this than to ask the public what they think! Yazoo has posed the canning question on their blog and given people the chance to cast their vote on the issue. As of right now they've received 146 votes for cans and 83 for sticking with bottles. Let's boost up those numbers! Viva la can!

If Yazoo were to can their beer they'd be the first craft brewery in the state to do so. If you've got 10-15 seconds to spare head over to their site and vote YES to Yazoo in cans!

CraftCans.Com mock up of Yazoo cans. These are not real.


Posted by Russ


Tuesday, July 13th 2010

Point Cascade Pale Ale
(Stevens Point Brewery)

The folks at Stevens Point were nice enough to send me a variety pack containing all four of their canned releases. This was the one that probably intrigued me most as quality hop flavor/profile can be preserved so well in a can.


From the Stevens Point Brewing site:


"Point Cascade Pale Ale is handcrafted combining special top-fermenting yeast and a dry hopping process to create this truly classic American Pale Ale. The intriguing character is derived from generous quantities of the choicest Yakima Valley Cascade hops and the finest crystal, 2-row pale, and Munich malts. The result is a delicious American Pale Ale with a signature fragrant hop bouquet and soft malt palate."


Here we go...


Pour - light amber almost golden in appearance with plenty of tiny bubble floating upwards creating a half inch of thick, bubbly, white head.


Aroma - light grassy or hay notes along with orange and lemon, a bit of an iced tea smell and some green, green citrusy hops. Not a huge pungent hop aroma but nice nonetheless. Its balanced by a good dose of caramel-y malt.


Taste - light, crisp and hoppily refreshing.  A nice dose of sweetness follows a mildly abrasive hop bitterness. Very light on the tongue, almost like a "light IPA" in mouthfeel. Super smooth going down and ridiculously easy drinking. Nothing off-putting about this brew, just a simple pale ale in a can that provides your mouth with some happiness.


Overall - solid brew. Nice hop flavor and ridiculously easy going down. This is a great beer to have in the cooler or in your backpack when you're hiking or playing disc golf. Simple yet very enjoyable.


Would I buy more of it? - I think I would. This one and their Nude Beach Summer Wheat. Sheer drinkability makes this a worthwhile investment.


Note - Stevens Point brewery also cans beers for Schlafly Brewing and O'Fallon Brewing in neighboring Illinois.

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Point Cascade Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
Stevens Point, Wisconsin  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-row, 6-row, Crystal, Munich and Pale Ale
Hops: Yakima Valley Cascades
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 33
Date: July 13th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pale Ales

Tuesday, July 13th 2010

Mickey Finn's Amber Ale
(Mickey Finn's Brewery)

Mickey Finn's is an Illinois brewpub located north of Chicago on the way towards the Wisconsin border along Lake Michigan. They've started canning their amber ale last year and have not yet released a second canned offering. The brewpub has been around since 1993.


From the Mickey Finn's site:


"The Amber is a American-style amber ale with bold hop character. The darker malts that are used during the brewing process create the amber color of the beer as well as the caramel sweetness of the flavor. The Amber is named after the Abana family who bottled artesian well water at the turn of the century in Lake County.."

Here we go...

Pour - orangish-red in color with a quarter inch of white foam on top that fades to a slick of tiny white bubbles spreading across the top of the beer.


Aroma - grainy, biscuity, caramel, honey and maltose. No real hop character detected, much more on the sweet side as far as aroma goes.


Taste - lots of maltiness in that first sip, my tongue is coated in a medley of caramel, toast, honey crisp and tangy sourness I can't quite get my tastebuds around. Some residual sweetness in the finish, pretty easy going down and no complaints. 


Overall - fairly straightforward amber ale. Nothing to write home about but certainly nothing to shy away from either. Perhaps the success they've had with this canned offering will lead them to can one of their other beers. 


Would I buy more of it? - not likely. Too many others I'd rather spend my money on. No offense to the brewery. 


Note - the name "Mickey Finn" refers to a drink laced with a drug, usually a sedative of some sort. This is where you get the more common phrase, to "slip someone a Mickey". The name itself is thought to have come from a Chicago bar owner  in the early 1900s named Michael "Mickey" Finn. Finn was accused of drugging customers in order to rob them by putting things in their drinks.

