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Friday, March 30th 2012

(New Belgium Brewing Company)

Shift is the fourth canned offering from this booming Colorado brewery and is the first New Belgium beer in pint cans to roll down their new multi-million dollar canning line since its installation in early 2012. With 40 heads and a filling capacity reportedly around 360 cans per minute, this behemoth is ready to start putting significantly more cans of great brews in our fridges and coolers this summer.

A special shout-out must go to our friend and fellow beerhound Bobby T for using his boyish looks and charming disposition to sweet-talk a Fort Collins local into giving him a can of this for us to review before its official release. Cheers!

From New Belgium:

"Shift Pale Lager features the newly developed Nelson Sauvin hop, which brings forth elements of citrus and soft fruit alongside specialty malts and lager yeast. Easy to drink, crisp and congratulatory, Shift is ready for a responsible session in the backyard and beyond.

Here we go...

Pour - deep gold and a noticeably viscous pour.  Bone-white and very sturdy head sits on top as though it were challenging us break through and sample what lies beneath.

Aroma - earthy, slightly fruity, and light floral scent that seems to be unique to this hop variety.  The distinct hop aroma blends in nicely with what looks and smells like a good-sized malt bill for a pale lager.    

Taste - round, medium-bodied, and that all-important “not fizzy” mouthfeel that we like in our craft lagers.  A clean start followed by a semi-sour mango middle before finishing with a nice little zip of bitter hoppiness.  Some light sourness sticks around for a pleasant aftertaste.   

Overall - a smooth, easy drinking craft lager that is unlike any other we’ve tried in a can. At 5% abv it is definitely a good option for sessions – even in its 16-ounce format – and we think it would make a great lager to have in hand when firing up the grill this summer or just hanging out on the back deck with friends.

Note - the Nelson Sauvin (Nelson) hop variety has its origins in New Zealand and has recently started gaining favor with many craft breweries, including Brewdog who use it in their Punk IPA.  New Belgium also uses Nelson in combination with Sorachi Ace hops in their spring seasonal ale Dig, which we hope will be available in cans next year. With a canning line capable of filling 21,600 cans per hour, we like our chances!



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: American Pale Lager
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Nelson Sauvin
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 30th, 2012

Posted by Trent

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Tuesday, March 27th 2012

(Brewery Vivant)


Kludde (pronounced “clued”) is the fourth canned offering from Brewery Vivant and the first to utilize their “Brewer’s Reserve” blank can with a unique adhesive label. Based on what we learned during our Q & A with Jason Spaulding – Owner of Brewery Vivant, this is just the first of many upcoming special, limited releases from this brewery. Cheers!


From the Brewery Vivant site:

"Belgian folklore’s water spirit who roams the Flemish countryside in the form of a monstrous black dog… This monstrous ale is made with green raisins, star anise and dark Belgian candi sugar.  Notes of dried plum, fig and chocolate mingle with the complexity of our two house yeast strains."


Here we go...


Pour - deep, black cherry colored in our can glass.  A ring of ruby shows around the top when the light strikes it just right.  A thin, loose head holds for just a few moments before receding.  Just a few spots of wet lacing survived the duration of our taste test.

Aroma - big and bold aromas in the Kludde – tart, soured dark fruit stand out with some traces of licorice and sweet grape juice.

Taste - they say aroma plays the major role in what we taste, and this strong dark Belgian proves this theory. The sharp, bright and distinct tang of green raisins is prevalent when this ale is cold. The flavors begin to meld as it warms and the candi sugar sweetness combines with the dried grapes to make this a very different tasting beer than when we started. As we neared the bottom of the glass a rich, light chocolate and licorice flavor emerged to linger on our palates for an aftertaste. At 8.5% we would not have been surprised to find some hints of alcohol but we found it to be very well hidden.   


