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Friday, May 27th 2011

Who is Woody Chandler?
A Man. A Can. A Plan.

Brother Woody with the Order of Disorder

I first met Woody Chandler a few years ago at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston. He was wearing the outfit above and posing for pictures with half drunken strangers. Little did I know that one day Woody and I would end up sharing a passion for canned craft beer. Woody would however take that passion to a level unmatched by other mortal men. He began what he called "The CANQuest™" and set out to drink and review as many different cans of beer as he possibly could. A quest that has gained him quite a bit of notoriety in the forums of several well known beer sites. If it has to do with something in cans, Woody is the man who would know the answer. 

Recently he gave me a call to tell me he was drinking his 500th different can of beer (it was Kenai River's Skilak Scottish Ale if you're interested)! I couldn't help but marvel at the accomplishment as it hadn't taken Woody all that long and obtaining that many different cans is certainly a challenge. I wanted to know more about The CANQuest™ and the persona of the man behind it. I hit Woody up with some questions to which he was nice enough to respond. Enjoy! Oh, and if you see Woody at a beer event be sure to say hi!

(CC) Please give us a little background about yourself?

(WC) I grew up in Lancaster, PA as an underage beer drinker, joined the navy, discovered good or better beer, retired after 15.5 years of active duty service, attended Pitt where I turned classmates onto better beer, returned to Lancaster, became a high school English teacher at my alma mater ("Welcome Back, Woody"), bought a house, and continue to write, talk about and drink quality beer.

(CC) Briefly tell us about your CANQuest. When did it all begin and why?

(WC) The CANQuest™ grew out of a drunken late-nite rant about the BeerAdvocate Home Page being filled with Wants for Whales/Wales when I was hoping for some interesting reading. I postulated what would happen if somebody took up a quest for beers that nobody wanted or cared about and some jagov called me out on it. I then thought about an unexplored area on BA and came up with CANned beers. I then made it my mission to try any and all beers in a CAN, thinking that ~ 100 would be the cutoff. How naive! It has become a running joke that turned serious when craft CANs became the next big trend.



Woody's 500th can of beer was Kenai River's Skilak Scottish Ale

(CC) How many different canned beers have you now had the chance to drink and review?

(WC) I just broke the UNBELIEVABLE # 500 mark and am currently on a CAN Hiatus to realign my bottle numbers.


(CC) What different ways do you acquire cans for the CANQuest?

(WC) I have a legion of fellow CANQuesters who are CANstantly on the lookout for new CANs of beer for me to review. I am also on the prowl for keg CANs, but they are harder and harder to find.


(CC) With more and more breweries taking up canning will the CANQuest ever come to an end? Is there even a final goal?

(WC) I CAN't imagine that it will end while I am still alive, upright, breathing and with a viable liver. The final goal is like reaching the end of the Internet.


"...The final goal is like reaching
the end of the Internet."


(CC) What are some memorable moments from The CANQuest™ thus far?

(WC) As the word about the madness (how refer to The CANQuest™) has spread, I have more and more people coming up to me to lay CANs on me. Boxes appear out of the blue. Sixpoint has mentioned sending me a sampler pack for review as soon as their CANs are ready.


(CC) What beer is slated to be the next to fall in The CANQuest™?

(WC) That would be telling! I scored a whole bunch recently at Pinocchio's in Media, PA and they may be next.


(CC) When you're not CANQuest-ing where can people find you?

(WC) In my classroom, at Iron Hill (Lancaster) or at home.


(CC) I've heard (and seen) some of your amazing costumes that you wear to different beer fests. What can you tell us about those?

(WC) I have really worked to hone my attire at fests and the standard is the brown (Franciscan) monk's robe that I have been wearing for about six or seven years now. It is heavy cloth and takes getting used to, but it was inspired by The Merry Monks & Maidens of Madison (WI), a non-profit fundraising organization that I joined during one of my first forays to The Great Taste of the Midwest. I joined their ranks as an out-of-town member and began wearing the robes to get used to a seven-hour stint in the blazing August heat for the next year. It has now become second skin and I wear it to most beer events. I also wear an apron, having been inspired by Jean-Louis Dits of Brasserie Vapeur de la Cochon, who wears an apron in honor of his late father, a butcher. I own a coveted Orval apron, but after it was signed (!) by Orval's head brewer, I retired it so that it would not get ruined. I now rotate through a stock of brewery/beer-related aprons. I also like to wear some headgear, ranging from foamy beer mugs to a pseudo-keg to a recent foam rubber beer bottle. I have yet to find a CAN hat.

My persona, BTW, is "Brother Woody with the Order of Disorder".


(CC) Where is your favorite place to sit, relax and have a beer?

(WC) Anywhere that features good beer and quality patrons. I hate to drink in a vacuum and I disdain crappy beer.


(CC) Cheers Woody! Best of luck with rest of The CANQuest™!

Posted by Russ

Thursday, May 26th 2011

Blacktop Blonde
(TailGate Beer)

TailGate began brewing beers in 2007. They began putting their beer in cans earlier this year and are devoted to making beers that are, well, great for tailgating. TailGate is surprisingly the first San Diego-based brewery to put their beer in cans. Currently their beers are available in Southern California, Minnesota, North Dakota, and parts of Wisconsin, with distribution coming to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by next week and the rest of Pennsylvania and Northern California by next month.

From the TailGate site:

"Blacktop Blonde is our homage to you, the tailgater. It is our way to say, “We see you out there on the blacktop and we know you’re thirsty.” This is why you deserve a 100% natural craft beer brewed with the same stuff cavemen used thousands of years ago. Named with the help of “Jay the Tailgate Guy,” this is an American blonde ale that stays true to form. Bold use of magnum and cascade hops create a soft, subtle spice that sets this easy drinker apart from the rest. Beautiful golden malts complete this light colored, easy drinking ale. Crack one of these beauties wherever you are, and in the immortal words of Jay the Tailgate Guy, “Grill on.”"

Here we go...

Pour - very clean and clear. Color is that of light straw or light golden. The head is a good inch of stark-white fluff resting on top. Not a bad looking beer coming out of the can.

Aroma - reminds me a bit of corn syrup at first. Very sweet, malty and grainy. Not a whole lot else going on in this department.

Taste - slightly sweet up front with some citrus and tropical fruit notes that I wasn't quite expecting. The grainy sweetness follows and this is rounded smoothly and lightly on the tongue. A very subtle tasting beer, not a whole lot of "oomph" in any direction. This has a slight twang of spice in the background but nothing that will jump out at you. Really it's just a solid American blonde ale in a can. No frills but decent nonetheless.

Overall - very, very drinkable. If you want a 12-pack option to bring tailgating and that you're diverse group of beer-drinking friends will all enjoy this just may be it. Refreshing, easy to drink and super easy on the palate. 

Would I buy more of it? - if I was looking for an easy drinking blonde ale and this was available I'd quite likely pick it up. The price point is low and its a solid brew.

Note - TailGate Beer is also releasing their Hefeweizen in cans now. They plan on releasing two cans a year and word is that they're planning something hoppy for next year. 



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Blacktop Blonde
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: TailGate Beer
San Diego, California  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Magnum and Cascade
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 19
Date: May 26th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Blonde Ales

Wednesday, May 25th 2011

James Squire Golden Ale
(Malt Shovel Brewery)

If there was a country ripe to join the canning revolution it's Australia. After a recent trip there I was just amazed at how only the big regional lager producers were canning their beer. When I think of all the beaches, the music festivals and those very active Aussie lifestyles it's hard to comprehend that this movement wouldn't take hold. Maybe it's just a matter of time as there are plenty of craft brewers there producing lots of great beer. If one takes the risk and it pays off...well, we know that story well here in the States. This can of James Squire Golden Ale was the only craft can I could find in Australia and it was actually only available (free by the way) on Qantas flights. Cheers!

From the Malt Shovel site:

"James Squire Golden Ale’s rich orange-amber colour comes from toasted grains of wheat and barley, while new season Amarillo hops create a tropical fruit aroma with restrained bitterness. Mild carbonation and a dry finish make this an ideal thirst-slaking beer."


Here we go...

Pour - on the darker golden side in color with a nice inch of thick, white head on top. Super clean and clear in appearance with carbonation levels looking spot on. 


Aroma - hay, lemon zest, cut grass, oranges along with some sweet, pale malty notes.


