Monday, July 25th 2011
Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)
The newest canned offering from Tallgrass is also their only seasonal release and the only one that comes in a 12 oz. package, as opposed the 16 oz. cans they use for their four others. The name Halcyon has a bit of a mixed history and from what I can find out it seems to apply to a mythical bird that calmed the winter weather at sea but also can be used to refer to any idyllic, or calm, period of weather. I'm going to assume in this case it applies to those warm, but not too warm, sunny days during the summer that you wish would never go away. Cheers!
From the Tallgrass site:
"We are in “the wheat state” after all, so the pressure was on us to make a wheat beer, but we knew it had to be great. Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat is the result of that Midwestern angst, an all-American wheat with real Kansas-grown grain in the brew.
We start with raw Kansas white wheat in the mix to give it a nice edge, but what really makes it shine is the hops. We use “hop-bursting” late in the brewing process and this gives Halcyon its palate of tropical fruit flavors & aromas with a bright and refreshing taste like the best days of summer.
This is a seasonal beer, so if you don’t drink it this summer, don’t come whining to us.
Here we go...
Pour - the color of a very hazy, sunny summer day. Leaning towards golden orange with some straw-colored highlights and a very nice looking, fluffy, white head on top. Looks cool and refreshing which is certainly something to look forward to on a day like this - temps pushing 95 right now.
Aroma - some citrus, lemons and oranges along with some cut grass and an earthy aroma perhaps from the wheat or the yeast. Nothing too overpowering as far as aroma goes which is how I like my session beers.
Taste - first sip really hits the spot. Lots of solid malt flavor, almost reminiscent of a brown ale in some ways, a bit toasty and biscuity. That quickly thins out and a citrusy, hop finish develops. This is not your average American Pale Wheat Ale - which has become the staple style for summer beers, most of which lack a decent flavor profile. Halcyon has a very nice malt backbone and a crisp, citrus-esque flavor that quenches your thirst on a warm day. I really, really like this beer.
Overall - If you want the perfect beer to drink outside on a warm, sunny day you certainly couldn't do much better than this. Easy drinking with plenty of flavor and yet thirst quenching and refreshing to boot. Super summer session brew!
Would I buy more of it? - yes, definitely. I could go back and forth with this and Tallgrass' Oasis and be very happy all summer long.
Disclaimer - thank you very much to Barb at Tallgrass Brewing Company for giving us the opportunity to try this beer. We truly appreciate it!
Note - Tallgrass currently cans five different beers. These include their Tallgrass IPA, Tallgrass Ale, Oasis, Buffalo Sweat and Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat. They may no longer be canning their Kold Lager, but Halcyon is certainly a nice replacement!
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (9) | Country (341) | Brewery (9) | Style (12)
Saturday, July 23rd 2011
Second Wind Pale Ale
(Mother Earth Brewing Company)
Mother Earth Brewing Company just recently released their Second Wind Pale Ale and Sunny Hazy in cans. The brewery still mantains a big focus on their bottled brands but that may change if they see success with these two canned offerings. Oh, before I forget, take a good close look (click on the card) at the runners on the can and you'll notice they're all wearing what look like Vibram FiveFingers.
From the Mother Earth Brewing site:
"This medium bodied beer boasts a moderate to strong hop aroma and a color that’s pale golden. If the pale ale has been dry hopped, the beer will appear a bit hazy in the glass. Otherwise, you’ll find pale ales to be pretty clear once poured. Most often, American hops are used to concoct American pale ale- and these usually embody a citrus character. Sometimes, we refer to pale ale as IPA’s little brother. It’s sort of like an IPA that’s been toned down a few notches. Overall, you’ll quickly recognize this beer to be refreshing and easy to drink."
Here we go...
Pour - soft golden peach color with about a half inch of white fizzy/foamy head on top. Carbonation levels look spot on and this beer looks very appealing.
Aroma - sweet orange, powdered sugar, lemon zest, pixie sticks and some hints of biscuit mix and just a slight bit of butter.
Taste - bitter on the tongue and dry right off the bat. Lots of hoppiness that I don't think I was quite expecting from this pale ale. Wow. This is certainly hoppier than some IPAs I've had in my life. Nice citrusy hop flavors as well as fresh cut grass all with a good-sized malt backing to keep things balanced. Nothing overpowering and certainly easy to manage more than a few in a sitting.
Overall - This is a full-bodied, hops ensconced brew! Lots of big hop bitterness and nice citrus notes in this well-rounded and balanced brew. Very impressive. Well done Mother Earth!
Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This is a great option for the cooler or the fridge or the river stream or wherever you might throw some of these to keep them cool.
Note - Second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. The feeling may be similar to that of a "runner's high", the most obvious difference being that the runner's high occurs after the race is over. Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production, while still others believe it to be purely psychological. - wikipedia.org
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (3) | Country (341) | Brewery (1) | Style (41)
Labels: Pale Ales
Thursday, July 21 2011
1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager
(Fort George Brewery)
1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager is the "Official Bicentennial Beer of Astoria" and one of two beers now being canned by Fort George! Looking at this can you may find yourself saying, "what is all that?". It's a timeline detailing the history of Astoria - yes, that Astoria, the one where The Goonies was filmed. You can learn quite a bit from this can of beer and I'm enjoying checking it all out while I drink this beer. Did you know that the Astoria Brewery first opened back in 1872? Hmmm, I had no idea...