Overall - a beer as big, bold, and intimidating as its namesake.  This is not one for the faint of heart. Timid beer drinkers may find it overwhelming and confusing, while the adventurous and open-minded will give this ale its due respect and, in accordance with the legend of Kludde, stay in the safety of the tavern to have another.  

Note - The alternative label on the Kludde can is shaped liked Brewery Vivant’s logo, and is so well integrated into the design that we didn’t immediately notice that it wasn’t a fully painted can.  Check out our article on alternative labeling to learn more about Kludde and other cans with stickers and shrink wraps.


Monk Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Winter Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 27th, 2012

Posted by Trent

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Saturday, March 24th 2012

Saranac Pale Ale
(Saranac Brewing Company)

Saranac's flagship Pale Ale first appeared in cans a couple years back. They've since added 16 oz. pints cans as well. One of many, many styles/brands that the upstate New York brewery packages, but one of only a handful that makes it into cans. 

From the Saranac site:

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

Here we go...

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


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


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


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


Note - Saranac will soon be releasing their Saranac White IPA in cans. This was a great beer on draft and should do well in cans. This summer look for their Pale Ale, White IPA and Summer Ale all in cans. Cheers!



Saranac Pale Ale ~ 12 oz.
Style: English Pale Ale
Brewery: Saranac Brewing Company
Utica, New York  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Crystal English Pale Ale
Hops: Cascade, East Kent Golden
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 24th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Pale Ales

Monday, March 19th 2012

Narragansett Cream Ale
(Narragansett Brewing Company)


Last fall, Narragansett held a fan vote to decide which style would be the newest addition to their year-round lineup. The contest was between a Cream Ale and a Rye Ale. Obviously the Cream Ale won which is why we're holding a can right now. This is the brewery's third year round-round release, joining their Lager and Light Lager. We were in touch with Haley Rose, who does PR for Narragansett, about the imagery on the can (below). She let us know that "the building is the Rhode Island state house. The building's inclusion is meant to show the connection to RI, and the beer wagon pays homage to the days when Cream Ale was flowing strong and steady in the 60s, 70s." Cheers Haley!


Rhode Island's state house and a beer wagon are featured on the can

From the Narragansett site:

"This is the perfect lawn-mower beer. Our cream ale was brewed with an ale yeast and lagered at 38 degrees for a clean, crisp finish.  This beer is clean, flavorful, light, and crisp, making it a real thirst quencher. It’s an ode to beers of a forgotten age, when things were just a bit slower…and some would say a little bit better. You’ll really enjoy the supreme drinkability of this beer, whether you’re mowing the lawn or mowing down duckpins at the local lanes."

Here we go...

Pour - lighter golden with plenty of bubble action forming a nice white foamy head which leaves some finely formed lacing. Clean and clear with some very solid carbonation.


Aroma - steeped grains, cereal, honeycomb and slight hints of citrus. Some notes of bread dough and ripe apples. 

Taste - light on the tongue, effervescent, slightly sweet with a grainy tanginess, hints of lemon zest with a creamy finish. Its not a lager and its not an amber ale. Its not hoppy and its not too malty. It fits in somewhere between and makes for a very middle ground brew to stock the cooler for any backyard get together or group camping trip.  


Overall - very refreshing and definitely a great option on those upcoming warm days outside relaxing or for sips during yardwork. Easy drinking, crisp and tasty. Looking forward to having these as an option all summer...and beyond.


Note - 'Gansett's Cream Ale may be a new release for the new era of the brewery but it is not the first time that a Narragansett Cream Ale has been on the market.

According to the folks at Narransett Brewing Company:

"Gansett Cream was a staple of the Narragansett Brewery’s portfolio throughout the 1960′s and 1970′s. In the white can with the green trim, it was a refreshing alternative to the more widely heralded ‘Gansett Lager and Porter throughout New England. The earlier Narragansett Cream Ale was lighter and had much less hop character than our current cream ale, as was the taste at the time. Still, it was a popular seller for ‘Gansett and that white can was just as fitting a reward at the end of a hard day of yard work as the royal blue can is today."


