These Aren’t Your Dad’s Cans….

Beer - It's not just for bottles anymore.

At the bar the other night I wanted to change things up a bit from my usual draft fare so I ordered a 21st Amendment’s Allies Win the War.  I’ve heard a lot about it, thought I’d try it, so I ordered my beer, the bartender nodded and when he came back he placed a beer glass and a can in front of me.  You read that right.  A can.  “When was the last time I got a can of beer in a bar?”, I thought.

After all many beer drinkers may believe that beer in cans is, well, NOT craft beer.  It’s the watery stuff.  The mowing the lawn in the summer stuff.  The standing over a hot grill stuff.  The stuff you stole out of  your father’s beer fridge when you where young.  You know, the stuff you don’t want to think about anymore.  Part of the reason I drink now is in an attempt to forget what I drank out of cans way back then (yeah, I’m looking at you Meister Brau).

But things are changing.  After years of people believing that good craft beer comes in bottle, more and more brewers are now going back to cans.  Oskar Blues and 21st Amendment are two examples of brewers who’s beers come packaged for sale exclusively (as far as I know) in cans.  And we’re talking great beer here.  Oskar Blues’ scotch ale Old Chub, and their imperial stout Ten FIDY are both excellent.  And 21st Amendment offers such great beers as Fireside Chat, Monk’s Blood and the aforementioned Allies Win the War.

And other breweries are joining the canning movement.  Anderson Valley, Six Point, Butternuts and Caldera all offer beers in cans.  Maryland brewery Brewer’s Art just started canning their Resurrection.  And more commonly available breweries like Sierra Nevada,  Magic Hat and Blue Moon offer beers in cans –  with Magic Hat #9 and Blue Moon Wit available in 12 packs!  I dream of the day when I can walk out of the liquor store with a 30 pack of Arrogant Bastard in cans.

But although this canning craze might seem new to some, it’s steadily been building for years.  Oskar Blues kicked it off in November of 2002 when they introduced their Dale’s Pale Ale.  But it wasn’t until their canned beers started winning medals that other brewers started to give canning serious consideration.  Then in 2007, Sly Fox brewing won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest for it’s canned Pikeland Pils.  Now, counts 152 craft breweries in 41 states (including Twin Lakes Brewing here in Delaware) that can at least one of their beers.

So next time you’re at your beer bar and are looking at the beer list, don’t be surprised if you see a section on cans next to the bottle list.  And what ever you do, don’t skip past it.  Trust me, there are some very good beers on it waiting for you to try.

Time for another beer, maybe a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale or Jai Alia IPA….in a can of course.


Coming up:  Evolution Brewing tap take over at Two Stones Pub and the end of year BBQ review.

GABF Results – Delaware

The old adage is Location, Location, Location.  And although that phrase was coined for business real estate, it definitely can be applied to other aspects of life.  And since this is a beer blog (for the most part), I’m sure you can already see where this is going.

If you locked 50 beer lovers from around the country in a room and asked them where is the hub of craft brewing in America you’d likely get 52 different opinions.  That’s the level of debate that can run wild when you get beer lovers together arguing over where the best place to live is if you want to best experience the craft beer revolution.  And most of those people arguing the virtues of their selected area would have valid points.  Let’s face it, when it comes to craft beer there are a lot of amazing cornerstones around the US.  People from Seattle, Portland, Boulder, NY, etc can all easily argue how special their place in the craft beer world is.  That’s why I always get strange looks when I tell people that I feel lucky to be enjoying the craft beer growth from – Delaware.

Yes, Delaware.  Definitely not the first place that jumps into your mind when you think of the craft beer revolution, but I think the thought has merit none the less.  First, I’m only two and a half hours or less from NYC, Baltimore and Washington DC.  Places like Rattle N Hum, Blind Tiger, Max’s Taphouse, and Bier Baron (the former Brickskeller) are just a day trip away.   Also, brew establishments such as Stoudt’s, Sly Fox, Yards, Nodding Head, and Triumph are within a reasonable car drive away.

As far as Delaware itself, well everyone knows Dogfish Head, but we have some other breweries doing some amazing things as well.  The Iron Hill chain, with locations in Newark and at the Wilmington Riverfront (as well of their locations outside Delaware) are pushing the limits of craft beer by allowing the brewers at each location free rein to create beers that they find interesting.  And of course there is Stewart’s who make solid beers and build a clientele that enjoys what they have to offer.

But it’s not just the brewpubs that are doing well.  Brewer’s Twin Lakes showed up a few years ago as well as the new kids on the block Evolution Brewing and 16 Mile Brewing.  All which are brewing beers that are beginning to gain tap room at local bars.  And then there’s Fordham, who when their brewery in Maryland got to small they pulled up stakes and moved to Dover, DE where they’ve flourished quite nicely.

So with that in mind I’d like to salute my state’s metal wins at the 2011 GABF.  Congratulations guys, can’t wait to be at the bar tasting your metal winning beers!  And to all the other GABF winners who are just a day drive away – I’ll be seeing you all sometime soon as well.

Congratulations to the  2011 GABF metal winners from Delaware! :

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant:
Bronze    Vienna Red Lager             Vienna-Style Lager
Bronze    Grand Inquisitor              Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Silver      Russian Imperial Stout    Imperial Stout

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery:
Silver      Chateau Jiahu                     Specialty Beer
Bronze    Midas Touch                       Specialty Honey Beer

Stewart’s Brewing Co.:
Bronze     Maibock                               Bock

Time for another beer!  Maybe a metal winner!

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