Canned Cocktails

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Cocktail afficionados, purists and artisans may blanch at the idea of canned drinks, I think it just might work for Ballast Point.  I have concerns about how “fresh” they may be even though the press release calls them “shelf stable” which I find a bit disconcerting.

But at a $15.00 four-pack price point, they are super affordable considering how high end the spirits are and being a G&T fan, but not really the best G&T blender makes them even more desirable.

I will skip the  Bloody Mary since I can’t stomach tomato juice but the two Rum varietals with cola or ginger look tasty too.

Review – Totally Radler from H.U.B.

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Totally Radler, as can be seen from the label on the can, is a 50/50 mix of Hopworks Urban Brewery’s Organic HUB Lager and organic lemon soda. And it clocks in at around 2.6% ABV.  I had a Traveler Shandy the previous day to prepare myself.  Previous soda (lemonade) beer concoctions had come off as too sweet or too heavily weighted to the soda side and I wanted to see how another example tasted.

That beer was fine. Though it was a little too candied peel strong for me which fought against the sweetness.  Totally Radler on the other hand was so much less sugary that at first I was taken aback.  It had the same lemon peel / lemon verbena bite to it but then it veered directly into unsweetened lemonade territory.  I would call it close to Key Lime pie as well.  To me the underlying lager is pretty much masked by that lemon hit.

Totally Radler tastes like an Italian soda.  Tart fruit and carbonated bubbles. I liked it but to me it really isn’t beer.  It is soda with it’s beer hidden from view

Barrel to Can

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If you had told me when I started this blog back in 2009 that a brewery would put rye in a beer, I might have raised an eyebrow. Then putting that rye ale into Rye Whiskey barrels from Leopold Brothers would have made me lean forward. That said barrels are described in a press release as Maryland-style would have made me snicker a bit. Then if you said that the finished beer would be put into cans, well, I would have asked what form of time travel transport you used.

And even today an Upslope Brewing Manhattan Style Rye Ale made to mimic the famous cocktail is an outlier for craft beer. But I sure wish I could get a couple of the 19+oz cans. $10 is a steal for one.

Review – Ride On IPA from Golden Road

Another IPA from the blue building at Golden Road is in cans now, Ride On IPA at 6.4% ABV is supposed to have notes of melon and pine and be perfect for skateboarding. Will I find that, or something else?

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Ride On pours a light yellow with a rocky head of foam.  The aroma hits me as honeydew melon and spice.  So, yeah. The description matches my tastebuds.  Additionally there is a hit of grapefruit juice that is almost rubbing alcohol-esque.  But that rises and fades pretty quickly.  This IPA seems a little more viscous than biting on the tongue.  Which is not what I was expecting at all.  It is certainly an IPA that is less like most of the market for sure.  I would label it as a change of pace IPA.

Book Review – Canned! by Russ Phillips

Canned! Artwork of the Modern American Beer Can really illustrates what a good label and branding can do for a craft beer.

Just go to page 153 to see it. There you will find the first iteration of Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues. Barely recognizable from what is on shelves today except for the color scheme of blue and red.

That is the strength and weakness of this book. Canning is still young enough to not have a ton of design changes. But those changes that are there chart the growth of craft beer.

Comparing one brewery and their design to another is cool but too many designs are too jokey or too cluttered or the biggest cardinal sin to me, don’t highlight the brewery name enough.

My personal favorites from the book are below:

I wish the Santa Fe Brewing name was bigger and the design is more poster-like but these labels are artfully arranged while utilizing common iconic colors and images.
I wish the Santa Fe Brewing name was bigger and the design is more poster-like but these labels are artfully arranged while utilizing common iconic colors and images.
Hilliard's is so retro and Mad Men and so different from the other designs out there. They just pop but they feel textured as well.
Upslope is so simple and classy. Relying on colors to indicate the beer style but without looking too spare. The Pumpkin Ale can is my favorite.
Upslope is so simple and classy. Relying on colors to indicate the beer style but without looking too spare. The Pumpkin Ale can is my favorite.
Hilliard’s is so retro and Mad Men and so different from the other designs out there. They just pop but they feel textured as well.

I almost wish that this was a glossy magazine that appeared quarterly rather than a one-time book.  By the time this book was in my hands, more cans and different label designs have been out in the world.

Featured Review – Ultra Gnar Gnar from Base Camp

We turn to Base Camp for beer # 2 in the featured reviews for May. As opposed to many recent hop beers from Session IPA to Imperial have been a lighter shade but Ultra Gnar Gnar pours a near red color with tints of orange to it.  Plus for a beer of only 6.7% abv, it has some nice Rorschach lacing on the glass.

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The smell is close to apple tree.  There is a cider-y undercurrent to this IPA along with a perceptible orange spice tea note.  Getting some tannin notes in the flavor along with dried orange peel as well.  The bitterness is fairly strong without being oppressive.  As it warms up, I get more iced tea on the tongue as well as some grain to toast malt.

It certainly has multiple flavors going on but I wish it had a bit more orange juice to it to balance out the bitterness.

Cans through Time

I don’t normally post graphics.  Though there was a time that I would get them e-mailed to me at least once a week.  But this timeline of canned beer that I saw on CraftCans has some history behind it.  Actual history.  Worth checking out…

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Strand Cans

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Facebook can be one long and continuous scroll of the finger through posts that you have already read and movies that Zuckerberg and Co. think you really must see.  But on occasion (15% of the time is my guesstimate), you run across a photo that makes you start to scroll back.

That is what I did when I saw this photo of empty cans of Strand Brewing beers.  Now Strand only bottles as of now, so this is news.  But since I am not the “extra, extra!” type of blogger, I want to talk a little about the can design.

What I Like!

The different colors to signify each beer.

The font size of the beer style name and the beer name

The Strand logo really pops on the can

What I Don’t Like

The silver is way to reflective and glare causing

The middle logo is nice but maybe bigger to show some detail

A few too many font changes

But I certainly hope to see these cans in stores.  Not enough Strand on shelves right now.

Review – Two Hearted from Bell’s

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Is this what the Doctor would drink on Gallifrey? Too geeky? Probably but I see a chance for cross promotion. Which I think would be cool especially since I do not like the label for Two Hearted at all. Though to be fair the rendition on the Bell’s can is much better.

On to the beer, it pours a lovely medium orange. To be frank the aroma is muted from my west coast perspective. A bit of spice orange teas drifts up but that is primarily it. The taste is almost more session wise except for the beefy malt base. The main note that I get is orange. Almost a candied, creamsicle type of orange which works really well. More smooth than carbonated but that works here and the bitterness rounds it out in the back. You can taste why this is popular.

New Claremont Cans

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I had the pleasure of watching cans of Claremont’s Jacaranda being filled for a story about mobile canning. Now, comes new cans. A stout and an Imperial Blonde. Both sound great but I think the lemon peel on the Baseline make it my first choice. 

P.S. Kudos on joining forces with the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild!