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Cans: the saga

On Oct 21, 2013 - 10 Comments -

It would be difficult to overstate how insanely excited I am to be launching our cans this week. From the minute I began dreaming about Modern Times and imagining what it would become, I knew unequivocally that I wanted to put our beer in cans. But I had no idea just what an enormous undertaking it would be.

This is my 22nd month working full-time on Modern Times, and the goal of drinking our beer out of our cans has seemed impossibly out of reach at times.

From the many hours spent working with our designers on the labels, to getting the damn things approved by the intractable bureaucracy in Washington, to selecting a canning machine and can maker, to proofing the can samples, to receiving 44 giant pallets of these frickin’ things, to hiring a crew of canning line operators, to calibrating the temperamental machine, to furiously filling them with our beer, to convincing stores to carry them…it’s been a huge operation that’s involved a small army of dedicated people.

Some of those folks are brand new to Modern Times, some of them have been here since the beginning, but everyone—EVERYONE—worked like crazed lunatics to get this done. I’m profoundly grateful to every single person who helped make this possible and deeply proud of the results.

Launching these cans is the end of the beginning for us. We’re no longer in start-up mode, now that all the major pieces are in place. Draft, tasting room, cans: all up and running. It’s a tremendous relief and feels like a huge accomplishment, but now, of course, the work of growing begins in earnest.

“Growing” doesn’t just mean getting bigger though, it means getting better, too. Maturing. Improving. Refining. One of the ways we’ve grown since brewing our first batches in May is by refining our recipes and improving our execution. I’m incredibly happy to say that the beer that filled these cans is our best yet. Naturally, we’re not going to stop here, but it’s gratifying to know that the folks who buy these cans will be getting our best efforts to date.

I don’t know exactly when or where the cans will be showing up this week, but asking for them at your preferred liquor store/grocery store/bottle shop is the best way to help get them out there (they really do listen!)

And if you buy ‘em: thank you. Thank you so much. All of us at Modern Times have been working so hard on this. Your support means the world to us.

The absurd story of Orderville

On Oct 3, 2013 - 1 Comment -

Let me tell you a story. It’s the story of a young brewery with big ambitions. Specifically, ambitions to make really exciting beer the coolest way possible. Unfortunately, that sometimes results in absurd projects that would be disasters if the results weren’t so tasty.

And such is the case with Orderville, the wet hop IPA we just tapped in the tasting room and will be sending into distribution next week. Months ago we got the announcement from one of our hop brokers that if we wanted to make a “green hop" (i.e. fresh-picked & undried hops) beer, we needed to place our order NOW NOW NOW. Well at that time we were cruising along just fine, with plenty of time and capacity in the brewhouse to take on new projects.

So we ordered a crapload of wet Mosaic, Simcoe, & Chinook hops. The projected harvest dates appeared to make it possible to both brew the beer with wet hops and, uh, dry-hop it with wet hops, which sounded really cool at the time.

Fast forward to late September and the brewhouse is in a state of advanced psychosis as we try mightily to build up enough inventory to fill a metric fuckton of cans. It’s the worst possible time to be tackling an absurdly labor-intensive new project, but the only alternative would be to throw away a monstrous pile of fresh, pungent, awesome wet hops, which wasn’t going to happen.

The harvest, of course, didn’t shake out at all as predicted, and we were forced to brew two entirely separate beers: one with wet Simcoe, another with wet Chinook. The wet Mosaic showed up late—naturally—so we dry-hopped the Simcoe beer with the wet Mosaic. But we ordered so much Mosaic that we literally couldn’t fit anywhere near enough of it into the fermenter, so we filled the hopback with the wet Mosaic and recirculated the beer through it over and over and over and over again.

Once that lunatic experience was over, we blended the two beers, and Orderville was born. So despite the completely absurd and radically inefficient experience of making this beer, the results are goddamn fantastic. Orderville has a big, distinctive green hop aroma, and the flavor is completely saturated with fruity, melon-y, citrusy hop goodness.

We definitely will not be making a beer this way again, so get it while you can. Orderville is available for tasters, pints, and growler fills in the tasting room right now. Expect to see it popping up around town starting late next week.

HERE COME THE CANS

On Oct 1, 2013 - 8 Comments -

We are collectively geeked out of our frickin’ gourds to announce that Modern Times Beer will be launching our cockstaggeringly gorgeous cans throughout San Diego on October 21st.

Our four year round beers—Lomaland, a Belgian-style saison; Fortunate Islands, a hoppy wheat; Black House, an oatmeal coffee stout; and Blazing World, a hoppy amber—will be available in four packs of 16-ounce cans. Better beer stores throughout San Diego County can place orders through our wholesaler, Stone Distributing.

We chose 16-ounce cans for a whole slew of really excellent reasons, but here’s the main thing: packaged beer isn’t just for drinking alone in front of the TV. It’s for celebrating the everyday victories of a life well-lived: reaching the end of a rad hike, throwing a killer BBQ, planning a superfun picnic, completing an epic bike ride. Cans are indisputably the superior package for such situations. Perfect for Modern Times.

Cans are also the best possible package for our aroma-driven, complex, sessionable beers. Being completely opaque and immune to oxygen incursion, cans will help our beer last longer, taste fresher, and smell better.

The cans are also super purdy. Helms Workshop did a masterful job designing the packaging, and Simon Walker crafted the stunning, hand-drawn logo. With their forces combined, the Modern Times can became this frickin’ beautiful thing. We can’t keep our goddamn hands off ‘em.

So yeah, an insane amount of work went into making this possible, and we’re freaking out a little now that it’s really happening. Asking for Modern Times cans at your preferred liquor store/grocery store/bottle shop is the best way to support this crazy endeavor (they really do listen!)

And if you buy ‘em: thank you. Thank you so much. All of us at Modern Times have been pouring our entire lives into this project. Your support means the world to us.