THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
The Drink Nation Home Bar Project Cover

Tailgate Beer: Craft Cans for the Masses

by The Drink Nation on Nov 9, 2011 in Beer
Tailgate Beer: Craft Cans for the Masses

Wesley Keegan was happily satisfied with his life as a laid-back San Diego bar owner and homebrewer when his father approached him with an idea. The elder Keegan had trademarked a brand name and logo for a new brand of beer. “Make this into a company,” he urged his son, and in 2007, Tailgate Beer was born.

Never one to do things half-way, Wes threw his heart and soul into the new business, and began brewing and refining, tasting, testing and learning. He took his creations to the Great American Beer Festival, and was amazed by the interest his brand aroused in the beer community. Keegan – whose distribution network had thus far consisted of him hand-delivering kegs to SoCal bars – decided to take Tailgate to the next level.

To make Tailgate Beer the perfect go-to for pre-stadium boozing, Keegan opted to begin producing in cans. He refined a recipe for a golden ale – ever popular at tailgating sessions – found a brewery he could work in that had canning capability, and created Blacktop Blonde. This light, refreshing, 5% ABV American blonde is easy-drinking and flavorful (thanks for the samples, Wes!). Unlikely to impress diehard hopsheads or heavy stout fiends, Blacktop Blonde is meant as a hand-crafted alternative to the anemic tasting “big beer” brands that litter every gameday parking lot.

Keegan began to tour California and the neighboring states, taking Blacktop Blonde around the country, from NFL and college football stadiums to NASCAR tracks. Tailgaters gave the slightly-malty, slightly-hoppy, subtly-spiced brew a serious thumbs up. Maxim Magazine included it on their 2011 Best Beers list. USA Today gave it a shout in an article about gourmet tailgating. And Tailgate Beer is now distributed in seven states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

Earlier this year, Tailgate Hefeweizen was introduced, the second in a lineup of what will eventually be six year-round releases. An American take on the classic German style, the Hefe presents grassy, wheat flavors sparked by citrus and spice notes. According to brand standard, it’s also a session beer, clocking in at 4.9% ABV.

While these brews aren’t particularly pioneering in flavor or construction, they are breaking down one longstanding barrier: the iron grip AB In-Bev and MillerCoors have over the professional sports market. Each batch is brewed by Wesley himself, and even the tap handles are hand-painted, down to the adorable trucks that adorn the top end (tip: you can snag your own for $35 each here). Prices on the cans haven’t changed since the company started, making sixpacks a great value as well (think $7.99 or less). Next up for Tailgate is an IPA, due spring 2012. We’re looking forward to it.

Photo by Danya Henninger: Wesley Keegan gets down with his tap handles


Tags: Beer
Recent Articles

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
PBR is Making Its Own Whiskey For the Perfect Shot & Beer Combo

PBR is Making Its Own Whiskey For the Perfect Shot & Beer Combo

Pabst Blue Ribbon has filed documents to create its very own whiskey, making for the perfect shot & beer combo....read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 18, 2019
Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

In this edition of Behind the Bar, we chatted with Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 7, 2019
Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Ridley Scott has directed a four-minute short film for Hennessy X.O. visualizing the seven flavors of the high...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 4, 2019
Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

On this edition of Behind the Bar, we had the honor to sit down with Chris Morris, the master distiller at Woo...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 28, 2019
Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Step aside, after dinner drinks - Haagen-Dazs is releasing a line of spiked ice cream....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 19, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close