On Friday, CANFEST will gather 29 breweries with about 50 beers on tap to sample. The catch: all the beers come from a can.
Breweries from around the world will get the brews flowing at CANFEST beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Sierra Resort.
“We wanted to do this to let people know that cans are better than bottles,” said Doug Booth, president of Buckbean Brewing Company in Reno. “No light and air can get into a can like it can with a bottled beer.”
Booth explained that air and light might change the composition of a beer. Clear glass bottles, he said, are the worst for allowing light to alter the beer and green glass isn’t much better. Brown glass does the least amount of damage to the brew, he added.
“We want to dispel the myth that only bad beer comes from cans,” Booth said about one of the goals of CANFEST.
Out of the 29 breweries attending CANFEST, a majority will be beers not regulary available in Nevada.
“There are 17 breweries that will be there that don’t sell beer in Nevada,” Booth said. “Their goal is to just get their name out there. This is also a judging event, so they have the chance to be judged in four or five categories.”
While Booth said a majority of the breweries are from the United States, a handful will be trekking to Reno from overseas, including Brouwerij Bavik from Belgium, Greene King from Englang, Guinness from Ireland, Sapporo from Japan and Archibald Microbrasserie from Canada as well as Tecate from Mexico.
For $35 people can get a 4-ounce tasting glass to sample the beers. Beer floats will be made with Tahoe Creamery ice cream, Dorado chocolate will be on hand and Roth Kase cheese will also be at CANFEST.
In addition to tasting beer, people can listen to speakers like Paul Gatza, the director of the Brewers Association, Ginger Johnson from WomenEnjoyingBeer.com and a brewers forum will be giving talks and taking questions.
Buckbean Brewing Company Brewmaster Dan Kahn said CANFEST is a great opportunity for people to try unique beers.
“You’ll be able to try beers you can’t get in the store here or at other beer festivals,” Kahn said. “People can also find out just how good canned beer can be.”
In addition to bringing a better light to canned beer, Booth, who is a wildlife biologist, said cans are also better for the environment.
“Cans are very environmentally friendly,” Booth said. “Cans are usually 50 percent recycled product already.”
A portion of CANFEST’s proceeds will benefit the Nature Conservancy and the Great Basin Bird Observatory.
“That’s part of what Buckbean is about, giving back to the community,” Booth said.
In addition to CANFEST’s proceeds going to nature organizations, Buckbean has sponsored the Battle Born Derby Demons roller derby team, the University of Nevada, Reno Cycling Team and the Tahoe Dawgs Lacrosse Team. Booth said the brewery also has a donation application on its Web site for organizations to apply for donations from Buckbean.
Booth said as a wildlife biologist and a member of the Peace Corps, he traveled a lot when he was younger. He said that he didn't know microbreweries existed until he attended a brewers festival in Portland, Ore. .
“I thought ‘This would be a good business to be a part of one day,’ ” Booth said.
Booth attended graduate school in Montana and said part of his inspiration to open a good community brewery came from Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, Mont., which Booth said did three things: It has good beer, good customer service and gives back to the community.
“I’ve always wanted to open a brewery,” Booth said. “I moved back here, I was born and raised here in Reno, and I’ve been following the (brewing) business since 1988. It seemed like a good time to open.”
Buckbean Brewing Company opened in 2007. Booth found his brewmaster, Kahn, after his original business partner didn’t work out. Kahn moved with his family from Massachusetts to join Booth and create Buckbean Brewing Company.
“I went to U.C. Davis and studied brewing science there, and that was in the early '90s,” Kahn said with a smile. “This was the first chance I had to be an owner in a brewery. I thought it was a good opportunity.”
Booth said he takes care of the business side of Buckbean and lets Kahn worry about the brewing.
“We’ll talk about what style (of beer) to do next, for seasonal beers,” Kahn said. “You think about what time of year you’re making it for and certain styles lend themselves to certain times of year.
“I have to decided what the essence of that style is,” Kahn added.
In addition to having Oktoberfest Lager canned and the Tule Duck Red Ale available at the brewery, Kahn said he is working on the holiday beer. This year’s holiday brew will be canned Oct. 30 and is called the Very Noddy Lager.
Kahn explained that he took an existing recipe and doubled it, created a 10 percent dark beer that is still smooth and flavorful.
“The Very Noddy Lager is an imperial schwarzbier,” Kahn said. “It’s the same recipe as our Black Noddy, but double everything in the same size batch. This is not a traditional style.”
Beer lovers who have enjoyed previous Buckbean brews turned the used cans into art that will be on display at CANFEST. Buckbean partnered with Sierra Arts for the Can This Be Art contest. Booth said votes could be cast until Thursday night and the mobiles will be on display Friday.
To vote, Buckbean Brewing Company is located at 1155 S. Rock Blvd, Suite 490 in Reno.
“We enjoy the arts a lot,” Booth said. “We’ve already worked with Artown as the official beer of Artown.”
Booth said the mobiles will hang in the brewery until January when they are auctioned off at the Sierra Arts fundraiser the Brewhaha.
CANFEST begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 10:30 p.m. in the Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort. Tickets can be purchased at the Grand Sierra Resort box office by visiting www.grandsierraresort.com or calling (800) 648-3568.
For more information about CANFEST or Buckbean Brewing Company, visit www.buckbeanbeer.com or call 857-4444.