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Saturday, October 30th 2010

Black Iron India Pale Ale
(Grand Canyon Brewing Company)

Grand Canyon Brewing Company is yet another newcomer to the canning game having started doing so earlier this year. They their Black Iron IPA and their Sunset Amber Ale. 

The back of the can reads:

"This is our tribute to the black iron that paved the way to get to the Grand Canyon. Black Iron is a high hopped, fragrant ale that is as deep and as wide as the Grand Canyon itself!"

Here we go...

Pour - almost peachy golden in color with a very thin head that dissipates quickly leaving just wispy white film on top of a very clean, clear looking brew.


Aroma - citrus, pine, pineapple, caramel, orange peels, grassy and floral.


Taste - a bit thin in body but very smooth with a good deal of citrusy hop profile. Nice malt finish, almost a bit like apple cider in sweetness. This definitely has a floral flavor that is really apparent as well. Solid but lacking some carbonation that would make it even better. 


Overall -  have to say it seems a little under-carbonated but that doesn't hurt it too much as its still a tasty brew, it does lack that certain crisp bite to it that comes with a little more carbonation. Definitely worth a shot though if you can get your hands on some cans.


Would I buy more of it? - tough call as not too far away is SanTan and their beauty of canned IPA called Hop Shock!


Note - Grand Canyon Brewing Company is located in Williams, Arizona (pop. @3,000). The town is located right off of the historic Route 66 (a.k.a Interstate 40) west of Flagstaff and due south of Grand Canyon National Park. Williams was the last town in America to have it's section of Route 66 bypassed. 

Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Black Iron India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Grand Canyon Brewing Company
Williams, Arizona  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: October 30th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Friday, October 29th 2010

Canning Brewers Unite! It's time for an all-canned collaboration.

It's definitely time. With a new collaboration brew being released almost monthly, and all of them in bottles, I think it's fine time for two canning breweries to get together and collaborate on something canned.

If you are a big follower of all things beer you may already know that two canning breweries have participated in collaboration brews. 21st Amendment lent a hand in brewing El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale with Stone and Firestone Walker and they've also collaborated with the legendary Belgian gypsy brewers De Struise to produce a beer that I'm not certain was ever released in the US. Also having brewed with the folks at Stone is Maui Brewing Company. They were a key component of an incredible brew known as Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. What we are still waiting on is two canning breweries getting together to can a beer together.

At a time when those that can their beers are still a tiny minority of all the craft brewers in this country it's as good as time as any to bond together and put out something truly special. 

Some of the benefits of such an endeavor might include:

  • splitting the costs of all those cans!
  • two markets to distribute and promote both brands 
  • two minds are better than one so two brewers must be better than one
  • increased awareness of the benefits of craft beer in cans
  • new friends that share a mutual passion for good beer (isn't that what it's all about!)

I posted on Facebook about this idea and had some great suggestions on which breweries might best be the first to take part in an "all-canned collaboration". 


I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens...



Posted by Russ

Labels: Opinions

Friday, October 29th 2010

Louie's Demise
(Milwaukee Brewing Company)

One of the OTHER breweries in Milwaukee. This is my first crack at Milwaukee Brewing's new canned offerings. They're now canning both their Louie's Demise and their Flaming Damsel in pint-sized cans. Cheers!

From the Milwaukee Brewing site:

"Our flagship brand; this medium bodied amber ale starts with a rich malt flourish that’s kept in perfect balance by a smooth hop finish. This MBC original is similar to a German style malt beers."

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber, soft in appearance with a great looking stark-white head. This pours opaque, almost cloudy. 


Aroma - brown sugar, yeast, bread dough, gingerbread, caramel and tea


Taste - sweet but not cloying. Plenty of dark bread notes along with ginger and yeast. Soft on the tongue with a perfect carbonation level. It's a surprisingly light beer to drink despite the appearance. I'm happy!


Overall - Very drinkable with a solid malt flavor and easy on the palate. A great candidate for a pint can, well executed MBC!


Would I buy more of it? - sure. This is a very solid amber ale with lots of great flavor and quite session-able. 


Note - The rest of the story about "Louie's Demise" is on the Milwaukee Brewing site and you can read about how Louie actually died HERE!


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Louie's Demise
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: MIlwaukee Brewing Company
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row Pale Ale, Munich, Honey Malt, Carmel Malt, and Roasted Barley
Hops: Perle and Tetnanger
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 24
Date: October 29th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, October 24th 2010

Bohemian Brewery releases their Cherny Bock in cans!

