Beer Syndicate Blog

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Month: April 2017

Canadian Bomb Shelter Beers for the Imminent Apocalypse

With the official Doomsday Clock currently the closest it’s been to “midnight” since the onset of the Cold War in 1953, people are starting to ask the big question:

What beer should I stock up on for when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come riding into town?

In response, BeerSyndicate sampled a selection of seven-year-old canned beer to determine which ones held up the best in preparation for prolonged life in a vault. 

By the way, the concept of the “Doomsday Clock” was originally created by former Manhattan Project physicists in 1947 and has been maintained ever since by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists with past contributors including the likes of Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer to name a few.  The clock itself is the symbolic analogy for a human-caused global catastrophe with “midnight” representing the end of civilization.

As of January 2017, the clock is 2 ½ minutes to midnight. 

Doomsday Clock

Look, you got lucky with Y2K.  You dodged a bullet in 2012 with the Aztec calendar thingy.  Any day now, the Large Hadron Collider might do us in with an accidentally spawned Earth-swallowing black hole, assuming a Homo-(sapien)-phobic A.I. doesn’t pull the plug on us first.  And of course it’s only a matter of time before we hit DEFCON 1 with North Korea, Iran or New Jersey.

The bottom line is that sooner or later, your luck is gonna run out.

But BeerSyndicate’s got your back.  At least when it comes to picking a beer that will survive the first seven years of the nuclear winter.

Doomsday Six Pack

Nuclear Winter is Coming…

For this review, we reached back into the depths of the beer fridge and pulled out three beers that time forgot.  Three beers that somehow rather remarkably held up seven years past their bottling date.

What’s even more surprising is that none of the beers in question are particularly well-suited for aging unlike a cellar-friendly Gueuze or a big boozy such-and-such.  Perhaps it was the refrigeration that slowed the aging process while canning fended off much of the dreaded effects of beer-degrading oxygen and light.

Or maybe the traditional low hopping rates of the beer styles sampled actually helped with the perceived preservation of the beers since hop character and bitterness are typically the first things to fade.  As hop character diminishes, the perceived sweetness of a beer increases conversely.  Being as how these beers are only mildly hopped to begin with, not only would any pronounced hop character be inappropriate, any increased perception of sweetness due to hop degradation may actually benefit the beer somewhat.

Regardless of how, these beers largely avoided the telltale characteristics of inappropriately aged beer that leave a once crisp balanced brew tasting often like squash, cardboard and sweet apple juice.

Rickard’s White.

Full disclosure: Rickard’s White is not a craft beer.  It’s brewed by Molson Coors of Canada, and according to Molson, the recipe is based on the American-made Blue Moon recipe, but uses different ingredients. Unlike Blue Moon however, Molson makes no attempt to hide the fact that Rickard’s White is not craft (the Molson brand is displayed right on the can plain for the world to see).  Also displayed on the can is the bottling date code of “F260” (translation “Feb. 26, 2010”), which according to Molson marks the start of the beer’s 110-day lifespan.  Needless to say, this beer has exceeded that 110-day window by a bit.  In any case, “ageability” likely has nothing to do with whether a given beer is marco or micro brewed, not that you’d be terribly picky in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The Gist:  While we can’t tell you how well a Blue Moon might fare after seven years in the can, we can tell you that Rickard’s White was surprisingly still identifiable as a Witbier— lightly fruity with pleasant notes of coriander in the aroma and flavor.  As is, the beer scored a 75/100.

Rickard's WhiteDescription: Rickard’s White pours a thick finger of dense fluffy off-white head that dissipates in about 30 seconds, revealing a hazy golden honey colored body with a fair amount of the expected age-derived “floaties”. Yes, even after all these years, trace amounts of lovely coriander are still detectable in the aroma especially as the beer warms.  Other aromatics include guava, blueberry yogurt, Juicy Fruit gum, papaya, Apple Jacks and ‘Asian honeydew snow smoothie‘ with the only aged character being that of spent tea bag. Flavor-wise, subtle coriander is cut with a citrus tang, Sprite, a hint of guava, light malt, baking powder and alcohol. Medium carbonation, medium-low body.  The beer finishes with an aftertaste of mild seltzer water and a touch of popsicle stick.

What are “floaties”?  Floaties (also known as floaters or “snowflakes”) are little chunks of coagulated protein that have fallen out of the solution of the liquid beer as a result of aging, and are typically darker in color in darker colored beers.  Floaties can develop and become noticeable in as little as two years depending on the particular beer style and storage conditions (floaties will appear sooner in unrefrigerated beer).

Beer "floaties", floaters or snowflakes.

Beer “floaties”, floaters or snowflakes.

To be clear (no pun intended), floaties are not the same thing as yeast sediment which is normal in bottle-conditioned beers of any age.  Yeast tends to be smooth and dense and gives beer a cloudy appearance when aggressively disturbed as when rolling a bottle of bottle-conditioned Hefeweizen or swirling the bottle during the pour. Floaties, on the other hand, are bread crumb-sized clumps of protein and if present are easily disturbed like the white particles (“snowflakes”) in a snow globe.  Even beers that are appropriate for aging like Gueuze and Flanders Red will very likely develop floaties over time.  Floaties don’t taste like much of anything and are fine to drink, but can sometimes be left behind in the bottle if poured carefully.