From the Fort George site:
"Many West Coast brewers in the 19th Century had no ice, so they improvised an effervescent beer by brewing lager yeasts at higher than normal temperatures..Described as "refreshing drink much consumed by the laboring classes’, it’s the inspiration for 1811 lager."
Here we go...
Pour - golden straw color, very pale when held to the light. Lots of little bubble making their way to the surface and forming a very nice, foamy, white head that sticks quite well to the inside of the glass.
Aroma - some citrus, a bit cereal and grainy sweetness as well as some hints of honey and biscuit mix.
Taste - the tangy zip of citrus hits the tongue first and is followed by an earthy hop flavor that is slightly astringent and mineral-like. Dry and crisp and definitely refreshing. This a very solid lager with some great malt flavors and spicy Saaz hop notes. The addition of those Centennials also plays a nice background role in the more pronounced citrus flavors in this beer. The more I drink this the more I like it. I'm left lapping my tongue a bit and trying to make it more tastes to describe. As this warms a bit the sweetness begins to come out more which makes me want to drink a little faster as I'm enjoying this nice and cold.
Overall - if you're looking for a quality lager than this is it. One full pint of well-brewed American lager in each and every can. Fort George did a great job with this brew and that can sure can teach you a lot about the history of Astoria!
Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. Great beer, another canned winner from Fort George. Very well done!
Note - Fort George Brewery began canning their beers earlier this year. To date they've released two canned offerings; 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager and their Vortex IPA.
A while back we made some mock-ups of cans to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of The Goonies - yeah, we're pretty sure the folks at Fort George are sick of Goonies references...but...we were pretty proud of them, especially "Hey You Geuze!".
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (8) | Country (341) | Brewery (2) | Style (2)
Wednesday, July 20th 2011
Craft Beer in Cans on Airplanes Equals Happier Passengers!
If there was ever a time when it just might be justified to drop $7 or $8 on a good beer it's when you're on a plane. You've put up with a lot just to get yourself planted into that tiny, cramped, little space and now there isn't a whole lot to do for the several hours that lay ahead. At the very least you could relax with a cold, craft beer and try to find some inner peace. Unfortunately, aside from a few that we'll be sure to mention below, domestic airlines in the US don't seem to feel it's all that necessary to provide you with that small bit of luxury.
With the sheer volume of good beer available in cans these days it really is a wonder why so few airlines make an effort to offer their customers better beer choices. Surely they must understand that not everyone is happy with the usual Bud, Miller, Coors options. Here are the select few that deserve some attention for making an effort to provide something decent to their passengers.
Frontier Airlines began offering their passengers New Belgium's Fat Tire this year for $6 a pop. Not bad considering it's only a buck more than the usual suspects. They also offer Blue Moon which I'd consider a good beer when it comes to typical plane offerings.
Hawaiian Airlines has been offering cans of Maui Brewing's Bikini Blonde Lager on their Trans-Pacific flights since 2007. This makes it the first domestic airline to offer canned craft beer in-flight. Mahalo!
Virgin America began offering 21st Amendment's Brew Free! or Die IPA on their flights after the brewery's co-founder, Shaun O'Sullivan, "was onboard a Virgin America flight tweeting about the unique in-flight experience and offered his ale as a potential menu item. As a result of his post and guest requests for a larger onboard beer selection with more micro-brew options, the carrier’s new menu includes both 21st Amendment Brewery’s Brew Free! or Die IPA and Gordon Biersch’s Märzen." It also includes Black Star Double-Hopped Golden Lager. I really, really wish other airlines in this country would listen to their passengers like Virgin America does.
That's it. Well aside from Alaskan/Horizon which offer Alaskan Amber Ale and other craft brews in-flight - just none in cans. Can you believe that? Delta, Continental, US Airways, American Airlines and United all fail to offer any craft beers in-flight. Pretty pathetic if you ask us. Listen to your customers and do a little more to make their experience enjoyable! It's not like we're demanding free beer - although Horizon Airlines does provide complimentary beers on their flights which is pretty much unheard of in this country. Too bad they don't fly to more destinations.
We've decided that the major airlines must be too busy to figure out which craft beers they should offer so we took the guess work out of things for them by putting together some potential pairings based on where their major hubs are located. Enjoy.
US Airways | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you've been on a flight that offered decent beer we'd love to hear about it! We've seen some other folks writing about this as well and think it's really time that we demanded more choice when it comes to beer on domestic flights. Cheers!
Posted by Russ
Tuesday, July 19th 2011
(Ska Brewing Company)
The latest canned release from the folks at Ska. Mexican Logger is just available during the summer months and was previously just a bottled release. You've got to love the artwork on this can, another great addition to an already eye-catching lineup of great looking cans. ¡Salud!
From the Ska site:
"Hard-working refreshment. Some beers work a little harder than others for your enjoyment. Chops down trees all day for it. The pefect Mexican lager. Light and refreshing, it really hits the spot after a long day of brutal chainsaw work."
Here we go...
Pour - light straw-colored in appearance with a bright white head on top that measures about a half an inch. Nice carbonation, clean and clear.
Aroma - grainy, cereal, light malty sweetness, some hints at lemon and some light earthy hop aromas.
Taste - very light on the tongue, this beer almost floats in your mouth. Some light fruit flavors like granny smith apples and pears are evident along with some citrus. Not a whole lot of sweetness, which is nice as that would make this beer heavy. This has some extra pale ale qualities that I quite like and some earthy/spicy hoppiness is present if you let yourself find it. Wow, this is really hitting the spot on a warm summer night.