Photo Credit: Pete Petráš

As Bohemian puts it, "Darkness Cometh!" That's right, the brewery that has given us an absolutely incredible Czech Pilsner as well as an equally incredible Viennese Lager (which just won gold at Canfest!) will now be giving us something darker, richer and roastier in the form of a canned Schwarzbier called "Cherny Bock". Can you say awesome?

From the Bohemian site:

"The word Cherny literally means ‘black‘ in Czech referring to the color of the rather surprising dark Schwarzbier with gentle bitterness to appeal your palette.  A true gem to be discovered by specialty beer lovers."

Bohemian is currently selling cans of their Cherny Bock the brewery but those of you in their distribution area should see it on shelves relatively soon. For those of us that don't live close to the brewery, well, we can just sit around and hope that maybe someone we know who does will send us some! 

Check out this great video of Bohemian Brewery's canning line filling and sealing fresh cans of Cherny Bock!


Cher-ny! Cher-ny! Cher-ny!

For more about Bohemian Brewery check out their website

Posted by Russ

Sunday, October 24th 2010

Buried Hatchet
(Southern Star Brewing Company)

Buried Hatchet is the "newest" of the three canned offerings from Southern Star. It will celebrate two years of being canned next month. Being one of only a couple (literally) strong stouts available in cans in the US thus far, this is definitely a brew to seek out!

From the Southern Star site:

"Jet-black in color, this monster smells of coffee and chocolate.  The taste is much of the same, with hints of creamy toffee and roasted malt.  Smooth and delicious, this medium bodied ale is all about the malts, but has enough hop bitterness to be balanced."

Here we go...

Pour - dark, dark, dark with some rubyish highlights sparking in the light. The head is tan and off-white and fades quickly to about a solid quarter-inch in depth. Looks pretty rich and tasty!


Aroma - chocolate, Tootsie Rolls, dark-roast coffee beans, vanilla, toast, coffee ice cream


Taste - cocoa, vanilla, malted milk balls, dark roast coffee, toffee. Lots of rich, roasty flavors are packed into this dark beauty. The coffee, cocoa and vanilla really stand out and your tongue is left a little dry and a little overwhelmed but not in a bad way. Great stuff. I don't have anything bad to say about this malty-meal in a can.


Overall - Buried Hatchet is rich, malty and delicious. Tons of malt flavor and super smooth on the palate. Not as potent as Ten Fidy but certainly as flavorful and delicious.


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. There aren't many strong stouts in cans these days. Between Buried Hatchet and Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy its pretty much a canned-strong stout desert!


Note - The label on the can reads, “You hold in your hand a stout for stout lovers. Buried Hatchet is brewed with a large quantity of brown malt reminiscent of a traditional pre-Industrial Revolution malt profile. This stout is full of robust, roasted flavors which intermingle with a bittersweet creaminess that concludes to a perfect, warming finish.”



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Buried Hatchet
Style: Foreign/Export Stout
Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Company
Conroe, Texas  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Rahr Special Pale, Crisp Brown Malt, Briess Roast Malt, Rahr White Wheat, Rolled Oats
Hops: Saphir
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 50
Date: October 24th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Stouts

Saturday, October 23rd 2010

Santa Fe Oktoberfest
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)

One of three canned Oktoberfests to hit the market this year. Last year there were NONE! Santa Fe has now canned a trio of beers and this one is their second of four canned seasonals they plan to release. Prosit!

From the Santa Fe Brewing site:


"Though it is not necessary to drink this beer out of a mug that is larger than your head while dancing to polka music and wearing your lederhosen, you will find this lager's unbridled festivity difficult to resist. This ode to Germany's classic fall lagers is as clean, clear, and quaffable as any that has ever weighed down the table of a German Beer garden. The crisp maltiness of classic Munich malt compounded with the delicious notes of Bavarian hops gives this clean-finishing beer just the right flavor for the end of the summer.."

Here we go...


Pour - dark golden in color with some nice little bubbles streaming upwards making a thin white head. This settles pretty quickly with a ring of white and some lacy webbing. 

Aroma - brown bread, bread dough, malt, caramel and hints of dark fruit.


Taste - very crisp and quite refreshing on the palate. The sweet maltiness that you can expect from this style is nicely balanced by the dry finish and the carbonation. Brown sugar and caramel are left on the tongue but fade quickly which makes your brain tell your hand to quickly replenish your mouth with more beer!


Overall - not an easy style to work with and yet Santa Fe has pulled it off nicely. Great flavor and very easy drinking. A six-pack of these would get you through a few sing-a-longs in good fashion that is for sure. Prosit!


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. A very drinkable dark lager with plenty of character but not too heavy. I'd love to have easier access to this brewery's canned beers.


Note - Along with their Oktoberfest, Santa Fe plans to can three other seasonal offerings; an already canned "Freestyle Pilsner", a "Java Stout" and their "Viszolay Belgian". Look for their Java Stout in February.

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Santa Fe Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Company
Santa Fe, New Mexico  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pilsen, Munich
Hops: Hersbrucker, Tettananger
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: October 23rd, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, October 21 2010

New England Brewing Company
(Woodbridge, Connecticut)

New England Brewing Company's happy home (for now)

When your business card reads "Owner/Brewer" or "Sales Rep/Brewer" it can pretty much be assumed that you are a busy person. New England Brewing Company's Owner/Brewer, Rob Leonard, and Sales Rep/Brewer, Matt Westfall, are just that. During a recent visit to NEBC I was talking with Rob and Matt (the only other full-time employee) and was blown away by the amount of work these two are doing and the amount of beer they are cranking out. I'm not sure the few pictures I snapped really do it justice, but Matt and Rob and all the folks that help out with canning and bottling at NEBC really perform what can only be called a true labor of love.


filling cans of Gandhi-Bot (two cans at a time)


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


Brewery Name - New England Brewing Company


Location - Woodbridge, Connecticut, USA


Year Brewing Began - 2001


Annual Beer Output - @  ? bbls 


History - It must be said that New England Brewing Company has been canning their beers since WAAAAY before canning craft beer was cool and were easily the first on the east coast to do so. Owner, Rob Leonard, mentioned to me that many people thought he was crazy when he first started canning his beers, hardly a blink of an eye after Colorado's now can-famous Oskar Blues.


Rob started out, like a lot of brewers, washing tanks and kegs at the now defunct New Haven Brewing Company. Over the years he honed his skills helping brew at many a brewery. He eventually became the head brewer at the original New England Brewing Company located in South Norwalk, CT. When the brewery ran into financial issues Rob and a partner bought the name and brand rights. As soon as he took ownership, Rob packed everything up and moved the operation to its present location in Woodbridge.


the inner workings of NEBC (note canning "line" on right)


Now, almost 10 years later, New England Brewing Company is in the midst of expansion in the form of more tanks and a larger and less work intensive canning line and is pondering the idea of a new location. Along with all the great canned brews they've cranked out over the years, NEBC is famous for its Imperial Stout Trooper (both Bourbon Barrel-Aged and regular) and soon to be famous for it's Tequila Barrel-Aged Gandhi Bot Double IPA - to be known as Zapato-Bot!


Tequila barrels holding Gandhi-Bot = Zapato-Bot


Distribution - CT, MA, ?

Number of Beers Canned - 2 year-round plus special/seasonals


Sea Hag IPA - "This one's a beauty; a rich and full-bodied IPA with complex malt character, blended with cascade and noble hops. The end result is a beer that satisfies the "hop head" out there and won't chase away the newcomer."

Elm City Lager - "A true German Pilsner brewed with all German ingredients. Our blend of pilsner malts and pure Hallertauer hops make this a perfectly balanced, crisp and refreshing beer."

668 Neighbor of the Beast - A Belgian-style strong golden ale. This was a special release that will hopefully be back soon as this was truly a great beer.

Gandhi-Bot Double IPA - One of the best beer names ever! A kick-ass super hoppy double IPA that stands up to most West Coast hop bombs. First it came in 16 oz. hand labeled cans and now it has a happy home in 12 oz. screened cans.

Alpha Weizen - An american pale wheat ale that is coming to cans soon!

New England Brewing Company Media Resources


NEBC cans and bottles (note can of Imperial Stout Trooper)

Posted by Russ

Wednesday, October 20th 2010

A canned tribute to the one and only Surly Darkness!

We here at CraftCans are pretty fond of mocking up random beers that will likely never see the inside of an aluminum can. This is something done more out of respect, and for sheer fun, than anything else. We really don't expect all beer to come in cans and definitely love a great many bottles beers. With that being said we decided to pay homage to Surly's Darkness through the years up to and including the much anticipated 2010 release to take place on "Darkness Day" this Saturday, October 23rd. Cheers!

"This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier." - Surly Brewing Company


2007 was the first year that Surly released their Darkness Imperial Stout. That first year only about 400 750-mL bottles were sold. Patrons were limited to just 2 bottles each at $15 a piece. Surly kept some of the bottles and auctioned them off for charity. Minneapolis-based artist, Adam Turman, designed the first label.


