I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Canned Craft Beer Festival - May 21, 2011

Chandler, AZ is the place.

Here is the list of participating breweries.

Wow. That would be a great place to pick up lots of new cans and try some new beers.

If I still lived in El Paso,...it might be doable, but from Atlanta, just not feasible.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

To Quote Yogi Berra, "It's Deja Vu All Over Again"

If you have a mild interest in beer can collecting and haven't yet begun, now might be a good time to start, as more and more microbreweries are getting into producing cans. Or if you have been inactive, but seek to get back into it "for fun", "micro cans" can take you back to where most of us began.

From the website "Craft Cans", as of today, their database consists of 283 cans from 109 different breweries. With the new wave of microbrewery cans added to the pre-microbrewery cans", beer cans have been produced in 48 of the 50 states, with Mississippi and Arkansas being the only two without "native" cans.

Today's microbreweries are taking the place of (and in some cases, resurrecting the names of) the remaining regional and local breweries that were slipping away in the mid-1970s, when I and many other "senior collectors" began. One way we built our early collections (when buying and selling were frowned upon by the B.C.C.A.) was to buy local and regional brands and trade them with other collectors in other parts of the country.

In the Atlanta area - at the time when I began - most of the tradeable cans were regionals that drifted in from time to time. The numerous G. Heileman brands, National Brewing Co. (Regal), Duncan Brewing Co. (Auburndale, FL), sometimes Pearl Brewing Co. and Pittsburgh Brewing Co. brands would sometimes grace our store shelves and supplant our trade stocks. Now all of those are gone (or are owned/contract-brewed by someone else), but they have been replaced by microbreweries.

Starting a collection from scratch is a slow process, but it is how you gradually build the knowledge that makes you a true collector. Simply buying a collection doesn't really make you a collector, in and of itself. You have to have a knowledge of the histories of the breweries and cans to feel a part of the "fine madness" of our hobby.

[As I have to get back to work, I will write more later, but consider this...all of the currently-available "micro cans" are NOT nationally distributed, so a collector somewhere else needs them. Some of these micro breweries will not survive or else they may decide that maintaining canning and bottling lines does not work for them, so the cans may be a "one shot deal" - worth putting a few aside for future trading.]

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Monday, March 07, 2011

The 2011 Brick Store HMOG

otherwise known as the Holy Mother of Gatherings, is a BeerAdvocate gathering that takes place at the Brick Store Pub in downtown Decatur, GA each spring. The idea is that the attendees bring several bottles of exotic beers, i.e., stuff that ain't sold in Georgia, or else brands that were previously sold and the aged for more than one year.
Last year, I tried 44 new beers. Did a bit better this year, I tried 67 new beers, mostly 1 oz. samples over the course of 4 hours.

The gathered empty bottles are what are known as "beer porn".

The beers/ales tried during this year's HMOG:
Aiken Wee Heavy
Alesmith Old Numbskull
Anchor Our Barrel Ale
Ballast Point/Victory at Sea BA Imp Porter
Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury BA
Bend Hop Head Imperial IPA
Boulevard Saison
Brau Brothers Rubus Black
Brooklyn Black Ops 2010
Cantillion Kriek
Cascade Bourbonic Plague
Cigar City Either
Cigar City Guava Grove
Cigar City Or
Cigar City Vuja De
Coast Bulls Bay Oyster Stout
Coast Milk Stout
Coronado Red Devil Imp Red Ale
Craggie Dubbelicious
Craggie Herkulean Dark IPA
Deschutes Black Butte XXI
Deschutes Hop Hinge
Deschutes The Abyss 2010
Dogfish Head Fort
Firestone Walker 12
Firestone Walker 13
Firestone Walker 14
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Foothills Baltic Porter
Foothills Hoppyum IPA
Good People Brown Ale
Good People IPA
Goose Island Bourbon County Rare
Goose Island Pepe Nero
Goose Island Pere Jacques
Grand Teton Barrel Aged Quad
Hair of the Dog Fred #77
Lawson’s Fayston Maple Imperial Stout
Maui Big Swell IPA
McNeil’s Imperial IPA
Nebraska Hop God Belgian IPA
New Glarus Raspberry Tart
Odell Avant Peche Porter
Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale
Odell Levity Amber Ale
Olde Hickory Death by Hops
Pelican Mother of All Storms
Penn St. Nicholas Bock 2008
Rogue Old Crustacean 2004
Russian River Consecration
Russian River Supplication
Straight to Ales Unobtainium
Surly Abrasive
Surly Four
Surly Furious
The Bruery Oude Tart
Thirsty Dog Leg Humper
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus
Three Floyds Moloko Milk Stout
Troeg’s Nugget Nectar
Troeg’s Splinter`
Uinta Cockeyed Cooper BA Barleywine
Weyerbacher Riserva
White Birch Pale Ale
Widmer Brrrbon
Widmer Prickly Pear Braggot
Yellowhammer Tripel


Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Brewery Inside of a Volcano?


It is Mammoth Brewing Co., of Mammoth Lakes, California. The town lies within the Long Valley Caldera, which measures 11 miles by 20 miles.

The brewery's three canned varieties include Mammoth Epic IPA, Mammoth Golden Trout, and Mammoth Real McCoy Amber Ale. There seems to be only one variety with a volcanic reference, that is Floating Rock Hefeweizen, probably referring to pumice, which - due to its small gas vesicles - is capable of floating.

Other varieties are listed here: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/4051

As this supervolcano (caldera) is considered active, it is possible that the area might have to someday be evacuated.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy 76th Birthday to the Beer Can

On January 24th, 1935, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. rolled out cans of its Krueger Special Beer and Krueger Cream Ale in the Richmond, Virginia market.

Richmond was selected as it was far enough from Krueger's home market, that if the cans flopped, it wouldn't do as much damage to their reputation.

It turned out they didn't have to worry. According to the linked article, by the end of 1935, 37 breweries were canning beer.

And the rest is history.



Friday, January 21, 2011

An Interview with BCCA Prez, Pat Cornils...

is presented on the Craft Cans website. Of note, since 2006, each winner of the BCCA U.S. Can-of-the-Year has been a craft can, i.e., not from long-established American brewers.

According to the Craft Cans website, on their database, there have been 339 different brands produced by 126 U.S. breweries. By some definitions, long-established regional brewers, e.g., Spoetzl, Saranac (F.X. Matt), and Stevens Point. This is not the time or place to argue this point, as it serves no useful purpose, however if a friend asks about it, you can politely inform them of the "seniority of these brewers".

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

So bad, so bad...

I regret having been to busy to attend to the important things in life, such as beer-blogging.

Though this blog has been dormant, I have not.

Since the last post, late last year...

I reached 402 new (or seasonally variable) beers for 2009.

Thusfar for 2010, I am at 366.

Through the help of local Beer Advocates, I have tried numerous new breweries this year and lasts. Will work on some appropriate posts, soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 365 Project...Partially Complete

Phase I was completed on Saturday, December 5 when I tried The Bruery Two Turtle Doves dark Belgian ale. That made 365 different beers (or seasonal/yearly variations) tried. I have tried another 6 since then.

What remains is Phase II, which is to have visited at least a dozen different brewpubs. I have 3 left to go. There are sufficient numbers in Atlanta, it is just a matter of being busy with work and not having enough time on the weekends.

So now at 371 beers for the year, I may try for 400.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 365 Project Trundles on...

I have posted sporadically here about my 365 Project (informal name), by which I plan to try at least 365 new beers (or seasonal variations of previously-tried beers).

As of today, October 20, it is the 293rd day of the year and I have tried 293 beers. The latest was a sample of Victory Moonglow Weizenbock. Other recent good ones include Sierra Nevada Porter and Sweetwater Wet Dream IPA.

There are several other 22 oz. "bombers" in my pantry that await the weekend.

[Cross-posted at geosciblog.]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Progress on the 365 Project...

or whatever I chose to call it.

As a reminder, I have chosen to try to sample at least 365 new beers during the year.

As of 260 Days, I have tried 254 beers, so I am 6 beers "behind".

The latest was Dominion Octoberfest with lunch, while I am working at home. Very good.

Maybe I will have something else later tonight.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Lone Star Flat Top and the P-38

[Not the fighter plane, but the military can-opener.]

