Can It!

by Carri L. Wroblewski, BRIX Wine Shop

BeerSandI admit—I don’t drink a lot of beer. But there are those moments when any other beverage just doesn’t fit the bill. For instance, a friend of mine on island loves a beer after his 6-mile runs. Makes sense. When I lived in D.C. and ran through the streets of Georgetown with the running group Hash House Harriers, our unconventional mid mile stops were not for water, but rather beer. So, I understand my friend Peter’s desire to quench his post workout thirst with a cold one.

Then there are certain foods that only beer teams up with perfectly. Like the hot dog. Last spring while we were preparing to open our wine shop with no time to cook and less time to eat, we often popped over to Lola Burger. Though the cheeseburgers are delicious, for me it was the wagyu beef hot dog that stole the show. And the only thing better than upgrading to the truffle fries is the beer that I washed it all down with.

Perusing their beverage list my eyes stopped on an unfamiliar libation. Hell or High Watermelon? I had to ask. After a brief description it only made me want it more. Just to be sure I confirmed that it was on draft—typically the only way I drink it. Disappointingly the server told me it only came in a can. Now when I think of canned beer, memories of drinking “Natty Light” in an Indiana cornfield come to mind, so I hesitated, but agreed. Out came this flashy can illustrated with a cartooned Lady Liberty sitting on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. When did canned beer become so cool?

Back in fashion and better for the environment, I learned many of our favorite suds are saying goodbye to the bottle and hello to the can. First officially debuted in Richmond, VA in 1935 by The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company, canned beer has had a storied past. Its initial entry into the market didn’t come until after Prohibition ended. American Can (the company making the can) had to overcome two major obstacles before they could sell the idea to the big brewers. First, they had to make a can that could withstand the pressure of beer, and second, they had to find a material to line the inside of the can so it wouldn’t react with its contents. A trial run with Pabst proved positive, but the company still wasn’t sold on the idea and wouldn’t commit until tested in a real market. Enter Krueger’s.

A small brewery based in Newark, New Jersey, Krueger’s business suffered during Prohibition. To make the “can idea” appealing to them, American Can offered to foot the bill for the canning line and the first test run. Just 2,000 initial cans were produced and dropped at homes around Richmond, VA with a questionnaire on quality. The response was overwhelming. Kreuger went full speed ahead and the beer can was born.

But back to that cornfield in Indiana—historically when we think of canned beer we think of beers from bigger breweries like Anheuser Busch and Heineken. And truthfully, many of us think of those beers as being lesser quality. So when did the little guys, the craft breweries get into the game and why?

According to the ‘Cantastic Database,’ there are 410 craft breweries and over 1,450 craft canned beers now on the market. And the argument for ‘canning it’ is growing. On the scientific side, cans protect beer from light and oxygen, both of which can destroy a beer’s freshness. Bottled beers exposed to too much light can become ‘skunky’ and undrinkable. The same goes for oxygen. If even a little seeps under the bottle cap, your beers been compromised.

But for practical reasons how does the can stack up next to its bottled counterpart? On Nantucket the can is a natural. Toss a six-pack into your bag and head to the beach. With a six-pack of cans, you’ve lightened the load. And once you’re there, a can’s time in the cooler is less due to its ability to chill faster. For those of you pouring poolside, the “No Glass Allowed” sign is a simple reminder of why the can is king. Heading off to Madaket? With a recycling regiment as serious as we have on island, the environmental angle has its advantages too. An aluminum can is very easy to recycle and can be melted down over and over again, never losing its quality.

Even the island’s own Cisco Brewers is now offering in cans their classics: Whales’ Tale Pale Ale, IPA, Sankaty Light, and Summer.

So what summer suds should you be sipping? Uinta Brewing Company based in Utah makes a refreshing IPA in cans called Hop Nosh. Dressed in an eye-catching yellow six-pack box, it’s loaded with hops and has bold flavors of citrus and malt.

Oskar Blues ‘Dale’s Pale Ale’ was a trailblazer when it comes to the can. Launching its canning operations in 2002, it was the first craft-canned mountain ale. A flavorful beer crafted with substantial amounts of European malts and four kinds of American hops, there’s a lot to love in these 12 ounces.

And 21st Amendment Brewery, who kicked off the craft can craze for me, makes a session ale (a low alcohol beer) called Bitter American. Without sacrificing flavor this is a beer you can take to the beach and drink all day long. But they really nailed it with their wheat beer Hell or High Watermelon. Light, refreshing, with a whisper of watermelon flavor, they canned a little bit of summer.

There’s something throw-back about the can, something special when you crack open that top, hear the gentle release, and take that first, thirst quenching sip.

Faces of the Nantucket Triathlon

 

The Nantucket Triathlon, taking place this year on Saturday, July 19, may be young but it has already become known as an enjoyable experience for athletes of all levels. Jamie Ranney, who founded the triathlon in 2009, says, “My goal in starting the Nantucket Triathlon was to bring a true premiere multi-sport race to the island, an event worthy of the natural resources and facilities that Nantucket has to offer. We have designed a course that is fast and challenging for experienced athletes, yet appealing to first timers as well.” Read on to meet a few of them.

S20140702_172233hawna Larrabee,
Stay-at-home mom
Larrabee moved to the island last September with her husband and two boys, ages five and three. This year will mark her first triathlon. She says, “My good friend Diane Tartamella, who helps organize the event, makes it look like such a fun time on Facebook.” Larrabee has joined a relay team and will be doing the biking leg, which she confesses was the least scary of the three choices. “To train, I’ve been enjoying the scenic bike paths on-island, all while pulling a buggy with precious cargo: my two little boys. I know I will learn a lot about myself by participating in this event. The finish time I am hoping for is any time before sunset!”