2008's Darkness was brewed with a blend of eight different malts, oats and candi sugar. It came in at 10.3% ABV, and 80 IBUs. A total of about 4,200 bottles were released on Darkness Day with beer lovers being allowed to purchase 6 bottles apiece for an even $100. Over a thousand people lined up for the first ever "Darkness Day". The label was designed by tattoo artist, Nik Skrade.


2009 saw the second annual Darkness Day turn into a full blown beer event. Close to 5,000 bottles were sold with the first 800 lucky entrants getting to buy up to six bottles at $18 apiece. An additional 2,500 bottles were distributed for retail sales. Minnesota artist, Dave Witt, was the designer of the 2009 Darkness label. 


The newest member of the Surly Darkness family, the 2010 release goes on sale this Saturday at Surly's now famous "Darkness Day". Bottles are $18 each with a six bottle limit per person. A total of 7,500 bottles will be on sale during the six hour festival. I'll take a wager and say that all of them will be gone by the end of the day. The 2010 label was designed by the folks at Aesthetic Apparatus, a Minneapolis design team. 



Note: Surly Darkness has never been canned. All of the images above are fake so please don't go searching for them. Cheers!

Posted by Russ

Wednesday, October 20th 2010

Austin Beerworks to can their beer (more canned craft beer for Texas)

In a state as large as Texas there is plenty of room for more breweries that can their beer. The two current canning breweries, Southern Star and Spoetzl (Shiner), will now have a third craft beer canning buddy in their home state of Texas. Say hello to Austin Beerworks. 

The Austin Beerworks site doesn't have many details as of yet but we do know they will be canning (at least) four of their beers (see above) as well as distributing to draught accounts. These are some great looking can mockups and the two German-style beers sound great. Well done. I'm really looking forward to trying these once they hit shelves...whenever that may be.

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, October 19th 2010

America's First Canned Pumpkin Ale

The Wild Onion Brewing Company has just taken to canning some of their beers this past year. In that short period of time, however, they've managed to do something no other brewery in this country has yet to do, they've canned a pumpkin ale!

I was pretty excited when I first heard from brewery co-owner, Mike Kainz, that their Pumpkin Ale was to be canned. Mike was generous enough to send some samples our way and to answer some questions we had about this unique beer. Cheers!



(CC) Can you give us a little background on this beer? 

(MK) We have been brewing our version of a Pumpkin Ale for quite some time now-starting in 1997 in 12 oz. bottles in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets.

In 2003, we moved down the street from our original brewery and warehouse into our current brewpub location. From 2003-2009, we brewed it for draught at our pub and a few select bars. The recipe follows a long R & D process starting on our pilot brewery in my parent's garage in the early '90's. Fortunately for my brothers and I, my parents were willing to park outside the garage for many months while we brewed with varying amounts of pumpkin, malt, hops, and spices. We learned early on that too much pumpkin actually translated to too much alcohol, and didn't necessarily make for a balanced brew.

The goal was always a session style seasonal, and the current version includes a variety of spices including whole vanilla bean, fresh grated ginger root, whole allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

We add spices in the whirlpool, and also "dry spice" it while conditioning. The exact amount of pumpkin remains under lock and key, right alongside the KFC and Coke recipes (hah!)



(CC) When did you decide to can it? Did you know that it would be the first pumpkin beer canned in the US?

(MK) We decided to can it at the end of the summer, after having a great response at some late-summer beer festivals. Although a little late in release (compared to other fall seasonals), we felt it was worth pushing hard to get it on the shelves in Northern Illinois and Milwaukee this season. We installed our new canning line earlier this year, and had spent the spring and summer establishing our flagship brand, Paddy Pale Ale.  We didn't know it would be the first Pumpkin Ale canned in the U.S.-had we known that, I think we would have started a lot earlier in preparation.  

The challenge for a small-scale brewery like ours is that the minimum order for a can run on any new style is about 80,000 cans, so you have to have room for all those pallets.  We'll end up producing around 500 cases this season, but will be geared up for a much larger release next year.



(CC) Who is responsible for the art on the can?

(MK) The art on the can was done by our longtime graphic artist and friend, Tim Hooker. He has done all of our artwork since we started brewing in 1997, and I think he really nailed it on this design.  The vibrant orange really seems to grab people's attention, which is certainly something you want to do in today's very competitive craft beer market (especially Chicago).


(CC) What has been the initial response to this beer in cans?

(MK) Demand has been far greater than expected, and we find ourselves scrambling to brew and package enough Pumpkin Ale to keep up!


Trick or Treat!

(CC) Will this be an annual canned release?

(MK) This will definitely be an annual release for us, and I'm already looking forward to shipping far beyond the Chicago market next year. Hopefully our entrance into the New England market this season is a positive sign of things to come.


click above for review of this beer


If you get the chance be sure to grab some of these cans before they are all gone! For more information please check out The Wild Onion Brewing Company site.

