The second event that I attended during SF Beer Week was the “Kick Ass Canned Craft Brews” event at the Jug Shop on February 7, 2009. Although I was excited to attend the AleSmith tasting at City Beer Store earlier that day, this was the event I was looking forward to. There seems to be more and more craft breweries releasing their beer in canned form yet I had only previously tried one can of Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues about a year ago.
According to these, and other brewers, beer from a can has advantages. First, the beer cans are lined so the beer never comes in contact with metal. Next, the beer is never exposed to the harmful effects of light. The beer can is supposedly a more airtight container preventing exposure to oxygen. Finally, the cans are lighter and you can take them where you cannot take bottles such as camping and golfing.
This event was a great opportunity to try canned beer from Oskar Blues from Colorado, 21st Amendment from San Francisco, and Uncommon Brewers from Santa Cruz. I tried a little bit of everything (except Dale’s and Brew Free or Die) and the beer was excellent. For all I knew, the beer could have been poured from a can or poured from draft. The following is a list of beer that was available in cans at this event:
- 21st Amendment
- Watermelon Wheat
- Brew Free or Die IPA
- Oskar Blues
- Dale’s Pale Ale
- Old Chub Scottish
- Gordon Strong Ale
- Ten Fidy Stout
- Uncommon Brewers
- Siamese Twin
Siamese Twin is a wonderful Belgian-style double brewed with “exotic spices to enhance beer flavors,” which, according to the brewery, is a long tradition in Belgian brewing. A good example is Belgian witbier which includes coriander and orange peel. This beer, however, is brewed with Thai spices such as kaffir lime and lemongrass in addition to coriander. Being a double it had a high alcohol content by volume at 8.5%. I thought this beer was both interesting and delicious and lives up to the name “Uncommon.” Since I had some very hoppy and malty brews before this one, I had trouble finding the Thai spices but they are definitely there. I can’t wait to get some more cans so I can enjoy it with some home made Thai food and also write up a full review.
The Watermelon Wheat beer is interesting in that it smells a little bit like a vegetable but when you taste it the flavor is distinctly and deliciously watermelon. I always prefer to be able to taste the special ingredient than have it be so subtle you’re not sure it is there. This beer is made with 400 lbs. of watermelon per batch.
Old Chub, by Oskar Blues, is an acclaimed and award winning Scottish Ale having won a Gold Medal at the 2008 World Beer Championships. It is a deeply malty ale that is a wonderful representation of the Scottish ale style. It is roasty, sweet, hints of bittersweet chocolate, and slightly smoky from the beechwood-smoked grains. Old Chub also has a nice warming feeling from the 8% alcohol by volume. This beer definitely ranks among some of the best Scottish ales that I have tried.
Oskar Blues Gordon Beer is, according to the brewery, “a hybrid version of strong ale, somewhere between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA.” It is a great beer with an incredible citrus and fresh hop smell yet warms you up with 8.7% alcohol by volume. After the event I picked up a 4-pack of this beer so that I can review it in a later blog posting.
Finally, I tried my new favorite imperial stout, Ten Fidy also by Oskar Blues. What makes this beer imperial? The huge amount of flavor, malt, hops, and alcohol is what makes this an imperial beer. The alcohol content is 10% alcohol by volume but the malty sweetness both overshadows the alcohol flavor as well at the 98 IBUs of hops. The beer both smells and tastes like bittersweet chocolate cake and artisan roasted coffee. It is extraordinarily drinkable for being such a big beer. I purchased a 4-pack at the end of the event and will be doing a full review later. I also used a can of this wonderful beer to cook up a batch of beer brittle, which I will also blog about.