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Tuesday, November 30th 2010

Good People Cans are Coming Soon!
Q & A with Jason Malone
(Good People Brewing Company)

    all photos courtesy of Good People Brewing Company

By the end of 2010, Birmingham, Alabama's Good People Brewing Company will become the first craft brewery in the state to can their beers. This bold move will likely payoff well in a region that is experiencing quickly lots of growth when it comes to craft beer consumption.

Recently I got in touch with Jason Malone, Good People's Head Brewer/Owner, who was very generous with his time and answered my questions as he and his colleagues prepare to line the local beer store shelves with their first batch of cans. 

(CC) What was it that first made you consider canning your beers?

(JM) We firmly believe that it's a superior packaging system than bottles. From the perspective of the product, it protects the beer from light and oxygen. From the perspective of the consumer, it's lightweight, more portable, and easily recycled (our local recycling pick-up service will not pick up glass).


(CC) Besides the IPA and the Brown Ale, what other Good People brews might we see canned in the future?

(JM) We have plans to can our Coffee Oatmeal Stout, Snake Handler DIPA, and Hitchhiker IPA, and Pale Ale.


Lots o' cans of Good People Brown Ale ready to fill!

(CC) Will the switch to cans make your beers more widely available? 

(JM) Yes. We are currently draft only so canning will dramatically increase the availability of our product.


(CC) Can you give us some background info on the designs for the cans of IPA and Brown Ale?

(JM) We got together with a local artist, Matthew Lewis, and he was able to graphically capture the look we had in mind. The cans were inspired by vintage cans. We like the look of old beer or oil can collections. When grouped together, each is unique but similarities are able to be found in fonts, styles, colors, lines, etc....


Good People Brewing's IPA

(CC) How has being one of only a few breweries in the state of Alabama affected your brewery?

(JM) Hmmmm....that's tough to say cuz it's all we know. More breweries are in the works, we are working on a few new projects ourselves, so the brewing culture in Alabama is certainly changing.


(CC) I am obviously pretty excited about your beers being canned, what about your local consumers? Are they excited or will it take some time to win them over?

(JM) Well, as you might expect...the beer savvy crowd is very excited. They understand the benefits of cans versus bottles and are very supportive of the decision. The newer craft beer is to a person, I sense a higher level of surprise when they hear we are going to be canning instead of bottling. So many folks just think bottles are better because they were once told it was so. We are looking forward to introducing craft beer in a can to wide cross section of people.

Where the magic happens...

(CC) What is something people might not know about Good People Brewing?

(JM) We are in the middle of a large expansion. In addition to our new canning line, we have 4 new 60 bbl fermenters and a 30 bbl brewhouse which are going to be up and running in just a few weeks.

We are also excited about our County Line Small Batch Ales which is another project we launched a couple of week ago. Alabama State Law prohibits beer from being packaged in anything over 16ozs. There are a few counties, all very rural counties, that have county exceptions which do indeed allow large container size. Free the Hops, the grass roots organization which was created to bring change to out of date beer laws in the State, is currently working to change the State law relating to container size. These beers are all bottle conditioned in 22oz bombers and exclusively sold at one Exxon gas station in Coosa County (1.5 hours South of Birmingham). Not only are we excited to be able to offer these unique small batch beers, but we are also excited about raising awareness to the need for changing the laws and helping the efforts of Free the Hops.

(CC) Cheers to Jason and best of luck to everyone at Good People in the years to come. CANgratulations!



Posted by Russ

Tuesday, November 30th 2010

Cold Smoke Scotch Ale
(Kettlehouse Brewing Company)

Hoo-ray! I can't even tell you how long I've been trying to acquire some cans from Kettlehouse Brewing Company. I finally managed to acquire some these past few weeks and I am stoked. Cold Smoke is their most popular canned offering and thus I decided to begin my sojourn through the world of Kettlehouse cans with that one. Cheers!

From the Kettlehouse site:

"Cold Smoke® Scotch Ale earned a gold medal in the 2007 & 2009 NABA brewfests, respectively, a bronze medal in 2009 at the GABF and a silver medal at the 2010 NABA brewfest. Formulated with Montana grown 2-row barley, northwest Goldings hops, and lotsa love, this hearty ale drinks very smooth. Not bitter at all and not too sweet either. Novice beer drinkers have been known to take a taste and then say, “WOW! That’s not what I expected… that’s GOOD!” A hint of roasted barley lends a slight coffee-like smoky finish. With a 6.5% abv, this beer is perfect after a day of rippin’ lines on area or your favorite back country getaway."


Here we go...

Pour - the can very clearly reads "Canned on Sept 3 10". Love that! I wish more canning breweries made it that easy to see when they filled their cans. Anyways, this one pours a very, very dark amber with a inch of thick, yellowish-white head on top. This looks great, I am ready to dive in.


Aroma - brown sugar, brown bread, molasses, caramel, honey...all the sweet things in life basically. Rich and malty smelling as a good Scotch Ale should be.