Posted by Russ

Tuesday, October 19th 2010

Pumpkin Ale
(Wild Onion Brewing Company)

America's first ever canned Pumpkin Ale. Wild Onion may be new to the canned craft beer game but they've got one in the record books already. Their Pumpkin Ale is one of two beers they currently can, the other being their flagship Paddy Pale Ale. 

From the Wild Onion Brewing site:

""Our classic fall seasonal. Crisp malt flavor blends smoothly with a hint of spicy pumpkin.""

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber with a bit of a foggy or misty haze to it. The head is stark white and fades to an ominous ring around the rather opaque reddish amber liquid that comes to light as this one settles.


Aroma - toasty, malty, brown sugar, pumpkin spice (allspice and cinnamon), perhaps some cloves as well. Its not overwhelmingly sweet smelling and that is a good thing. For me, its all about balance with this style.


Taste - nice and smooth on the palate. Some subtle spices and sweetness initially and a great malty/toasty finish. Not a whole lot of carbonation on the tongue which makes this one so smooth I guess. A couple sips and a little warmth bring out the pumpkin flavor. A little earthy, a little sweet and a little tangy. As you continue with this beer it only gets better.


Overall - Plenty of flavor is packed into this can and if you're a fan of this style than you won't be disappointed. Nice work. The bar for other canned pumpkin ales has been set high!


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is a great pumpkin ale with some great packaging to boot. Makes a great beer for a fall bonfire!


Note - The first ever canned pumpkin ale was Central City Brewing Company of Surrey, British Columbia's Red Racer Pumpkin Ale. To learn more about the first American canned pumpkin ale click on the picture below:

Pumpkin Scale:
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Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Pumpkin Ale
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: The Wild Onion Brewing Company/The Onion Pub and Brewery
Lake Barrington, Illinois  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: October 19th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pumpkin Ales

Tuesday, October 12th 2010

A Collector's Perspective: Q & A with David Smith (Craft Can Collector)

A few weeks ago I asked some folks over at TheRustyBunch (a site devoted to those that collect beer cans) for their insight on what the canned craft beer movement means to them and their hobby. I received a lot of feedback from a lot of great people. Thanks to all of them. It was interesting to learn about how the canned craft beer movement has really excited a lot of collectors. Below is look at one "Collector's Perspective" when it comes to craft beer in cans. 

Name - David Smith

Hometown - Greensboro NC

(CC) How long have you been collecting, how many cans do you have in your collection and what is the can in your collection that holds the most value to you?

(DS) I started collecting in 1976 but stopped around 1982. I then picked it back up about 5 years ago. My favorite can is my Dixie Beer flat top from Mountain Brewing in Roanoke Va. It was only produced from 1951-1954. I curently have around 70 craft cans and 300 or so flats, cones, and tabs.


(CC) How many craft beer cans are in your collection? What was the first craft beer can that you added to your collection?

(DS) I have roughly 70 craft cans in my collection. I was fortunate enough to have Micheal Boardman jump start my craft collection with 20 or so cans at once so my first can was really 20 cans!



(CC) As a beer can collector, how do you feel the recent switch to cans for many craft breweries has impacted your hobby?

(DS) The main impact it had on me was to allow me to keep collecting. Due to the economy, I had to sell off most of my flats and cones. The craft cans allow me to continue to collect through trades and a minimal amount of money. It also allows to keep up with fellow collectors with new cans coming out every month.


(CC) Do you feel this is inspiring new collectors to get involved in a hobby that may not have a lot of younger participants?

(DS) Unfortunately, I don't see many young collectors coming into the hobby. One would surmise that the craft cans would help drive younger collectors due to thier superior graphics and cheaper costs.


(CC) Are you affiliated with any can collecting clubs or groups? Do you go to can collecting conventions?

(DS) I am a member of the BCCA (Beer Collectibles Club of America) and the Rusty Bunch. I have not been the Canvention and there are no shows in my immediate locale. The Rusty Bunch Forums are the best way for me to stay in touch with fellow collectors.



(CC) How do you acquire new cans for your collection?


(DS) Mostly through my contacts on the Rusty Bunch Forum. Micheal Boardman has been an incredible source for my collection.


(CC) Is there a craft beer can that has a lot of value to collectors?

(DS) So far, i have not seen a big value on craft cans. That is what makes collecting craft cans enjoyable. I have seen the values spike at the introduction of the can and then slide down to the normal $1-$3 range.