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Mickey Finn's Amber Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Mickey Finn's Brewery
Libertyville, Illinois  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: July 13th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Monday, July 12th 2010

Pairing "Candwiches" with canned craft beer

Disclaimer: This article is full of sarcasm. Read it at your own risk and do not take it seriously. Enjoy.

"Candwiches", yep that means canned sandwiches, have been in the news a lot lately and for good reason. The product itself is a bit of a shock to anyone familiar with food and also there is that lawsuit being filed against one of Mark One Foods, the company that makes Candwiches, money managers. Apparently the guy was spending investor money Enron-style (gold pooper scoopers, diamond encrusted toothbrushes etc.). So far the press has been pretty negative so perhaps we could put a positive spin on things. 

I thought it might be fun to take a look at how best to pair these canned treats with craft beers that come in cans. Not a good idea? Well, its all for fun so...where to begin? One can only assume that Candwiches are loaded with preservatives and are lacking in taste so you're going to want to chase each bite with something flavorful. After all, you want some balance from your canned meal. Let's keep all that in mind.

Candwiches, which should hit shelves later this year so be sure to keep an eye out, will come in three varieties; two PB & J (Strawberry & Grape) flavors and the "wild card" BBQ Chicken flavor. Let's do this...


PBJ Strawberry


PBJ Strawberry is perhaps the "flagship" offering from Candwiches. Any light brew should pair well with strawberries and the richness of peanut butter. Sly Fox Pikeland Pils, Big Sky's Summer Honey or Anderson Valley's Poleeko Gold Pale Ale should all do the trick!


PBJ Grape

I can't help but think of Goober Grape when I see the PBJ Grape Candwich. Much like the PBJ Strawberry, you'll want to pair this with something light to cut that rich peanut flavor and allow that delicate fruit flavor to come out. I'm thinking 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon Wheat (a little fruit with fruit), Caldera Pale Ale or Maui's Bikini Blonde


BBQ Chicken

The BBQ Chicken Candwich looks a bit like a sloppy joe or perhaps one of the "natural disasters" that would make having this product good to have around (as per the Candwich website). Pairing the only Candwich containing meat should be pretty simple. A nice malty amber ale or a spicy IPA should keep things in check. I'd go with some Ska Modus Hoperandi,  Prescott Liquid Amber Ale or a nice cold can of Upslope India Pale Ale.

There you have it. Pairing cans of sandwiches with cans of beer. I've written to Candwich to see if they'll send me some cans so I can actually do a taste test. I may not hear back once they've read this but my fingers are crossed. Hey, maybe one day we'll have craft canned sandwiches!


I think this is the strawberry PB & J (but it could be the BBQ Chicken)



Posted by Russ

Saturday, July 10th 2010

Saranac Pale Ale
(Saranac Brewing Company)

Saranac introduced these "Pale Ale Pint" cans this summer. This is their flagship brew and is currently the only one of their multitude of styles they are canning.

From the Saranac site:

"A beer that would make the English jealous! This true English Pale Ale is rich and fruity, yet finishes crisp. You'll love the copper amber color and medium body."

Here we go...

Pour - absolutely gorgeous pour. Nice bold, bright amber color with a big, thick off-white head. This pour is clean and looks great. I am impressed. 


Aroma - toasty malt, a little honey along with some fruity sweetness. Not a lot of aroma, mostly light caramel malt.


Taste - brown sugar and malt, a bit light in mouthfeel with some grassy components along with hints at lemon or even lime. I can't quite get a grip on why a brewer would settle with this flavor as the style is not overly complex. Tastes like it was made without a lot of love and attention to detail. This one has the looks of a great brew but not the flavors to back that up. Its unfortunate. 


Overall - decent enough beer but lacking body and flavor. Its an easy drinking pale ale and certainly one that I'd choose over any macro in the cooler but not in the same category as some of the other craft pales on the market. 


Would I buy more of it? - with the selection of canned craft beers available here I'd probably choose a few others over this one. For the style I'd go with Cisco's Whale's Tail Pale for sure.


Note - Saranac is produced by Matt Brewing Company in Utica, New York. Saranac has produced and sold over thirty different styles of beer thus far and put out several mixed 12-packs that contain 12 different beers. 