Narragansett Cream Ale
Style: Cream Ale
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
Providence, Rhode Island  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-row pale, Munich, Vienna, and Cara malts
Hops: Columbus (bittering), Willamette (aroma)
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 22
Date: March 19th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Monday, March 19th 2012

We Tip our Hats to The Can Hattery
Q & A with Matt Newport

Need a unique hat that shows your love for your favorite brand of canned craft beer? The Can Hattery has you covered! With a bunch of yarn and a few empty craft beer cans you could have a wearable work of art! Matt, the Can Hatter, has been making this one-of-a-kind headwear for over a decade and was kind enough to not only make us a couple of hats but also to answer some questions about the craft he has honed over the years. Cheers Matt!

(CC) Who are you? Where are you from? Where do you call home?

(MN) I'm Matt Newport from beautiful Tacoma, Washington. I've lived here for most of my life and may never leave. It doesn't rain as much as you've been told and the fresh hop beers are amazing.

a throwback 21st Amendment Brew Free! or Die IPA bucket hat

(CC) So, when did you start making these can hats? Who taught you this craft?

(MN) As a teenager I found a few hats in my grandmother's attic, this was in the mid-90's. One neon green hat with High Life cans and another yellow hat with Olympia cans. They were hideously cool. She had made both hats some 20 years prior. I asked her to make me one of my own, but instead she taught me to crochet and walked me through the pattern.


Avery White Rascal hat

(CC) What was the first can you used?

(MN) Believe it or not, I was a teetotaler until after I was 21, so I always had to get my parents to buy the cans I wanted to use. One of the first hats used limited edition Budweiser Olympic cans that featured a different sport on each can. A friend wanted a hat with just the soccer player labels, so my mom picked through the six packs so she only had to buy those 6 cans.

(CC) How many different styles do you make?

(MN) I currently make three styles: the standard 'bucket' style with 12 or 16 oz cans, a top hat that requires tall cans, and the occasional fez. I've made a few baseball caps, but the fit isn't as universal, so those tend to be one-offs.

a few of Matt's craft beer can creations

(CC) Do you tend to use craft beer cans?

(MN) Yes. A friend from Colorado turned me on to Dale's Pale Ale years ago, but when 7 Seas Brewing opened near me in 2008 (the first craft can brewery in Washington), I finally realized that the can hat craft needed to make a come-back, too. Nine friends and I went to GABF in 2010, all wearing craft can hats, and received a ton of interest from breweries and festival goers.


the iconic Dale's Pale Ale can makes for a great looking hat

(CC) How long does it take you to make one of these hats?

(MN) It takes about 3 hours, but I rarely make a complete hat in one sitting. I'm a homemaker and a dad first, so my free time doesn't usually come in big blocks.

(CC) Where can people get one of your hats?

(MN) The Can Hatter ETSY store is the place to find hats in stock. Most of the these hats feature labels from breweries in the Western US. (You can also follow Matt on Twitter @thecanhattery)

our custom built New England Brewing Company Gandhi-Bot fez!


(CC) Do you do custom orders?

(MN) Yes! I like to work out the details via email (matt.newport@gmail.com), but basically you send me six empty cans and a color preference and I send you a one-of-a-kind can hat. (I can guarantee that is the ONLY Ghandi-Bot Fez!) Pricing for custom hats is the same as stock hats from my Etsy store, so it's a good way to go if you have some extra time and want something truly unique.

We'll be giving away this IPA-themed hat soon!

(CC) Was ours the first ever IPA-themed hat you've made?

(MN) I've made well over 100 hats, but your IPA hat was actually the first multi-brewery hat I've ever made. It was really cool to see cans from all over the country. The concept was great: "Make it look like a hop!" Get creative!

(CC) What are you working on now?