(CC) Typically, what brand of beers do you usually drink? Has the craft beer takeoff in recent years had an impact on your choice of beer?


(DS) I am not a big beer drinker. I drink Miller Light (ghast).


(CC) Which craft beer can(s) do you most want to add to your collection?

(DS) I have been finding it incredibly hard to locate a Full Nelson from Virginia. I live one state over and cannot find anybody with a trader.

Can someone hook David up?


(CC) What are your thoughts about the possibility that many more craft breweries will be switching to cans in the future?

(DS) I personally like the cans better because they do not break and send people to the hospital for stitches. They are easy to recycle(once again, ghast!) and the graphics are bright and vibrant. They make my shelves jump right off the wall!


(CC) Thanks David! It is my hopes that this site can be a bridge between those that collect beer cans and those that simply enjoy a great beer (and for those of us that fall somewhere between) and can provide useful information for all. Cheers and Viva la Can!


Posted by Russ

Monday, October 11th 2010

Sea Hag IPA
(New England Brewing Company)

You've got to love the graphics on this can. I've been wondering why this brewery doesn't make their other cans equally as artistic. Perhaps that is in the works for the future? Regardless, its hard to walk by a bunch of cans of this beer without wanting to at LEAST try this it.  

From the New England Brewing site:

"This one's a beauty; a rich and full-bodied India Pale Ale with complex malt character, blended with cascade and noble hops. The end result is a beer that satisfies the "hop head" out there and won't chase away the newcomer. Drink it. It's good."

Here we go...

Pour - a hazy light brown to golden peach color that is much darker than a lot of other IPAs I've seen. The head is BIG and THICK and very fluffy. Its almost erupting out of the glass although the carbonation levels don't seem all that abnormal. 


Aroma - strong citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit) along with some brown sugary sweetness. The foamy head itself has some nice fresh hoppy smells, very promising. There is a slight astringent alcohol scent that is apparent but those hops sure smell good.


Taste -one big sip later and I'm left trying to make sense of the flavors I've encountered. Their is some bitter citrus for sure along with some sweetness but not a whole lot, perhaps some caramel maltiness. There is also a flavor of iced tea that I can't shake, combined with some slightly astringent dryness in the finish. Its rather unique and doesn't so much scream IPA as it does hoppy amber ale. HOWEVER, I do like it quite a bit.


Overall - I like Sea Hag quite a bit but I'm not sure what to make of it exactly. Its a solid IPA that is for sure and I definitely think that not every IPA has to be crazy, ridiculously hoppy, that is what we have double IPAs for! This is quite balanced with a bit of a tilt in the malty direction. Definitely worth picking up and giving it a try.


Would I buy more of it? - this is not a bad beer by any means and one that I'd be happy to have in my fridge. However, it might get pushed to the back now that Gandhi-Bot has hit the shelves!


Note - New England Brewing recently released a ridiculously hoppy, yet very drinkable, double IPA in 16 oz. (and now 12 oz.) cans with the very unique name of Gandhi-Bot. Word.


Hops Scale:
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Sea Hag IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: New England Brewing Company
Woodbridge, Connecticut  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: ???
Date: October 11th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, October 10th 2010

Moat Mountain (NH) to put two of their beers in 24 oz. cans!

It's quite possible, unless you live in the New England, that you haven't heard of Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company. Moat is located in North Conway, New Hampshire which is a busy tourist town in both summer and winter (especially winter). 

It was just recently announced, I saw it in the Yankee Brew News today, that Moat will begin canning their beers in house sometime this fall.They've been known for awhile for their draught only brews (kegs and growlers) so this is pretty big news for them. Speaking of BIG, they plan to put their beers in 24 oz. cans!!! All the canning will be done on-premise via their Cask canning line (of course!).

The brewery has plans to can the following:

Iron Mike Pale Ale (5.6%) - an American-style pale ale. This crisp ale has citrus and grapefruit bouquet derived from a blend of three hops, including Cascade. It finishes with a solid pleasing medium bitterness. Ounce for ounce most popular year-round beer in house.

Boneshaker Brown Ale (5.5%) - our interpretation of an English-style brown ale with a rich malt body. This beer has a biscuity smooth maltiness that lingers between hops and malt. Our best selling draft in the valley.

Moat plans to self distribute their canned beers only in New Hampshire, so get to the Granite State sometime later this fall and peep some late season foliage and pick up some of the first canned craft beers the state has ever produced, not to mentioned some of the biggest cans of craft beer in the country!

