Just a few weeks ago, the 2016 season of the Buffalo Brewer Series of cans was released. Last year, the same three Buffalo breweries released an inaugural line-up of different beers.
Community Beer Works– An IPA
Resurgence Brewing Co.- Summer Saison
Big Ditch Brewing Co.- Low Bridge
Although I enjoyed all the beers, I thought An IPA hit a grand slam in 2015. I whiffed the overwhelming hop aromas of An IPA more times than Reggie Jackson. You could smell the hops right out of the batters box.
This year, each brewery showed versatility and switch-hit with a different roster.
Collaboration Beer- Short Stop Saison
Resurgence Brewing Co.- Cosmic Truth Session Ale
Community Beer Works- Frank (Pale Ale)
Big Ditch Brewing Co.– Hayburner (IPA)
HOME RUN: Team effort.
Let’s give these three breweries a standing ovation for even attempting this project. All three Buffalo breweries are essentially in their rookie year of canning beer. It takes creativity and motivation to provide this four-pack of cans to Buffalo beer fans and to the home of the Buffalo Bisons, Coca-Cola Field.
NOW BATTING CLEANUP: An extra beer.
It was a pleasant surprise to see a clean-up hitter added to the lineup this year. And the price was more reasonable. Last year, a three-pack cost $8.99; this year, four cans cost $9.99. This year was a much better deal for the customer with the addition of a fourth can.
GROUND RULE DOUBLE: Appearance and artwork.
The artwork was much more appealing this year. The plastic can holders went from black (last year) to white (this year). One other change in appearance was the color of Big Ditch’s can. Big Ditch went from a maroon can last year to a blueish-purple can this year. Community Beer Works retained its green jersey and Resurgence reclaimed its orange label.
WALK-OFF SINGLE: Game over.
This year, Short Stop Saison scored the winning run. The beer was easy to drink and had pronounced yeast notes. The hop additions of Galaxy, Mosaic and Simcoe took this beer to the big leagues. This is the one I want to drink on a hot day in the outfield… which is probably why I’m not a professional baseball player.
Cosmic Truth also played a solid game. This beer is tropical fruit hops layered on top of a German Kölsch-style beer. “The Truth” is refreshing and a good match-up for warmer temperatures.
The four pack was rounded off by Big Ditch’s grapefruit-packed Hayburner and Community Beer Works’ pine and citrus-flavored Frank.
POST-GAME CONFERENCE: Recap.
Many of the beers tasted slightly different in cans than on tap at the brewery. The most likely reason for this is the length of time I waited to drink the beers (3 weeks from purchase). Beers that are brewed with a larger amount of hops tend to undergo significant flavor profile adjustment over time.
Hops are one reason why canning beer is a different ballgame than serving fresh beer in the brewery. There are other variables to consider as well; the most important being the effect of increased oxygen present in a beer that has been canned.
Brewers and owners know that canning beer poses different challenges. But as any good manager will say in a press conference, “Even though we won the game, our team has a lot to learn and we need to keep improving.” As brewers adjust their swing, expect the quality of canned beer to improve.
In summary: the 2016 Buffalo Brewer Series made a number of significant improvements over 2015, but there is still work to be done.
A limited number of cans can be found in Consumer’s Beverage Locations and at Coca-Cola field, the home of the Buffalo Bisons.