(MN) I have a few orders from breweries, which will give me a chance to work with some new labels. I'll be using local sports team colors for one of these projects. I'm also working on a set of digital patterns so that folks can make their own hats.

yep, a GUBNA fez!

(CC) Any ideas for new designs or shapes?

(MN) I'm working on a cycling cap style that uses tall boys, which I hope to have ready before cyclocross season this fall. (I'm really just a bike nerd that loves good beer.)

(CC) What are some of your favorite canned craft beers to enjoy while making these hats?

(MN) I tend to go with session ales: British Pale from 7 Seas, Trailhead ISA from Two Beers, and Bitter American from 21st Amendment. Go local!

New Belgium Fat Tire hat from above


Posted by Russ

Saturday, March 17th 2012

Upslope Foreign Style Stout
(Upslope Brewing Company)

St. Patrick's Day is a great day to enjoy a stout and this is certainly one that we've been looking forward to enjoying for quite some time now. Uplsope's Foreign Style Stout is their first limited release canned offering and the black can is a great contrast to their natural aluminum lineup - not to mention a very fitting vessel for dark as night stout. 

From the Upslope Brewing site:

“We’ve always wanted to can one of the specialty beers that we brew as a limited release, and finally have built the capacity to do so. Our Foreign Style Stout has been a tap room favorite since it was originally brewed as our first anniversary beer two years ago. With only 200 barrels of this beer being brewed in January and February, it truly deserves its ‘limited release’ status“.

Sometimes called an export stout, our take on a traditional Irish style is roasty but corduroy smooth and well-balanced both in malt character and hop bitterness."

Upslope keeps it simple...

Here we go...


Pour - inky black in appearance with low carbonation and little head on top. Slightly viscous as it pours, you know this has a bit of weight behind it. 

Aroma - lots of roasted barley notes along with cocoa powder, French roast coffee, molasses, Tootsie Rolls with hints of toasted brown bread. 


Taste - Loads of bold malt flavors come pouring on to the palate, bitter roasty flavors along with some sweet dark chocolate and espresso notes. The finish is bitter with hints of citrus tang and a long lasting roasted malt flavor. Roasty, toasty and delicious. 


Overall - a great example of this style. Upslope's Foreign Style Stout packs a bitter, dark roasted malt punch with hints of sweetness. A very nice debut for their canned limited release lineup. We look forward to what comes next.


Note - Foreign or Export style stouts differ from regular stouts by historically having a higher alcohol content and perhaps have a larger quantity of hops used in the brewing process. The style is very popular in places like Jamaica and Nigeria and in other warm climates (that you may not associate with stout drinking).

American craft brewers currently can only two versions of this style. Upslope Brewing's Foreign Style Stout and Southern Star Brewing's Buried Hatchet Stout. 


Upslope's Foreign Style Stout & Southern Star Brewing's Buried Hatchet Stout 

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Upslope Foreign Style Stout
Style: Foreign/Export Stout
Brewery: Upslope Brewing Company
Boulder, Colorado  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 17th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Labels: Stouts

Thursday, March 15th 2012

(Sun King Brewery)

Previously a draft-only seasonal release, Isis is the fifth specialty brew to end up in Sun King's special release cans. Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility and was the sister (and eventual wife) of Osiris. This big, hoppy brew is based on Sun King's Osiris Pale Ale recipe - just think bigger, stronger and hoppier. This is the big sister, so much so that she skips right over IPA and goes straight from Pale Ale to Imperial/Double IPA!

From the Sun King site: 

"This is a massive double hopped IPA based on the recipe for our Osiris Pale Ale. Isis has a spicy malt base to help balance the citrus punch from the huge American hop-load. It's everything you and love in Osiris, just more intense."

Here we go...

Pour – dark amber in appearance with a clean, clear disposition and a perfectly formed head on top. A great looking beer coming out of the can, you just know its going to be good!