Taste - my first impression is that this has a hoppiness that definitely slides it out of the so-called "golden ale" category and right into the "pale ale" category. It's not dominating by any means but there's a nice citrusy hop flavor that resonates in every sip. Some lemon/lime tanginess along with pale malts gives it a bit of a sweet and sour flavor. Quite nice. This is a very refreshing beer on a warm summer evening around the grill. I think this would be a nice import in cans actually.


Overall - very easy to drink and approachable from any angle. It's got enough of a hop kick to please the pale ale palate but also a nice sweet malty background for those looking for something closer to an amber. This is the type of beer that Australian craft brewers do very well. A lower alcohol brew that has plenty of flavor but won't put you on your ass after a couple pints. 


Would I buy more of it? - probably not too relevant. I did however enjoy a number of pints of this on draught while in Australia. When I go back I'm sure I'll do the same.


Note - Australia has over a hundred craft breweries and the number is growing quickly. There's a broad range of styles being produced in the country and despite being far from home you can usually find something akin to what you like here in the US. The tongue numbing super-hop bombs, as well as some of the other high alcohol styles (possibly due to the taxation process on alcohol), aren't yet produced en masse. However, you do find a lot more session-strength brews that go well with food and can be enjoyed while sitting outside enjoying the sun near the beach. If you've never put Australia on your beer destination map, you should. 


mural in downtown Fremantle, Western Australia


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
James Squire Golden Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Malt Shovel Brewery
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Wheat, Barley
Hops: Amarillo
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 25th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pale Ales

Wednesday, May 25th 2011

State of the Can: A Look at the Revolution in Full Swing

When I started CraftCans.Com a little over a year ago I had no idea of just how quickly the notion of canning would spread through the craft beer industry. I was adding a beer to the database about once every other week and was trying hard to find news of breweries that were thinking about canning. Now I find myself adding new cans to the database almost everyday and hearing word about a new brewery opening and choosing cans over bottles constantly. The canned beer revolution is certainly upon us and I thought it would be good to take a few minutes and reflect on that and on what the future might have in store. Cheers and thanks for checking out the site!



It's early on Wednesday, May 25th and these are the current stats:

Number of American Breweries canning, or in the process of canning, beers - 122*

Number of American Craft Beers that are being currently being canned - 329*

When you look at these numbers its hard not to be amazed by just how quickly the century mark came and went. So far in 2011 we've seen over 30 breweries begin canning or announce plans to can and we're only halfway through the year! 

*These numbers include breweries that both can their beer in-house and contract can their beers at another brewery that owns a canning line. They also include a few beers that may no longer be available as they were limited release canned offerings. 




With the announcement by Bell's Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company that they'll soon be installing canning lines it's getting harder and harder for people to call canning a trend. These two major regional breweries constitute a massive amount of the craft beer output in this country and their choice to can reflects their desire to both be more sustainable but also to serve the desires of their consumers. People want cans once they understand the benefits. It's as simple as that. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some of the other regional players (Dogfish Head, Stone, Alaskan, Boulevard, Founders) announce similar plans sooner rather than later. Regional breweries such as New Belgium and Harpoon are already canning. 




Something that I've been noticing more and more of lately is the choice of relatively small breweries/brewpubs to go to cans. When The Alchemist, a tiny and amazing brewpub in Northern Vermont, announced they'd be setting up a small production facility and canning just their Heady Topper IPA I was stunned (and excited for sure). Now we've seen breweries like Brooklyn's Sixpoint, Crazy Mountain in Colorado, Kenai River Brewing and Midnight Sun in Alaska as well as Asheville Brewing in North Carolina (and the list goes on...), all announced that they'll soon be canning (or are already canning) some of their beers. I believe Sixpoint cans are hitting shelves this week.


It does seem that the large can orders are no longer such an imposing obstacle for breweries now that it's been proven that cans sell...and sell well.



In the past year their has been a wave of breweries that have opened, or announced plans to open, that have opted for canning lines over bottling lines. DC Brau, Finch's Beer Company, Austin Beerworks, Baxter Brewing Company and Brewery Vivant have all forgone the bottling line for a canning line. 





As the stigma against canned beer continues to fade, so does the assumption that if it's in a can it's got to be something bland or boring. Some great examples include Indiana's Great Crescent Brewery which recently announced that they'll be canning the country's first bourbon barrel-aged stout. Michigan's Brewery Vivant has already canned Triomphe, an excellent Belgian-style India Pale Ale. Nevada's Joseph James Brewing has said they'll be canning Fox Tail, a gluten-free pale ale (also a first) and Sun King's Johan the Barleywine should be in cans sometime soon as well.

Granted, not all beer needs to be in a can and some beers certainly aren't made to be canned. There will ALWAYS be a place for corked and caged bottles of beer and twenty-ounce bottles of specialty and high-gravity beers aren't going anywhere. It is however nice to see brewers take some chance by putting new styles in a can.




When Sun King announced that they'd come up with a can design that would allow them to do short-runs of specialty and one-offs simply by applying a decal label on one part of the can I swore they were geniuses. They'd gotten around the large minimum can order problem. Little did I know, they weren't the only ones who had thought of this.


To date, at least two other breweries have also come up with a "multi-style can". Fellow Indianans, Great Crescent Brewery, are canning six different styles using one can design with a rectangle that they can affix a label to. They still need to jump through the federal hoops to get each style "label" approved but they've got one can for all of their beers. Also, Dolores River Brewery in Colorado has come up with a unique can idea as well. They've designed, and are using, a can that simply has a check box for five of their beers on it. They use a different color marker and tick the box indicating what's inside the can. They also fill in the tongue of the very unique face adorning each can with that corresponding color. Pretty cool. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few other breweries develop similar can designs. For a small brewer who cans a few different beers, this is a great option. 




This past weekend SanTan Brewing hosted the first ever "AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival" in Chandler, Arizona. This event is one of three major festivals now being put on that focus entirely on canned craft beer. Later this summer Oskar Blues' will host their second annual "Burning Can" in Longmont, Colorado. In the fall "CANFEST" returns for the third time in a new casino venue in Reno, Nevada. 


On a smaller scale you've got Brooklyn's Full Circle Bar putting on their "Candemonium" event in the fall to celebrate their anniversary. It's a three-day celebration of canned beer and "Brewskee-ball". Also, the Guild Public House in Portland, Oregon has announced plan for a canned beer block party this fall. If you know of any other events like this please let us know.



We can't say for sure what the future holds for canned craft beer but we can say with certain that the can and canning line manufacturers have some steady work ahead. We'll likely hit the 150 mark before the end of the year and creep closer to 500 different cans of craft beer available. So much for trying to review all of them! I think it's also safe to say that more and more breweries will make the switch for at least some of their more popular offerings or test the waters with a summer release in cans. Perhaps we'll see a collaboration brew get canned sometime in 2012? We've even heard of a company called The Can Van which will act as a mobile canning company that takes the canning option to the brewery via a van. It will be interesting to see if that business model takes off. As always we'll do our best to continue to monitor the canned beer revolution for you. It's certainly a lot more work than we ever expected! Cheers and viva la can!


Posted by Russ

Labels: Opinions

Sunday, May 21st 2011

Eddy Out Pale Ale
(Kettlehouse Brewing Company)

Another pint can from the folks in Missoula. Eddy Out is a Pale Ale that's been around for awhile. If you're not familiar with Kettlehouse, they can three of their beers. If you end up in Montana go looking for this Pale Ale as well as their Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and their Double Haul IPA, both are very good. Cheers!

From the Kettlehouse site:

"Eddy Out Pale Ale (the beer formerly known as Bitters Pale Ale) has been a favorite at the Kettlehouse Brewery since 1996. Brewed with a healthy dose of Cascade aroma hops, Eddy Out is a classic American Pale Ale. This style is characterized by a citrusy American hoppiness balanced with a slight biscuit flavored malt character. The light copper color in this ale comes from caramelized malt which also aids in head retention. All this to describe a highly quaffable brew with a crisp hop finish. Great on a hot summer day, or a cold winter day while dreaming of a hot summer day."


Here we go...

Pour - light golden or straw colored with a good inch of fluffy white head on top and some lacing beginning to streak the inside of the glass. Looks clean and clear and as it should Nice looking beer.


Aroma - lemons, fresh cut grass, orange peel, tea leaves, mango along with toast and honey.