Posted by Russ

Saturday, October 9th 2010

Ranger India Pale Ale
(New Belgium Brewing Company)

New Belgium's "Beer Rangers" are their field staff and sales crew all over this country, well all over about half of this country. This was a beer produced in their honor and done so with a boatload of hops per the request of the Rangers in the Pacific Northwest. I went in thinking this was going to be a decent beer but I walked away quite impressed by both the quality and the intensity of all those hops! Also, you've got to love the graphics on this can. Simple but artistic. 


From the New Belgium site:


"So, here it finally is – New Belgium’s foray into the true American India Pale Ales. Bring out the hops! This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Thank your Beer Ranger!”

Here we go...


Pour - a nice looking golden color with a great head on top. Another great example of how beer from a can looks just as good in a glass as any from a bottle.


Aroma - a sting of citrus and pine in the nostrils along with powdered sugar and toast. I'm enticed so onward we march.


Taste - a nice dose of all that is amazing about fresh hops. Citrus, orange peel, pine and floral flavors upfront and all over your taste buds. This is then followed up by a caramel-y, malty finish that is just plain delicious. Some toasty flavors meld so well with all that hop intensity. This could be a go to beer for me that is for sure. 


Overall - balanced with a really nice malty finish that really clears out those hops just in time for your tongue to be numbed again by the next barrage. I was really impressed by the Ranger IPA and I am pretty excited that I've got one more to enjoy in the near future. 


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is a very tasty IPA with the perfect amount of balance that would bring me to crack open another can just as I am taking the last sip (from a glass of course) from the previous one. 


Note - New Belgium cans three of their beers. The Ranger IPA is probably the one you'll have the hardest time finding as it is a limited run can. The others, Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat, are much more widespread. 

Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Ranger IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Chinook and Simcoe
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 70
Date: October 9th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Saturday, October 9th 2010

CANFEST 2010 Award Announcements!

CANFEST 2010's award announcements took place on Friday at Buckbean Brewing. On hand were a number of brewery reps from many of the breweries that displayed their canned offerings at CANFEST (which took place today). Above is the video of the awards being announced and below are all the results. Cheers and congratulations to all the winners!

India Pale Ales

Tallgrass Oasis - Gold

Tallgrass IPA - Silver

Mammoth Epic IPA - Bronze


Pale Ales

Maui Big Swell IPA - Gold

Oskar Blues Pale Ale - Silver

SanTan Epicenter Amber - Bronze


Dark Ales ("everything from red ales to stouts")

Oskar Blues Gordon - Gold

Four Peaks Kiltlifter Scottish Style Ale - Silver

Tallgrass Ale - Bronze


Other Ales 

Four Peaks SunBru Kolsch - Gold

Big Sky Trout Slayer Ale - Silver

Maui CoCoNut Porter - Bronze



Bohemian Viennese Lager - Gold

Santa Fe Oktoberfest - Silver

Coors Banquet Beer - Bronze


Best in Show (Best of the Golden Can Winners)

Four Peaks SunBru Kolsch

Posted by Russ

Friday, October 8th 2010

Avery India Pale Ale
(Avery Brewing Company)

My first take on Avery's new canned offerings. I've always love their beers and was pretty psyched when I heard they'd be releasing some of them in cans. Thanks to a very generous beer loving friend in Colorado I was able to get some cans of both their IPA and their new Pilsner. Cheers to Chris Palmer and cheers to Adam Avery for realizing their is a place for cans when it comes to good beer! 


From the Avery site:


"In the 1700's one crafty brewer discovered that a healthy dose of hops and an increased alcohol content preserved his ales during the long voyage to India (as depicted in our label) to quench the thirst of British troops. Today, we tip our hat to that historic innovation by brewing Colorado's hoppiest pale ale. Avery IPA demands to be poured into your favorite glass to truly appreciate the citrusy, floral bouquet and the rich, malty finish.”

Here we go...


Pour - a beautiful golden color that is clean and clear and with a pronounced head of pure white sitting on top. I am ready to dig in...


Aroma - oranges, grapefruit, pine, malty sweetness, caramel. If their was one word to describe the aroma of a well crafted American India Pale Ale I would use that word in bold with an exclamation mark. Unfortunately their isn't a word like that so perhaps "hoppy" will suffice for now.


Taste - one sip and I am again hit with the reality that hoppy beers do very, very well in cans. Plenty of hop freshness packed into this little 12 oz. container for sure. Avery IPA is well rounded and balanced and makes for the type of IPA you could enjoy for days on end. The pine, grapefruit, citrus and malty backbone are all there and working in harmony to present you with one hell of a drinkable Colorado hop-alanche. 


Overall - excellent. There is a good reason why Avery's IPA gets stellar reviews and ratings all over the web. This is the perfected art of hops in a glass. 