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Saranac Pale Ale ~ 16 oz.
Style: English Pale Ale
Brewery: Saranac Brewing Company
Utica, New York  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Crystal English Pale Ale
Hops: Cascade, East Kent Golden
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: July 10th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Friday, July 9th 2010

Win a trip to CANFEST 2010!

The folks at Buckbean Brewing Company are giving away a trip to CANFEST 2010! If you blog about beer and want to attend the only International Canned Beer Festival in the world this is your contest (or CANtest)! Below are all the details from a recent post on their site:

Attention all beer bloggers!

We at Buckbean believe that the online beer community is the most underrated and, at times, unappreciated group of beer enthusiasts and experts out there. Since canning our first beer a little over two years ago, we have one group of people to thank for helping us accomplish a great reputation all over the US- and that’s the group of the dedicated and highly opinionated bloggers and online journalists who gladly accepted our free samples and press release sendouts.

Because of the mutual loyalties we’ve established with the community of thirsty critics, and the endless amounts of coverage and support they’ve given our brewery, we’d like to offer a little something back to them.

But, it doesn’t come without a little work. We like to see you sweat.

Here’s the deal:

In 2009, the owners of Buckbean came to the realization that the perks of canning beer are beyond what the public understands, and that the most effective way to spread the gospel of canned beer would be to conduct a competition and tasting festival. This year, we expect to draw 50+ craft breweries from around the world to compete and participate in the celebration of canned beer. We're working on building it into an event similar to the sold-out festivals and beer gatherings, as well as being looked at as a sort of landmark in the culture of beer.

The event is CANFEST, one that many of you are already familiar with (thanks for all the love last year, by the way!). This year it’s back, and we’ve got plans to make it bigger and better than ever.  Additions are being made left and right to help build the event into a must attend for beer fanatics. And that’s where you come in!

Want to attend as well? Cool, I bet you do.

Starting now and lasting until the 1st week of September, we’re offering those with an established beer blog (meaning you didn’t build a blog simply to participate in this contest) an opportunity to write one blog post, centered on why they deserve to come to CANFEST. We are very partial to creativity and humor. Once your blog post is live, send the link back to my constance@abbipr.com email with an appropriate subject line.

Once we’ve got the compiled list of blog posts, we will post every link to our blog and filter via social networks, and pick a winner based on votes. The winner will be flown to Reno for the weekend and have the opportunity to attend all of CANFEST’s festivities and even be a guest judge during the competition portion. Yes, we will feed you too. 

So now you’ve got the details- on your mark, get set, GO!

Cheers and happy writing!

Constance Aguilar

Posted by Russ

Labels: Contests, CANFEST

Wednesday, July 7th 2010

Canned American Cream Ales 2.0

2010 marks the 75th anniversary of canned beer. The first ever canned brew? Krueger's Cream Ale. 2010 also marks the 50th anniversary of Genesee Cream Ale. Genny Cream, as it is more affectionately known, has been the benchmark of this uniquely American style of beer for half a century. With the popularity of the American lager, this style was all but dismissed by most American brewers. That was until the craft beer movement took off. Now that the "canned beer revolution" has begun we are also seeing some craft brewers put this historic style in cans. 

Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville, California first released their Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema in the summer of 2009. At that time it was the only American Cream Ale canned by a craft brewery. That was until this year when Sun King Brewing Company in Indianapolis released their 16 oz. cans of Sunlight Cream Ale. 

What exactly is an "American Cream Ale" anyways? 

Think of it as an American version of a German Kolsch. Its light in body and color, crisp and refreshing. The perfect brew for a warm afternoon. Though the American Cream Ale is top-ferment with an ale year, like other ales, it usually is put through a cold-conditioning treatment (a.k.a. lagering). This process takes away those flavors or esters we tend to equate with ales and makes the beer taste more like a lager. 

So, let's taste these beers!

Tasting Panel


Sunlight Cream Ale - super smooth, light, crisp and refreshing. Nice malt profile with some citrus bite. Perfect for a day outside. The 16-ounce can will enable you to save a trip to the cooler every three brews compared to drinking 12 ouncers! Read the full review here...

Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema - creamy and rich in flavor. A definite vanilla and caramel flavor profile with hints of cream soda. A great candidate for the beach. A totally different brew from Sunlight but equally as refreshing and delicious. Read the full review here...