Overall - Mexican Logger has a tangy zip that is extremely refreshing. I was really impressed by this beer and all of the flavor it had. This is what you want on a hot summer day in the sun - light, crisp and thirst-quenching! Another impressive can from Ska. Cheers!
Would I buy more of it? - I'd love to get some more of these as we're heading into another week of heat and humidity. If you've passed this one up for any reason it's time to go back and grab a six-pack or two.
Note - the Ska site also states, "If you're a closet Pacifico drinker during the warmer weather than seek this one out. It is a far better brew, my friends. Saaz hops are the star in this amazingly delicious lager."
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (61) | Country (341) | Brewery (6) | Style (4)
Tuesday, July 19th 2011
Not Everything Needs to be Canned
Imagine that iconic bottle of Orval replaced with a rather plain looking can. What about those limited release, sour beers that Russian River puts out? Could you imagine cracking open a can of their Beatification? Well, chances are you aren't going to see or do either of those things anytime soon - or likely ever. Bottles and cans are likely to co-mingle on your beer store shelves, in coolers, and at your favorite beer bars for many, many years to come.
With breweries like Sierra Nevada and Bell's announcing plans to can in the coming months and the likes of New Belgium expanding their already existing canning abilities you can certainly imagine that some exclusively bottled beer lovers might be feeling some unnecessary jitters. However, all three breweries mentioned have no plans to stop bottling any of their beers in favor of switching exclusively to cans. Instead they'll be doing what a number of breweries already do, that is using both forms of packaging for their key brands and expanding their marketing options. A combination of bottles and cans from bigger breweries is a smart financial move and other regional brewers, not yet doing so, will likely follow suit - heck, look at what Surly is doing!
With the American beer landscape now filled with more breweries/brewpubs than we've ever had in our nation's short existence (1,759 as of the end of last year) and less than 10% of those choosing to can it's going to be a little while before anyone who might be "aluminophobic" needs to worry. So homebrewers need not hoard those bottles and can-haters need not hate. Cans and bottles both have their place in the craft beer world. Uncorking something fancy from a brewery like Allagash to celebrate a special occasion is important and certain beers, and occasions, deserve such a thing. Nobody is going to argue that. Just like nobody is going to argue that it makes more sense to take cans camping when you've got to pack out what you've packed in. Empty cans weigh a lot less, not to mention they're also much less fragile, than empty bottles.
The benefits of cans are many and need not be repeated here for the umpteenth time but there are benefits to certain types of bottles as well. We are aware of that. For presentation's sake it's hard for a can to possibly match up with a 750 mL corked and caged bottle - no matter what graphics you put on the can. Those beautiful trappist-beer filled bottles are also not going anywhere anytime soon. Tradition is certainly something you don't want to mess with when it comes to Belgian beer. Tradition sells and so do appearances.
So, fear not my bottle-loving friends as the aluminum can is not on a warpath and destroying every bit of glass in it's way. Nope, the can is simply an eco-friendly alternative, and certainly a great companion, to the glass bottle. If you want to drink fresh and local your best option is more than likely a growler or just pulling up a seat at your neighborhood brewery's taproom. But we don't always have those options and let's face it most of us are big fans of trying lots of new things. Lest we digress...
We may be a bit biased here at CraftCans but we're also big fans of beer in general and ultimately we do understand that it comes down to what's inside your can, bottle, growler, or glass that really matters. Cheers! Viva la can!
Posted by Russ
Monday, July 18th 2011
Schlafly Summer Lager
(Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly)
Schlafly first debuted their summer seasonal in aluminum last year. They're canning this brew at Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin as they don't have their own canning line. It's nice to share. Like quite a few other breweries Schlafly is just doing cans in the summer time but who knows where that might lead. Maybe we'll see more of their regular releases in cans in the future.
From the Ska site:
"Our Helles-Style Summer Lager is a bright, golden beer, perfect for summertime. The malts we use impart a wonderful, fresh grain character, reminiscent of European lagers. The German Noble hop, Mittelfrüh, lends a mild lemony, spicy flavor."
Here we go...
Pour - straw-color in appearance with a decent amount of white foam sitting on top of this pour. Plenty of carbonation in this very clean and clear looking lager.
Aroma - grainy, a little sweet, perhaps a bit of lemon zest and some soggy cereal. Also, I can't help but get some subtle hints of smokiness when I really stick my nose into the glass. Hmm...I wonder where that is coming from. I guess we'll find out.
Taste - very light with a very abbreviated finish. That first sip almost dries my mouth out. Nice medium sweetness and certainly a bit of tart and tangy citrus lying there as well. I don't really taste that bit of smokiness I smelled but the malt profile in this is certainly a lot bigger than the color of this beer may lead on. Very well put together summer brew and a nice change-up from the very popular American Pale Wheat Ale-style that seems to crowd the canned summer beer landscape.
Overall - easily approachable, very drinkable and certainly session-able. Stick some of these in a (disc) golf bag, a backpack or a cooler and you're all set.
Would I buy more of it? - I probably would. It's a nice change from all those IPAs I love so much.
Note - a little more about this beer style from the Schlafly site...