KLB Raspberry Wheat.

The Gist: After more than half a decade in the can, raspberry is still detectable in the aroma and flavor of KLB Raspberry Wheat. Despite an aroma of Raspberry Schweppes Ginger Ale suggesting a possible sugar bomb in the taste, the beer is actually on the dry side, more similar to a light-bodied raspberry seltzer than a raspberry soda pop. [4.5% ABV.]

KLB Raspberry WheatDescription: Pours about a pinky of quickly fading eggshell white head with plenty of frog eyes (bubbles) and some lacing over a hazy medium amber body.  The aroma is reminiscent of Raspberry Schweppes, pomegranate, Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, and La Vie De La Vosgienne raspberry bon bon candy.  Flavor: raspberry seltzer, mild alcohol, light acidity, raspberry seeds, honeysuckle, strawberry apple juice, effervescent medium carbonation with a hint of vanilla leave behind an aftertaste of wheat husk, light bitterness and raspberry lip gloss in this light-bodied brew.  Score: 77.5/100

Rickard’s Dark.

The Gist: A mild flavored 4.8% ABV dark ale with subtle notes of coco powder and walnuts balanced by a light tanginess.

Rickard's DarkDescription: A self-described English Porter brewed with maple syrup, Rickard’s Dark pours a nearly clear brown with garnet highlights and develops a finger of dense tan head that slowly fades over 30 seconds leaving some lace behind in the glass. The aroma is an interesting mix of raisin, coco powder, dried malt and slightly under-baked wheat bread with hints of balsamic vinegar, tamarind, faint alcohol, dried cranberry, brown sugar, chocolate wafer cookie, walnut, watery coffee, dry autumn leaves and spent Lipton tea bag.  The flavor is mild-mannered and relatively clean with notes of light coco powder, walnut shell, and dusty stick with a medium-low sweetness balanced by a light tanginess, finishing with elements of dry stick and grape skin.  Medium carbonation, medium-low body.  Score: 75/100.

Thus concludes Beer Syndicate’s Bunker Beer Review.

So the next time you’re out stocking up on Nuka-Cola, RadAway, and Blamco Mac & Cheese, remember to pick up a 100 pack of any of these canned beers to help get you through the nuclear winter season.

[All beers were evaluated solely by BJCP beer judges.  In addition, two other seven-year-old canned Canadian beers were sample, namely Amsterdam Nut Brown Ale and Muskoka Hefe-Weissbier, but these did not hold up as well as the others listed above.]

Hi, I’m Dan: Co-Founder and Beer Editor for, Beer and Drinking Writer, BJCP Beer Judge, Gold Medal-Winning Homebrewer, Beer Reviewer, AHA Member, Beer Traveler, and Shameless Beer Promoter.

[ did not receive any compensation from any party to review these beers.]

Top 15 Tips for Craft Brewery and Craft Beer Bar Success

Ever dreamed of quitting your day job to launch the newest, coolest craft beer bar or brewery in town?

Not so fast.

With craft beer bars and breweries hotter than the housing market of 2005, competition is getting stiff, which means not even the most polished business plan is enough to guarantee your success.

In these uncertain times, what you need is a silver bullet— No, not a Coors, smart guy, but a magic formula that will ensure financial victory.

Sure, some might tell you that there are no guarantees in business, but those people don’t know Russian hackers.  We do.  And what we’re about to wikileak to you are the secrets of success that other craft breweries and craft beer bars don’t want you to know.

Craft Beer Cash Cow

Using sophisticated spy tools similar to those employed by the CIA, NSA and FBI, our digital comrades scraped private data from the most successful craft breweries and taprooms in the U.S.  From there, we sifted through pages of emails, text messages, social media communications, phone transcripts, WhatsApp chat logs and business records.

After the data was scrubbed, a pattern of success emerged.

What you have before you now are the best business secrets compiled from the private records of the most successful craft breweries and beer bars in the U.S.  Follow this advice, and we just might be seeing you on the next cover of Rich Person Magazine

The Basics

1.  Food Trucks. Food trucks are vital to the survival of any taproom, probably more so than the quality of the beer on tap. If there are no food trucks available, seek out a food trunk (food sold from the trunk of a car).

2. All IPA Everything. While it’s true that people like variety and trends come and go, there is one thing that will never change: everyone only likes IPA forever. Therefore it’s best to assume that you will alienate everyone and go bankrupt instantly if you don’t either brew IPAs exclusively (or at least have an IPA as your flagship beer) or only have IPAs on your tap list. For taprooms that want to expand, consider setting up an IPA-only bottle shop.

To stay relevant, try mixing things up a bit by throwing an IPA tap takeover in your IPA-only taproom.

3. Pay-to-Play. With new craft breweries opening at a rate of 100 per day, it can be tough for a brewery to get its beer into a bar and even tougher for bars to decide which beer they should put on tap. But it doesn’t have to be that hard— not with pay-to-play!

