Colorado has been the king of canned craft beers since Oskar Blues began packaging its brews in aluminum more than a decade ago. And although the Longmont beer maker continues to change the game, other breweries are getting in on the act as well.
This week, Boulder's Sanitas Brewing, which opened last September, debuted a limited-edition beer, 360º Tripel, in a two new cans from Crown Beverages. The first has a lid that pulls all the way off; the second has a puncture hole at the top to make the beer pour more smoothly. Sanitas is the first Colorado craft brewery to use the cans.
"They like to team up with a local brewery," says Sanitas's Zach Nichols of Crown. Sanitas had been planning to put a new beer in a can for a while; the brewery sells its cans out of the taproom and in about forty stores in Boulder County.
Crown had both cans on display at the Craft Brewers Conference, which took place in Denver this week for the first time. The annual trade show drew 8,000 brewing professionals to town. The company first revealed the pull-off lid -= called the 360 End =- a year ago during the CBC in Washington, D.C., with Pennsylvania's Sly Fox Brewing.
The pull-off cans are a little problematic in some states because they violate old trash ordinances that were established in the days of pop-top cans. Colorado passed a similar rule in the early 1980s that was related to recycling.
Crown representative Brian Thiel says the pull-top lids are no more of a trash threat than aluminum cans with twist-off tops, however, and doesn't believe it will be an issue.
In addition to the unusual openings, the can also features a matte finish on the surface, which shows the graphics off in a different way than shiny cans do.
The 8.4 percent ABV beer itself was created to honor Trappist brewing in Belgium. It includes "fruit notes imparted by an authentic abbey-harvested yeast strain," Sanitas says. "The hazy, straw colored ale displays white pepper and orange in the aroma with layers of clove, floral hops, anise, and ripe pear in the flavor."
Supplies are very limited, however, as Sanitas only brewed enough for about 100 cases.
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