"In the mid 19th Century, Gabriel Sedlmayr, of the Spaten Brewery in Germany, took pale ale brewing techniques from Britain and applied them to existing German lagering brewing methods. The resulting light-colored, light-bodied beers became the most widely consumed beers in the world today. The main elements of Sedlmayr’s process are still used today, and depend on a slow acting yeast that ferments at a low temperature while being stored over long periods. The German word “lager” means “to store”. Today, many American craft brewers offer the style as a maltier and hoppier alternative to American light lagers."
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (7) | Country (341) | Brewery (1) | Style (2)
Friday, July 15th 2011
The Art of Can Graphics:
Ten of our Favorite IPA Cans
I've heard it said many times that the look of cans is just a turnoff compared to the beauty of a bottle. While that may certainly be true for some cans and some bottles, we'd like to believe that the 365 degrees of available can design space allows creative graphic artists the ability to do some amazing things. Here are ten of our favorites in no particular order. Cheers!
Posted by Russ
Thursday, July 14th 2011
Johan the Barleywine
(Sun King Brewing Company)
A very special beer in a very special package. Thank you very much to the folks at Sun King for giving us the opportunity to try a beer that means so much to them. We're honored. Johan the Barleywine is a much anticipated and very limited release. Only 700 cans were released and once they are all gone...well, you know that saying. This is likely the world's first canned barleywine and the first of what will likely be many specialty beers to grace the inside of Sun King's specially customizable cans. You can read more below..
From Sun King:
"Named in honor of a dearly departed friend who was instrumental in both Dave and Clay's brewing careers. Johan the Barleywine was the first beer ever brewed at Sun King Brewing Company in July of 2009.
The beer was cellared immediately; half of it was released on tap for the brewery's first anniversary in July 2010 and half of it is being released in cans for the brewery's second anniversary on July 1, 2011. Sun King Brewing Company pioneered the customizable can in early 2011 and Johan is the first barleywine ever to be released in cans. This particular recipe will never be made again."
Here we go...
Pour - dark chestnut in color with good carbonation that leaves an off-white head about a half an inch in thickness. Some lacing and some legs inside the glass, this shows its strength pretty early on.
Aroma - lots of dark fruits, raisins and prunes, some slight booziness that tickles the nose and an endless amount of caramel, burnt sugar and baked apples. Perhaps a bit of sherry and rum cake as well along with what most surely is a ton of malt going into this brew. This one is a sipper and the smell alone will tell you that.
Taste - brown sugar, dried dark fruits, molasses with some alcohol heat on the tongue. Very smooth with loads of sweet flavors all melding together. Lots of layers unfolding as this one warms a bit. Toffee and caramel along with baked apples hit the palate and despite the strength this is very clean and crisp and soft on the tongue all at the same time. A very satisfying barleywine that certainly hits all the marks for the style and has my head, tongue and stomach all happy too. The folks at Sun King should be proud.
Overall - at 2 years of age Johan the Barleywine is certainly showing it's complexity and smoothness. This was certainly a sipper and definitely a soul-warmer. Cheers to 2 years of great beers and many more to come!
Would I buy more of it? - a moot point. If possible I surely would.
Note - an English Barleywine, compared to an American Barleywine, "places less emphasis on hop character than the American Barleywine and features English hops. English versions can be darker, maltier, fruitier, and feature richer specialty malt flavors than American Barleywines." - bjcp.com
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (17) | Country (341) | Brewery (9) | Style (1)
Tuesday, July 12th 2011
Hop Slayer Double IPA
(Wild Onion Brewing Company)
I'm just going to start by saying that I absolutely love the label on this can - as well as the others from this brewery. I've already written to the brewery telling them that it would be best if it ends up on a t-shirt very soon.
Hop Slayer is one of the newest canned offerings from Wild Onion and is one of ten (soon to be twelve) Double/Imperial IPAs currently being canned in the US. We're looking forward to cracking this open and enjoying the ride!
From the Wild Onion Brewing site:
"Hops are the story here and the story is BIG! Five different varieties were used in very deliberate ways. Bitterness hits you up front and then the citrus character follows along with slight earthiness. Malt was not forgotten to balance this beast with just the right amount of sweetness. Enjoy, but enjoy responsibly as to not get slayed!"
Here we go...
Pour - dark orange with some red and brown highlights thrown in. The inch or so of foam is starting to leave some streaks of lacing inside the glass. This looks slightly hazy and a little ominous...I like where this is headed.
Aroma - a big blast of tropical fruits, grapefruit and a pineapple hit me right between the eyes. As soon as I get near this glass it's like someone is shoving my face in a bag of hops.
Taste - chewy, resiny with plenty of hop bitterness hitting the tip of the tongue and balanced very nicely by lots of tropical fruit sweetness. It has some astringency from all those little green fellas. Not overly cloying and certainly not too hoppy. It leaves my tongue coated with alpha acids (well, probably not literally) and give me a nice warm feeling inside - like I want to go hug a big hop-shaped pillow.
Overall - Want a big IBU-laden and hops-infested IPA? Here ya go! Hop Slayer should provide what many-a-hophead craves - that being lots of hop bitterness with a malty backbone to keep everything in check. You don't want those little green bastards getting out of control and ruining things for your palate. It's nice to be able to say that I love the label on this can and definitely enjoyed what graced the inside of it as well.
Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. I wouldn't mind having some of these chilling in the fridge at all times, just in case. This is a beer that I don't mind drinking a little on the cold side despite the high alcohol. Something about a nice, cold, strong IPA works wonders on a warm evening.
