Cannery # 3 – Southern Star

Since this is CanFest month, my featured breweries don’t come from just one state or region but share the commonality of canning!

Southern Star got on my radar due to their Buried Hatchet stout. And due to recent expansions to brewing capacity and the canning line more canned beers will be flowing out of this Texas brewery. And that might include seasonal cans to!

Cannery # 2 – Mammoth Brewing

Since this is CanFest month, my featured breweries don’t come from just one state or region but share the commonality of canning!

Mammoth has shown up in L.A. markets on occasion and their IPA 395 is a spicy and bitter treat.

They are part of the trend of brewers who do both bottles and cans.

Grab a can or bottle when you see their stuff. Both the Epic IPA and the pilsner were tasting good at Canfest this year.

Canfest – upon reflection

I have a few more photos of Canfest to display so I thought I would sprinkle some in amongst my review of the event.

There were really only two items when you talk Canfest. The Beer pairing dinner and the event itself. Both of which were well done and fun. That is a great start. But what I would add in future versions is to have a Canfest bus that you buy a ticket to that will take you to Buckbean, Silver Peak and Great Basin as well as the wonderful Craft wine and beer store. Give a flavor of the Reno craft beer scene.

As far as the events themselves, the dinner and awards is in it’s infancy but was a good, solid dinner. I really like the idea of using last years winners as the beers to pair with. But I would have loved to see a dark beer in the mix. Even though the best pairing was the dessert with an IPA which I thought was a great and unexpected pairing. I would also add a visual component to the awards portion. Just a simple name of category and winner slide would suffice.

The main event hit most of my requirements for a festival. Water was available. The space was large enough for the amount of tickets. Beer was plentiful. And what I really liked was the fact that it was such a wide geographic sampling. South Dakota. Alaska. Arizona. Oregon. Kansas. I would have loved to see Sixpoint, Two Beers, Good People or Surly or some other East Coast influence too. But that is greed on my part.

Overall a very fun trip and if you like the brewery list. I recommend giving Canfest a whirl.

Oh and a Buckbean is a marsh dwelling plant of the Tahoe area that has bitter characteristics, much like a hop. There is a reason why hops are used in beer and not the buckbean though.

Canfest – Photo Recap

As promised here is my full report (with photographic proof) of Canfest 2011.

Reno was cold and beautiful over the three days that I was in town.

...but this sign really scared me.

But I was here for the beer dinner....

...which finished with an awesome Hawaiian dessert paired with Maui Big Swell IPA...

...and this was the other reason I was there, the main event. Better than the fight in Vegas.

In between, I visited an excellent wine and beer shop....

tasted some beer from a local brewery

...and from our hosts as well.

like this can-aged brew from 2010

I even lost some money to the Dark Lord.

But I left Nevada a ......

Canfest – Day 3

My third and final day in Reno. Time to give you the quick recap of last night brought to me by the Canfest 2011 people.

28 canneries to sample and so little time and stomach space. First though, my favorite beer was the second of the night. Velvet Rooster from Tallgrass in Kansas was fantastic. Spicy with notes of vanilla. It was dreamy.

Now that that I’d out of the way. I sampled beers from new breweries (to me) like Coop of Oklahoma, Four Peaks of Arizona, Kenai River of Alaska, Santa Fe of New Mexico among others. All told, I sipped 18 brews during the event.

Others of note include the Kenai River Skilak Scottish, Pako’s Eye-P-A and the Pile o Dirt porter from Crow Peak Brewing of South Dakota.

In tommorows post, I will tell you what a Buckbean is and give my review of the weekend too. Oh, and photos lots of photos.

Canfest – Day 2

Waking up in Reno! Big day ahead. So let’s recap what the good folks at Canfest lined up for me.

Bright and early (after a Starbucks run), I taxied over to the Buckbean Brewery. Soon followed by the crews and posse’s of Fort George, Kenai and Snake River. We were treated to the full range of Buckbean ales including their IPA, Tahoe Tessie and their Belgian IPA, Tour de Nez. And that was not all.

We also got a taste of 2010 Very Noddy. And thar was not all. They whipped up a couple pre-noon beer cocktails as well. My favorite of the day was the Tessie which had a crazy mix of galaxy, citra and other hops.

After that and knowing of the beers to come at the main event, I grabbed lunch and a nap in preparation. More on that in the next post.

Canfest – Day 1

The Beer Search Party has landed in Reno. And was met at the airport in grand style. Time to recap what the good folks at Canfest lined up for me.

I arrived in Reno after a turbulent flight from Burbank but things got much better. There was a limo driver with my name waiting to whisk me downtown after that luxury, I met Doug from Buckbean accidentally and he gave me a quick tour of where to drink in Reno including the great beer and wine shop, Craft. I had a New Zealand beer in honor of Brett and Jermaine then walked a block to Silver Peak Brewing and had lunch and a DIPA.

Due to long lines from multiple wedding parties, I snagged my room at Circus Circus and chilled before trying to wend my way through the casino maze and the beer dinner.

Addendum: After getting my 7th floor room, I wound my way through the casino to Brew Brothers to sample one of their ales. I went back to the the DIPA well and came up with mediocre. Did not hop up my palate. But I did get to beer chat with some fellow beer lovers.

Then it was on to the beer dinner and awards. It was a really good set of pairings with past award winning beers. All plated elegantly. The best was the desert. A Hawaiian pudding with pineapple that worked wonders with the Maui Big Swell IPA.

Even better was sitting with Peter Estaniel, a fellow beer blogger from the Bay-ish area and the guys from Snake River Brewing (who won best in show for their IPA).

FYI – There will be a full pictorial wrap-up when I get home.

Cannery # 1 – Golden Road

Since this is CanFest month, my featured breweries don’t come from just one state or region but share the commonality of canning!

And I will start with the one that is literally a 25 minute walk from my home…Golden Road Brewing.

They will be canning their Point the Way IPA (see above) as well as their Hefeweizen to start. You can also get two different sizes of growlers filled as of now and their tasting room will be open sometime in the near future and you will be able to watch the trains zip by as you sip your ale.