Wednesday, October 30th 2013
16 Craft Beer Cans for Halloween!
Halloween is a holiday. Not the kind of holiday in which you get the day off, but a holiday nonetheless. That means that along with a big bowl of candy, you're going to also want to have some beer in the fridge. This is where we come in. Here are 16 different canned craft beers that will pair perfectly with Jack-O'-Lanterns, homemade and store bought costumes, dogs dressed like Star Wars characters, poorly applied zombie make-up, and of course horror movies being shown on network television. Enjoy!
Upslope Pumpkin Ale | Upslope Brewing Company
Pumpkan | Wachusett Brewing Company
Pumpkinhead | Shipyard Brewing Company
Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Wynkoop Pumpkin Ale | Wynkoop Brewing Company
Pumple Drumkin | Cisco Brewers
Pumpkin Patch Ale | Eddyline Brewing Company
Pumpkin UFO | Harpoon Brewery
Old Forge Pumpkin Ale | Old Forge Brewing Company
O'Fallon Pumpkin Beer | O'Fallon Brewing Company
He Said Belgian-Style Tripel | 21st Amendment & Elysian
He Said Baltic-Style Porter | 21st Amendment & Elysian
Sweet Potato Ale | Piney River Brewing Company
Nope, its not a pumpkin ale. Piney River Brewing Company became the first to can a Sweet Potato Ale when they released this local favorite a few months ago. The brewery describes it as a "malt forward ale featuring the flavors of roasted sweet potatoes, spices and vanilla with a balanced hop profile, a subtle vanilla and spice aroma and a smooth finish." We say its hands down delicious. One of the best seasonal brews we've had and certainly worth hunting down. Available in MO
Tuesday, October 29th 2013
Q & A with Author Ben McFarland
3x British Beer Writer of the Year
Ben McFarland has been writing about beer for over a decade. During that time he has written three books, appeared on TV and Radio, and been recognized in his native England as the nation's top beer writer on multiple occasions. His most recent book, Boutique Beer; 500 of the World's Finest Craft Brews takes a closer look at some of the world's best craft beers. The book is absolutely packed with thirst-inspiring beer imagery and well-researched information. We definitely recommend adding this one to your bookshelf of coffee table. With that being said, we wanted to get to know Ben a little more so we reached out and pummeled him with questions. Congrats on the book Ben, we already look forward to the next one. Cheers!
Tell us a little about yourself ?
Well, I’m 37, live in West London and I write and talk about beer and drink for a living. I am the triple-crowned "British Beer Writer of the Year" and author of "World's Best Beers"; "Boutique Beer; 500 of the World's Finest Craft Brews" and, my first book, "Good Beer Guide West Coast USA" - co-written with fellow drinks expert Tom Sandham.
Myself and Tom founded www.thinkingdrinkers.com - an online destination for discerning drinkers - and together we have written and performed "The Thinking Drinker's Guide to Alcohol", a unique comedic drinking show which has starred at the Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Theatre for 3 years running.
We also host beer and spirit tastings at festivals and events up and down the country and regularly appear on TV and Radio gently urging people to 'drink less but drink better'.
I also write for numerous publications including Jamie Oliver Magazine, the Telegraph, The Guardian, the Independent, the Spectator, Conde Naste Traveller and a host of specialist drinks magazines both in the UK and the USA.
When did you start writing about beer? What was the first thing you wrote about?
Having been a newspaper journalist initially, I joined a newspaper called “The Publican” which was read by all the landlords and bar owners in Britain – here, I was the Drinks Editor and got to learn more about beer. After three years there, I went freelance and began writing about beer for a variety of different magazines and newspapers. Buoyed by the award of Beer Writer of the Year in 2006, the youngest ever recipient, I wrote my first book with Tom called “Good Beer Guide West Coast USA” – which saw us spend a couple of epic months driving up and down the West Coast of America visiting every brewery, brewpub and beer bar we could find. And then wrote it all down in a book.
Coming from the UK, what was that experience like? Any especially memorable brewery visits?
American craft brews are big, bombastic and with bigger balls than Europe… For two lily-livered Limeys weaned on quaffable bitters, mellow milds and light-tasting lagers, America’s IPA infatuation was a shock to the system, but desire for hoppy beers soon enveloped our souls and senses like poison ivy…Visiting San Francisco during Extreme Beer Month was a schoolboy error for which we’re still paying in the shape of costly psychiatry sessions… The California Highway Patrol are not as friendly as they were in 1980s TV series CHiPs and don’t like it when you ask to touch their guns… Judging a Double IPA competition is a taste bud-trashing exercise in futility…There are no winners in the IBU arms race… Our lupulin love goes out to the IPAs of Green Flash, Alpine, Alesmith, Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Diamond Knot, Moonlight and Ninkasi, while Firestone Walker’s Pale Ale makes us dewy-eyed and nostalgic just thinking about it…When an American says a bar is “just down the road,” remember that American roads are much, much longer than British ones… Tijuana is naughty… Butt Crack Brown, Monkey Knife Fight Ale, Old Thunderpussy Barleywine and Willy were the most amusing beer names we encountered… After singing “Yellow Submarine” to fifty moody U.S. Marines in a San Clemente karaoke club, don’t criticise them for not singing along—just leave quickly… The nearest thing to a beer drinker’s Disneyland is McMenamins’ Edgefield… Surfing is harder than it looks… - excerpt from All About Beer magazine
What is your impression of the American craft beer industry? How does it compare to the state of beer in the UK?
Off the back of the book, we like to think that we have been among the most enthusiastic advocates of American craft beer on this side of the Pond and I still think it’s the most inspiring brewing nation in the world. We’re getting more and more US beers over here and, finally, the general pub-goer is realising that there’s more to American beer than Bud, Miller etc….
America continues to inspire brewing in the UK and Europe but where I think British beer has the edge on its Stateside rivals is in the brewing of sessionable, flavoursome beers. British brewers deftly coax out complexity at low gravity and we should be more proud about that.
It’s quite strange seeing brewers in Britain drawing inspiration and instruction from American interpretations of British beer styles. It’s exciting what’s happening here – microbrewing has got its Mojo back and the number of small brewers in the UK has broken the 1000 barrier for the first time in 70 years. Partly inspired by America, British beer is booming and it’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker and/or – indeed - a beer writer.
Tell us a little bit about Hobo Beer + Co.?
Ah yes, Hobo has been good fun. It’s a great beer that smells like rainbows and tastes of victory - it’s a collaboration with a few friends we know from the drinks industry – we brew the beer with 100% Saaz hops in the Czech Republic, in a very old brewery, and then put it in our cans. It’s a proper Bohemian Pilsner and the first craft beer in the UK exclusively available in cans. It was a decision we made having seen (and drunk) craft beer in cans in the USA.
At first we had to tackle preconceptions of canned beer but it was a lot easier than we thought and we’re doing great business with it now – craft beer in cans is storming the bars and pubs of London Town
We've seen some other UK brewers such as Brew Dog and Camden Town Brewery putting their beers in cans. Is the British beer scene beginning to embrace craft beer in cans?
Yes, slowly but surely. A lot of people have approached us asking how we do it and I won’t be surprised if more brewers follow suit. The stumbling block is currently the minimum canning runs which put some small players off.
Your most recent book is called Boutique Beer: 500 Quality Craft Beers, how did you go about narrowing down the thousands of outstanding beers in the world to just 500?
It was tricky. I wanted to have a stylistic and geographical spread and I didn’t want to make it overly obscure but equally I wanted to include some hidden, unknown gems. There are always going to be those who think some have been missed and those that disagree but I like to think it captures what’s going on in craft beer around the world.
How many of those 500 have you had a chance to try?
Pretty much all of them. Those that I haven’t come with a reliable recommendation from those I know and respect – be they friends or fellow beer writers.
Thanks for including quite a few American canned craft beers in the book! Do you think people are still surprised to see quality craft beer coming in a can?
You’re welcome. America is leading the way – all they need to do is learn to say aluminium properly. There’s an ‘I’ in it! Beyond beer connoisseur circles, there is still those who are wary of canned beer and the industry needs to tackle this …but perceptions are definitely changing.
What are a few breweries in the world you've yet to visit that are on the top of your list?
