Rare Beer Roundup: Tired Hands, Great Lakes Brewing, Night Shift + More!
The Full Pint is proud to introduce our newest feature, Rare Beer Roundup, from our writer Nick. Nick resides in the Delaware Valley and closely follows the popular subculture of craft beer, the rare beer scene.
America was bombarded with limited releases last week, dotting the country from the sunny shores of San Diego to the frozen Midwest in places like Cleveland and Wisconsin. As beer fanatics from coast to coast attempt to track these gems down, we’re here to give you the play-by-play of the week in rare beer.
Kicking us off was an up and coming brewpub, Tired Hands Brewing Company, located in Ardmore just outside of the booming beer scene in Philadelphia. The 3rd batch of their wine barrel-aged saison, HandFarm attracted a line of people down the block, with only about 500 bottles available (similar to the previous two releases). While Tired Hands has released a number of other beers over the past year, this tends to be the most popular, frequently traded, and delicious (IMO) of their bottled releases.
You’re probably not used to seeing tons of ISO’s on the message boards looking for Great Lakes Brewing – until their Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout drops each winter. After debuting with a mere 400 bomber bottles in 2005, production has blown up over the past couple years, along with the switch to 4-packs of 12-ounce bottles. In 2014, word has officially gotten out. Whereas locals were able to pick this up for weeks in 2013, bottles barely lasted 24-hours this year. Protip for those who missed out: buy tickets to the official release party next year to ensure you get first crack.
Barrel-aging, Berliner Weisses and limited releases are becoming 2nd nature at Everett’s Night Shift Brewing. This week saw another ticketed event at the brewery featuring Cape Codder Weisse, a Berliner Weisse aged on cranberries and orange zest. Most of these beers are highly limited, with only a couple hundred bottles available and limits set at one or two per person. While they’ve also experimented with rum, brandy and bourbon barrels, their fruited Berliner Weisses (Mainer Weisse, Ever Weisse, etc) have been by far the most popular amongst beer geeks.
One of the tiniest releases of the week went down at the Coronado Brewing Company tasting room in San Diego, as they released a mere 240 bottles of Barrel-Aged Stupid Stout. Lines formed early and bottles sold fast at a limit of two per person, perhaps giving the brewery incentive for another release in the near future. You might not see people clamoring for this one on the trading boards, but early online reviews look pretty favorable.
Allagash has been tearing it up lately with wild ales and coolship experimentation, but this weekend saw a brief departure from sour barrel-aged beers with the release of Red Howes. If you follow them on Instagram or Facebook (if not, get to it), this imperial stout brewed with 3,000 lbs of local cranberries built up significant interest quickly, but bottles were kept at the brewery only. While these reportedly lasted at the brewery for a couple days thanks to a low two per person limit, draft will still hit distribution so keep your eyes peeled if you’re within the Allagash footprint.
All eyes were on the Central Waters 16 (bourbon barrel imperial stout) release this weekend, following an event last year that left hundreds of people shut out of bottles and extremely disgruntled. Taking cues from other breweries (AleSmith, Founders, Upland, etc), the brewery sold reservations for allocations of 16 in advance on Brown Paper Tickets, allowing everyone to lock down their bottles (limit 8 per person) ahead of time and enjoy the party stress-free. Proxies were also permitted, so expect to see Central Waters 16 popping up with beer traders from all over the country once the frigid temperatures allow for shipping again.