Maine brewers give us additional choices for bringing home their beers in cans and bottles.
A few weeks ago, I lamented that I wished more breweries in Maine bottled or packaged their beer for bringing home. I stand by this – it’s less expensive for the consumer per beer, and there are times in which I just don’t feel like being social or bumping elbows with everyone at a packed bar. Seems like a few breweries were thinking along the same lines – and have begun to get in on the action.
D. L. Geary Brewing Company announced last week that it will be canning its Hampshire Special Ale (also known as HSA) on a seasonal basis for the first time this year. The can, designed to evoke the old-style labels for HSA. The beer was original released as a winter seasonal, and is an English Strong Ale. This is a malt-forward and features caramel like notes followed up with a satisfying wave of hops. There aren’t too many English Strong Ales on the market these days, but it just seems to fit with Maine’s character. It is a great beer for drinking while looking outside at the leaves changing or even the first snowfall. The cans for HSA will represent the third* canned beer for Geary’s – the Summer Ale debuted in cans for the first time in 2013 and their Pale Ale is available in cans as well. HSA will be available through March 2015.
Also on the canning front, the boys at Bissell Brothers will also be serving up a new beer in cans named Bucolia – which has already made a splash on its first canning run last week, selling out quickly wherever it showed up. The 5.6% ABV Bucolia (boo-koe-leeah) features Simcoe hops and German malts – I haven’t been able to snag one of these yet, but it sounds like a very interesting, slightly maltier brew than their previous offerings, and should be worth seeking out for a taste.
Since the beginning of the summer, Funky Bow Brewery & Beer Company has been teasing about releasing its beer in cans. As of last week, the shipment of cans has arrived at the brewery, and the canning process should be up and running soon. Despite a little mishap in shipping (~20,000 of the empty cans they ordered poured out of their palates during shipping), the brewery will begin canning next Tuesday, when Iron Heart Canning Company will be up to provide the canning equipment. The mobile canner allows breweries without the space for a canning line to be able to package in cans on an as-needed basis. From the looks of the photos posted (right), it looks like the G-String and So Folkin’ Hoppy IPA will be the first to be canned.
There is plenty of shelf space in Maine, but not a lot of tap space, so entering this market – despite the startup costs – may be a wise decision for many fledgling (or even established) breweries. Be on the lookout for more bottled offerings from Austin Street Brewing as well as some bottles down the line from Banded Horn Brewery as well. I’ll share details as I get them on these, but if I get more beer from both of those breweries in bottles, I would not complain!
*Corrected to include Geary’s Pale Ale in the canned beer lineup!