Aroma – a big wallop to the olfactory glands. Tons of citrus and piney hops along with a good dose of cotton candy and powdered sugar. There is a faint hint of the alcohol and plenty of bitter, floral hops. No shortage of aromatics with this beer.

Taste – I'll try to keep in mind that this has its roots in the recipe for Osiris (an excellent American Pale Ale). First sip brings about a load of fresh orange flavor, pineapple and tropical fruits as well as a good dose of sweetness from the malts. What amazes me is just how light and smooth this is on the tongue. Such a well put together beer with so much flavor yet it doesn't feel heavy or palate killing. A few more sips bring about some flavors of melon, honey and a bitter, spicy finish that leaves the tongue a little dry...and thirsting for more. 

Overall – we've yet to be disappointed by anything coming out of a Sun King can and Isis is no exception. Upping the ante with all of the things that make Osiris great truly paid off. Loved this beer and want to say thanks to the folks at Sun King for making that possible. We need to start planning a trip out to Indy! 

Notes - the name Isis means "throne" and the headdress she is usually depicted as wearing is shown as a thrown. She was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky. She married Osiris, her brother, and she conceived a son named Horus by him. Isis resurrected Osiris when he was murdered by Seth (god of storms and chaos) by using her powers and bringing his body back to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth. 


Sun King's special release cans so far...

Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
Indianapolis, Indiana  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: 91
Date: March 15th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Wednesday, March 14th 2012

Firewater India Pale Ale
(Catawba Valley Brewing Company)

Our first can from a new canning brewery located in the small town Western North Carolina town of Morganton. Catawba Valley Brewing just recently released three of their brands in cans bringing the number of breweries now canning in the Tarheel State is up to five. Since they are using decal labels on blank cans be on the lookout for more offerings from these guys in the near future.

From the Catawba Valley site:

"This golden straw colored IPA is made with 5 varieties of malts and 6 massive hop additions. It is outstanding in flavor and aromatics."

Here we go...


Pour - a clean, medium amber color with a BIG fluffy head that sticks tightly to the inner walls of the glass. Nice carbonation levels and a great looking pour.

Aroma - spicy, caramel, honey, sweet citrus and what to me smells like coriander or something similar to that of a witbier


Taste - slight flavors of orange peel, spicy, earthy hops and a dry finish that is quite refreshing. After a few more sips I am really digging this beer. Its not an in your face hop assault but more like the IPAs that were around in the mid-90s which more balanced. It has a certain spiciness that I can't seem to figure out as it almost makes this taste like a Belgian IPA. Perhaps its the yeast strain? 


Overall - a great IPA that was actually ramped up in ABV for the canned version as the draught is closer to 5%. Regardless this is a very balanced beer with a nice hop flavor and solid malt backbone. A little more of a unique take on the style and one that won't wreck your palate and will permit you to enjoy a few without worry.

Note - Catawba Valley Brewing brewed their first batch of beer back in 1999. They are currently canning three of their brands (below) and distribute in North Carolina and Western Tennessee. 


Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Firewater India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Catawba Valley Brewing Company
Morganton, North Carolina  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 14th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Tuesday, March 13th 2012

Alternative Can Labeling:
Everything You Need to Know

Alternative labels, those not directly printed on to the cans themselves, have been around for a while in the craft cans world, but use of them seems to have really taken off in recent months. More and more breweries are using a wide variety of adhesive stickers, can wraps, and shrink wraps to customize pre-printed and blank cans for their beers as well as for specialty and limited releases.

This is good news for brewers and “can-sumers” alike. Minimum can orders become less of an expense issue because the blanks can be used for an endless variety of brews, and blanks free up valuable (and sometimes expensive) floor space in smaller craft breweries. And with the elimination of the extra step of planning can orders, we suspect labels also allow more flexibility with brew schedules, which puts even more limited release and specialty brews in our refrigerators and in our favorite containers!

Here’s a survey of some of the custom labels we’ve discovered so far and some of our thoughts. Cheers!