Note - Wild Onion Brewing is now canning five different brews! They're also going down in the craft can record books for being the first American brewery to can a pumpkin ale! Below is a close-up of one of our favorite labels ever to grace a can of beer! The artist's name is Tim Hooker by the way and he's done the other labels for Wild Onion as well.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (13) | Country (341) | Brewery (3) | Style (18)
Labels: American IPAs
Monday, July 11th 2011
Philly's Percy Street Barbecue:
A Craft Can Lover's Dream!
We've been sort of pondering which establishment in the US has the most cans of craft beer available for a little while now. Last week we got an email from Aric Ferrell, Manager of Percy Street Barbecue in Philadelphia, which we're pretty sure answered our question. Percy Street Barbecue in Philly is a (canned) craft beer lovers dream. With an absolutely astounding amount of cans on offer, not to mention some damn fine BBQ to go with them, this is definitely our kind of place. We wanted to get the inside scoop on this amazing beer destination so we posed some questions to Aric about the place he's lucky enough to manage. He was kind enough to answer them and to send along some thirst inspiring photos as well. Cheers Aric! We hope to visit you soon...
(CC) Can you give us some background on Percy Street Barbecue?
(AF) We opened in November of 2009, as a Texas-inspired full service barbecue restaurant. You’d be hard pressed to find a Barbecue restaurant like Percy Street Barbecue in Texas hill country, but we wanted to give Philly a full-service restaurant with great food, service, beer and whiskey. The atmosphere is loud, fun, and the food is the perfect complement to any great craft beer.
(CC) How many cans of craft beer do you guys offer?
(AF) In addition to 5 rotating drafts we exclusively offer all other beers in can format, and currently boast a list of 60+ domestic craft cans (Red Racer made the ‘domestic list’- its Canada its close enough- not to mention it is an incredible product). This number does fluctuate due to seasonality. We will continue to add more cans as they become available.
(CC) Why so many?
(AF) It really just comes down to ‘Choice’. I think that each guest has different taste when it comes to beer. Having so many cans means numerous styles of beer, and helps inform our guests that there are so many awesome beers in cans; and that they are just as good, if not better, than the ones they enjoy in different formats.
(CC) What is the customer reaction to such an extensive canned beer list?
(AF) Many of our guests have never heard the breweries or beers that are offered in cans. We have to be very proactive in educating our staff. They have to ask the right questions in order to pair a beer to satisfy a guest’s preferences. Once we get people comfortable with the idea of craft beer in a can, we get a lot of glowing reviews and feedback on our extensive list.
(CC) Are cans served with glassware? Do a lot of people drink straight from the can?
(AF) Yes we do offer glassware with the cans. I would say that the “straight from the can” demographic is fairly high- maybe as high as 50%. We do sell Koozys for those that prefer it “straight from the can”. I find myself preferring some of our beers straight from the can (e.g. Lancaster Kolsch and Dale's Pale Ale).
(CC) Do you still hear people saying negative things about canned beer? Is the stigma still alive and well?
(AF) Yes (as you probably could have guessed) - I used to take offense to it, especially when guests turn their nose up after we’ve explained all of the positives of canning. My favorite is when they refuse to drink a canned beer just to turn around and order a draft. I have to assume that some people have never seen a keg before (I have lifted a few Kegs; they are one heavy can).
Even some my beer representatives scratched their heads when we first started our can program. They all got it pretty quickly- if it wasn’t in a can; it wasn’t going to be sold at Percy Street Barbecue.
I do feel that negative connotations associated with canned beer are changing for the positive, and at a rapid speed. Percy Street Barbecue is doing our part to help the effort.
(CC) What are some of the more popular canned beers ordered at Percy Street?
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
(CC) What canned beer events do you have at Percy Street? I saw you were doing an event with Oskar Blues soon.
(AF) We did have a Canned Beer dinner with Oskar Blues during Philly Beer Week. We had a five course tasting menu paired with five different Oskar Blues Cans. The guys from Oskar Blues joined us and walked around the dining room educating the guest on the beers. We don’t have any events scheduled for the immediate future….but we will certainly keep you guys posted.
We are currently planning to roll-out a 6 pack program at Percy Street. This will allow our guests to choose a mix-and-match six-pack of their choice, and save a few bucks along the way. The way we see it, the more variety of high quality canned beers our guests are exposed to, the faster craft canning will gain wider acceptance.
(CC) BBQ and Beer - does it get any better than that?
(AF) No, I really can’t think of any cuisine more conducive to beer than BBQ. It’s a no brainer.
(CC) Why is Philly such an awesome beer city?
(AF) After growing up in the area and returning after a living in a few other east coast cities, I can attest to Philadelphia being an awesome beer city. By chance, we have a few west coast employees who have also commented on the average Philadelphian’s beer knowledge. People have been drinking beer here forever, and as of the last 15 years the local brewing scene has helped fuel informed drinkers. Let’s hope more local breweries start canning.
Philly’s craft can scene is still in its infancy, I am excited to see what the next few years bring to Philly in way of craft cans.
Posted by Russ
Labels: Craft Can Destinations
Thursday, July 7th 2011
Great Crescent Belgian Style Wit
(Great Crescent Brewery)
We finally got our hands on some Great Crescent cans! Thanks to a very generous beer lover that was able to hook us up with a nice variety pack of their beers! Great Crescent is special in the canned beer world as they're not only canning some amazing beers but they're also utilizing a can that was graphically designed for anything they can possibly put in it - just stick a label on it and there you go!