 

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Danielle O’Dell,
Research Technician at Nantucket Conservation Foundation

O’Dell moved to Nantucket from Tuscon, AZ, six years ago to take a job in the science and stewardship department at the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. A long-time sports lover, she was thrilled when her new town launched a triathlon. She says, “There are many cyclists and triathletes on island who end up doing quite a bit of traveling to races, which is time consuming and expensive. It’s wonderful to have such a high quality event with great competition right here at home.” She thrives during the running leg, but calls biking her Achilles heel. O’Dell trains with a coach who provides weekly training schedules. “At minimum,” says O’Dell, “I usually have three bikes, three runs and three swims per week with some strength training thrown in the mix. I love the Nantucket Triathlon because of the camaraderie. It’s so much fun to have your friends and family on the course with you or cheering for you.”

IronMan SwimJim Pignato,
Aquatics Director at the Nantucket Community Pool and the Head Varsity Swim Coach at Nantucket High School

Pignato grew up on Nantucket and graduated from Nantucket High School. After four years at Bentley University, Pignato returned to the island. His first triathlon ever was the 2009 Nantucket Triathlon, and he was hooked for the next two years. Last year, he joined a relay team and completed the run leg of the Hero Triathlon. He says, “This event is the perfect entry level race, and being on Nantucket made it even better.  It’s a very well-run event. As a former college swimmer, participating in triathlons is a natural progression. The swim leg is my strength; but because it’s a sprint race, I don’t gain a lot of separation from the field. During the bike leg, I hear a lot of ‘on your left’ as I get passed. I’ve been really focused on the run as of late; that’s what I enjoy most right now.”

Nantucket Comedy Festival Announces New Participants

ncfweblogo2014Nantucket Comedy Festival brings four days of fun and laughs with national stand-up comedians, comedy writers and well-known commentators.

Women’s Night on Thursday welcomes Kerri Louise Cotter, Regina DeCicco and Charlene May, joining headliner Caroline Rhea.

Rhea

Caroline Rhea. Photo courtesy of Nantucket Comedy Festival.

Al Ducharme, Juston McKinney, Graig Murphy, heard on WEEI and NESN, and Ryan Reiss, warm up comic for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on NBC, are among the latest to join teams performing at NY-Boston Comedy SmACKdownSaturday night at Nantucket’s new VFW.

Nantucket Comedy Festival 2014 salutes TV legend Dick Cavett and features comedian Caroline Rhea, the cast and writers of NBC’s Parks and Recreation including actor Adam Scott and writer Donick Cary, writer-producer-director Peter Farrelly, America’s Got Talent comedy runner-up Tom Cotter and many others. The always popular Comedy SmACKdown returns with ESPN sports caster and World Cup of Soccer commentator Bob Ley, along with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of the popular Morning Joe on MSNBC. Public performances and events take place at Nantucket Dreamland and Nantucket VFW.

Dick Cavett, images. West LA.

Dick Cavett. Photo courtesy of Nantucket Comedy Festival.

Patron Passes and individual tickets on sale NOW.

Proceeds benefit the remarkable kids’ confidence-building program Stand Up & Learn. For details and to buy tickets, visit www.NantucketComedyFestival.org or call 508-680-1422

About Nantucket Comedy Festival

Nantucket Comedy Festival supports and further develops the remarkable Stand Up & Learn educational program, designed to inspire creativity, collaboration and self-confidence in young participants through comedy and performance. Year-round workshops welcome kids from 8-18 to create and collaborate with fellow students then perform their routines for family and friends. NCF’s workshops for kids have been held since 2009 in cooperation with public and private schools on Nantucket and elsewhere.

A Stand Up & Learn workshop the week before the festival will end with a performance by the students. “This isn’t just about comedy,” said Kevin Flynn, founding executive director of the festival. “It’s about helping kids tap into their creativity and gain self-confidence.”

For more information, latest performance schedules and festival admission, visit the Nantucket Comedy Festival and Stand Up & Learn website at www.nantucketcomedyfestival.org.

Nantucket’s Fourth of July Town Events & Fireworks Rescheduled Due to Storm Arthur

Due to the potential impact of Tropical Storm Arthur on Nantucket, all of the events scheduled for Main Street and Children’s Beach this Friday, July 4th are rescheduled for Saturday, July 5th. All of these activities will remain at their same scheduled times but they will now be held on Saturday. All activity information is available in the 2014 Fourth of July Calendar of Events available at 25 Federal Street or download at: www.nantucket-ma.gov/visitor. You can also follow us on Twitter @nantucketbuzz #ACKfireworks.

YI-waterfight

Nantucket’s Fourth of July Town Events & Fireworks Rescheduled Due to Storm Arthur

The Fireworks at Jetties Beach are now scheduled to be held on July 5th but TBD by the Town of Nantucket’s Emergency Personnel who are tracking Tropical Storm Arthur. The decision to shoot off the fireworks on July 5th will be made by the Town of Nantucket’s Emergency Personnel over the next few days as they get a better understanding of the projected path of Tropical Storm Arthur and how it might effect the Island.

For more information, please contact Kate Hamilton Pardee at 508-325-5396. Happy Fifth of July!