Taste - one sip and the citrusy hops certainly shine. This has some zip to it with the hops really being the focal point and a solid, yet subdued, doughy, malt backbone providing the necessary balance. A little tangy and lemony in the finish. Very crisp and refreshing and just the way I like my pale ales.


Overall - This on leans a little more towards an IPA with it's assertive hop profile. If you like you're pale ales hoppy you'll be happy with this one. Definitely worth picking up and enjoying somewhere outdoors on a warm sunny day!


Would I buy more of it? - definitely. I'd love to get some more of all of Kettlehouse's beers. I haven't been back to Montana since 2000, it's way overdue. 


Note - If you're not familiar with kayaking lingo, the term "eddy out" means to enter an eddy to take a break from rapids or to get a better look downstream. An eddy usually forms on the protected side of a rock or along the bank of a river. The back of the can provides quite a bit of information as well...




Eddy Out Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Kettle House Brewing Company
Missoula, Montana  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 50
Date: May 22nd, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, May 21st 2011

Nevada's Joseph James Brewing Co. to Can First Gluten-Free Beer

gluten intolerant canned beer lovers rejoice

Henderson, Nevada's Joseph James Brewing Company announced earlier today that they plan to can their Fox Tail Gluten-Free Pale Ale along with two others beers this July. They will be the first craft brewery in the country to put a gluten-free brew in can. Fox Tail is brewed without sorghum, which is a staple ingredient in many commercially produced gluten-free beers, and is instead brewed with "organic rices, nectars and North American hops." Along with Fox Tail the brewery will begin canning their HopBox Imperial IPA and JJ Craft American Lager. Descriptions of the beers are below (from the Joseph James site).

Fox Tail Gluten-Free Pale Ale - "A gluten free pale that has citrus notes and is light bodied. You will find no sorghum in this beer, but rather organic rices, nectars and North American hops. This brew is 5% ABV and 50 IBUs."

HopBox Imperial IPA - "This Imperial IPA has a large hop aroma and sweetness from dark caramel malts. This brew uses Simcoe and Cascade hops and is hopped at 5 lbs. per barrel. The brew is 9.3% ABV and 90 IBUs."

JJ Craft American Lager - "Traditional style American lager brewed with the finest Pilsner malts and organic rice. This light bodied lager is crisp and refreshing at 5.2% ABV, 15 IBUs and is best enjoyed at 45-55F.  

Joseph James Brewing Company will join Reno's Buckbean Brewing Company and become the second the second craft brewery in the state of Nevada to can their beers. Cheers!

For more about Fox Tail Gluten-Free Pale Ale and Joseph James Brewing Company please go to www.foxbrews.com



Note: Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. The cause of this disease is unknown. The disease can also develop at any point in life, from infancy to late adulthood. 

Note Note: I hope to acquire a few cans of Fox Tail so I can share them with my Mom who has Celiac disease and with whom I've never had the pleasure of sharing a beer.

Posted by Russ

Thursday, May 19th 2011

(Starr Hill Brewing Company)

At one point Festie was a seasonal brew and apparently people loved it. So, why not give them what they want whenever they want it? This is why you've got a traditional Oktoberfest/Märzen style beer available all-year round and now it's even available in cans so people can take it with them to concerts, beaches, lakes, rivers etc... Festie is joined by Northern Lights IPA as one of the first two canned brews from Starr Hill. Prosit! Cheers!


From the Starr Hill site:

"Rich and malty, Festie is now available year-round, and it is our tribute to the great German lager. Its name invokes the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season."

Here we go...


Pour - orangish/yellowish in color, very clean with a wispy head on top which fades rather quickly leaving a ring around the inside of the glass at the top level of the beer. Not a bad looking pour whatsoever.

Aroma - brown sugar, baking bread, steeped grains, honey, corn syrup and sweet tea. Some doughy/biscuity notes as well.


Taste - first sip is sweet on the tongue. Lots of honey and caramel flavors combine with some raisin and lemon tea with a sharp, crisp finish. Its a bit dry surprisingly in the finish with no real after taste which certainly makes for an easily sessionable beer. Nice malty flavors and easily approachable for any beer drinker from the uber-snob to the casual imbiber. 


Overall - Not a ton of complexity, just a straightforward amber lager. However, when it comes to finding a decent canned version of just that it's not so easy. Certainly worth picking up and taking along with you wherever you're outdoors (or indoors) festivities may be happening.


Would I buy more of it? - not much of an option where I am. This is a pretty easy drinking lager and if it was more available I could definitely see myself putting some on ice once in awhile.


Note - "The tag line on the label says 'life is a carnival', in reference to lyrics from a song by The Band. The Starr Hill crew are in many ways like carnies, in a positive way, like a family."   - Mark Thompson (Master Brewer)


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Starr Hill Brewing Company
Crozet, Virginia  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row & Munich Hallertau
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 12
Date: May 19th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Wednesday, May 18th 2011

Kilt Lifter
(Four Peaks Brewing Company)

Four Peaks began canning some of their beers last year. So far to day they've put three different brews in cans. Along with Kiltlifter they're canning SunBru Kolsch and most recently began canning their Hop Knot IPA. We're looking forward to trying those as well. Cheers!

From the Four Peaks site:

"Kiltlifter is our award-winning flagship brew. Made in the tradition of great strong ales from Scotland. This is the beer that made Four Peaks famous. Take on sip and you'll swear it was brewed by men in kilts. And maybe it was. Notice it's amber color, malty sweetness and a hint of smokiness. A true Scottish Ale. The only thing missing here is a man with a funny accent playing the bagpipes."

Here we go...


Pour - dark amber, almost brown in color with some auburn and yellow hues. About a half inch of white foam covers this pour. It fades to a ring in the glass and leaves some traces of lacing. 


Aroma - lots 'o malt. Lots of sweet malt, caramel, honey and bread dough as well as baked apples and cinnamon raisin toast. 

Taste - one sip and your palate is inundated with lots of sweet, tangy, toasty maltiness. The flavors of honey and caramel jump out with some bready/biscuity tastes as well. Much like the aroma, there is some cooked apple and cinnamon bread notes to this beer. True to style and with plenty of character, I can see why this would be their flagship brew.

Overall - solid Scottish Ale. Plenty of smooth and clean malt flavor. If you like a darker, sweeter beer from time to time this one is not to be missed. I can see putting down a few of these on a cool evening. 


Would I buy more of it? - I need to get myself a mixed-pack of Four Peaks beers. Combining this with their Kolsch and IPA and I think you've got the makings of quite the weekend.

Note - Quite a few Scottish Ales have made it into cans actually. Four Peaks' Kilt Lifter is one of six different canned Scottish Ales currently available. If you love the sweetness and sometimes smokiness of this style you've got a lot to choose from. Below are a few we've reviewed thus far...




Kilt Lifter
Style: Scottish Ale
Brewery: Four Peaks Brewing Company
Tempe, Arizona  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row, Caramel 80L, Carapils, Roasted Barley
Hops: Golding
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 21
Date: May 18th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Tuesday, May 17th 2011

Canned in the Heart of Texas
Q & A with Michael Graham
(Co-Founder Austin Beerworks)

If you live in or around Austin, Texas and love good beer you've likely heard of Austin Beerworks. In a town that's fueled by originality and creativity they're new to the beer scene but they'll surely find their way without any problems. They just brewed their first batch of beer a little over 2 weeks ago, which was one of the final steps before all systems go. Now, with so much excitement going on and with becoming a full-fledged active brewery only weeks away we thought it would be good to learn a little more about one of the country's newest canning craft breweries. We gave Michael Graham, one of the breweries co-founders, a call and he was more than nice enough to answer all of our questions. Cheers Michael and all the best to you and the whole crew down in Austin! We can't wait to try your beer and we're sure neither can the locals. 

(CC) Can you give us a little background about Austin Beerworks? When did the idea to open a brewery first come up?

(MG) Austin Beerworks is an owner-operated brewery. The four founders are: Adam DeBower, Will Golden, Mike McGovern and myself, Michael Graham.

Adam is the common link between all of us. He and I grew up together in Austin.  We started drinking beer together and he taught me how to homebrew.  Adam went to grad school in New York City, where he met Mike. Mike's wife is from Austin and he's been homebrewing for over 10 years. While in New York, Adam decided he wanted to be a professional brewer. That calling led him to work in what would eventually become the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. It was there that he first worked with Will, who was lead brewer at the time.  Shortly after Adam arrived, Will left to run a brewpub in Frederick, but the two remained good friends.