Here is another can I picked up at our recent brewery collectibles show at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a Lone Star "soft top" from the early 1960s. The soft top was a step along the way towards the pull-tab top. Some of the brands that used the soft top were Schlitz, Budweiser and Busch (on aluminum cans), Hamms, Walter's, Pearl, Black Label, Point Special, and even Iron City.

I picked up this can to replace one of the cans that I regrettably sold years ago, while I was selling off large portions of my collection to pay bills. When ya got a family, ya do what ya gotta do.

I had found a couple of these cans in May or early June 1978, when I began what was to have been my original thesis project in the Eagle Mts. in West Texas.

When we selected our first campsite, next to a windmill and well (always a good idea in a desert or semi-desert setting), after the tents were set up and scoping out the campsite, I noticed a couple of Lone Star cans under a mequite bush. Carefully crawling under the mesquite, avoiding its thorns, I retrieved the two cans. One of the cans was full and the other one had its top removed with a P-38 military-style can opener. One side of the full can was buried in the mesquite needles, while the exposed side was sun-bleached and rusted. The other cans was more buried in the needles and more protected.

The question immediately arose, why did someone go to the trouble of completely removing the top of the can with a P-38, to presumably drink the beer? And then not drink the other one.

Sometime later, elsewhere in the campsite, I found a Lone Star can opener, which seemed to offer some evidence as to what might have happened a some 15 years earlier.

Presumably, the person/persons at the campsite (on a ranch) first lost their can opener (a common tragedy in pre-pull tab days), then decided to open a can with the P-38. Perhaps the second can was deemed to much trouble to open in this fashion or perhaps it had gotten too warm by then and the full can was tossed along with the empty (and its removed top) under the mesquite.

Otherwise, while in the Eagle Mts., I found a displayable Pearl flat top can and some fellow grad students gave me a different (older) Lone Star, which I still have on my shelves. In their study area, there was an old ranch house, used by hunters. I would have loved to have had a step ladder to check the attic area, as there was an opening from the main room. Tossing empties into attics was a common practice and the cans are usually fairly well preserved. It just wasn't doable, looking back, maybe I could have brought a step ladder in my truck on a return trip from El Paso, but the geological work was deemed more important.

[Because of a series of unfortunate events, I didn't finish that thesis project, but did another thesis project in southern New Mexico a few years later.]

The four displayable cans found in the Eagle Mts. represent the sum total of displayable beer cans found during my outdoor geological career, i.e., during field work over the course of 30 years. I have a found a number of rusty, unidentifiable cans, but no other "keepers".



Saturday, August 01, 2009

236 Beers in 213 Days...

in the "365 beers for 2009" project.

Today's addition was Caldera Ashland Amber, from Oregon, which I picked up while in Oklahoma.

Maybe sometime soon I will add the year-to-date list.

I may have one more for the evening.

Can Close-Up - Falstaff 11 oz.

I have to admit I have been remiss about actual beer can blogging, lately. So I decided to blog about a couple of cans I picked up at our recent show at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (last Friday/Saturday).

The white flat top can pictured is from the late 1950s/early 1960s. Falstaff was a big seller at that time, and they had a number of breweries at that time, so this is not a rare can per se, except for a minor detail, it is an 11 oz can, rather than a 12 oz can.

On this can and the previous white flattop can, Falstaff listed the brewery at which the can was filled, along with the other cities along the side seam of the can. As I lived in El Paso for 14 years, this being an El Paso can makes it of interest. What is highly unusual about this is that it is an 11 oz can from a state where 11 oz cans were not sold.

Though I don't know the exact story behind the 11 and 15 oz cans sold in some western states, it was probably done for "tax loophole" reasons, i.e., to avoid the taxes on 12 and 16 oz. cans. In VA, SC, and LA, breweries avoided size-specific taxes by selling 10 and 14 oz. cans. The 14 oz cans proved popular enough that sales spread to other southern states, such as MS and GA. Brands such as Budweiser, Busch, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Meister Brau, Black Label, Falstaff, Burger, and National Bohemian were among those sold in the 14 oz cans in these states. Within the last 5 years, I seem to remember Old Milwaukee being sold in 14 oz cans in Louisiana.