Let’s explain this concept Mr. Subliminal-style: “Pay-to-Play” is a kind of win-win enhanced business technique [bribery] where a brewery or distributor provides money [$20 per keg to $2,000 per dedicated tap line per year], goods [new tap lines, expensive sports tickets, new TVs, coolers, etc.] or services [maintaining draft lines] to bars in order to build good relationships [get preferential draft placement ideally at the exclusion of other breweries and distributors]. (Legality may vary.)

4. Paid Swag-Vertising. People want to advertise for you for free, so it is critical that you charge them for that privilege. Make a buck and get your brand out there by selling logo-laden hoodies, t-shirts, trucker hats, fanny packs, giant permanent car decals, and DIY face, eyelid and tongue tattoos (talk about word of mouth— ZING)!

Speaking of passive-aggressive advertising techniques, consider offering a one-time 3% discount to people who legally change their name to the name of your brewery of beer bar, and then sue them later for trademark infringement.

Location & Design

1. Difficult-to-Find Industrial Location. This is more of a must for brewery taprooms than craft beer bars, but there is no denying the collateral benefit of your customers finally being able to get a growler filled and pick up a bulk order of printed circuit boards right in the same obscure industrial park!

2. Unfinished Building. Let’s face it: people love the look of raw building materials. So give your customers what they want and save a bunch of money in the process by moving into a half-finished or abandoned dilapidated building! There’s no better time to show off the natural beauty of your building’s exposed brick, cinder block, dry wall, rafters, insulation, plumbing, HVAC ducts, electrical wiring, concrete foundation or whatever other architectural treasures there are hiding behind the scenes!

Remember, it’s not “unfinished”, it’s rustic… or sustainable… or something.

3. DIY Wood & Metalwork-Motif. This one’s more of a brewhouse taproom requirement, but in every case the key is that you or a buddy (whoever has the better beard) build the furniture and bar out of urban-foraged wood or metal.

If you can’t find any scrap metal, discount wood or free-cycled cinder blocks for your re-purposing purposes, then beer-inspired furniture and fixtures are a must including grain-bag chairs, hop-stuffed pillows, over-pressurized tap handle bathroom sink faucets, beer bottle chandlers, beer can telephones and keg toilets.

Business Edge

1. Expensive Artisanal Snacks. Small $5 bags of gourmet popcorn, hand-crafted potato chips, trail mix, or food lumps made from spent grains are just a few examples of expensive artisanal snacks that will put you on the fast-track to success.

2. Crowler Machine. Beer from the can used to be bad because of its association with macro beer and cancer, but now it’s the best. A “Crowler Machine” will allow you to seal beer in a to-go can so that you can tap into the can craze before beer from the can is a bad thing again.

3. Irregular Business Hours. If it’s one thing people hate, it’s predictable business hours. Not only that, it’s a proven fact that people don’t drink beer on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so definitely don’t be open on those days or any other days. But if you do choose to be unnecessarily open for business, remember that most people get their drinking done before 5 pm, which means last call should be no later than 4:45 pm. Also, keep in mind that the most effective business-owners only work a four-hour work week, which means if you’re open more than four hours a week, you’re doing something wrong.


1. Dogs. It’s a fact that everyone loves dogs, and if they don’t, then they’re worse than Hitler because even Hitler liked dogs. Therefore, the more dogs in your taproom, the better. If no dogs are available, seriously consider investing in a dog simulator machine (it makes loud barking noises and is upgradeable to emit wet dog smell and blow animal hair around the taproom).

2. Hipster “Indie Folk” Behind the Bar. Nothing gives the appearance of anti-capitalist coolness to a for-profit business better than indie folk tending bar, so stock up while supplies last! (Don’t worry, indie employees will appreciate the irony… it’s what they live for.)

3. Games. Few if anyone have ever been seen actually playing these games in taprooms, but it is essential that at least one of the following be on premises at all times: Cards Against Humanity, Ticket to Ride, or Settlers of Catan. Also, if you have an outdoor area, don’t forget that zoning requires that you maintain an operational cornhole set.


1. Local Everything. Local is the new black. So whenever possible and regardless of quality, taprooms need to serve local beers, arrange for live local music, local puppet shows, and free local tax-prep help.

2. Beer Puns. The highest form of comedy has and always will be puns. So hop to it and tap into the wonderful world of beer-inspired puns when naming your beer or craft beer bar! We promise you won’t hear any booze from us!

С первым Апреля! [Happy Businessing!]

[DISCLAIMER: By no means do any of the tips in this article represent legal or business advice.  In fact, many of the tips in this post are completely stupid, satirical and written by an asshole who is trying to get fired to collect unemployment benefits.  We don’t know Russian hackers. We don’t recommend that anybody does anything illegal ever.  And we whole-heartedly apologize to any and everyone who is even slightly offended by anything written herein.  We will be sending ourselves to sensitivity training to try to understand what went wrong in our childhood that makes us totally not responsible for any of our behavior in life. Thank you.]

Entertained? Well, thanks- you’re far too kind.  

Tweet-worthy?  That would be rather chill of you:

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Hi, I’m D.J. Pander.  I like beer.  I also blog. Follow me on MySpace.

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