I would love to go to Australia and New Zealand and spend a bit of time with the guys down there. Same goes for Japan.
Posted by Russ
Friday, October 18th 2013
Mission Brewery Releases 32oz Cans
San Diego microbrewery’s quart can takes
(San Diego, California) – Mission Brewery is now releasing two of its beers in a new 32-ounce can.
The first quart can to be used by a US microbrewer, Mission’s quart “Cannons” hold the ambitious microbrewery’s increasingly popular Shipwrecked Double IPA and its hoppy new session beer, El Conquistador Extra Pale Ale. The quart cans are Mission’s first entry in the popular canned craft beer niche.
The move to quart cans came about earlier this year when Mission founder Dan Selis was in a meeting with his local distributor. “One of their staff,” Selis recalls, “said, ‘I’m waiting for a microbrewery to get off its ass and put out a beer in an oil can like Fosters.’ After the meeting I couldn’t stop thinking about that.”
Selis and his staff accepted the 25-oz can challenge, only to discover Ball Packaging’s new quart can. The 32-oz can allowed Mission to take the bigger-can idea up several more ounces and it fit with Mission’s goals.
“We’re always looking for ways to make better beer and have more fun,” Selis says. “And we like the benefits of cans and had been thinking about using them. The quart can meant we could hit those two goals and embrace aluminum cans in a fashion that smashes the status quo.”
”The idea of our luscious beers in a gigantic quart can cracked us up,” says Martin Saylor, Mission’s national sales director, “and no microbrewery has ever done them before. We couldn’t resist the idea. Now we’re the little brewery with the huge package. And great beer.”
El Conquistador is a low-alcohol hoppy showcase. It sports the hop charms one expects in an IPA, but in an ultra-quaffable ale of just 4.8% ABV. Complex, thrilling and sublimely drinkable, El Conquistador is built with pale malts, a touch of crystal malt, and a few treasure chests of Centennial and experimental hops.
“It’s the ultimate session beer for hopheads,” says Mission head brewer John Egan.
Shipwrecked Double IPA delivers the unctuous hop punch you’d expect in a West Coast IIPA, but with an equally hearty compliment of malted barley. The beer is lush with pine, citrus and candied grapefruit notes from a hop blend that includes Cascade and Magnum hops. These charms meld with chewy caramel notes, a velvety body and a slow bite of finishing hops. The beer is 9.25% ABV.
“Shipwrecked is a session beer, too,” Egan says with a grin. “For a very long session.”
Like all cans, Mission’s quart cans offer full protection from light and oxygen damage, are welcome in places bottles aren’t allowed, and help Mission shrink its carbon footprint for shipped beer. “But our cans,” he adds, “also deliver two full pints of our beer. So Mission fans get a big-volume beer in a lightweight, ultra-portable, infinitely recyclable, freshness-keeping cylinder.”
“They’re also pretty hilarious to see,” Saylor adds, “and make for a unique and jarring presentation for our small-batch beers. Our retailers are very excited about them.” The cans are filled on a Cask Brewing Systems machine that was custom-built for Mission and the 32-ounce cans.
“Craft brewers,” says Ball Packaging’s Jerod Brody, “are incredibly creative in finding ways to make their brands stand out, and few packages make a bigger impact than our 32-oz can. Not only does it provide a huge 360-degree billboard for branding, it’s also shareable and encourages socializing with friends.”
Mission Brewery was opened in 2007 by Dan Selis and his wife Sarah Selis. The two were successful but disenchanted members of the mortgage-banking business prior to opening Mission. “The more bored I got with real estate finance,” Dan recalls, “the more I dreamed of turning my homebrewing hobby into my career.”
In 2012 Mission produced 4,743 barrels of beer, this year it expects to make about 10,000 barrels. Mission beers are sold in CA, CO, NV, AZ, IN, OH, PA, FL, MD, NC and KY.
Mission Brewery is located in an 1894 structure in downtown San Diego, on the edge of the city’s popular Gas Lamp District. In the mid 1900s, the building (now on the National Historic Register) served as a Wonder Bread bakery.