Posted by Russ

Tuesday, July 6th 2010

Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema is one of three brews that Anderson Valley is now canning. The others being their Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and most recently their Boont Amber Ale. I say the more the merrier! Keep 'em canning.

From the Anderson Valley site:

"This copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor. The character is lighter in body than its cousin, our wildly popular Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale. This is a silky, creamy dream, perfect as a warm weather beer. But why call it Cerveza Crema? Two reasons: One, this beer has become a favorite among many of our Hispanic friends, so it’s named in their honor. Two, it sounds cool, and cool is what you want when its hot. Serve at 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit for the most optimal flavor and enjoyment. ¡Salud!"

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber in color with a nice thick head. This is darker than you might expect for the style. Great looking pour.


Aroma - toasty malt, bready, slight hints of orange along with some graininess. This is a style that tends not to have a huge amount of aroma. This almost reminds me of an amber ale though.


Taste - vanilla, caramel and honey notes combined with some toasted bread flavors. There is also some slightly peppery or spicy notes in the background. This actually sort of reminds me of cream soda, which a friend of mine said as well but I had never really put together until now. Silky smooth going down with a bit of crispness in the finish. I am left with a tinge of vanilla on the lips before it is washed away by another sip. 


Overall - very solid brew. This is different than most other beers I've had as the vanilla/cream soda flavor is rather pronounced despite the "cream" in "cream ale" have nothing to do with that. Coincidence? Perhaps. Great beer nonetheless and well worthy of place in your cooler.


Would I buy more of it? - sure! It's available out here on the East Coast and a great canned summer brew. 


Note - Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema was the first craft brewed American Cream Ale to be canned. It was first canned for the summer of 2009.

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
Style: Cream Ale
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Boonville, California  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 4
Date: July 6th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Cream Ales

Tuesday, July 6th 2010

Craft Can Chicken Recipe

If you've never made beer can chicken before its definitely time you gave it a try. Its not too difficult and the end result is absolutely delicious. Here is a pretty simple recipe and yet another reason to drink craft beer in cans!

What you'll need:

1 Whole Chicken

Some vegetable oil

A dry rub (BBQ, Cajun etc..)

1 can of craft beer 

A few Canned Beer Suggestions:

Anderson Valley Boont Amber or Summer Solstice (BBQ rub)

Cisco Whale's Tail Pale Ale (BBQ rub)

Caldera IPA (spicy rub)

Ska Modus Hoperandi (spicy rub)

Be creative! I'd love to hear about people using different beers and the outcomes of such. Next time I do this I want to try either a can of GUBNA or Ten Fidy and see what happens.

How its done!

1. Remove the giblets from inside your chicken and wash the inside of that bird. Clean up any of the neck and tail that are still attached. Make sure your chicken look nice as it will be on display. Next, rub that chicken down! A little oil massage first before its gets a nice coating of whatever spice rub you've got. Make sure to rub it on nice and thick. Put your chicken aside for a few minutes...

2. Now the hard part. Crack open that can of craft beer and promptly drink half of it. Yep, you only need half a can of beer for this recipe so its up to you to enjoy the beer you don't need. 

3. Now, get the grill fired up. If you're using a gas grill make sure you've got enough clearance for your chicken. I had to remove a rack on my grill. 

4. Okay, back to the chicken. I recommend getting a $6 beer can chicken rack as it will make things a lot easier. It traps a lot of the grease and keeps your chicken propped up. Get your chicken set up on top of that can of beer and head to the grill.

5. Grab another beer on the way.

6. Cook that good-looking bird at a medium heat and on a part of the grill that isn't right on top of a direct heat source. Take a look at your watch as you've got about 1 hour and 10 minutes until your chicken is done. During your waiting time be sure to take several peaks at your masterpiece to work up your excitement and enjoy a cold beer as well.

7. When the time is up be sure to check and see that there is no pink inside that bird. If you've got a meat thermometer you'll be looking for temps of 165 F in the breast and 180 F in the thigh. You can also check with a knife to make sure the juice from the thigh is clear when pierced. 

8. Time to dig in! Grab a plate and some utensils and dig in! Enjoy!

the finished product!