From the Great Crescent site:
"Great Crescent Witbier is refreshingly crisp wheat-based ale with a slightly dry, tart finish. It has moderate sweetness with spicy aroma’s and a hint of coriander and citrus. This beer is very light in color with a dense, white head and some cloudiness from a special yeast strain.
This beer style has been around for over 400 years and originated in Belgium. The style died out about 60 years ago and has gained favor by many beer drinkers over the past 10-15 years.."
Here we go...
Pour - cloudy, pale orangish-yellow in appearance with a half inch or so of stark white head. Suspended bubbles and a glowing opaqueness make this a very nice beer to behold. A bit of a mystery that draws one in...
Aroma - spicy, sweet, pears, green apple, soap, lilac and some cloves. Very aromatic and just about worthy of an incense of perfume. Love the way this beer smells.
Taste - immediately this is soft on the palate with subtle fruit flavors like pears, apples, melon and grapes along with a bit of spiciness from the coriander. This definitely has a subdued clove flavor and a nice, mellow sweetness. Nothing overpowering whatsoever, just a very easy drinking and very refreshing beer.
Overall - considering this is a style without much to hide behind we really enjoyed this and freshness and quality is top notch. Not knowing much about Great Crescent I'd say we're off to a very good start and those other beers in the fridge don't have much time left...
Would I buy more of it? - yes. Excellent beer with lots of great flavors and perfect for a warm summer night - like this one! Cheers!
Availability - May - September
Note - Great Crescent is one of three breweries in the country can their beers in a multi-style can. What this means is that they stick a label on a generic can denoting the style and thus they're able to use the same can for multiple styles - including the country's first, and only, canned bourbon barrel-aged stout. The other breweries are Sun King Brewing Company (IN) and Dolores River Brewery (CO). Cheers!
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (17) | Country (341) | Brewery (7) | Style (7)
Thursday, July 7th 2011
New Belgium Brewing Announces
Can Line Expansion
Ft. Collins, CO – July 7, 2011 - New Belgium Brewing is pleased to announce it is breaking ground on a 16,000 sq. foot can line addition to its bottling hall. The new system, manufactured by KHS, will increase New Belgium’s canning volume capacity six fold.
“Cans have been a great addition to the packaging portfolio for us,” said New Belgium spokesperson, Bryan Simpson. “We first introduced Fat Tire cans in 2008 and we’ve since added Sunshine Wheat and Ranger IPA. Sales have been ahead of projection and we’re fortunate to be able to accommodate demand.”
New Belgium’s current can line features a 9-head filler with a capacity of 60 cans per minute while the new system will feature a 40-head filler capable of filling 360 cans per minute. The system can package both 12-oz and 16-oz cans.
The addition itself will be constructed just east of New Belgium’s current bottling facility on the brewery’s fifty-acre campus in Fort Collins, CO. The building process should run through the end of the year with first beer off the line some time in January. Neenan Company of Fort Collins is contracted for construction.
We wanted to know more about this move from New Belgium and what it means as far as future canned offerings go and canned beer output by the brewery. Thanks to Brian Simpson from New Belgium for being so quick to answer our questions! Cheers!
(CC) Was this a move brought on by demand or one that was made based on where the market is going?
(BS) Demand. We were somewhat optimistic going in but demand has exceeded our expectation right out the gate.
(CC) What does this new canning line mean as far as canned beer output from New Belgium?
(BS) Volume-wise we can potentially produce six times the volume we could on our current system but that is likely a ways out. Our hope is to double can production in the next couple years.
(CC) Does this mean a lot more cans of Ranger IPA hitting shelves (we truly hope so)?
(BS) I think it's safe to say all currently canned brands (Fat Tire, Ranger and Sunshine Wheat) will all increase in volume.
(CC) We saw that the new canning line can accommodate both 12- and 16 oz cans, any thoughts on whether New Belgium might put some beers in pint cans?
(BS) That'd be fun wouldn't it? ;^) Can't imagine we'd resist that opportunity.
(CC) Will we see some new offerings in cans from New Belgium once this canning line is up and running?
(BS) We're definitely looking at existing brands and potential new brands for a good fit and given the fact that we like to experiment and play around I think that's almost a definite.
About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces eight year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Ranger IPA, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey, Mothership Wit and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit www.newbelgium.com.
For further information, please contact:
Bryan Simpson, 970-494-2698
Posted by Russ
Labels: Press Releases
Wednesday, July 6th 2011
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)
A very much anticipated canned release from Sixpoint. Their not so little kitty is now available in a can. How sweet it is. This will be the last of the four current Sixpoint cans that we're reviewing as it was the hardest to get our hands on - we're guessing people are loving this stuff and it's flying off the shelves!
From the Sixpoint site:
"The Bengali Tiger entices you with an aroma of citrus, pine and spice and unleashes a wave of bitterness upfront. Yet it strides forward at a steady pace, smooth as a tiger's gait, and finishes balanced.
Notice the lacing of stripes around the glass as you finish your pint - it's the mark of the Bengali Tiger."
Here we go...
Pour - dark auburn with some brilliant red and orange highlights. A nice half inch of thick white foam cover the top of the pour and the streaking lacing begins to take hold.
Aroma - pineapple, mango, lemon zest along with caramel and honey. Not an "in your face" hoppiness, it's much more subtle yet very much predominant.
