Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Crack, pop, hiss.
What happens when you hear the sound of a beer can opening? Do memories of a college fraternity party, tailgating, perhaps kicking back with some "cold ones" at camp come rushing back? Perhaps you're remembering the cans of beer your parents or grandparents used to love.
When pressed to describe the type of beer that comes in cans, many would start naming light lagers and other thin beers that are described in superlatives only addressing how cold they were brewed.
However, there is another revolution afoot in the craft beer industry, and it is the return of the can. The days of only pale, inexpensive beers being canned is gone. Get ready for the new cans on the block.
While you may be familiar with the delicious brews coming out of Lewiston by Baxter Brewing Company (who were the first to bring canned beer back to Maine), there is one canned beer that just popped into town that is worth finding as well - Marshall Wharf Brewing Company's Cant Dog IPA.
Marshall Wharf Brewing Company, based in Belfast, has long been available on draught and, more recently growlers. I am all for freshness, but sometimes a trip to Belfast or out to my favorite restaurants to get my fill isn't in the cards. This is why I was very happy to see Marshall Wharf's first canned offering start to show up on shelves in Portland craft beer friendly establishments. They also, ingeniously, found a way to affix beer-specific labels to their cans so they can buy more generic cans in bulk, and still release smaller, fresher batches.
The sleek, black 16 ounce cans (which, admittedly, somewhat resemble certain energy drinks) started to be sold in four packs in late January, and retail for about $16.00.
Cant Dog is an "Imperial Pale Ale" and a nice and assertive one at that. Described on Marshall Wharf's website as "...the one beer that our brewers would take to that mythical deserted island if we could only bring one Marshall Wharf beer.." this IPA is going to make a serious dent in the Portland and Maine beer landscape as it becomes more widely available.
It pours a beautiful dark amber color, and the aroma of it alone is enough to make a hop-lover swoon. It has the fruity and pine-like aromas mixed in there, which only serves to make my mouth water. The smell is also not disappointing, because the flavor packs a great bitterness backed up with a gentle maltiness and almost sweetness. It reminds me of the strong, yet balanced flavor of IPAs like Dogfish Head Brewing's 90 Minute IPA. I think this is a perfect fit for the Maine beer scene, and is a great treatment of hops in a typically malt-centric brewing landscape.
I got this particular 4 pack only days after it was canned, and the freshness is obvious and tasty. Because it comes in between 9.5 and 10% ABV, however, I'd stay away from pounding these cans.Tweet
Carla Companion is a craft beer lover and investigator of all things beer. She started a craft beer website and blog thebeerbabe.com in 2007, sharing her thoughts as she explored what was new in beer, as well as brewery visits, trips and "beer adventures." Moving to Portland in 2009, she found herself surrounded by the Maine beer community and has been exploring it ever since.
In her blog, Carla profiles craft beer (and some mead and cider, too) being brewed in Maine, as well as looks into the people, places and stories behind the beer that makes the community so vibrant. Join Carla on her beer adventures and advice on where to get the best, newest, and most interesting fermented drinks around.
Carla can be contacted at askthebeerbabe [at] gmail.com or on twitter at @beerbabe.