Yes We Can!
We had been promising Civil Life beer in cans for a while, and you kept asking, “When?” Well, we finally released our beloved American Brown Ale in cans (Aug. 16th), followed by our “Craft Beer” (British Bitter) (Oct. 2). Many of you have asked why we chose cans and what the future holds. We’d like to fill you in on some of these details, but first a little background on canned beer—perhaps the greatest invention since sliced bread.
Big breweries had been experimenting with cans for decades in the early twentieth century, but the higher pressure of pasteurized beer was too great. (Please note, Civil Life beer is unpasteurized, so keep it cold!) The bottle makers were none too pleased about the competition, either. But in 1935, Krueger Brewing packed its cream ale in steel (“keg-lined”) flat-top cans and released them in Richmond, Virginia. The beer-drinking public loved it.
By the end of 1935, almost twenty breweries were canning, including Pabst (look on our back bar to see a silver 1939 Pabst Export Beer can in our collection). Budweiser didn’t come in cans until 1950. Mid-Coast Brewing of Oshkosh, Wisconsin was probably the first craft brewery to can, but they did so very briefly (1991–1992) before switching to bottles. It was Oskar Blues and their Dale’s Pale Ale that really started the craft can revolution in 2002.
For years canned beer was stigmatized as cheap or inferior beer, so even those who wanted to get into canning were reluctant to do so. That stigma has all but disappeared. According to craftcans.com, there are currently 550 craft breweries putting over 2,000 different beers in cans. The Civil Life Brewing Company is proud to be numbered among them. But why cans?
The can is arguably a superior closure for many reasons. Cans eliminate both light and air, beer’s two greatest enemies, so the beer stays fresher and tastes better longer. They are lighter, cheaper to ship, and more recyclable, making them the more environmentally friendly choice. Here at Civil Life, we’ve been partially solar powered since the day we opened and are committed to sustainable practices, even in the pub, where there are no paper menus and wasteful paper dollars are replaced by durable gold coins whenever possible.
Right now we have our American Brown Ale and Craft Beer available in six-packs to go. We are gearing up for two new canned beers that will be released Thursday, 17 November: ESB and Porter. The goal is to have three or four different beers available in cans at all times.
For now, the cans are only available at the pub. We have been using a mobile canning unit, which has worked out great for us, but the cost is high enough that our beers would be too expensive out in the market. Ten dollars (tax included) a six-pack for a modest A.B.V. beer is reasonable. Thirteen dollars (tax included) would not be. As always, the Civil Life is always looking for ways to save our drinkers their hard-earned dollars—that’s why five years on, we remain cash only ($5 imperial pints … you’re welcome). When we complete our building expansion and have our own canning line, our cans should finally be hitting your favorite purveyors of package beer.
In the meantime, stop by whenever you need delicious craft beer in cans. Help us clear out the cold room in time for our newest cans! Do yourselves and us a big favor and swing by for a six-pack ($10.00 includes tax) each of American Brown and Craft Beer. Better yet, mix and match and grab a case for just $38.00 each (included tax).
Every can purchased adds to our expansion fund that will allow us to make cans for everyone, everywhere in a new building.
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.