Growlers: Blue Canoe Expands Taproom, Bubba Brews Oaklawn Kolsch, Flyway Fruitcake Old Ale Release

Welcome to Growlers: your weekly roundup of news, events and specials from Little Rock’s breweries and taprooms. Little Rock’s beer scene is growing and improving at a rapid pace, and we’re dedicated to keeping you up to speed on all of it. Here’s what’s happening this week:
Fans of Blue Canoe Brewing Company will be happy for some extra elbow room starting tomorrow. Blue Canoe has chosen to close its Taco Beer Burrito restaurant and use the space instead for a much larger taproom, complete with shuffleboard, foosball and some arcade games. The change also comes with some expanded hours, including opening up on Tuesdays and keeping the doors open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Blue Canoe is also working on expanding its brewing operation to allow for more distribution in Central Arkansas and perhaps a few more specialty beers at the taproom. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
It’s hard to believe that racing season at Oaklawn is only a couple of weeks away, but when you hit the track this January, you’ll be able to sample an exclusive Bubba Brews creation there. The beer is a Cologne-style kolsch called The Fifth Season, which is the name Hot Springs locals use for racing season. The Fifth Season is a traditional brew at 4.9 percent ABV. You can find it starting Sunday at Silk’s Bar and Grill on the gaming side, and the following weekend at the craft beer section at the track. Bubba Brews says it will distribute The Fifth Season locally if supply allows.
On Friday, Flyway Brewing will release a new play on its Strong Ale from December. This winter release in the brewery’s cake series is the Fruitcake Old Ale, and this one is just packed with flavor. The beer is brewed with crushed nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla bean and fresh-roasted Arkansas pecans. It then is aged on rum-soaked apricots, currants, figs and black cherries. Oh, and did I mention it weighs in at a hefty 9.2 percent ABV? Flyway spent two months making this one, and brewer Jess McMullen says they waited until the flavors all melded together perfectly before pulling it. So if you’re looking for weekend beer plans, Flyway is a pretty good option.
A crowd favorite returns to Rebel Kettle Brewing Company for 4:30 Thursday with the release of Clockwork Blood Orange Double Brown Ale. This is a hearty ale at 7.5 percent ABV and 50 IBU. The last time I tried it, I really enjoyed how well the malt flavor came through, and I can’t wait to give it another go later this week.
More than one beer lover I’ve spoken with says Baltic Porter is the best beer Lost 40 makes. If that’s true, today’s Freshcut Monday release should be a good one. Lost 40 is putting its Vanilla Bean Baltic Porter on tap at 4 p.m. today. The brew is infused with a large batch of whole vanilla beans to accent the coffee and chocolate notes of the original porter. No growlers or crowlers will be sold, so get there today to try it for yourself.
A classic Vino’s Brewpub beer goes back on tap this week with the release of Vino’s Razorback. It’s a 6 percent ABV malty lager brewed with European hops. Keep your eyes here in the coming weeks for the newest release of Moody Brews’ Katchiri’s Bier.
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