Taste - smooth on the lips and tongue with a good bit of malty sweetness clearing the palate...for more malty sweetness. Like most other Scotch Ales the malt is the dominant flavor. Plenty of that biscuity flavor associated with malty brews as well as caramel and honey. As it warms I get some fruity apple cider-y flavors as well. Very tasty stuff. 


Overall - sweet but not cloying. Actually, this is more of a juicy, malty brew if that makes any sense. Its refreshing like a lighter brew might be. Sort of hard to explain. Its easy to see why this is their flagship brew, its easy to drink and even easier to enjoy. If you like Amber Ales, ESBs or Brown Ales (or other Scotch Ales obviously) you'll certainly enjoy this beer.


Would I buy more of it? - hells yes. Great stuff in a great, big, awesome-looking can. Loads of malty goodness and just about perfect on a cold night in front of the fireplace. 


Note - If you happen to live in the Missoula-area, where Kettlehouse is found on draught, you might be lucky enough to try "Cold Smoke® on Nitro"!

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Cold Smoke Scotch Ale
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Brewery: Kettle House Brewing Company
Missoula, Montana  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 11
Date: November 30th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Tuesday, November 30th 2010

1st Annual Year End Shout Outs!

Beer is extremely subjective which is why we've foregone the idea of a "Best of" wrap-up for the end of the year. Hell, who are we to say what is "best"? Instead, we've opted to go with what we're calling our "Annual Year End Shout Outs". This will be our way of bringing much earned attention to the beers, breweries, brewers and artists/designers that work hard to give us all the great canned craft beers we enjoy. We'll be breaking all of this down into the nine different categories shown above and giving credit where credit is due. Sure, it's a little abstract but so is a great beer! Stay tuned...

Cheers from CraftCans.Com!

IBUs, We Love Em

Big, Bold and Beautiful

Great Designs!

First in Line

Class of 2011

Can it Please!

More than Cans

Rookies of the Year

Our Top 10 of 2010

Posted by Russ

Monday, November 29th 2010

(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

A few months back I visited the Tallgrass Brewing Company out in Manhattan, Kansas. The crew there showed me a great time and I was lucky enough to not only drink one of these fresh off the line but I also got to pack up my own four-pack which they let me take away for my own enjoyment later.

From the Tallgrass site:

"Oasis is a Double ESB/IPAish beer that came about from playing around with one of Jeff’s favorite homebrew recipes.  Here at Tallgrass we love malt and we love hops, and this beer has both of them in record quantities; well, at least records for our baby brewery. 

At a hefty 7.2% ABV and 93 IBU, Oasis is a big beer that has to be priced a bit higher than our regular line of beers.  We think that once you taste the over-the-top hops and surprisingly sturdy malt backbone you will realize why it’s worth it."

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber with some reddish, almost maroon, hues. A great big, fluffy, off-white head towers atop this velvety smooth looking brew.


Aroma - piney, citrusy, light caramel as well as orange peel and slight hints of tropical fruits and bread dough.


Taste - raw sugar, pineapple, biscuits, pine, citrus and caramel. Loads of flavor up front, a malty and juicy middle followed by a bitter, hoppy finish. Big and flavorful. Awesome stuff, through and through.


Overall - excellent beer regardless of how you classify it. Very well balanced with a ridiculously fresh hop flavor that stays with you from sip to sip. This is the biggest brew that Tallgrass cans and its definitely one worth taking your time to enjoy. I love that this beer sort of hovers between several styles. That really represents what American craft brewing is all about.


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is my favorite of the four canned releases from Tallgrass. Big and bold with plenty of flavor and LOTS of hoppy goodness. This is one of my favorite hop-heavy canned beers available these days! Definitely worth acquiring by any means possible. 


Note - Tallgrass currently cans their IPA, Ale, Kold, Oasis and Buffalo Sweat beers. Cheers!


Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
Manhattan, Kansas  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 93
Date: November 29th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Monday, November 29th 2010

The Wizard of Ozymandias

Posted by Russ

Labels: Contests

Wednesday, November 24th 2010

Limerick CAN-test Announced!

The good folks at Tallgrass Brewing Company were generous enough to send me some cans of their beer and I've decided to share the wealth by having a limerick contest.

How to Win: Come up with a limerick that has a beer related theme. Get creative and keep it somewhat clean. Best limerick wins.

The Prize: A mixed four-pack of Tallgrass Brewing Company beers as well as a few surprises.


There once was a brewer from Manhattan
Who hatched an incredibly well thought out plan
He'd be more green
And make his drinkers more keen
By packaging his beers in a can

 More Examples...

Contest ends December 15th, 2010. Winner will be announced the following day. Disclosure: Must be 21 to win. Cans are for collecting only and contents should not be drank.


Posted by Russ

Labels: Contests

Tuesday, November 23rd 2010

11th Hour IPA
(Crow Peak Brewing Company)

The first of two canned offerings being released in 2010 from the folks at Crow Peak (the other being their Pile O' Dirt Porter). Not only is this the only canned craft beer from South Dakota but one of only a handful of breweries in the state. Love the design and colors on this can by the way...