Taste - light pine, pineapple, lemon rind along with brown sugar and honey. The more I drink this the more the taste grows on me. At first this is a very balanced, almost malt forward beer but then the hops come marching in and "bam" you are struck with a citrusy, tangy tongue ringing. This is an IPA that needs to be taken at more than face value. It has some depth and kitty has some claws.
Overall - definitely a delicious IPA. This is not an over the top, crazy hoppy, extremely piney and grapefruity example of the style to so be forewarned. This is balanced with a reasonable amount of hops but oh so much more. Give this beer a chance and you, and you're palate, will be quite happy you did.
Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. It would be sweet if they put out a four-pack with one of each of their four currently canned offerings. Until then I'll keep picking up four-packs of each one individually - they're all that good.
Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner), Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (22) | Country (341) | Brewery (8) | Style (52)
Wednesday, July 6th 2011
CANFEST 2011 Blogger Contest Announced - Win a trip to CANFEST!
Last year the good folks at Buckbean Brewing Company offered beer bloggers the chance to win a trip to Reno to attend the 2nd Annual CANFEST. This year they're again offering that same opportunity so beer bloggers start your blogging...below is the post put Buckbean's site.
CANFEST 2011 Blogger Contest Announcement!
Annnnnnnnnnd we’re back! CANFEST returns for its 3rd year of bringing all that delicious beer you find in a can to the masses. This time we’re aiming for the stars- we’ve got a new venue in downtown Reno, we’re expanding to a beer dinner awards ceremony on top of the CANFEST extravaganza, and of course, we’re going to once again make one beer blogger very happy with a trip to Reno to drink canned beer with us!
Last year we had the honor of bringing out Josh from Lost in the Beer Aisle. He was pretty rad.
Because of how great the response and experience was regarding the contest, we’re going to re-vamp it and present the same offer to beer bloggers in 2k11!
So here’s the deal:
From July 1st - September 15th, we’re offering those with an established beer blog (meaning you didn’t build a blog simply to participate in this contest) an opportunity to write one blog post, centered on why they deserve to come to CANFEST. We are very partial to creativity and humor. Once your blog post is live, send the link back to my firstname.lastname@example.org email with an appropriate subject line.
Once we’ve got the compiled list of blog posts, we will host each link on a protected online survey, open it for votes, and pick a winner based on votes. The winner will be flown to Reno for the weekend and have the opportunity to attend all of CANFEST’s festivities. We will put you up for Friday and Saturday night, give you a complimentary ticket to the beer dinner and CANFEST event, and grace you with our presence of awesomeness.
So now you’ve got the details- on your mark, get set, GO!
Cheers and happy writing!
For more about CANFEST 2011 click below
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Beer Events and Fests
Monday, July 4th 2011
Epicenter Amber Ale
(SanTan Brewing Company)
Since we're still pretty bummed that we missed out on SanTan's first AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival held last month in the brewery's hometown of Chandler, Arizona we felt it best to pull this can out of the fridge and raise a toast. Here's to an even bigger and better event next year and hoping that we'll be able to attend! Cheers!
From the SanTan Brewing site:
"An American Amber Ale. Epicenter Amber received a Bronze Medal at Reno Canfest, and an 89 Rating in 2011 DRAFT Magazine. A deep copper amber hue with a firm, toasted malt character, lightly sweet with a crisp dry finish. Epicenter has become a gateway ale for novice Craft Beer drinkers. The light, approachable taste is quenching and appealing to new and long term Craft lovers alike."
Here we go...
Pour - dark amber in appearance with some red and orangish hues and a thin wispy head that dissipates rather quickly.
Aroma - lots of caramel, honey, stewed grains and bran cereal along with toasted brown bread, caramel and apple butter. Plenty of aromas pulling you in to this sweet smelling, toasty brew. Everything seems to be in place for this beer to be pretty tasty and easy drinking. Time to dive in.
Taste - right away this hits the tongue light, sweet, malty and toasty. A lot of those aromas play out similarly on the tongue. Definitely the caramel, molasses and honey flavors that tend to come with the style as well as some nice roasted malt flavors. Not too sweet, not all that hoppy and like SanTan's own description states, the, "light, approachable taste is quenching and appealing to new and long term Craft lovers alike." I don't think we could have said it any better.
Overall - solid amber ale. This is a style that has become a staple at brewpubs in this country and even the most novice beer drinker has some expectations of it. SanTan has done well with this brew, it hits all the marks and is satisfying even to the most seasoned beer drinker.
Would I buy more of it? - I believe they do a mixed-pack, right? We're pretty sure if we dumped a bunch of cans of SanTan's brews in a cooler we wouldn't be disappointed with anything we pulled out.
Note - SanTan Brewing also cans and their HefeWeizen Wheat, Devil's Ale and Hop Shock IPA.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (10) | Country (341) | Brewery (6) | Style (25)
Labels: American Amber/Red Ales
Friday, July 1st 2011
World's Most CANtastic Car!
The "24 Hours of Lemons" races are endurance circuit races unlike most others. The goal is to get in as many laps in 24 hours but you have to do it in a vehicle that costs you less than $500 - and that includes the purchase of said vehicle and all maintenance. With those things in mind you can imagine that some of the cars are going to be pretty interesting. The one above certainly caught our eye when Kirk Thibault sent us some pictures. He and some friends entered number 143 in the 24 Hour of Lemons race in Summit Point, West Virginia a few weeks ago. They didn't win the race but they did win some fans here at CraftCans. We wanted to know more about the car they built and the team that built it so we asked Kirk some questions and he was nice enough to answer them. Cheers!
