I think a man workin' outdoors feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds. – Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemenption.
I was watching one of my favorite movies the other day and I hear the above quote. I have seen this movie a thousand times and never really thought much of it. But it really hit me then, how true it was for him in his circumstance and me in mine. I have no issue being the one who stands over the hot grill on a blistering day if I have a cold beer. Take away that cold beer, and it suddenly feels like work. So, what if we kept the beer and took away the bottle?
As I am sure you have noticed lately, with the heat of summer has come several new canned beers previously unavailable on our shelves here in Iowa. 12 pks, 6 pks, 4 pks, and yes, even 15 pks of craft beer now set on our shelves side by side their brothers in bottles. While I know I will never convince everyone to give up their precious bottles (nor will I give up bottles entirely), here is why you should consider joining the movement.
1) Freedom. No, I don’t mean bald eagles, fireworks, and bands. Or do I? After all, while glass is being prohibited more and more at our local and state parks, cans often are not. They don’t break, you won’t cut your feet on them, and they are at lot easier to pack out when you are done. Bottles are great for home usage, but frankly, cans are more likely to let you drink where you want to drink.
2) Gun Shows. Or more importantly, not having to have big guns to carry them. Cans weigh significantly less but carry the same amount of liquid. No reason to strain for your liquid refreshment.
3) Ice. Cans tend to get cold faster and keep their cold longer than bottles do.
4) Shade. Most people know that brown bottles get less light damage than green bottles. Well, cans have no light damage and no oxidization to speak of either. In other words, even with the sun beating down on you, they are more likely to taste fresh.
So, after a long day mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, riding the on the bike trails, or playing softball, why not crack open a fresh cold beer right of the can. With Boulevard Wheat, Blue Moon, Leinie’s Summer Shandy, New Belgium Fat Tire, and Founder’s All Day IPA among the many choices, you are sure to find a beer that matches your taste. You might just find you feel more like yourself with that can of beer in your hand, smile on your face, and friends and family near.
Beer Town, USA
Many cities and towns think of themselves as epicenters of beer and beer culture. Most of these are well known and for obvious reason. It may be one major brewery in town (Milwaukee, St. Louis), or having a major brewery and a thriving craft scene (Denver), craft bars and breweries seemingly on every corner (Grand Rapids, Portland, Ashville). For right now though, let’s focus on somewhere a little closer to home. Let’s center in on Potosi, Wisconsin, a small town of 700 just a stone’s throw from Dubuque.
Potosi and brewing go all the way back to 1852 and it being founded on the Great River Road. Producing clean and refreshing beers that they aged in their beer caves, their beer became regionally well known. In fact, prior to prohibition, Potosi actually owned and operated a steamboat so they could take their product across the Mississippi into Iowa. This is where the name of their Steamboat Shandy comes from.
However, despite operating through and after prohibition, things began to slow down and Potosi Brewing finally shut its doors in 1972. The abandoned brewery became a place where children would sneak into and play. It loomed over the town like a ghost of from the past, a hint of what was but was gradually decaying before their eyes.
Thirty six years later, in 2008, Potosi reopened its doors. A brewpub was restored on the original grounds and the place feels both fully modern while still being imbibed with a sense of history and the past. It features modern pubfare cooked to perfection served alongside fresh made on site beer in a beer hall that is simply beautiful. It was no mere brewpub though, it was so much more.
Potosi Brewing is home to the National Brewery Museum. You can walk through the museum and see all the advertising and logos that have taking place in the history of the United States. Nearly constantly rotating exhibits mean every visit to the museum in unique. The museum is equal parts science, technology, art, pop culture, and Americana. Potosi Brewing is actually set up a a charitable foundations, proceeds and profits going to helping run the museum, to local scholarships, and to needs within the community.
Only one thing was missing. A world class bottling and canning facility. Just this past year, a 5 million dollar brewhouse went up and they were now bottling and canning their own beer. The beer in the market was now going to taste just as great as it did at the brewpub.