From the Crow Peak site:

"Hop aroma and flavor dominate this IPA. However, the malt character of this deep amber colored ale nicely balances the hop component thus avoiding a harsh bitterness. A truly quaffable beverage!"

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber with some reddish highlights. The head is gone pretty quick and fades to some wispy clouds floating on top. This one sure settles down quickly.


Aroma - caramel sweetness upfront with some subtle lemon aromas. Not a whole lot of hop aroma coming from this pour. 


Taste - a bit of a surprise as the aroma is very subdued for an IPA. This one has a bit crisp, citrusy bite that will instantly numb your tongue with bitterness. Some pine comes through in the very dry finish. Not a lot of hop complexity but certainly something that will appease the IPA drinkers out there, myself included.


Overall -  decent IPA. If you like your IPAs on the very bitter side this will suit you just fine. Sweet, citrusy with a dry finish. This would do well on a hot summer day.


Would I buy more of it? - perhaps. There are a lot of other canned IPAs that have come out recently that I need to get my paws on first. Also, I am looking forward to trying Crow Peak's upcoming Pile O' Dirt Porter once it is available.


Note - it's great to see breweries take the leap of faith and go straight to cans and bypassing bottles altogether. Crow Peak should see a good deal of success with their canned offerings and I look forward to seeing what else comes off their canning lines in the future!


Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
11th Hour IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Crow Peak Brewing Company
Spearfish, South Dakota  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 100
Date: November 23rd, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Tuesday, November 23rd 2010

Upslope Brewing releases Brown Ale in cans!

After a bit of a hiatus I am happy to be back to the world of canned craft beer! The first order of business is letting everyone know that Upslope Brewing (Boulder, CO) has announced, via their online newsletter, that they have released their Brown Ale in cans.

Upslope Brown Ale Available Now!

We’re excited to announce the release of our newest hand-crafted beer. 

Our medium-bodied Brown Ale is brewed in the English tradition, with an infusion of American creativity. The rich, malty backbone balances an assertive hop character, and ends with a smooth, dry finish. Our Brown Ale boasts a dark brown body that supports a creamy tan head. 

We’re proud to offer all of our varieties in recyclable aluminum cans. Cans are better for the beer, the environment, and are perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of Colorado and points beyond. Immediate benefits of canning include protection from light and oxidation, and retention of brewery-direct freshness. 

Upslope Brown Ale, sporting a green variation of our distinctive can, will be available for your craft beer enjoyment—along with our Pale Ale and India Pale Ale—in exclusive Front Range liquor stores beginning November 22.

For more information about Upslope Brewing, please contact Henry Wood. Be sure to visit their blog, follow them on Twitter and be their fan on Facebook.


Posted by Russ

Sunday, November 7th 2010

Chicagoland to welcome new canning brewery in 2011!

Finch's Beer Company is busy preparing for its entry into the vast American craft beer market, and the increasingly more populated Chicago market, next year. Brewery co-owner and former design firm owner and executive, Ben Finch, is hard at work developing a brand and an identity while Co-Owner/Head Brewer, Richard Grant (previously at Flossmoor Station), perfects the recipes for what will be Chicago's newest craft brewery in 2011. Finch's will join Half Acre Beer Company as the second Chicago-based canning brewery and will be putting their beers in 16 oz. pint cans.

According to their site:

"Finch's Beer Co. is in the business of brewing great, craft beers locally in Chicago, Illinois. We use the best ingredients and take special care to make sure every batch is the best we can brew. While following in the footsteps of other local brewing companies, we intend on adding another brand of beer to Chicago's already growing selection and contributing to a new generation of microbreweries, taking a foothold in Chicago."

Finch's first two canned beers to hit shelves, estimated arrival April 2011, will be their Golden Wing Blonde Ale and Cut Throat Pale Ale (can mock-ups and descriptions from their site below). They'll also be kegging beers for local distribution and have future plans to have a tasting room.


Cut Throat Pale Ale - Finch's Pale Ale is a refreshing experience from the pop of the cap. Its fresh and hoppy taste with just enough supporting malt makes it easy to kick back more than just one. Our late kettle additions of American hop varieties and dry hopping techniques make this beer one of our favorites. With a citrusy hop character and a medium body you will notice a higher carbonation that achieves a full head and smooth finish when you drink it. Enjoy this pale with just about any pairing of your choice. 5.5% ABV

Golden Wing Blonde Ale - Finch's Blonde Ale is an easy drinking and approachable American craft beer. It has a moderately sweet malty aroma and is deep gold in color. We like to think of this particular one as more of a 'Dirty Blonde.' When you pour it, you get a white head with great retention and an initial soft malty sweetness that forms your initial impression. Upon finish, this blonde turns heads with a smooth finish and a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. Enjoy this full-body craft beer anytime of year. 4.7% ABV

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For more about this upcoming brewing venture check out their SITE and/or Facebook page. Cheers!


Posted by Russ