…when suddenly the can crinkled and beer spurt out like a busted fire hyrdant. It did not take long for my reverie to be broken because filling the beautifully designed cans of Point the Way IPA at Golden Road Brewing can get a little messy. Some cans don’t hold up to pressure and others don’t fill all the way but most flow by at a stately pace all the way to the pallet that will be sent to craft beer outlets across the Southland.
This was my first time viewing canning at such a close proximity and to see the work that goes into it really drives home the point of how hard the folks at Golden Road have to work to get us those true pints of IPA and Hefeweizen.
First you have the pallet of empty cans. The design and logo all imprinted. The cans are loaded at the highest point of the line and then they “can” make their journey through the machinery. Second, they are pushed into a single file line where they are turned upside down and then right side up again. All to make sure that they are clean and ready to be filled with beer.
But first, they have to be purged of oxygen, so four at a time little wands magically leave room for only beer then immediately they move down the line and four more magic wands (connected to the finished beer tank, of course) fill the cans. Golden Road does IPA on one day and then does Hefeweizen on another day.
Once the cans move on the caps drop onto the top and they move to the seamer which spins the cap tightly onto the filled can. From their it moves down the line to be weighed and any that fall short are pushed out and the correctly filled and sealed cans make their way to the end of the line where they are placed into the now familiar Golden Road boxes that are waiting for them (those boxes were being folded into shape from and have a sticker placed on them while the canning is taking place).
And even that is not the end! Some cases are set aside and dated for quality control and some get sent over to the Pub at Golden Road and then, finally, the remaining boxes are put onto pallets and ready to go.
Then they make the final journey from ‘fridge to glass.
The beer of the Week comes from Redlands and Hangar 24 (a collaborator with Golden Road earlier this year). It is #3 of the Local Fields series, Essence. Following on the heels of Vinaceous (grapes) and Palmero (dates), Essence is a Double IPA “enhanced by generous additions of navel oranges, sweet blood oranges and grapefruit, all grown in Redlands, CA.” Next up in this series is their Polycot made with apricots, many, many apricots. Apricots that were pitted just two days ago using a volunteer pitting force.
Your Homework is to check out a new-ish online beer purveyor, Let’s Pour. The first reason is they have some great beer choices. The second reason is FREE shipping when you order 6 or more bottles! And that makes it easier to score some beers that you won’t see down here in L.A. like Hilliard’s saison or Coalition Brewing. I snagged a variety pack of Fort George canned offerings including their new Oatmeal Pale Ale. Their special deals expire and some offerings are limited quantities so time is of the essence on some beers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.