Ray's Craft Beer Newsletter
The Best of Craft Cans 
July 2013
Volume 2 Issue 15 

Dear Craft Beer Connoisseurs,


Before we dive into the meat of the Newsletter I just want to take a brief moment to e-ntroduce myself. My name is Kaleb Schwecke and I will be taking over for Dan Downes who is now living the rough, sunny life down in San Diego. I have been part of the craft beer scene here in Milwaukee for the past six years and think we live in one of the best cities to enjoy the suds. I'm a homebrewer, amateur chef (professional dish dirtier), and an avid bookworm. I guess that's all you need to know about me right off the bat, but stop by the store and chat me up because I'd gladly talk about good beer all day. I look forward to meeting every one of you and exploring the world of craft beer together!


And now, on to the Newsletter!


Summer in Milwaukee is unbeatable. It's time to play in the sun and enjoy the outdoors. The city has some of the best parks around, which are perfect for picnics and grill outs. Bradford Beach is a one-of-a-kind gem with the biggest volleyball league in the nation and stretches of sandy beaches. And between the festivals, block parties, and Jazz in the Park there's always great music happening somewhere. With all these being glass free zones, one common complaint that I always hear is that people are bummed out when they are forced to divert from their usual beer in a bottle and begrudgingly pick out some beer in a can.


There is a definite bias against canned beers, but I assure you that these fears are unfounded. In fact, I would argue, that canned beer is even superior in taste and freshness to their bottled counterparts. All of the breweries featured in this newsletter believe in cans so much that not a single one of their beers comes in a bottle. Call me a can-vangelist, but I consider it the best vehicle to carry my beer and fuel my summer fun.

  • Beer's two main nemeses are light and oxygen. Cans protect the beer better from these bad guys than do bottles.
  • Cans are easier to transport as well as recycle.
  • Modern cans have a water-based lining that keeps the beer from ever touching the metal and absorbing that metallic taste.
  • But most importantly, you can bring them with you wherever your summer fun takes you in Milwaukee.
So, let's explore the burgeoning world of canned craft beer! 
Dale's Deviant IPA
Redband Coffee Stout
8-Bit Pale Ale
Apollo Wheat
Beer Cocktail: The Avalanche
Special Announcement
Cans are easy to recycle and great for arts and crafts! Picture VIA.
Deviant Dale's IPA from Oskar Blues, CO: 

Any list of canned craft beer would be wholly inadequate without Oskar Blues. Back in 1999 they embarked upon their zany mission which they called the "canned beer apocalypse". Since then they have been producing some of the best beers in the country with their flagship being Dale's Pale Ale. Deviant Dale's IPA is the Dale's bitter-er, bigger brother. And boy is everything bigger. It comes in a 16oz tallboy and boasts 8% ABV. 


Dale's Deviant is bright, crisp, and pungently bitter. The hop profile is dominated by citrus and grapefruit but also some sticky pine resin. They dry hop it with bushels of centennial hops imbuing it with some great aromatics. The malt bill is beastly and gives it a subtle sweetness and full mouthfeel. It drinks clean and finishes with a crisp bite. Try this Deviant and let its bitterness corrupt you. 



Redband Coffee Stout from Great River, IA:


Great River a is new addition to the craft beer scene in Milwaukee and we couldn't be happier that they're here. They come from the Quad Cities and would have been here sooner but there was an insidious caper where their 800 pound canning line disappeared in the middle of the night. The case is still unsolved, so if there's any aspiring Sherlocks out there, bust out your sleuthing kits and lets catch this can-burglar.


"No coffee for you! Come back one year!"

Redband gets its name and beans from a small, local coffee roaster in Davenport. I've never visited either of the Redband shops but I hear that they take coffee very seriously there. The stories that I've heard make it sound very reminiscent of the soup restaurant in the famous Seinfeld episode. There's no seating at either location. People are willing to wait obediently in long lines and put up with whatever eccentricities or hurdles to get their coffee; it's just that good. Redband roasts the best beans and brews a mean cup.