The vintage brick & wood beam structure has a unique feature from its bakery days: Wonder Bread’s old flour silo, now repurposed as Mission’s grain silo and mill. Mission’s own yeasty wonders are brewed on a 30-barrel brewing system.
The building is also home to Mission’s popular tasting room, which features a pair of lengthy bars, one of which allows customers to drink within reach of the brewers and their brewing equipment. The brewery’s name is a nod to one of San Diego’s first breweries, founded in 1913 and shuttered when Prohibition began.
Posted by Russ
Sunday, October 13th 2013
10 GABF Medal Winners in Cans
The 31st Annual Great American Beer Festival wrapped up this weekend out in Denver. The nation's largest beer festival drew in close to 50,000 beer lovers and featured more than 3,100 different beers from 624 breweries. An astounding 4,809 beers were submitted for judging from 745 different breweries - talk about competitive! In the end 252 medal winners were announced for the 79 different style categories. 10 of those winners are available in cans (4 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze), all of which you'll find below. Congratulations to all the winners and all those that took part! Cheers!
Posted by Russ
Friday, October 11th 2013
Michigan Mobile Canning Helping Brewers in Michigan and Indiana
The state of Michigan, okay, fine I'll say it, MichiCAN, currently boasts over a dozen craft breweries that can their beer. Contributing to this steadily growing number is Michigan Mobile Canning, a mobile canning outfit founded by Andrew McLean and Scott Richards, two craft beer lovers with a desire to help brewers get their beers on shelves.
Back in June the two flew out to Colorado for a week of training with Ron Popma of MobileCanningSystems, LLC. The duo then made the 19 hour drive back to Michigan in their new outfitted 18-foot box truck. Two short days later they wheeled their Wild Goose MC-250 into the brewhouse at Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City and canned their first beer, Right Brain's Will Power Pale Ale.
Andrew and Scott, both native Michiganders, were the third affiliate of MobileCanningSystems to actively can craft beers, and within a few weeks potential customers from across the state and Indiana were calling. In less than four months since that first run they've completed over a dozen canning sessions at Right Brain as well as Wolverine State Brewing Company in Ann Arbor and Saugatuck Brewing in Douglas.
Recently Michigan Mobile Canning headed south to Indiana (during which the nickname of their line changes from “MichiCan” to “IndiCana”). Setting up shop at Flat 12 Bierwerks in Indianapolis, Andrew and Scott put the brewery's Half Cycle IPA in cans - which you can now find at Lucas Oil Stadium! Today Andrew and Scott can be found canning the one and only Leprechaun Lager at Four Horsemen Brewing Company in South Bend.
With a steady stream of interest coming from breweries in both Michigan and Indiana, look for more craft cans from both states in the coming months.
Here’s a rundown of the beers already canned by the Michigan Mobile Canning as well as those that we CAN confirm are coming soon. Cheers!
Right Brain Brewery | Traverse City, MI
Four Horsemen Brewing Company | South Bend, IN
Leprechaun Lager (October 2013)
Posted by Trent
Labels: Mobile Canning
Tuesday, October 8th 2013
Airways Brewing Company Releasing Cans of Maylani's Coconut Stout
Escape to the Tropics with Maylani’s Coconut Stout from Airways Brewing Company
Kent-based microbrewery releases first canned seasonal brew.
KENT, Wash. – Just in time for cooler autumn weather, Airways Brewing Company is releasing a tropical treat for craft beer lovers throughout the Puget Sound area. A long-time favorite in the Airways Tap Room, Maylani’s Coconut Stout will be now be available from October to April in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draught beginning Thursday, October 10.
“Maylani’s is the perfect fall and winter seasonal beer – dark and rich, but still highly drinkable,” said Alex Dittmar, founder and head brewer at Airways Brewing Company. “This beer is a favorite of many of our customers, including our friend Maylani, who moved back to Hawaii. We thought it was appropriate to not only name the beer after her, but to also put it in cans so we can send it to her.”
Maylani’s Coconut Stout is an easy drinking beer with the subtle aromas of chocolate and coconut, thanks to the 10 pounds of locally sourced cocoa nibs and fifty pounds of toasted coconut added to each batch. Ebony in color with a rich creamy head, the beer features a mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malt and real chocolate, perfectly balanced with the right amount of hops for a bittersweet finish. Featuring an approachable 35 IBUs and 5.3 percent ABV, it pairs well with almost any dessert, and of course, tastes delicious just on its own.