Indiana's Great Crescent Brewery cans adhesive style labels


Great Crescent uses the same pre-printed blank for all of their canned beers and the different styles are distinguished only by a small clear label on the lower face of the can. Because the cans all look the same it takes close inspection to find the brew you’re after on the retailer’s shelf. Trust us, sorting through a cooler of Great Crescent cans to find Bourbon’s Barrel Stout will always be worth the extra effort.

Southern Star's Le Mort Vivant is their first seasonal release 

Conroe, Texas based Southern Star Brewing released the first ever canned Biere de Garde, Le Mort Vivant, in their new seasonal blanks in late 2011. The bold, eye-catching design on the blank includes images that represent all four seasons of the year, and the label is visible no matter how the cans sit in their carrier. The funky font of the label is another attention-grabber.

Although it isn't really a "label" so to speak, Dolores River Brewery in Colorado came up with their own solution to the can-undrum of ordering a large amount of cans. They designed a can that allows them to simply check a box that denotes the style inside and they then color code the tongue on the brewery logo featured on the front of the can. Quite ingenius we must say.


Sun King's specialty cans with circular labels


Like Southern Star, Sun King Brewery uses the same pre-printed blank for all of their specialty releases. A circular label on the center face lets you know whether you’re holding a can of Grapefruit Jungle, Oktoberfest, or another one of the six specialty brews they’ve released in cans so far.

Brewery Vivant's "Brewer's Reserve" specialty cans
Kludde was released, the others are future releases 

Brewery Vivant launched Kludde in their Brewer’s Reserve Limited Release blanks in early 2012. The shape of the sticker mirrors the shape of their logo, which is a creative touch. The sticker is large enough that it integrates very well into the overall design of the can. In fact, when we first got our hands on the Kludde we didn’t immediately notice there was a label on the can. Look for some amazing new special releases in these cans in the near future!


New England Brewing first released hand-labeled pint cans
of Gandhi-Bot and 668 Neighbor of the Beast


New England Brewing Company’s 668 Neighbor of the Beast and Gandhi-Bot Double IPA were first released in pint cans and used a wrap that covered most – but not all – of a blank can. As you can see in the picture above, it can be pretty tricky to put a large label on a 16 ounce cylinder and keep it neat. Both are now available in a painted 12 ounce can (also pictured above).

Oskar Blues has recently canned two special release beers

Craft can pioneers Oskar Blues have recently used full can wraps for two outstanding limited releases and originally released their Gordon (now G'KNIGHT) and Leroy (canned only once) in blank cans with hand-labeled can wraps. Were it not for labels on blanks then those of us outside the OB distribution area probably would not have had the pleasure of trying these fine ales.

Wild Onion's Hop Slayer Double IPA (printed can on left, sticker on right)

Wild Onion’s Hop Slayer's first iteration was in a blank that featured a transparent label. It appears this solid DIPA has been selling well enough that it has now earned a home in its own dedicated can that takes advantage of the additional space on the neck and near the base. Both cans feature some very unique art work!


Catawba Valley cans with sticker labels

Catawba Valley Brewing recently launched three craft cans that use colorful clear wraps on blank aluminum cans. White Zombie Ale, Firewater IPA and Farmer Ted's Cream Ale are all on shelves in North Carolina.

There are a few other examples of custom labels in the CraftCans database. Revolution Brewing and Silverton Brewing, both in Colorado, have used full wraps exclusively on their offerings which now include some recently released pint-sized cans from the latter; Buckbean (unfortunately now closed) used a shapely label on pint cans for several of their early releases; and Tampa Bay Brewing Company just released 16 oz. cans of their Old Elephant's Foot IPA with full-sized can wraps as the painted versions of the cans were not yet available. 


Two Beers Brewing has used shrink-wrapped labels for all six of their cans


A number of breweries have been using shrink wrap labels as a way around the large minimum can orders. From a distance it can actually be hard to tell the difference between a shrink-wrapped label and a factory painted can. Shrink-wrapping, for the most part, is done by hand and requires a bit of practice to get things looking right. 