It's this quality coffee that is at the heart of this rich stout. The beer pours out so black that it sucks the light out of the room. It smells like a fresh-brewed cup of coffee but is also bursting with chocolate. It tastes exactly like it smells, with the bitterness of the coffee balancing out and layering with the sweet, chocolate malts. When I tried this beer it instantly jumped up to one of my favorite coffee stouts. And what's not to love about it? It's breakfast in a can!



8-Bit Pale Ale from Tallgrass, KS:



In the six short years since their inception, Tallgrass Brewing has taken the Midwest by storm. They are now available in 14 states across the region and have consistently been producing unique, yet accessible beers. Tallgrass didn't always believe in the benefits of cans, but in 2010 they inked their "Canifesto" and started sticking their brews exclusively in 16oz tallboys.


When Tallgrass first came to the state I was immediately drawn to the label of 8-bit. Being a child of the 80's, and semi-retired gamer, I have fond memories of blocky sprites, mind-numbing MIDI soundtracks, and blowing the dust out of cartridges. So, for me, 8-bits' label just oozes nostalgia. But more importantly the beer itself is a top notch Pale Ale. They use four different strains of hops (most notably Galaxy hops from New Zealand) and a unique hoping method (which they call the Hop Rocket) to weave a complex profile. It is citrusy and tropical with fruity notes that are reminiscent of melons. At 5.2% ABV, it's an easy drinking Pale Ale that makes a great companion for any long, classic gaming session. 


Apollo from Sixpoint, NY:


While the brewery is located in Brooklyn, it has some serious roots here in Wisconsin. Andrew Bronstein and Shane Welch, the original founders, met as classmates while attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Shane, an avid homebrewer and Milwaukee native, moved out to New York to start the brewery in 2004. It was these strong ties that led Wisconsin to be the very first state outside of New York to have the opportunity to carry Sixpoint beers.


Apollo is a Bavarian style wheat beer that is perfectly suited for the hot, Wisconsin summer. It pours out a cloudy orange color with a thin, off-white head. The aroma is dominated by bananas and cloves as is typical for the style. Its taste mirrors the aroma with the addition of some light notes of coriander, citrus, and yeast. The finish is clean due to a pleasant, bitter tartness. This beer is named after the Greek and Roman sun god which is fitting because it is the perfect refreshment for the next time you're soaking up the rays.



Beer Cocktail: The Avalanche


Life Rule #33: Everything is better with beer in it. This is definitely no more true than with cocktails. Beer is an extremely versatile beverage that can be used in cooking, baking, and, in this case, concocting tasty cocktails. 


This decadent recipe comes from our spirits expert, Jason Neu. It is a twist on the classic mudslide and uses the Redband coffee stout. Blended with ice, this drink is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. It's the grown-up version of iced coffee.


The Avalanche 

  • 4 oz Redband Coffee Stout
  • 1 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 cup ice

-Blend until smooth. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans.

If you enjoy this cocktail idea,  you can tune into Jason's other inventions by following him on twitter or signing up for his spirits newsletter.



Special Announcement: AleSmith is coming to Milwaukee!


In celebration of famed brewery AleSmith finally being distributed in Wisconsin, Ray's will be hosting the AleSmith "Wisconsin Kickoff" with owner and brewmaster Peter Zien. Be the first to try these legendary brews including the Speedway Stout, which has been rated the #1 BEER IN THE WORLD by ratebeer.com.

When: Tuesday, August 6th at 6:30pm.


For more information and tickets visit our Events Page
PS: Seating is limited and will sell out quickly.
Save 10%
Receive 10% of all beers featured in Volume 2 Issue ?? of the Ray's craft beer newsletter. Thus, it is limited to Oskar Blues Deviant Dales IPA, Great River Redband Stout, Tallgrass 8-bit Pale Ale, Sixpoint Apollo. No limit. Not redeemable with any other special offers. 


Offer Expires: Sunday July 28th at 5:00pm
Thanks again for subscribing to and reading Ray's craft beer newsletter. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to email me at kaleb@rayswine.com

Lastly, for up to the minute beer arrivals and release information, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We have also added lots of great craft beer events (in addition to excellent wine and spirit ones, too) in our upstairs tasting room. A full list can be found here

Kaleb & the gang at Ray's

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