Through various circumstances, in June 2010 we all found ourselves willing and able to start a brewery together.  Adam, Mike and I were all back living in Austin and it didn't take too much convincing to get Will and his wife to move down from Maryland.  We've been working non-stop ever since.


80,000 cans of IPA and Extra Pale Ale ready to be filled!

(CC) Why did you choose to go with cans?

(MG) Cans offer distinct advantages over bottles. I would direct anyone who wants to learn about the benefits of canned beer to your "About" page. You do a great job hitting the major points.

In a nutshell, we feel that cans are better for the brewer (no broken glass in the brewery), better for the beer (no light or oxygen penetration), better for the consumer (many places where glass bottles aren't allowed) and better for the environment (much more efficient to transport and recycle).

On a more personal note, we feel that the cans say something about the beer we make. We brew all of our beers to be Bold and Clean. We're going for big flavor, with a nice clean finish. The look and feel of cans convey that better than bottles could.


(CC) What beers will you be brewing right off the bat? Which of those will be canned?

(MG) We're starting off with 4 styles: Fire Eagle American IPA, Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale, Pearlsnap Pils, and Black Thunder Schwarzbier.

We had initially planned on only releasing Fire Eagle and Peacemaker in cans, but the excitement for Pearl-Snap has been so great that we're going to start canning that also.

We'll also start brewing seasonals right off the bat, and let the market dictate what goes into cans next.


(CC) Who designed the labels and packaging for Austin Beer Works?

(MG) We're fortunate that Austin is a very design-friendly town. There are dozens of nationally recognized studios here. We're very happy with our choice.

Christian Helms of Helms Workshop is the man behind our cans. He's an incredibly talented designer - and he loves beer. It is a natural fit.

Our first meeting with him was supposed to be a quick 10 minute meet and greet, but it turned into a 2 hour, beer-fueled idea orgy. A lot of the groundwork for what our branding would eventually become was laid at that meeting.


...it turned into a 2 hour, beer-fueled idea orgy.


(CC) When we were talking you mentioned that you played a little pro disc golf, a sport that goes very well with canned craft beer. Did your experience with disc golf lend to the idea of canning your beers?

(MG) I use the term "Pro" pretty loosely. I think my lifetime Disc Golf earnings come in just over $200. But yeah, I used to play all the time.

I had my first can of Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues while I was playing disc golf. It was the first craft beer in a can I had ever tasted and it blew me away.

I usually don't drink much while I'm playing, but as soon as our beer is in cans I might have to start.


Tubing in Texas means NO GLASS allowed! Go CANS Go!

(CC) Tell me again about tubing in Texas? You can bring a cooler on the river, just no bottles, right?

(MG) Tubing in Texas is one of the finest pleasures in life. There aren't many things more enjoyable than floating in cold water on a 100+ degree day. Having good beer with you is just icing on the cake.

There are no glass containers allowed in the major tubing rivers. And for good reason. Lots of bare feet mixed with broken glass is a bad combination. Canned beer is the only option.

"...Canned beer is the only option."

People take their tubing seriously down here, often dedicating their best tubes for their coolers. It's common for tubing trips to last for several hours, so it's necessary to be well stocked.


Mike McGovern rejoices among thousands of Austin Beerworks cans

(CC) When can we expect to see cans of Austin Beer Works beers on shelves?

(MG) We're proud to report that we brewed our first batch of beer on April 30. We started out with Fire Eagle, which we plan to ferment and condition for about 3 weeks. It's our plan to release both Fire Eagle and Peacemaker in kegs and cans at the same time - hopefully in late May. The lagers will take a few more weeks to mature.


Video of Austin Beerworks' cans being made

(CC)Where is your favorite place in Austin to sit, relax and have a beer?

(MG) There are so many good spots to choose from in this town. Between all the great beer bars and outdoor parks, it is very hard to pick a favorite.

In all honesty, having a beer with the other guys at the brewery after a long day of work is hard to beat. I just can't wait until we can drink our own.


Austin Beerworks Media Resources



Posted by Russ

Tuesday, May 17th 2011

Number 9
(Magic Hat Brewing Company)

Brand new to cans this month, and a first for the brewery, is Magic Hat's popular #9. This apricot ale has many friends and foes and has certainly played the role of gateway craft beer for more than a few of each. With a beer as ubiquitous as #9 now available in cans there is even more proof that breweries, both big and small, are seeing the benefits. Cheers!


From the Magic Hat site:

"A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there's never been anything else quite like it."

Here we go...


Pour - golden, amber in appearance with a bubbly, soda-like head that fizzes away rather quickly leaving a film on top. 


Aroma - apricot essence, orange peel and some slight malt aromas but that is about it. Not a whole lot sneaks by that sweet apricot smell.


Taste - sweet and tangy with a more than subtle, but less than intense, flavor of apricots. No real hop presence in this beer, not like Dogfish Head's Aprihop, as this is more of a standard ale with the defining characteristic being the apricot. Finishes rather light on the tongue with only a bit of the sweetness carrying over to the next sip. 


Overall - #9 tastes much better, in my opinion, from a can. The apricot flavor, which is an issue for some folks, is not overly syrupy or cloying and actually tastes like apricot. There is also a freshness in this beer that I've rarely tasted before, even on tap. Sure, its a bit sweet and it's not for everyone but it certainly goes down easy when it's nice and cold on a hot day and there are definitely moments when that's all you really want.


Would I buy more of it? - you know I might. A 12-pack of this would go over well at a barbecue as its a pretty approachable beer for most folks. I also think it goes extremely well with yardwork. I drank one of these straight from the can while mowing and it worked wonders.


Note - Magic Hat's #9 turned 16 years old earlier this month. It was first bottled back in 1995 and has been the brewery's flagship beer ever since. Not many breweries have done the marketing side of things as well as Magic Hat. It takes a lot of skill to make an apricot-flavored ale your number one selling beer year-after-year! I think these cans will serve Magic Hat well.


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Fruit/Vegetable Ale
Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Company
South Burlington, Vermont  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale and Crystal
Hops: Cascade and Apollo
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 20
Date: May 17th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Fruit Beers

Monday, May 16th 2011

(Brewery Vivant)


America's first ever canned Belgian-style IPA! Brewery Vivant is a new brewery located in a beautifully restored historic building in Grand Rapids, Michigan - a city which is quickly becoming a serious beer destination. Brewery Vivant is focusing on Belgian-style beers and has canned a traditional Saison/Farmhouse Ale called Farm Hand as well as a Belgian-style Pale Ale called Solitude. We can't wait to try them all and certainly look forward to future canned releases from the brewery.


From the Brewery Vivant site:

"This beer is made with a classic Belgian style yeast strain that gives the complexity and slight sweetness you may expect from a Belgian style ale, but then reaches deeper providing a smack-down of American hops.  Served in a large tulip glass to capture and focus the hop aromas."

Here we go...


Pour - dark amber with some auburn highlights, a stark white inch of fluff sits on top and leaves some well formed lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Aroma - I smelled the familiar pine and citrus as soon as the can was cracked open. If you like your Belgian-style IPAs heavy on the hops this one is for you. Lots of great hop aroma is also accompanied by some spiciness and some nice floral notes. This smells very, very good.

Taste - one sip and we're in uncharted canned craft beer territory. The delicate spiciness of the Belgian yeast used in this brew shines through almost immediately in the first sip. The citrus, pine, orange and pineapple flavors that the West Coast hops impart are all extremely fresh and sharp. The finish is a bit dry on the tongue with some of that spicy, yeast flavors sticking around with the bitterness of the hops. Wow, this is just an all-around great tasting beer. It's thirst quenching, refreshing and just plain delicious. 


Overall - This is a style I've come to enjoy more and more and am very happy to see it make its way to cans. Excellent job by the folks at Brewery Vivant! If you've not yet had a Belgian-style IPA or just haven't had this one yet I definitely highly recommend it. It's a great example of the style.


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. If I lived within 3 hours of this brewery I'd be making a trip there this weekend to try some of this, and their other beers on tap, and also take some more home with me. Having only one can of this is just a tease!