In the western states of CA, WA, OR, UT, CO, NM, and AZ, 11 and (less commonly) 15 oz cans seem to be analagous to the 10 and 14 oz cans mentioned above, though the 11 oz cans were phased out earlier than the 14 oz cans. Some brands sold in 11 oz cans in these states included Coors, Schlitz, Olympia, Rainier, Black Label, Big Sky, Cascade, Sierra, Hamms, and Falstaff. Falstaff 11 oz flat top cans from San Jose, CA are not really unusual.

An 11 oz. Falstaff can from El Paso IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL. Coupled with the San Jose top (suggesting it was indeed filled in San Jose), it makes for some interesting possibilities. It just seems that with the San Jose brewery in production, why would they make 11 oz. cans for the El Paso brewery, when 11 oz cans could probably not be sold in Texas? I think it is likely an error can, i.e., the canning company made up a batch of 11 oz cans (slightly smaller in diameter) by mistake and El Paso being unable to use them, the batch was sent to San Jose for filling.

Such an oddity would primarily be of interest to Falstaff-specific collectors or Texas-specific collectors. Picking up a can with a story behind it is part of what makes the hobby interesting.

Another unusual Texas can I would like to get at some time would be a Carling Black Label from Fort Worth. Carling operated their newly-built Fort Worth brewery for perhaps 3 months before selling it to Miller around 1964 or so.



Saturday, July 25, 2009

229 Beers in 206 Days

Just a quick note from the driver's meeting room at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as we were wrapping up a breweriana show.

The show went pretty well, we rented out about 80 tables.

Later I will add more info about the show and one of the interesting cans I picked up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

140 Flavors for 140 Days...

Despite being too busy to blog as often as I should, I have been able to keep up with my goal of trying at least 365 new beers (or this year's versions of seasonals).

May 20th is the 140th day of the year and I have tried 140 different beers. I got behind late in April, but have gotten caught up in May. The most recent ale that I tried was Thomas Creek Pump House Porter, from SC, which was pretty good, it could almost pass for a stout. I have probably a dozen or so bottles stashed in the pantry that I haven't tried yet, so if I don't get out to any brewpubs in the near future, that is OK.

A side goal was trying to visit a different brewpub every month, but I missed going to one in April, so I have 4 so far this year. If we get to travel after Memorial Day, I may get to go to one or two while on the road. Maybe TX, maybe OK, maybe KS. Maybe all.

I will try to get back to posting the individual brands tried for each month.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

31 Flavors for March

I fell a little short in March, but because of the 5 extra carried over from January, I am still up-to-date on my goal of trying 365 new beers this year. 90 days so far (through March 31) and 90 new beers (or this year's version of a previously-tried micro/brewpub seasonal beer).

For March:

Abita Christmas Ale ‘08
Allagash Black
Avery The Czar Stout
Ballantine Burton Ale
Bard’s Tale Dragon’s Gold
Coney Island Human Blockhead
Harpoon Celtic Ale
Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat Ale
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Otter Creek Copper Ale
Shipyard Imperial Porter
Smuttynose Imperial Stout
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale
Smuttynose Robust Porter
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Terrapin Monk’s Revenge
Twain’s Heaven for Climate Golden Ale 3/09
Twain’s Honest Lender Brown
Twain’s Mad Happy Pale Ale
Twain’s Temperate Temperance Mild
Twain’s Thirty Days Belgian Black
Twain’s Three Lies Cocoa Stout
Uinta Wildfire Organic Pale Ale
Weyerbacher Heresy Stout
Weyerbacher Olde Heathen Stout
Yazoo Pale Ale

There are another 5 or 6 bottles in the fridge or pantry that I haven't tried yet, plus new brands on the market, when I can find single bottles.

When work permits it, I will try to visit another brewpub, to keep up with my goal of 1 different brewpub visit per month. Other than the one that is about 10 miles from here in Alpharetta, GA (already been there this year), most of the other ones are either in Athens (about 50 miles) or in Atlanta (25 - 30 miles plus traffic time), or Dahlonega (about 50 or so miles). There is a slight chance I might get to Big River in Chattanooga this Saturday after doing some geological photography in NW Ga.

Remarks on the Tasting of the Ballantine Burton Ale...

were posted over at my other blog, on March 25. Because of my work schedule, I don't have time, right now to post it here, though I may try sometime soon. So, for the time being, skip on over there for my thoughts on this historic brew.

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