That brings us to now. We at United Beverage are proud to have Potosi Brewing as one of our suppliers. We stock their Good Old Potosi Golden Ale, Cave Ale, Snake Hollow IPA along with seasonal like Steamboat Shandy, Wee Stein Wit, and Tangerine IPA. We are proud of all that they have done for their community and the pride they take in their beer. We too are proud of our community and are happy to offer you another great brewery from what you might just think of as Beer Town, USA.
As Spring arrives, let's not rush into Summer just yet. After all, we spent all Winter hoping that Spring would arrive. While as a person in beer sales, I know that Summer is when the most beer sales happen (domestic lights, Summer Shandy, session IPAs, wheat beers), I often find that beers of Spring are often overlooked. We are not even to April yet and trust me, you have plenty of time to work on your tan. So with a that in mind, let's turn our attention on some beers that work great for the season we are actually in.
Bocks: Originally German in heritage, bocks were the beer that greeted in Spring. Malty with just enough hops not to be sweet, bocks were robust enough to hold up to the brisk nights of March and April, but not too heavy as to not still be consumed in May. The top selling craft Bock is Shiner Bock, made in Shiner, Texas. This dark amber beer pairs perfectly with those grilled burgers and steaks while you sit in jeans and talk with friends and family on your deck. For even more German and seasonal experience, I would suggest trying Schell's Maifest. This golden bock off sets an Italian seasoned chicken breast and pairs perfectly with that fresh baked roll.
Ambers: Spring and Fall are times of balance, when we experience the equinox, and when many people like the nice combination of neither sweating nor freezing. As such, a well-balanced Amber just might be your thing. New Belgium makes perhaps the definitive American craft lager in Fat Tire. Biscuity, lightly toasted, with hints of caramel with just enough hops, Fat Tire is that makes friends with any type of food. I like it best with wings. Finding a beer that pairs well with Spicy Garlic and Honey BBQ are tasks unto themselves normally; but one that the soon to be 25 year old recipe of Fat Tire handles with grace and elegance. A nice alternative is Schell's Firebrick. This award winning Vienna style lager is a perfect pairing for a meatloaf sandwich or a juicy Lucy.
Blondes: It has been said that gentlemen prefer blondes, trust me, the two I am suggesting are loved by men and women alike. First, let me tell you about the first Blonde born in Iowa that I fell in love with. Sophisticated, complex, but approachable, she sure did look pretty, practically shining like an angel. Her scent was pleasant, perhaps a hint of banana, vanilla, and clove and she tasted every bit as good as she looked and smelled. Blonde Fatale by Peace Tree Brewing is the beer that beer snobs and brand new to beer newbies enjoy alike; and they are both right. There is a reason this fine ale won a World Beer Cup gold medal. Blond Fatale pairs perfectly with turkey sliders with a peach BBQ sauce on Hawaiian bread or even with a light fruit sorbet. Of course, love isn't always sweet. Sometimes it can make you bitter. For those times, I suggest New Belgium's newest seasonal Hoppy Blonde. Toasted sweet notes and a slowly building bitterness on the palette combined with the alluring aroma of grapefruit, tropical fruit, mango, and just a hint of dank pine on top of bready malt. Translation: yum! Pork tacos with mango salsa were practically invented for this beer.
Hoppy Wheat: When it comes to Summer, the sweet hint of wheat is a glorious thing. But wait, we are still in Spring, the season that promises Summer but still has a nip in the air. Soppy Wheat beers are exactly like that, sweet wheat with a tinge of bitterness. Out of Kansas City, Boulevard Brewing is best known for their Unfiltered Wheat. However, they also make a great hoppy wheat beer called 80 Acre. Refreshing, drinkable, and a great way to start appreciating hops, this beer has training wheels if you need them, but is fully capable of riding with the big boys. If 80 Acre is a great first bike, then Lil Sumpin Sumpin is a go cart. Faster than it looks, made with everything in the garage, and seemingly about to go off the rails at every turn, this big Hoppy wheat screams IPA at the beginning til creamy wheat and oats smooth and balance the beer out. 80 acre might be the perfect excuse to break out those pork chops and rub them down in rosemary and garlic. Our Lil Sumpin Sumpin from Lagunitas is made in Chicago and frankly, a Chicago style hot dog with the onions, relish, peppers, tomato, and mustard is a simple pleasure that will have you enjoying your Spring fever all over again.