Note - Belgian-style India Pale Ales have become increasingly popular both here in the US as well as in Belgium. More and more breweries in both countries are trying their hand in brewing this relatively new style of beer. Belgian IPAs tend to be a little sweeter than traditional American IPAs and are brewed with American hops and a Belgian yeast strain - which adds a spiciness and a flavor I've only ever been able to describe as that of, well, Belgian yeast. Combining the floral, citrus and pine of American hops with the unique flavors of the Belgian yeast has been a real success story as the cross-cultural globalization of beer continues to move forward. 


Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)

Monk Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Belgian IPA
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 16th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, May 15th 2011

1st Annual AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival Winners Announced

Anthony Canecchia, SanTan Brewing Company, announces this year's winners

Chandler, Arizona - In a special ceremony held earlier this evening, and streamed online, the winners were announced in the competition part of the 1st Annual Ameri"CAN" Canned Beer Festival hosted by SanTan Brewing Company (as host they did not enter beers in the competition). Below you'll find the nine different categories which were judged and their respective winners. CANgratulations are in order! The beer festival portion of the event will be held next Saturday, May 21st. Cheers!


India Pale Ales

Gold - Lumberyard IPA (Lumberyard Brewing)
Silver - Hop Knot (Four Peaks Brewing) 
Bronze - Modus Hoperandi (Ska Brewing)

American Pale Ales

Gold - Dale's Pale Ale (Oskar Blues Brewery)

Silver - Osiris Pale Ale (Sun King Brewing)
Bronze - Caldera Pale Ale (Caldera Brewing)

English Pale Ales

Gold - No Medal Awarded*

Silver - ESB Special Ale (Ska Brewing)

Bronze - No Medal Awarded*


Wheat Beers

Gold - Honey Weiss (Leinenkugel Brewing)

Silver - Wittekerke (Bavik)

Bronze - No Medal Awarded*



Stouts and Porters

Gold - No Medal Awarded*

Silver - Ten Fidy (Oskar Blues Brewery)

Bronze - No Medal Awarded*



Ambers and Browns

Gold - Sunset Amber (Grand Canyon Brewing)

Silver - Moose Drool (Big Sky Brewing)

Bronze - Boont Amber (Anderson Valley Brewing)



Golds, Blondes Pilsners and Light Lagers

Gold - No Medal Awarded*

Silver - Golden Trout Pilsner (Mammoth Brewing)

Bronze - UpRiver Light Lager (Mudshark Brewing)



Fruit Beers

Gold - No Medal Awarded*

Silver - Mana Wheat (Maui Brewing)

Bronze - Hell or High Watermelon (21st Amendment)


Specialty Beers

Gold - No Medal Awarded*

Silver - Back in Black (21st Amendment)

Bronze - Old Chub (Oskar Blues Brewery)


Note: All beers were judged according to the 2011 Beer Style Guidelines. All judges are professional brewers, BJCP certified or Cicerones certified. The ACCBF awards medals for excellence in 10 categories and does not necessarily award medals to the top three finishers in a particular category. When judges decide a category contains three excellent examples of the style, they award gold, silver and bronze medals for the first, second and third place beers, respectively.


Gold - A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.


Silver - An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.


Bronze - A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.


*If judges believe that no beer in the category meets the quality and style-accuracy criteria, they may elect not to award a medal. Judges may award a beer with a silver or bronze medal and yet not award a gold medal.


Breweries that entered canned beers in the competition included; 21st Amendment Brewing (CA), Anderson Valley Brewing Company (CA), Bavik (Belgium), Baxter (ME), Big Sky Brewing Company (MT), Blue Moon Brewing Company (CO), Bohemian (UT), Breckenridge Brewing (CO), Buckbean (NV), Caldera (OR), Crispin Cider (MN), Four Peaks Brewing (AZ), Grand Canyon Brewing (AZ), Leinenkugel’s (WI), Lumberyard Brewing (AZ), Mammoth (CA), Maui Brewing (HI), Mogollon Brewing Co. (AZ), Mudshark Brewing (AZ), New Belgium Brewing Company (CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (CO), Papago Brewing (AZ), Prescott Brewing Co.(AZ), SKA Brewing Company (CO), Sun King Brewing (IN), Tailgate Brewing (CA) and Wittekerke (Belgium).

Posted by Russ

Friday, May 13th 2011

Narragansett Summer Ale
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

Summer Ale is the latest, and newest, seasonal canned release from the folks at Narragansett. They've now released four different seasonal cans which have all been very good. We're happy to see Narragansett have so much success with this seasonal lineup. The addition of their first ever summer ale, brewed with almighty citra hops no less, is definitely going to serve them well. Cheers!


From the Narragansett site:

"The Summer Ale pours golden, producing a generous white head, and perfect carbonation. The malt flavor is smooth and subtle, balanced out by a crisp hop bitterness. Aromas of mixed fruits are very evident, but mild on the palate. The superior drinkability and lower alcohol content make this beer perfect for summer sessions on the beach, the boat, the backyard patio, or at the ballgame."

Here we go...


Pour - glass is filled with a yellowish, straw color with some golden highlights. Nice large, foamy, white head on top. Looks clean and clear with nice carbonation. 


Aroma - hints of hay, lemon, pale malt, wet grass and Rice Krispies.

Taste - light and refreshing. The first two words that come to mind, seriously. Very crisp, it dances on the tongue. Its a bit citrusy (lemony), a bit malty sweet but neither is in anyway dominating. Delicate in flavor and balance. At only 24 IBUs the hoppiness is pretty subdued with no real bitterness to speak of. It has a biscuity, malty flavor that provides a bit of tanginess. Very clean taste with a slightly dry finish.

Overall - this is a very well put together blonde ale. At only 4.2% alcohol this is an excellent candidate for the beach or an afternoon BBQ. Plenty of flavor to keep you interested but nothing heavy or overpowering. Again, this is light and refreshing which is perfect for the season. A great summer ale from the folks at Narragansett.


Would I buy more of it? - I would and I will. The price for a six-pack is hard to pass up and summer has just begun. The hottest days are ahead and this beer at 16 oz. a time is the way to go!

Note - According to the Narragansett site, the draft version of this beer is brewed in small batches at Trinity Brew House in Providence and Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT while the actual tall boy cans are brewed at High Falls Brewery in Rochester, NY.


Narragansett's other seasonal canned releases (click a card)


Narragansett Summer Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
Providence, Rhode Island  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two-row pale malt
Hops: Citra
ABV: 4.2%
IBUs: 24
Date: May 13th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Friday, May 13th 2011

AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival to Stream Awards
Ceremony Online

Best canned beers will be honored at a special ceremony THIS Sunday, and YOU can view the ceremony at www.cannedcraftbeerfest.com

Chandler, Ariz. – May 13, 2011 – The Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Festival, presented by Whole Foods Market, will host its awards ceremony on Sunday, May 15, and the event will be streamed online at www.cannedcraftbeerfest.com. The judging session will take place from 9 am - 4 pm on May 15. A private Awards Dinner is scheduled from 5 pm-8 pm from the Courtyard Marriott Chandler Fashion Center, but is closed to the public. Anthony Canecchia, the owner and head brew master of SanTan Brewing Company, will emcee the awards ceremony.

The awards ceremony will precede the inaugural Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Festival scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2011, from 2 pm through 6 pm in Historic Downtown Chandler, AJ Chandler Park West (3 S. San Marcos Place). Both events conclude American Craft Beer Week.

Select canned beers will receive Gold, Silver and Bronze medals awarded in nine categories: IPA; American Pale Ale; English Pale Ale; Wheat Beers; Stouts and Porters; Ambers and Browns; Golds, Blondes, Pilsners and Light Lagers; Fruit; and Specialty Beer.

All beer will be judged according to the 2011 Beer Style Guidelines. All judges are professional brewers, BJCP certified or Cicerones certified. The ACCBF awards medals for excellence in 10 categories and does not necessarily award medals to the top three finishers in a particular category. When judges decide a category contains three excellent examples of the style, they award gold, silver and bronze medals for the first, second and third place beers, respectively.

Gold - A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.

Silver - An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.

Bronze - A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.

If judges believe that no beer in the category meets the quality and style-accuracy criteria, they may elect not to award a medal. Judges may award a beer with a silver or bronze medal and yet not award a gold medal.