Two Beers Brewing Company out of Seattle has used shrink-wrapped labels for all six of their canned releases (see above) using some common design elements.

Great River Brewery uses shrink wrap labels for their limited release beers

Another brewery that has done well with this format is Iowa's Great River Brewery. They've used factory printed cans for their two main releases and used shrink-wrapped labels for a total of six special releases, including the just recently released Farmer Brown Ale and Hop-A-Potamus Rye PA (love the name of that beer).

Okoboji Brewing's first four offerings

Great River is also currently packaging four styles in shrink-wrapped cans for another Iowa brewer, Okoboji Brewing Company

Crabtree Brewing's first two canned releases w/shrink-wrapped labels

Out in Colorado, Mobile Canning has been busy with several clients including Crabtree Brewing Company. Crabtree has utilized shrink-wrapped labels for both their Eclipse Black IPA and Oatmeal Stout. Look for more cans from them in the future.

You can take a look at ALL of the cans in the CraftCans database by clicking below:

Posted by Trent

Labels: Labels

Saturday, March 10th 2012

Fire Eagle American IPA
(Austin Beerworks)

Austin Beerworks began canning their beers in the summer of 2011. Designed to embody the look of old oil cans you've got to love the three cans they've released thus far (see below). Fire Eagle is the brewery's take on the classic American IPA. Brewed with four different hops and a grain bill that features wheat, this is indeed an original recipe. 

From the Austin Beerworks site:

"Flavor swoops in (cue EAGLE SCREAM), grabs you by the face and flies you through the hop rainbow. At the peak of the ride it swoops back to earth and gently drops you back on your bar stool where you are refreshed, excited and ready to ride again. It’s hoppy, bold and American."

Here we go...


Pour - soft golden to honey-colored in appearance with a bubbly, but well-built white head on top that slides into the depths leaving some lacing.

Aroma - like walking through a pine forest when suddenly it opens up into a grove of mango trees and there you happen upon a bunch of ripe pineapples cut up and sitting out on a picnic table. Sit back and imagine that and you might have something close to what is coming from this glass of hoppy goodness.


Taste - resiny and drying in the finish with a crisp, hoppy bitterness on the tongue. Some hints of tropical fruit flavors, citrus, over-ripe pineapple and some bready/doughy malty notes. Put it altogether and you've got the makings of a hop-forward IPA that is certainly worth your while.


Overall - this will paint your palate green and leave a dry, bitter taste on the tongue for as long as you're enjoying this beer. Nice floral and tropical flavors with a crisp, refreshing finish and a solid amount of IBUs. Crack open a can and enjoy!


Note - one of the reasons that Austin Beerworks went with cans is because you can drink beer while tubing in Texas - just not from a glass container. We'd like to think that a good many cans of their beer have floated their way down many-a-river in the Lone Star state. Cheers guys!


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Fire Eagle American IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Austin Beerworks
Austin, Texas  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pils, C-40, C-60, Wheat
Hops: Summit, Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 70
Date: March 10th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Friday, March 9th 2012

8-Bit Pale Ale
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

Tallgrass Brewing's newest release, 8-Bit Pale Ale, has perhaps one of the most unique can designs that we've seen over the years. If you grew up playing the first generation Nintendo then one look at this can will have you flashing back to all those hours playing games like Super Mario Brothers and Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Tallgrass continues to impress us with both their marketing creativity and their brewing ability, 8-Bit Pale Ale is no exception to either one. Cheers!

From the Tallgrass site:

"Just like those classic video games we all grew up with, 8-Bit Pale Ale is spectacularly simple at first glance yet remarkably fun and complex when you get into it.  Our Hop Rocket infuses the character of Austrailian grown Galaxy Hops into an American Pale Ale, giving a unique tropical, almost melon aroma in a classic American style."

