This past weekend Scottsdale Civic Center Mall welcomed the 3rd Annual AmeriCAN Beer Festival in celebration of American Craft Beer Week. The festival is hosted by Chandler AZ’s San Tan Brewing Company whom packages all their beers in either cans or kegs. You may ask what makes this beer festival different from other beer festivals. This festival featured only beers packaged in cans, and why cans….well for several reasons according to Joe Burns of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Cans protect the beer from UV light, no oxygen in cans, are easier on the environment and are better for using for recreational purposes i.e on boats, around pools and water, especially in Florida.
Now that you know why cans, here is some of the samples of beers I enjoyed from some of the 60 breweries in attendance from all over the United States.
DC Brau www.dcbrau.com from our nations capital opened for business on April 15th 2011 and is DC’s 1st production brewery in almost 60 years. DC Brau makes 10,000 barrels a year and distributes throughout D.C. and northern Virginia. Lead Shift Brewer Christopher Grahm was their 1st employee and tells me they currently can 6 beers including their 3 flagship beers The Citizen, The Public and The Corruption. I tasted the limited release “El Hefe Speaks” Hefeweizen which was crisp, cold and tasted like a German style hefeweizen.
Another D.C. area brewery that came out west for the festival was Lost Rhino Brewing Company www.lostrhino.com/ from Leesburg Virginia. Sampling their Pilsner I found it rich and creamy. A hint of spice made this beer quite the thirst quencher.
Beers are not known to be gluten-free with their use of wheat and barley, but Joseph James Brewing Company www.foxbrews.com in Henderson, Nevada makes the a the only gluten-free canned beer in the world. The Fox Tail Gluten Free Ale uses nectars instead of wheat. This lighter bodied ale also no sorghum (a grain used in making of alcohol) instead using organic rice, nectars and hops. This ale tasted very good and I wouldn’t have known it was gluten -free as tasted good as any ale using wheat.
For the cider enthusiast for which I am one, there were a few ciders in cans including Vermont Hard Cider www.woodchuck.com pouring their original Woodchuck Cider which is made from apples and is also gluten-free. Cold, crisp and clear this golden cider goes down very well and could be habit-forming. If you prefer your cider on the dry side then you can find Crispin’s “Brown Lane” Classic English Dry Cider which is one of their imported ciders. www.crispincider.com
As fruit beers are becoming more popular, a few are being canned and were being poured including Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze which uses raspberries in the brewing process, Redd’s Apple Ale from Tenth & Blake Beer Company, San Tan Brewing Co.’s “Mr. Pineapple” Wheat beer and Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut Porter. All had a hint of fruit used with Redd’s Apple Ale having the strongest fruit flavor.
Grand Canyon Brewing Co. www.grandcanyonbrewery.com/ out of Williams AZ won Gold medal for their Sunset Amber in the “Amber & Brown” beer categories. Making 30,000 barrels a year this beer is distributed in Arizona & Nevada.
Nothing goes better with beer than food and several food trucks were there to provide use with something to wash down with a cold beer including Brat Haus, The Grilled Cheese Truck and Tom’s BBQ. There were several bands playing throughout the afternoon including Good Rust, Pride Through Strife, 80 proof and Boom Shed for you to get your groove on.
Nothing beats a cold beer on warm day in May and although you may have to wait til next years 4th Annual AmeriCAN Beer Festival www.cannedcraftbeerfest.com/ doesn’t mean you can’t wait to find your favorite canned beer. Many retailers including Whole Foods stock an impressive array of canned beers to get you through the summer months and beyond. Cheers!