Beginning Thursday, October 10, Maylani’s Coconut Stout will be available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans at both Airways locations for $12. And, starting October 15, 4-packs will be available throughout the Puget Sound region at select specialty bottle shops —including Chucks Hop Shop, 99 Bottles, Pint Defiance, Beer Junction, Special Brews, Malt & Vine, Total Wine Tukwila and more.
This Thursday, October 10, a special cask of Maylani’s will be tapped at the Airways Brewing Tap Room as part of a release party celebration. The beer will be on draught at both Airways locations.
In addition to Maylani’s Coconut Stout, craft beer enthusiasts can pick up the brewery’s flagship Sky Hag IPA and Chocolate Stout in 22-ounce bottles. Pre Flight Pilsner is also available in 16-oz cans. Pints, tasters and growler fills can also be found at the Airways Brewing Tap Room or Airways Brewing Beer & Bistro in downtown Kent.
About Airways Brewing Company
Founded in Spring 2010, Airways Brewing Company is a growing microbrewery located in Kent, Washington. Currently producing several year-round and seasonal offerings – including Sky Hag IPA®, Chocolate Stout, Pre-Flight Pilsner™ and PSA® Pale – Airways Brewing also features limited edition and cask beers throughout the year. Pints, tasters and growler fills are available at the brewery’s Kent taproom, open Tuesday-Wednesday from 3-8 pm, Thursday-Friday from 3-9pm, and Saturdays from 3-7 pm (6644 S 196th Street, #T-100). Pints and delicious Northwest-style food can be found at the Airways Beer & Bistro in downtown Kent, Monday-Thursday from 11 am-9 pm, Friday-Saturday from 11 am-10 pm, and Sunday from 11 am-7 pm (320 W Harrison). Offerings from Airways Brewing can also be found in specialty bars, bottle shops and restaurants throughout the Puget Sound area. For more information about the brewery or Bistro, visit www.airwaysbrewing.com.
For more information about Airways Brewing and its selection of handcrafted brews, be sure to follow Airways Brewing Company on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, or visit www.airwaysbrewing.com.
Additional information, photos, and tasting notes are available upon request. Those interested are encouraged to contact Dione Dittmar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Russ
Tuesday, October 8th 2013
Cigar City Brewing Introduces Caribbean Style IPA Brewed in Puerto Rico, Canned in Florida
Yesterday's post over on the Cigar City Brewing blog got us pretty excited...
It seems that the good folks down in Tampa recently paid a visit to Cervezas del Sur, a large brewery located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where they brewed a beer they've dubbed Dry-Hopped on the High Seas. The 7%, 60 IBU "Caribbean-style IPA" was brewed with loads of Simcoe hops and then dry-hopped with plenty more before being transferred to the shipping vessel for the journey home. Once back in Tampa the beer was packaged in cans and is now available for purchase at the brewery.
"everything we had hoped for and then some. Luscious tropical fruit aromas and flavors are the highlight followed by a clean bitter finish and a light complimentary malt profile. While we are pleased with our experiment, the ultimate arbiters of our success will, as always, be our customers."
Posted by Russ
Labels: Canned Beer Releases
Tuesday, October 8th 2013
Sockeye's Dagger Falls IPA Goes Pink for Cans for Care
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October, organizations across the country work together to raise awareness about a disease that affects millions of women around the world. In 2013, Idaho-based Sockeye Brewing has partnered with CROWN Beverage Packaging North America, a business unit of Crown Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCK) (Crown) (www.crowncork.com), to launch its flagship Dagger Falls IPA brand in limited-edition pink cans.
Available in local stores beginning in early October, the 12 oz. cans feature laser-etched tabs that depict the brewers’ logo – the Sockeye salmon – and display the ‘Cans for Care’ seal to inform consumers at the point of purchase that a percentage of proceeds from the sale will be donated to a charitable cause. Recipients of the donations include two Idaho organizations: the Mountain State Tumor Institute of St. Luke’s Hospital and St. Alfonso’s Cancer Care.
