Second Street’s got one sweet can!

Posted: August 22, 2014 by Luke in Beer in Santa Fe, Interviews, News
Tags: , , ,

Last week I had the opportunity to watch some awesome history in the making. Santa Fe’s Second Street canned their first beer inside their brewery. “Why is that awesome?” I hear you asking yourself. Besides the fact that we can now pick up a canned version of their Pivotal IPA and take it along on all of our outdoor adventures, it’s awesome because Second Street doesn’t own a canning machine, nor do they have a canning crew. So how did they pull this off? How was I able to take a four-pack of 16-ounce cans home with me that very day? Four words: Mother Road Mobile Canning.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street's Pivotal IPA.

Mother Road Mobile Canning starts the line for Second Street’s Pivotal IPA.

On August 14, Mother Road Mobile Canning drove their rig up to Santa Fe and set up shop right in the middle of Rod Tweet’s brewery, and Tweet was nice enough to talk to me about it. With a very much can-do attitude, I thought I’d start with the obvious. “Why the decision to can?” I asked. Tweet replied, “I’ve been interested in the canning format for a while, and with Mother Road available to us, it just seemed like a really good opportunity to see what getting a beer in a can is all about. Also, it gave us a chance to learn how to get beer ready for packaging – which is a pretty different exercise, as we found out than our normal brewpub process. Dissolved O2 levels, C02 levels, temp. etc. and measurement thereof, all more important (when canning). Also, for fun!”

I asked what made them decide to can the Pivotal IPA in particular. Tweet laid it down like this: “The Pivotal is an IPA that we developed over this past fall/winter with this in mind. We put a lot of thought into the formulation and it’s turned out to be a huge seller for us at the pubs. I also have committed a lot of money to getting the hard-to-get hops to support it, so the more we can sell, the better.”


The four-packs are ready to go.

So folks, while supplies last, you can pick up the Pivotal in a can at both Second Street locations (2nd Street and the Railyard). And for our Al(BREW)querque friends, this is a great reason to take the Rail Runner up, visit the downtown pub location, and take home some of those hoppy suds in that sexy green can. And we certainly CAN expect to see another of Tweet’s creations in this format in the near future. Look out for the Boneshaker Special Bitter to be riding down the trails sometime in late September.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with David Smidt, owner and president of Mother Road Mobile Canning, while he and his stellar crew canned the Pivotal. Over the sputters and whirs of the canning line, we talked a little about what they’re doing and where they’re going.

There's a beer in this selfie, so I guess we'll let it slide.

There’s a beer in this selfie, so I guess we’ll let it slide.

David said Mother Road has been in business for only a few months now, having gotten their equipment from Wild Goose Engineering in Colorado back in March. They started canning here in New Mexico with Kelly’s Brewpub in Albuquerque, and now they’re in three states, soon to be more. The benefits of canning, according to David, are that with cans, you can take them anywhere, hiking, biking, camping, etc. With the new cans, you have a better finished product than the bottle. The plastic lining on the inside of the can eliminates that rough metallic taste that we’d all come to know and loathe. The beer tastes just as good as if it was just poured at the brewery — better than the bottle, because no light can get in to skunk the beer. The canning process also eliminates the bit of air that exists in the bottle, which can change the flavor and carbonation of a bottled beer over time. I mean, come on. No one likes Stale’s Pale Ale. Cans are also economically better for breweries because with less weight, they cost less to ship. And you just can’t get the level of artwork on a bottle that you can with a … well, a can.

Mother Road is currently canning for several accounts, including Tractor Brewing of Albuquerque, Second Street, two others in New Mexico, three in Missouri, and one in Arkansas. When asked if he thought cans would eventually replace bottles, David said that it probably wouldn’t happen, or at least wouldn’t happen for a long while, but he was sure that cans would definitely become much more commonplace in the craft beer industry as breweries realize the benefits. I asked David what Mother Road’s plans were for the future and it was pretty clear that the possibilities were as vast as the open road. They’re always searching for new accounts, new breweries, and cider makers, and there was even mention of canning a wine. Whatever the road has in store for these guys, I want to be along for the ride.


— Luke

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    The good thing about this is you can potentially warm age the Pivotal cans to get rid of the diacetyl (provided there is still some active yeast in suspension to reprocess it out). That was hard to do sitting there at Second Street while having a pint.

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