Product Watch: 2015 Great American Beer Festival
Ever since 1982, beer lovers from all over the globe have been drawn to Denver, Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival. Not only is GABF the largest beer collection served each year offering attendees the chance to taste an array of different beer styles and try new brands, it also hosts a private competition. Nightclub & Bar was there and picked out a number of interesting beers and products available to most operators, aficionados and beer fans throughout the United States.
Station 26 Brewing Co. Colorado Cream Ale (5.2% ABV, 15 IBU)
Located in Denver, Colorado, Station 26 Brewing Co. recently released a couple of their beers in cans. One of these is their Colorado Cream Ale, a classic example of this refreshing style. Light, crisp and clean with a smooth body and full mouthfeel. Expect a bit of sweetness upon entry, subtle toasted malt and a dry finish. Not only refreshing but also gluten-free, Colorado Cream Ale is made from malted 2-row barley, brown rice and Cascade hops.
New Belgium Shift Pale Lager (5.0% ABV, 29 IBU)
Shift Pale Lager is a medium-light-bodied meeting of, as the name suggests, American pale ale and American lager styles. The combination of American hops (Cascade, Nelson Sauvin, Nugget and Liberty) with specialty malts (Pale, Munich and C80) creates a refreshing beer that’s toasty, citrusy and strongly floral on the nose, grainy and bit grassy with a bit of fruity and honey sweetness on the palate, and a bigger mouthfeel with less carbonation than classic lagers.
New Belgium Sunshine Wheat (4.8% ABV, 14 IBU)
A light-bodied filtered wheat beer, Sunshine Wheat serves as an invigorating alternative to heavier hefes, made from Pale, Carapils and Wheat malts, Nugget hops, and orange peel and coriander. The nose hints at the big fruit, spice and herbal flavors of lemon, orange, peach, pear and apple, coriander and sage that are balanced on the palate with slight bitterness, tartness and tanginess. Heavier carbonation than usually encountered with a wheat beer helps to make this beer very easily drinkable.
Temperature. Taste. Transport. These are the 3 words that Hydro Flask, founded in 2009 and operating out of Bend, Oregon, live by. Using TempShield™ (double walled, vacuum insulated tech), Hydro Flask products keep cold beverages like ice water cold and hot beverages like coffee hot for hours without condensation or heat transfer, guaranteed. In addition, the company gives 5% of the net proceeds from each product to the charity of a buyer’s choice. Hydro Flask has now turned their attention to beer drinkers with their 16-oz. True Pint, 32-oz. Wide Mouth and 64-oz. Wide Mouth Growler, each of which are protected via TempShield™ technology, BPA and Phalate free and are constructed of 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel. The True Pint is designed to deliver the same experience as drinking beer in a pint glass but with reliable temperature control while the Wide Mouth Growler is the first ever insulated growler brought to market.
Why use the same old growlers when the craft beer scene is seeing so much incredible innovation? The result of several years of research and development by Nicholas Hill, his father Dr. Tim Hill and engineer John Herrick, DrinkTanks Growlers are a truly new approach to the popular, portable container. DrinkTanks feature double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps cold beverages cold for 24 hours and hot beverages hot for 12 hours without condensation, a dual-bail system that promises no leaks, high-grade 18/8 stainless steel bodies, and their patented Keg Cap system that keeps beverages fresh for a full week when filled.
And then there’s The Kegulator which turns DrinkTanks growlers into personal kegs. The Kegulator is an auto-regulating Keg Cap that uses an adjustable dial that enables carbonation control from 0 to 40 PSI, a purge valve to keep out oxygen, and 16g to 74g CO2 cartridges. Compatible with 64-oz. and 128-oz. DrinkTanks, this system makes it very easy to dispense beverages straight from the growler.
All of that and DrinkTanks are dishwasher safe, BPA free, attractive and available in a wide array of colors.
Pop & Stop Bottle Openers & Sealers
The only thing more convenient than a bottle opener on your keychain is a bottle opener on your keychain that can also seal your beer (or other carbonated beverages). Pop & Stop solves the problem of flat beers, a solution long overdue. Beverage preservation was, until now, singularly focused on the wine world. Today, beer lovers can rejoice and order up a few Pop & Stops, which keep beer fresh for 48 hours (or longer), come in several colors, are food safe and prevent precious brew from being wasted.
Riedel & Spiegelau
Those familiar with Riedel know that the name is synonymous with varietal-specific, high-quality wine glassware. Many beer drinkers may be surprised to learn that Riedel also makes glassware focused on their beverage of choice. First up is there stylish Pilsner glass, the Ouverture. It’s made from fine crystal and is dishwasher safe. Next is Riedel’s tall, curvy Vivant Wheat Beer glass, fashioned from Tyrol crystal and able to hold 24 ounces of ales, porters, stouts and other beverages. Riedel has also owned fine glass company Spiegelau since 2004. Spiegelau’s IPA glass was developed in collaboration with Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. Their American Wheat Beer / Witbier glass is designed to enhance American and Belgian wheat beers and has a large bowl and open bottom base. Finally, the Spiegelau Stout accentuates the aromatic and flavor notes of stouts without losing any functionality and was designed in collaboration with Left Hand and Rogue.
Over-engineered is standard operating procedure at YETI. Any doubt that statement isn’t true can be dispelled by their Tundra cooler: it’s grizzly bear proof. No, really. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) describes the Tundra as being able to “withstand smashing, prying, scratching, biting and tossing by hungry bears.” The Tundra series starts at the 7.2-gallon Tundra 35 and go up to the monstrous Tundra 420 (100.6 gallons), perfect for commercial use. The rest of their coolers, even the soft-sided Hopper, keep ice for days while the Tank 45 and Tank 85 are huge, party-proof beverage tubs that keep things cold for hours upon hours without ever condensating.
Fyxation Bicycles Fyxation started by releasing an urban bike tire in 2009. They then began manufacturing urban bike parts and accessories. By 2013, Fyxation began building their own frames, forks and complete bicycles. The Wisconsin bicycle company also makes beautifully crafted leather beer accessories because let's face it – many craft beer hot spots across the country also have jumpin' bicycle scenes. It can be incredibly difficult to transport beer when riding a bike so Fyxation came up with truly elegant solutions in their Leather Six Pack Caddy (available in a non-bicycle option), Growler Caddy (also available with removable leather shoulder strap), Quickdraw Leather Beverage Holster and Leather Pint Tasting Sleeve. While the holster and sleeve are meant to keep hands and beers close while people do errands or cook, the caddies are designed to make transporting beer in bottles or a growler a breeze for bicyclists. They’re also excellent conversation starters.