Would I buy more of it? - Definitely. This is some seriously hoppy stuff and the can preserves all those flavors so much better than a bottle.


Note - Avery has now canned four of their beers. Along with their IPA they've canned their White Rascal White Ale, Ellie's Brown Ale and their all new Joe's Premium American Pilsner.  

Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Avery India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row barley, Munich 10L, caramel 120L
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 69
Date: October 8th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Friday, October 8th 2010

Crazy Mountain Brewing to begin canning next month

In what seems a bit like déjà vu, I again find myself writing about a Colorado-based craft brewery that will soon begin canning their wares. Yesterday it was Aspen Brewing Company and today its Crazy Mountain Brewing Company. 


Crazy Mountain, of Edwards, Colorado, has announced that they'll be opening a tasting room and have also ordered cans that are being manufactured in Broomfield, Colorado. They expect to have the cans next month so we should be seeing them filled and on the shelves sometime soon. 


An excerpt from yesterday's Vail Daily:

The Can Can

They'll have their own beer cans soon.


According to Selvy, this is a big deal and cans are better than bottles — more environmentally friendly and the labels are already on them. Their cans are being made in Broomfield, and there's a months-long wait.


“We should have them by November, hopefully,” Selvy said.


At their pig roast/tasting room opening, they'll be introducing their pale ale, Belgian ale, India pale ale, a black ale, and a saison — that's a Belgian style farmhouse ale and a seasonal brew. They'll be doing all kinds of small batch brews, from season to season.

Much like Aspen Brewing, Crazy Mountain hasn't announced which of their beers will get canned so I'll take a guess and say their Amber Ale and their Lava Lake Wit and perhaps their Hookiebobb IPA. 


So, yet another Colorado brewery is set to can their beer. Its quickly becoming the norm in the state. I'd imagine it won't be long before more existing breweries there begin the move to cans. All of this certainly bodes well for next year's Burning Can (a cans-only beer fest put on by Oskar Blues in Lyons). 


You can read the rest of Randy Wyrick's article in the Vail Daily HERE

Posted by Russ

Thursday, October 7th 2010

Aspen Brewing Company announces plans to begin canning their beers

Aspen Brewing Company has announced plans to expand their brewing operations and to begin canning their beers for distribution by spring of 2011. They represent the latest Colorado-based craft brewery to make the move to cans and the latest in a nationwide trend towards going to cans without ever having distributed in bottles.

Below is an excerpt from an article, written by Curtis Wackerle, in today's Aspen Daily News:

Prior to the opening of the 2010-2011 ski season, the brewery will relocate its taproom to the upstairs space on Hopkins Avenue that was formerly home to the restaurant, Social. A few weeks after that, production will move from the Mill Street space to a 6,000-square-foot facility at the Aspen Airport Business Center. 
“Our production will more than double overnight and we’ll have a lot of room to grow,” Clauss said. The brewery plans to upgrade to 30-keg fermenters in the ABC location and is looking to purchase equipment to begin packaging the beer in aluminum cans that will be sold in liquor stores.
“I want to drink a can of our beer on top of the Bowl on Highlands closing day,”
Clauss said, setting the April date as a goal to have the packaging system up and running.


CraftCans.Com mockup - this is not real!

Once that first Aspen Brewing Company can rolls off the line ABC will officially become the 14th craft brewery in the Rocky Mountain State to can their beers. No word on what that beer might be as of yet but if I had to guess I'd say it will be their flagship Independence Pass IPA (see completely fictitious mock-up above).

You can read Curtis Wackerle's article in it's entirety HERE

Posted by Russ

Monday, October 4th 2010

Design-A-Can Contest Winner!

Thanks to all those that entered our contest! It was tougher than we expected when it comes to picking one winner. However, we finally decided upon the entry shown above that was submitted by David Grooms. 

"Nupti-Ale IPA" was an actual homebrew that David brewed for his own wedding. He designed this label himself and the name "Dry Town" refers to his hometown of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania which is an actual dry town. David also provided this explanation for the rest of his design,

"The shape behind the name is the shape of my town, Lansdowne, Pa. And, the star is where our home is in Dry Town. I brewed an IPA with Centennial, Summit and Warrior hops and my wife-to-be suggested Nupti-Ale for a name. A play on the word nuptial. That's a corn field in the background, and that's where we had the wedding."

Thanks again to all those that submitted entries. You can view all of the entries below. We look forward to running this contest again in a few months so get those creative juices flowing. David, we'll be in touch to find out which brewery t-shirt you'd like to add to your closet courtesy of CraftCans.Com! Cheers!


Posted by Russ

Labels: Contests