(CC) What can you tell us about the car we're looking at?
(KT) It's a 1992 BMW E36 (325i). We built up the vehicle after purchasing it on Craigslist from a guy who ran it into a telephone pole. After affecting repairs and replacing bits and pieces we made the appliqué of the beer cans in two nights. The idea was the brainchild of our team mate and fellow beer lover Peter Reed and most of the beer drinking credit goes to team mate Pete Hartkorn for sure.
(CC) Any idea how many cans were used?
(KT) I'm not sure of the number of cans used, and i think we went through a little over 2000 self-tapping tek screws.
(CC) How were the cans applied to the vehicle?
(KT) We first cut the tops and bottoms off of the cans using a custom jig and a sawzall. Then we used shears to slice the resulting cylinder along its length so the can became a flat sheet of aluminum. Once we made those rough cuts, we used a rotary paper cutter to trim the four edges square and neat and sorted the cans by color.
To apply the cans, we sprayed contact cement on the vehicle body and applied the cans in columns, starting from the rear of the particular body panel and working forward so that overlap of the cans would not be pulled up by the airflow over the vehicle. We tried to come up with fancy designs like stripes and that kind of thing but, several beers later, we went with a rather haphazard motley arrangement that ended up working out. The one design element that took some planning was the lemon on the engine cover. To go with the team name (Valsalva Motorsport) we used a Victory tap (for the "V") and covered the central label with a lemon as the gear shift lever.
(CC) Who makes up the Valsalva Motorsport team?
(KT) Pete Hartkorn, Kent Larson, Peter Reed and Kirk Thibault
(CC) Where did the cans come from?
(KT) In addition to the brews we drank, a local bar, MOMS in Doylestown, PA, that sells craft cans collected boxes of empties for us over a period of a couple months.
(CC) What can you tell us about that awesome license plate?
(KT) Google images "West Virginia license plate". We photoshopped out the actual alphanumeric characters and laid in our own, with the lemon logo. Color inkjet print spray mounted to aluminum plate. We will have a new one for the upcoming Connecticut race.
(CC) Were there any other interesting cars at the race?
(KT) Other than the Miller High Life Porsche, I did not notice any other beer themed cars. Though the spirit of creative obscurity is strong in the 24 Hours of Lemons.
(CC) What was the top speed you guys reached with the car?
(KT) The front straight at Summit Point, Shenandoah Course, saw us at about 110-120 mph.
(CC) When you're not behind the wheel, what canned craft beers does the Valsalva Motorsport team enjoy?
(KT) I celebrate Oskar Blues' entire catalog.
(PR) Recently I have been on a West Coat IPA kick. But at sometime along our journey, I have tried every beer on our car.
Posted by Russ
Labels: Craft Can Car
Friday, July 1st 2011
(21st Amendment Brewery)
Everything about this beer seems to be raising the bar just a bit when it comes to canned craft beer. High IBUs, high ABV, lots of hop varieties, aged on oak spirals and all that in one hell of a package design. This used to be a draught only brew and a one time gold medal winner. It was actually scaled down a bit for the canned offering. Jeez! Definitely a beer worthy of nice glassware and some time to sit and contemplate just what it is that you're consuming. Cheers!
From the 21st Amendment site:
"Shaun and Nico have to break out of Alcatraz. And fast. The Hop Syndicate is hoarding hops, depriving the people of their right to hoppy, aromatic beer. Join Shaun and Nico on their adventure to Free the Hops! First, they plan a daring escape through the sewer pipe, then they surf monster waves on ironing boards, and finally they attempt a high speed cable car getaway.
Here we go...
Pour - rather viscous and golden in color with a rather thin, wispy head. This has some legs running down the inside of the glass. You can see that this has some strength behind it.
Aroma - lemon cream, it's like someone mixed citrus and vanilla together with some faint resiny hints. A little boozy with some astringent aromas. Candied orange peel, cotton candy and simple sugar.
Taste - sweet, citrusy, astringent and bitter. This has some potency and a sh*t ton of hops to boot. The oak spirals impart some vanilla flavors as well as some possible smoothness to this strong brew. What really stands out in this brew is the balance, yeah, its sweet and yes it's hoppy but those two are fairly equal. The strong hop flavor lends to an astringent bitterness that I kind of like. There is plenty of sweetness behind it all. Certainly warming and a sipper that gets better as it settles and breathes. The sweet, tingly bitterness this leaves on the back of your tongue after every sip should leave a lot of people happy - or maybe that's just the fact that this beer is almost 10% alcohol!
Overall - Why oak spirals in a big IPA? Why not. This is a first in the canned craft world. So far it's really only been 21st Amendment that has done anything with wood and then canned it (with the exception of Great Crescent's recently canned Bourbon Barrel Stout). I really enjoyed this beer. Sure, it's sweet but there is a lot of other things going on if you give it some time and let your taste buds explore without getting too overwhelmed.
Would I buy more of it? - sure. Although a four-pack will probably last awhile as it is.
Note - oak "spirals are used in brewing as they provide more surface area for the beer to come in contact with. While it's not the same as barrel-aging it does provide a lot of the flavor associated with the wood - vanilla being the primary one.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (30) | Country (341) | Brewery (10) | Style (18)