Posted by Russ

Tuesday, July 6th 2010

Sunlight Cream Ale
(Sun King Brewing Company)

One of only two American Cream Ales canned by craft brewers in the US. Sunlight Cream Ale is also one of two canned offerings from Sun King. This one seems like the perfect summertime brew!


From the Sun King site:


"Sunlight Cream Ale is our most approachable beer and is a great introduction to the world of Craft Beer. Cream ale is one of the earliest styles of American beer, but was virtually wiped out by American lager brewers. Our Cream Ale is an all malt beer. Only the finest quality barley, wheat and oats are used to give this beer it’s smooth malt profile which is delicately balanced with American hops and a cool fermentation to give this beer a crisp, clean finish."


Here we go...


Pour - soft, golden straw-colored with a very thin head. Very light bodied with nice carbonation.


Aroma - a little sweet malt, honey, a little grainy with perhaps some citrus smells. Not a huge nose but that wasn't really expected. This style isn't going to be too aromatic. 


Taste - first sip is light, crisp and refreshing. I kid you not, that is how I'd describe this beer from the first gulp. It's got some malt flavor with that hint of lemon and a super crisp bite that leaves the tongue a bit dry and hanging out of your mouth a little bit. Super smooth going down and before I can take much of a breath of air I find myself drinking more of it. 


Overall - This is the type of beer that deserves a nice day outside in the sun. Its got all the elements to make for a beer that won't slow you down but will keep you happy. A cooler full of these would keep any party going!


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. Pint cans give me more time for backyard leisure activities and less time running to the cooler for another beer!


Note - The first ever American canned beer was a cream ale. Krueger's Cream Ale is celebrating it's 75th birthday this year, thus the beer can is also celebrating that birthday!


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Sunlight Cream Ale
Style: Cream Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
Indianapolis, Indiana  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Barley, Wheat and Oats
Hops: American hops
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: 20
Date: July 6th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, July 4th 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Posted by Russ


Friday, July 2nd 2010

Cornerstone IPA to be canned

Rochester Mills to Release Cornerstone IPA this July

ROCHESTER, MI, July 02, 2010 - Rochester Mills Beer Co. announces the first local distribution from its lineup of handcrafted ales and lagers to the greater Metro-Detroit area.

After 12 years of brewing quality beers at its downtown brewpub in Rochester, Michigan, the Rochester Mills Beer Co. is making its popular India Pale Ale, aptly named Cornerstone IPA, available for the first time on tap and in 6-pks (Full Pint 16 oz. cans) according to Pleszure Food Group Marketing Director, David Youngman. The beer will be brewed under contract by Millking it Productions in Royal Oak, Michigan. 

"If you consider yourself a "hophead", this one's for you.", says Rochester Mills Beer Co.'s Head Brewer Eric Briggeman, who oversees the brewing of Cornerstone IPA at Millking it Productions to ensure its consistency. "Cornerstone IPA is an unfiltered, amber-colored ale packed with hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. Dry hopped with Centennial hops for lots of flavor and a citrusy aromatic finish."

Rochester Mills elected to bring Cornerstone IPA to the market in cans for a number of compelling reasons. Aluminum cans keep beer fresher for longer by fully eliminating the damages of light and exposure to oxygen that happen in bottled beers. Highly portable and virtually unbreakable, cans enable craft beer lovers to easily enjoy great beer in places where glass bottles are not welcome or allowed: the beach, pool, boat, trail, river, tub, golf course, backpack and many others. You can imagine the possibilities.

Aluminum cans also distinguish themselves as the most recycled and most recyclable beverage container in the world, with more than 100,000 cans recycled every minute nationwide. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy used to make cans from virgin ore. We currently have enough aluminum in circulation to maintain production levels indefinitely if everyone recycled.

When asked Why 16 oz. cans? Briggeman responded, "We wanted to give you a full pint, just like we do at the brewpub." 

Rave Associates, importers and distributors of fine wine and beer of Ann Arbor, Michigan have been selected to carry the ale in their portfolio of craft beers. 

"Initial response from local eateries and bars has been extremely positive with more than a dozen establishments picking up Cornerstone in an early release and many more looking to add the ale once their lines free up.", said Mike Spaven, Rave's Vice President of Sales. "Our representatives are eager to get the cans on the shelves of local merchants with the ever increasing popularity and demand for quality local craft beers in Michigan." 