An unprecedented lineup of national and local breweries will participate in the competition including 21st Amendment Brewing (CA), Anderson Valley Brewing Company (CA), Bavik (Belgium), Baxter (ME), Big Sky Brewing Company (MT), Blue Moon Brewing Company (CO), Bohemian (UT), Breckenridge Brewing (CO), Buckbean (NV), Caldera (OR), Crispin Cider (MN), Four Peaks Brewing (AZ), Grand Canyon Brewing (AZ), Leinenkugel’s (WI), Lumberyard Brewing (AZ), Mammoth (CA), Maui Brewing (HI), Mogollon Brewing Co. (AZ), Mudshark Brewing (AZ), New Belgium Brewing Company (CO), Oskar Blues Brewery (CO), Papago Brewing (AZ), Prescott Brewing Co.(AZ), SanTan Brewing Company (AZ), SKA Brewing Company (CO), Sun King Brewing (IN), Tailgate Brewing (CA), Tallgrass Brewing (KS) and Wittekerke (Belgium).

Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Festival is presented by Whole Foods Market and brought to you by Draft Magazine, Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, Marriott Courtyard/ Fairfield Chandler, Ball Corp, Hopunion, World Class Beverages, Breiss, CraftCans.com,  Fullpint.com, Marty’s Trophies, and hosted by SanTan Brewing Co. A portion of event proceeds will benefit Ear Candy, a 501c3 Phoenix charity that provides youth access to music education.

For more information, visit www.cannedcraftbeerfest.com.


Posted by Russ

Thursday, May 12th 2011

Vortex IPA
(Fort George Brewery)

Fort George went through a pretty massive expansion recently and part of that included the addition of a canning line. The first two canned offerings to roll of that line, both in 16 oz. cans, are their 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager and their Vortex IPA. We should hopefully see some other canned releases in the near future. 

From the Fort George site:

"India pale ale's were designed to withstand the long voyage to India. Today, it seems one has to design the IPA strong and hoppy enough to make the trip back as well. Vortex IPA is the Fort George's first foray into this strong beer category. Our IPA is made with generous additions of Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade hops throughout the brewing, fermentation and conditioning phases, balanced with heaps of organic pale malt. We designed this to not rip your taste buds off your tongue, but rather vigourously stimulate them and your palate into a lupulin-ecstacy of pleasure. During the cross-country truck trip our brewery made to find it's home in Astoria, it was nearly scattered to the cornfields of Nebraska by a tornado. We try to capture some of nature's intensity in every pint."

I've got my Vortex IPA hat on so here we go...

Pour - bright glowing orange and amber with an inch of biscuit mix-like foam on top. Nice lacing left on the sides of the glass and the carbonation levels are spot on. I'm excited.


Aroma - I actually caught a whiff of this as soon as I cracked open the can. An intense wave of pine and citrus flew at my nose and got me excited right away. Sticking my nose in the glass now I get some resiny, piney aromas along with some nice sweet biscuity smell as well. There is some hints of orange peel and fresh cut grass. I'm sold, lets drink this!


Taste - one sip and the quality of this IPA is apparent. Some time and dedication was put into making this beer. Lots of sweet, orangey flavors combine with bitter, piney hoppiness. The malt backbone backs up all those hoppy, citrusy flavors very well. Its sweet and tangy with some toasty flavors thrown in. I love this IPA and am very sad that I only have this one can to enjoy. If you're able to get cans of this beer you are truly fortunate so take advantage! 


Overall - excellent brew from Fort George. This is a solid, balanced IPA with some great hop aromas and flavors along with a sweet, bready malty backbone balancing it all out. I could definitely get comfortable with four cans of Vortex IPA. I think I'm addicted.


Would I buy more of it? - yes, yes, yes. Pint-sized cans of beer like this are a must have. I love the flavor of this IPA and the fact that its a tad high on the ABV scale just makes it even better on a cool summer evening around a campfire. 


Note - we absolutely love the Vortex IPA logo. It was designed by a design firm called PLAZM located in Portland, Oregon. PLAZM also did much of the design work for the branding of both of Fort George's canned offerings as well as logo design for the brewery itself.



Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Vortex IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Fort George Brewery
Astoria, Oregon  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 97
Date: May 12th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, May 12th 2011

Disc Golf and Craft Beer:
Laid Back and Perfect Together

Chains rattling and cans being cracked. The sweet sounds of disc golf can now be heard at any of the over 2,000 disc golf courses (of which over 85% are free to play) throughout the US. Take a close look on any course and you'll notice discs emblazoned with craft brewery logos and plenty of quality canned beers being enjoyed amongst friends. The two relatively laid back industries have found a camaraderie that's been mutually beneficial in many ways. Below we take a look at the ways in which their paths have crossed and provided a lot of fun to a lot of people. Cheers!


Love a certain brewery? Already got the t-shirt? What about buying some discs for the next time you head out for a round? Below are a few of the many breweries selling disc golf discs on their site:





In 2008, the Disc Golf Pro World Championships was held in Michigan and presented by none other than Bell's Brewery. This year it's in California and Uncommon Brewers of Santa Cruz is one of the sponsors. Lots of craft breweries sponsor local events such as disc golf tournaments as its a great way to be a part of the community. Do you have what it takes to compete or just like to feel a bit of pressure when you play? Why not get involved in one of these other brewery sponsored disc golf events!

BAXTER BREWING OPEN (ME) - Sponsored by Baxter Brewing
MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP (AZ) - Sponsored by New Belgium
BOONTFLING (CA) - Sponsored by Anderson Valley Brewing Company

I'm sure there are a lot more so if you know of any please pass them along.



Photo: Bob Beltrami (click for more information about the course)

Probably the most well known brewery with a disc golf course is Boonville, California's Anderson Valley Brewing Company. They also hold the title of having the world's first 18-hole course on brewery grounds. Combine a disc golf course with their dedication to sustainable energy, canning three of their beers and throwing an awesome festival each year and you've got the makings of a world class brewery. Yes, you CAN drink beer while you play! We definitely need to make it out to Boonville soon to throw some disc and visit the brewery!

From the AVBC site:

Course Fees

"Course fees are $5.00 per player, per day, and your fees include a coupon that can be redeemed immediately for a full $5.00 OFF of any AVBC retail purchase of $10.00 or more, including beer (a game plus a $3.99 sixpack – how’s that for a deal?)."

Course Description

"Although we have some manufactured baskets, most of the baskets were made by our grounds keeper and course designer, W. Dan Houck, using wine barrels, old brewing equipment, tire chains, etc. They're quite unique. We actually have three course layouts, depending on pasture conditions, and whether our shire horses are in the front or back pasture. Each course is par 3 all around, with distances ranging from about 200-350 feet."

Oh yeah, did we mention that their tasting room doubles as the course club house? How awesome is that? 

Does anyone know of any other breweries that have courses? If so, let us know. Also, if you know of any other ways breweries are involved with disc golf give us a shout. Cheers! 


Posted by Russ

Labels: Disc Golf

Monday, May 9th 2011

Colorado Native
(AC Golden Brewing Company)

Three things come to mind while holding a can of Colorado Native. The first is the shape of the can, its a little longer and skinnier than the average 12 oz. can. Personally, I really like the feel of it. Second, this is brewed with all Colorado ingredients except hops. However, recently the brewery distributed rhizomes to a ton of Colorado-based volunteers to grow hops for a future fully native Colorado brew. Finally, yes, this is brewed, in some roundabout way, by the folks that give us Coors Light. That aside, we plan to provide an unbiased review of what seems to many, who've had it before us, to be a very solid lager. Cheers!

From the AC Golden site:

"Hold up a pint of Colorado Native and drink in its amber lager color, brought to life with pale and caramel malts from our famous Moravian 2-row barley. We painstakingly balanced its malt character against select Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops to create a perfectly balanced, full-flavored beer. A lager yeast fermentation gives Colorado Native a slight fruitiness, complementing a citrus aroma note from a late kettle hop addition. Everything then comes together to deliver a clean taste and dry finish that is very drinkable by itself, or paired with your favorite foods."

Here we go...

Pour - dark golden in appearance with nice orange, brown and yellow hues. Very clean and clear with small bubbles streaming upwards and forming a good inch of thick, creamy white and foamy goodness. Looks very inviting.


Aroma - bread dough, biscuity, malty, caramel and a bit of apple combine with some citrusy hop aromas as well. 


Taste - plenty of malt characteristics come out at first, this is sweet with some brown sugar flavors on the tongue. The sweetness is then followed immediately by a sharp, dry and bitter finish. Very crisp and refreshing...which is what I'd like to have in a lager. Very smooth and well-rounded with no off flavors. Instead this hits all the marks and comes together extremely well. 