Here we go...

Pour - straw colored as it fills the glass with some golden hues and a nice, thick white head on top. What a great looking beer, it almost looks too good to drink...almost.

Aroma - bready, biscuity malt sweetness mixes with some citrus and floral notes and hints of peaches and melon and some tropical fruit flavors as well as fresh cut grass. Very aromatic and a great beer just to shove your nose into and take it all in before its gone.

Taste - Sweet on the tongue with light honey flavors and some of that biscuity maltiness while the hop profile comes in a bit later and sweeps you off your feet. It's lightly bitter on the tongue with lemon, orange and grapefruit mixed with some floral hop flavors. 

Overall - One sip and you'll know that Tallgrass has a winner with their 8-Bit Pale Ale. It's light on the palate with a lot of great flavor and a crisp finish with just the right amount of bite to be super refreshing and draw you back in for more. This could be a go to beer as the weather begins to warm. Excellent work Tallgrass! 

Note - Galaxy hops are a variety of hop grown in Australia that provide a flavor similar to that of Citra hops.

"Galaxy is one of the most exciting new hop cultivars developed to date. When used as a late addition for flavour or aroma it contributes a distinctive clean citrus and passionfruit character which is more striking and intense the later the addition. Developed and grown exclusively in Australia, Galaxy is late maturing seedless cultivar with a striking flavour characteristic which can contribute artfully to many different beer styles."

Hop Products Australia

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8-Bit Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
Manhattan, Kansas  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row, Victory, Vienna & Munich
Hops: Magnum, Centennial, Cascade & Galaxy
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 40
Date: March 9th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, March 8th 2012

Tallgrass Releases 8-Bit Pale Ale
and Video Game Made with Puppets

8-Bit Pale Ale: The Video Game

"Someone has stolen all of our Galaxy hops and scattered them everywhere. It's up to our hero, J.G., to get them back to the hop-rocket in time to brew our next batch of 8-Bit Pale Ale.

Will he succeed? He'll have to use all his skills, and he'll need a little luck too. The enemies of good beer are everywhere and they'll try anything to stop him."

 Tallgrass Brewing Co. Releases 8-Bit Pale Ale

8-Bit Pale Ale is the latest release from Tallgrass Brewing Company and the brewery's first infused offering. 8-Bit is a traditional American Pale Ale that is "hop-rocketed" using Australian Galaxy Hops at the end of the brewing cycle, giving the beer a massive dose of hops flavor.

While Tallgrass was putting the finishing touches on Velvet Rooster, the world's first Belgian-style Tripel in a can, they sent out a survey to ask their fans what kind of beer they should brew next. 500 fans responded and the overwhelming request: a super-hoppy pale ale. 8-Bit Pale Ale is the answer to that plea.

"We wanted to do something really hoppy, but do it the Tallgrass Way," said Tallgrass Founder Jeff Gill. "We wanted to make sure it was a well-balanced beer and not just about the hops. It had to be tasty too."

Tallgrass balances 8-Bit's large dose of hops flavor by brewing the beer with a strong malt backbone, which helps balance the hops' edge without hiding it.

8-Bit's name and can design were inspired by the classic video games of the early 90's, when gray game cartridges ruled the world and the 8-bit graphics of these early systems left much to the gamer's imagination.

"Today's craft beer drinkers grew up playing these games and still play them today," Gill says. "I hope 8-Bit will become the official beer of retro-gamers everywhere."

Tallgrass Brewing Company was started in Manhattan, Kansas, in 2007, by Jeff Gill and his wife, Tricia. In May of 2010 Tallgrass declared its "Canifesto" and began packaging exclusively in cans. Tallgrass's products include IPA, Buffalo Sweat Stout, Oasis, Velvet Roostet, Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat and 8-Bit Pale Ale. Tallgrass is now distributed in cans and on tap in 14 states.

Posted by Russ