Cornerstone IPA is expected to be available for purchase in stores early July.

For more information, call (248) 650-5080 or log onto http://www.rochestermillsbeerco.com
For wholesalers looking to carry Cornerstone IPA, please contact Rave Associates at (734) 761-7702.

The Rochester Mills Beer Co. opened in 1998 in Downtown Rochester.  The anchor business inside the restored historic Western Knitting Mill, the brewery is located on Water Street, just two blocks east of Main Street. Preserving the original character of the building, the brewery features original hardwood floors, columns, beams and exposed brick walls of the mill. 

The brewpub's menu features a broad selection of eclectic American cuisine, all prepared with the freshest ingredients. From delectable appetizers, fresh salads, pizzas and pastas to delicious entrees and unique sandwiches, the eatery has something for everyone including the kids.  

Special amenities include an outdoor patio, pool tables, and live entertainment every Friday, and Saturday nights. The Martini Lounge is available for private parties and the restaurant has recently expanded its ability to cater off premises events and parties.

Rochester Mills Beer Co. is a Pleszure Food Group company and a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild (www.michiganbrewersguild.org).

Posted by Russ

Thursday, July 1st 2010

2nd Annual CANFEST announced!


Last year the folks at Buckbean Brewing in Reno, Nevada sponsored the first ever "CANFEST". This year it is back and they are hoping to make it bigger and better. With 79 breweries now canning their beer in this country this event should continue to grow. It would be awesome to have 50-60 breweries represented from all over the country!



Buckbean Brewing brings CANFEST to Reno

Dozens of brewers from across the country will showcase unique beers at Grand Sierra Resort.


RENO, NV (July 2nd, 2010) — Buckbean Brewing will once again turn Reno, Nev. into the center of the canned microbrew universe this October, as it puts on CANFEST – Reno International Canned Beer Festival, the world’s first canned beer festival, for a second straight year.


Dozens of breweries from around the world will converge on Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on October 9, offering up their canned creations to beer enthusiasts from around the region. The heavy hitters of canned microbrewing — names like Oskar Blues, New Belgium and Bohemian Brewing — showed up last year, as well as a large selection of small craft can breweries like Mudshark, Uncommon Brewers and Surly Brewing in addition to international beers from Europe, Asia and North American. Buckbean Brewing co-founder Dough Booth said he expects almost all brewers from last year to return. Winners of a judged canned beer competition will be announced the night before the event at an awards dinner.


CANFEST is both a recognition of the fast-growing popularity of canned craft beer and a celebration of the benefits of the aluminum cylinder. Long regarded as a symbol of inferior beer, the can has come into its own in recent years as beer drinkers realize that cans offer superior protection from sunlight and oxygen infiltration, and the containers are much more portable and environmentally friendly than their glass counterpart.


The notion that world-class beer can be delivered in a can has caught on, and now the number of microbrews offering canned beer is growing at an astonishing rate. In 2002 the first microbrewery began canning craft beer; today over 52 microbreweries offer their brews in a can, according to the National Brewers Association.


And as the canned beer craze continues to catch on, organizers expect CANFEST to expand.


Grand Sierra Resort and Casino!

“It was our first event last year, so it was pretty local, but I think that will start changing,” said Buckbean Brewing Co-founder Doug Booth, of CANFEST’s growing audience.


Buckbean, the largest production microbrewery in Western Nevada, started canning unique microbrews in Reno in 2008. Their beer — from a crisp, dark German Schwarzbier called the Black Noddy Lager to the unique Original Orange Blossom Ale and the rich, hearty Tule Duck Red Ale — represents co-founders Doug Booth and Dan Kahn’s outside-of-the-box thinking on everything from brewing ingredients to the container the beer is packaged in — 16-oz. beer cans.


CANFEST was just a natural outgrowth of Buckbean’s enthusiasm for great beer in a can.


Happy Samplers!

“I think every other town or brewery has a beer festival. Some have music; some have food; some have judging. They all seemed fairly similar. We wanted to create something unique,” said Booth.


For more information on CANFEST contact Constance Aguilar from Abbi Public Relations at constance@abbipr.com or by calling 775.323.2977. For more information on Buckbean Brewing visit www.buckbeanbeer.com

CANFEST is on Facebook!

Posted by Russ