Overall - very impressive. I had my reservations at first but the folks at AC Golden have done a great job with this lager. I can't help but think that the packaging only improves upon something that was already well above par. If you live in Colorado definitely give this one a shot. 


Would I buy more of it? - yes. I would be happy to get a 12-pack of this from time to time to stock the fridge or cooler this summer. This is an easy drinking, refreshing lager that would make both the craft beer enthusiast and the casual beer drinker very, very happy. 


Note - AC Golden is a subsidiary of Coors Brewing Company (MolsonCoors). The brewery itself only employs ten people. Much debate can be had as to whether or not to consider this a true craft brewery. The truth is, they produce a great lager with real ingredients and the folks that brew the beer are dedicated to what they do...which is brew beer. I think we can agree that good beer is good beer and leave it at that. 


From the AC Golden site:


"Nestled against the foothills of the Colorado Rockies is the AC Golden Brewery, where in the time-honored tradition of craft-brewers, we create limited production beers in small 30-barrel kettles imported from Germany. No Super Bowl commercials. No magazine spread ads. Just a commitment to brewing great beer."


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Colorado Native
Style: American Amber/Red Lager
Brewery: AC Golden Brewing Company
Golden, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Moravian two-row barley
Hops: Chinook, Centennial and Cascade
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 26
Date: May 9th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Lagers

Monday, May 9th 2011

Fighting the Good Fight
Q & A with Gabe Harris
(President, Free the Hops)

If you're a craft beer lover living outside the state of Alabama you might want to consider yourself lucky. Don't get me wrong, its not that Alabamians don't have access to great beer, they do, its that their state has many (archaic) laws hindering the growth of it's craft beer industry (not to mention homebrewing, which is still illegal in the state). Thankfully craft beer-loving Alabamians have an organization on their side called  "Free the Hops".

We wanted to know a little more about Free the Hops so we got in touch with Gabe Harris, the President of the organization. Gabe had been kind enough to send us some cans of Good People's beer not long ago and we're very thankful to him for that as well as for answering all of our questions. Cheers Gabe!


(CC) What exactly is "Free the Hops" and why should craft beer drinkers know about this organization?

(GH) Free the Hops is a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to help bring the highest quality beers in the world to Alabama. We are motivated by a desire to have the same variety of choice when purchasing beer that Alabama citizens already enjoy when purchasing wine. Started in 2004 by Alabamians with no ties to any alcoholic beverage business, FTH was incorporated later that year and registered as an official 501(c)(6) non-profit in 2007. None of our members make any money off the grassroots effort.


(CC) What responsibilities do you have as President of Free the Hops?

(GH) My various roles in FTH up to and including being elected president are to secure sponsorship from breweries and businesses in Alabama and across the country to fund legislative and organization goals. Plans and coordinates events including the Magic City Brewfest which has had over 17,000 attendees in its four years as one of Alabama’s largest festivals. MCBF serves as our biggest fundraiser for our legislation. Oversees Free the Hops’ day to day operations while still maintaining role of business support and Magic City Brewfest as stated above.

Free the Hops organizes the 2 largest beer festivals in Alabama


(CC) What sort of events as well as legislation has Free the Hops been involved with in the past?

(GH) FTH passed "The Gourmet Beer Bill" in 2009 which changed the allowable alcohol by volume (ABV) in beer from 6% to 13.9%. Since then, the shelves of Alabama's bars, restaurants, and retail stores have added scores of new beers and the variety available to consumers has exploded. Not to mention the number of breweries in the state has increased.

FTH also organizes the state's 2 largest beer festivals, Rocket City Brewfest in Huntsville and the aforementioned Magic City Brewfest.


it is illegal to sell beer in any bottle larger than 16 oz. in Alabama

(CC) What is Free the Hops currently fighting for in Alabama?

(GH) In 2011, FTH is pushing two new bills in the Alabama legislature:

The Brewery Modernization Act seeks to remove archaic restrictions that prevent Alabama breweries from operating tap rooms, and to remove hurdles that make it difficult to open brewpubs in our state, and to allow brewpubs to sell their beer to other retailers.

The Gourmet Bottle Bill seeks to raise the maximum package size allowed for the sale of beer. Right now, you won't find any beer sold in a bottle larger than 16 ounces, but hundreds of craft beers are packaged only in 22 ounce or 750 milliliter bottles.


(CC) I recently read about a previously discussed boycott of Anheuser-Busch products as well as those craft beer brands being distributed by them. What can you tell us about that?

(GH) FTH has begun some realistic discussions with the wholesalers in Alabama and accept Doug Bailey with Anheuser Busch's word that he and his company are neutral on both the Brewery Modernization Act and the Gourmet Bottle Bill. We are moving forward with a substitute bill for BMA that we can all live with. It will not be everything we wanted, but it is definitely a workable solution and represents a significant improvement over the current restrictions. We understand their perspective regarding the three-tier system much better now and trust they understand ours. Because of this, we are calling a ceasefire to the boycott.


(CC) How does the current situation in Alabama affect a brewery like Good People Brewing Company (the only craft brewery that cans their beer in the state)?

(GH) Good People Brewing Company has recently started canning two of their beers after moving into a new facility with new equipment. They need the Brewery Modernization Act (BMA) to pass so they can conduct tours, have a taproom and serve their beer at the brewery. This will allow for a new revenue stream to help grow their business and also help with the downtown revitalization that has been much discussed in Birmingham. Passing BMA will not only help GPBC but it will help other breweries around the state like Straight to Ale in Huntsville and Back Forty in Gadsden.


(CC) What can craft beer lovers do to help Free the Hops and our fellow craft beer lovers in Alabama?

(GH) Please check out - Free the Hops: How to Help


Good People Brewing's Snakehandler Double IPA in cans coming soon!

(CC) We can't resist this question. How much do you look forward to cans of Snakehandler Double IPA from Good People? Any word from Good People as to when that might come out.

(GH) I cannot wait for Snakehandler to be in cans. It's a great DIPA and the first one to be brewed in Alabama. Snake has tons of big piney and citrus hops but it has good balance as well so I think it will be perfect for a can. Hopefully it will hit the shelves sometime in July.


(CC) When you're at home in Alabama where is your favorite place to have a beer?

(GH) No question It's the J.Clyde on Cobb Lane in Birmingham. They are always on the cutting edge of new and hard to get beers in Alabama. The J.Clyde's beer list is impressive plus it's a fun and welcoming atmosphere to have a pint. Everyone there are truly craft beer fans as they keep their calendar full with beer dinners, cask tappings and blinded beer tastings. There's no place I'd rather have a beer.


(CC) We wish Free the Hops all the best and nothing but success. We also hope for a quick recovery for all those effected by the recent tornados that hit the state. Thanks again to Gabe Harris for taking the time to answer our questions. Cheers!


Free the Hops Media Resources


Posted by Russ

Tuesday, May 3rd 2011

A Tribute to Glen Hay Falconer
Q & A with Garrett Marrero
(Maui Brewing Company)

Recently it was announced that Maui Brewing would be releasing a special edition canned offering paying homage to Glen Hay Falconer. A pioneering young brewer whose untimely death in 2002 was a major loss to a then relatively small and tight knit American craft brewing community. We were interested in learning more about this upcoming release and the relationship between Glen and Maui Brewing so we got in touch with Garrett Marrero, Founder of Maui Brewing Company. Garrett was kind enough to answer our questions and we certainly appreciate all the information he and Head Brewer, Scott Freitas, shared with us. Cheers Garrett and Scott!

(CC) What can you tell us about Glen Hay Falconer and the role he played, or the impact he had on, your life or those that you know that knew him?

(GM) I didn’t have the honor of meeting Glen as he passed prior to me getting into the business. Our head brewer Scott Freitas was his assistant brewer for a time and his best friend so I've asked him to answer some of these from the heart.

(SF) Glen played a strong role in the craft brewing community starting in the early 1990’s. He let his creativity run wild and pushed traditional beer styles bringing forward beers such as the Sasquatch Strong Ale, which developed cult status as a beer in the Pacific NW. His willingness to share his knowledge encouraged other brewers to push the envelope and break down the barriers of traditional brewing as well.


can art for Maui's "Flyin' HI. P. Hay"

(CC) Maui Brewing is releasing a special canned IPA that pays tribute to Glen and is brewed with the hop blend, Falconer's Flight, that bears his name. How did the idea for this all come about?

