Archives for July 2009

Packaging Perfected

“So, why do you can your beer?” This question definitely ranks in the top ten that we hear.

Kicking back at the capsite while riding the White Rim in Canyonlands. Photo courtesy of Michael Robson Photograpy.

Kicking back at the campsite while riding the White Rim in Canyonlands. Photo courtesy of Michael Robson Photography.

Like a carton is to milk and a peel to an orange, the aluminum can has proven to be a natural package for beer. However, it took a while to figure out how to do it properly. Canned beer’s history is tainted with bad technology and little regard for the finished product.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the aluminum can in 2009, Bill Coors was interviewed by the Rocky Mountain news. He expressed his displeasure of the tin can as a beer container, citing the “lousy aftertaste” it left in their beer and the metal cans that littered the American landscape since they weren’t easily recycled. He turned his sights toward recycled aluminum. It was cheaper and more easily sterilized, eliminating the need to pasteurize the beer. Combine a visionary with the inventor of the chewing-gum scraper attached to a broom, and great things can happen. After years of refining the design, Ruben Hartmeister walked into Bill Coors office in 1959 with a crude aluminum can.

The short list of why Upslope Ales can only be found in cans:

Hand-crafted We brew our beer in small batches and it is not pasteurized. So,it needs to be protected. Light oxidizes beer. It’s very dark inside a can. Oxygen oxidizes beer. Cans are hermetically sealed. “But, you get that ‘tinny’ taste.” All cans are now lined with an aqueous polymer. Metal never touches beer.

Aluminum Can Ever see a can shatter when its dropped? Ever grab a 12-pack of cans in one hand and a 12-pack of bottles in the other hand? It’s like being with your 4 year-old on the seesaw.

Portable Take ‘em up the trail in the pack. Drain ‘em, crush ‘em, stick ‘em back in the pack.

Recyclable Used aluminum cans are recycled and returned to a store shelf as a new can in as few as 60 days. That’s because the can’s aluminum materials are designed with recyclability in mind.

Good Hand-crafted beer well protected in a light, crushable, recyclable package? Sounds pretty good to me.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against tasty beer in a bottle, but don’t think less of a hand-crafted beer in a can. And if you’re not camping, backpacking, or at a music festival . . . you can always choose to pour it in a glass.

Beer People

Bitter Brown Tapping Party at Upslope

Bitter Brown Tapping Party at Upslope

I’ve never been much of a wine guy. While I have always enjoyed relaxing with my wife, splitting a bottle of red over the course of the evening, it’s not my “go to”. I am the guy, at the restaurant, after everyone has ordered their preferred cab or zin, who asks the waiter, “So, what do you have on tap?”.

Beer to me represents all of the good things in life. It is friendly and casual. It is unobtrusive and unpretentious. It is sincere and light-hearted. It is lively banter and belly laughs. It is going to the ballpark, unwinding after a workday, and enjoying a fine meal all rolled up into one. It is international and welcoming. It is natural and historic.   It is relaxing and calming. It is crafted. It is good.

In the movie “Titanic”, one of my favorite scenes is the shot of the first class deck, with it’s well-dressed passengers, fine china and tablecloths. Then the camera moves down through the decks to the third class. The clanging of crystal gives way to Irish music, and in a big room in the belly of the ship there is a raucous party being revealed.   Travelers are hammering their instruments, dancing on tables, laughing and singing, and liter mugs are in hand sloshing with ale.   Every time that I watch this scene, I have the same thought . . . These are my people.