Several local retailers are matching charitable contributions from the sales of the pink Dagger Falls IPA can. These include Albertsons, the Brewforia Beer Market, Boise Co-op, Bier:Thirty, Brewer’s Haven, Whole Foods Market Boise and WinCo. Beer aficionados not located in the Idaho area can purchase the pink cans via Brewforia’s website. Crown provided support for Sockeye’s initiative from the outset while also contributing directly to the campaign.
“Breast cancer is such an important issue that we really wanted to be involved with raising awareness, but to do so in a manner that’s unique to Sockeye. The pink cans allow us to do just that,” explained Dawn Bolen, Marketing Assistant, Sockeye Brewing. “Crown has been an incredibly helpful and supportive partner throughout the process; we couldn’t have done this without them. There’s already been such positive early feedback on the initiative from retailers and consumers that we are exploring how to repeat the collaboration next year.”
Discussions of the project began in May of this year, with Crown laying the groundwork over the summer to begin filling cans in September. Crown worked closely with Sockeye throughout the process, providing counsel on the overall can design, color schemes and the proper ink weights necessary to achieve the vivid pink shade. The Dagger Falls IPA was canned with the special-edition design and then shipped to participating retailers by Stein Distributing Co. Inc.
“The development of the Dagger Falls pink cans has been a tremendous opportunity to give back to the local Idaho community, inspire interest in a truly worthy cause and for Crown to support a great partner in continuing to deliver a quality product,” said Brian Thiel, Craft Brand Manager, CROWN Beverage Packaging North America. “Cans have enabled the Sockeye Brewing brand to grow, and with the ‘Cans for Care’ project, they offer away to connect with consumers through a charitable cause.”
Crown and Sockeye established a strong partnership before collaborating on this initiative. When Sockeye was first transitioning to metal packaging, Crown offered the flexibility to bring three of the brewery’s labels to market in cans simultaneously.
“When trying to boost production of Dagger Falls to keep up with growing consumer demand, cans were a logical choice,” explained Bolen. “Not only do they retain the beer’s freshness and improve the shelf life, but they are also light weight and easily recyclable. Their robustness also makes them ideally suited for enjoying during outdoor recreational activities, like boating and rafting, both of which are huge industries in Idaho. Crown was the ideal partner for Sockeye, providing quality packaging and the level of service and expertise that we needed.”
About Crown Holdings, Inc.
Posted by Russ
Monday, October 7th 2013
Finch's Beer Company Announces 2014 Seasonal Cans Lineup
Finch’s Beer Company is excited to announce their seasonal cans lineup for 2014. The four-pack pint can package lineup consists of three specialty beers, one of which will be brewed for the first time next year.
Sobek & Set, a black IPA first sold in early 2013, will be available from January to March. The 22-ounce bottles that Sobek & Set was originally packaged in will be discontinued with the addition of the seasonal cans. This black IPA is balanced with caramel malt, earthy and citrus hops, and a smooth finish.
Wet Hot American Wheat, brewed with Centennial and Columbus hops and two different types of wheat malt, will be Finch’s mainstay summer beer available from April to September. Previously available only on draft as a limited one-batch, Wet Hot American Wheat will also be available in cans for the first time next year.
Making its debut in October through December of 2014 is Nuclear Winter, a Belgian-style dark ale with a dominating yeast flavor profile. This beer also includes traditional Belgian malts and candi sugar.
Finch’s seasonal cans will be available in all markets. Additionally, these beers will be available on draft in limited quantities.
About Finch’s Beer Co.
Since production began in April 2011, Finch’s Beer Co. has been committed to artfully brewing quality craft beer in Chicago. Highly regarded for using the best ingredients in an environmentally responsible setting, Finch’s is led by five core beers: Golden Wing Blonde Ale, Cutthroat Pale Ale, Threadless IPA, Secret Stache Stout, and Fascist Pig Ale. These styles, as well as limited-edition specialties, add to an ever-growing list of unique beers. With an expanded facility established in 2013 and plans for a new brewery and tasting room by 2016, Finch’s is on pace to be one of the largest microbreweries in the Midwest.
Posted by Russ