(SF) HopUnion created a specialty hop blend, sort of a "Meritage of Hops" called Falconer's Flight in honor of Glen. Jessie Umbarger from HopUnion contacted us to offer MBC the first shipment of the new varietal. We approached Hopunion and BSG about a unique collaboration in developing a "tribute beer" in Glen's honor where a portion of the proceeds from sales would be donated to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation.


HopUnion developed a hop blend in Glen's honor called "Falconer's Flight" 

(CC) How does this particular beer embody the spirit of Glen?

(SF) Glen would have loved to try this hop, most of them were not available yet when he was here. Glen loved IPA’s and session beers. This is an easy drinking, "session-like" IPA so we like to think he'd be a big fan. We'll certainly be lifting a bunch in his honor.


(CC) Proceeds from this beer will go to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation which provides scholarships for those looking to further their brewing careers. What can you tell us about the importance of this foundation that was set up in Glen's name?

(SF) We believe this is a noble cause as the foundation gives scholarships to brewers wishing to attend Siebel and the American Brewing Guild to further develop their skills and hopefully lead craft beer into its future evolutions. I think this industry has developed largely due to the creativity and innovation that oftentimes start at the homebrewing level. Making the transition to professional brewing presents significant challenges if you don’t have the right training so I believe the training received at these schools is imperative to developing a solid foundation to build on. We need to be developing these talented homebrewers and those new to the industry to continue brewing innovative craft beer but also teach the importance of sanitation, yeast culturing, packaging, warehouse management and etc so they can grow with consistent duplicatable quality. As much fun as it is we need to be highly committed to some of the traits that made the big guys successful too.


(CC) When and where will this beer be available? We hear its a pretty limited batch.

(GM) This beer will be available May 2011 in HI, WA, OR, CA, CO, NV and possibly TX (if we can get labels approved there in time). This beer is limited to a production run of 200 bbls and after allowing for draft we'll only have about 2000 cases.


photo: Maui Brewing Company


(CC) Does Maui have any plans to can any other new beers?

(GM/SF) Without a doubt. We're working on a calendar to be more organized with our releases rather than random. We'd like to see our core brews flanked by a limited and special release each quarter. Maybe a special release would be up to around 200 barrels with draft and can, limited far smaller and esoteric. We're all brainstorming and I've heard some great ideas from the team. Suffice to say that you're going to see some cool things coming in our future. All of us feel we've only scratched the surface with our 4 cans, being only 4 years old there is a lot left to explore.

"...you're going to see some cool things coming in our future."

(CC) What is your favorite place to enjoy a can of Maui beer?

(GM/SF) Mine is anywhere on, or near the water. Scott's is on his paddleboard on Napili Bay at Sunset. I think a pattern has emerged.


Maui Brewing Company Media Resources



Posted by Russ

Monday, May 2nd 2011

Skilak Scottish Ale
(Kenai River Brewing Company)

Our first can from the great state of Alaska! Thanks goes out to Doug Hogue from Kenai River Brewing Company for providing us with the chance to try this beer! Cheers Doug! If you missed it check out the Q & A we did with Doug to learn more about this great little Alaskan craft brewery and their decision to can their beer.

From the Kenai River Brewing site:

"Pours with a light beige head on a dark amber beer. Aroma is of smooth malt along with a smoky background leading to a mouthful of deep, roasted malt flavor. Ends long and smooth with a sweet malt aftertaste."



Here we go...

Pour - dark, dark amber almost brown in appearance. This is a serious looking beer once its out of the can. Head is about a half inch of off-white foam. You can see some tiny little bubble flying upwards but that is about all you can see in the dark abyss that is this brew. 


Aroma - fresh sweet malt, caramel, Tootsie Rolls, coffee grounds and some subtle hints of smoke.


Taste - smooth from the get go, this practically flies down my throat. It's got some nice tangy sweetness and lots of malt flavor with pretty much the perfect kiss of smokiness. Personally I love a Scottish Ale that has some smoke to it, it just seems to go very well with the profile of this style of beer. Some sweetness sticks on your tongue after each sip and the finish is crisp with some of that smoke staying with you. 


Overall - Very drinkable, not too sweet, balanced and delicious. I can't say enough about the smokiness that this beer presents. It's not a lot but it provides so much to this particular beer. Love it. If you live in Alaska you should certainly pick some of this up. 


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. However, this would require a trip to Alaska. One day I'll make it up there and visit Doug in Soldotna and drink this on tap somewhere. One day.


Note - the name "Skilak" refers to a lake on the Kenai Peninsula called "Skilak Lake". The lake is formed from the Kenai River and meltwater from the Skilak Glacier. It is home to lots of tasty fish. It's also probably a great place to enjoy a few of these beauties. 


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Skilak Scottish Ale
Style: Scottish Ale
Brewery: Kenai River Brewing Company
Soldotna, Alaska  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 2nd, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Monday, May 2nd 2011

Four Festivals that Celebrate Canned Craft Beer!

This year there will be (at least) four beer festivals entirely devoted to promoting canned craft beer. Below, we give you a chronological run down of these fests which are taking place in four different states at four different times. If you're like us you're wishing you could make it to all of them! Cheers!

First on the calendar this summer is the "AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival" which is being hosted by SanTan Brewing Company. This festival, which pays homage to canned craft beer in a big way, is being held in Chandler, Arizona and is sure to be a good one. 

WHAT: First Annual AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival

WHERE: Downtown Chandler, Arizona (not far from Tempe and Phoenix)

WHEN: May 21, 2011 (2-6pm)

WHY: Arizona is quickly becoming a hotbed for canned craft beer and this festival is attracting some great breweries PLUS you can grab some food and a few beers at SanTan's nearby brewpub!

WHO: The festival is hosted by SanTan Brewing Company and the current list of breweries attending can be found HERE!

HOW: Tickets can be purchased by going HERE!

SOCIAL MEDIA: AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Fest's Facebook Page


From the folks who started it all comes this year's bigger and better "Burning Can"! Oskar Blues held the festival last year in Lyons and limited it to canning breweries from Colorado (no shortage there). This year they've opened that up to breweries from outside the state and moved the event to Longmont. Should be epic.

WHAT: Second Annual "Burning Can" Festival

WHERE: Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado

WHEN: June 18, 2011 (2-6pm)


WHY: Bigger venue, more breweries attending and it's being hosted by one of the best canning breweries in the country and they seriously know how to throw a party! 

WHO: The festival is hosted by Oskar Blues Brewery  

HOW: Tickets are not yet for sale online

SOCIAL MEDIA: Oskar Blues' Facebook Page


Last month I made a trip to Brooklyn to check out Full Circle, a little bar that's known for two things; Skee Ball and Canned Craft Beer. With no space for empty bottles it only made sense for the owners of Full Circle to go with cans. They now stock every canned craft beer available in the state of New York along with some select brews on tap. CANdemonium is a three day party devoted to the can. I gather last year's event was pretty impressive, with over 40 canned beers available, so this year's should be equally as good if not better.

WHAT: Second Annual "CANdemonium Can Fest"

WHERE: 318 Grand Street Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY 11211


WHEN: November, 2011 (dates to be announced)


WHY: It's canned craft beer, its people, its fun and there's plenty of Skee Ball action as well! How could you not have fun?


WHO: The festival is hosted by Full Circle Bar and the homepage for the event can be found HERE! (Note: 2011 Event Information is not yet available)

HOW: Check out the event site or stop into Full Circle

SOCIAL MEDIA: Full Circle's Facebook Page

The longest running festival devoted to canned craft beer. Reno's Buckbean Brewing Company brings back "CANFEST" for it's third year. The event will surely be larger with more breweries in attendance this year and is being held in a new location this year which looks awesome.

WHAT: Third Annual "CANFEST: Reno International Canned Beer Festival"

WHERE: Silver Legacy Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada

WHEN: November 12th, 2011


WHY: Lot's of canned craft beer to try, not to mention the venue is a casino! Oh yeah, most of the ski resorts in nearby Lake Tahoe should be open by this time as well!


WHO: The festival is hosted by Buckbean Brewing Company  

HOW: Tickets will be made available online by going HERE!



Posted by Russ