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Beer Mailbag: Kona Brewing Goes IPA, Woodchuck Cans Cider

Stocks in this article: BREW SAM

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- So this is how this is going to work: When the home office fridge fills with more beer and cider than I think I can sample without doing myself some serious Alan Richman Man vs. Food damage, you're going to see one of these rundowns.

I'm also going to note that there's some brand repetition in this installment. There's a reason for that: It's typically the larger brands that send beer. They have the marketing budgets to do so, they have the capacity to spare and they have professional public relations staff on payroll. That's just how it is.

Of this week's submissions, all are from larger breweries and cidermakers. The smallest brewer behind this week's offerings was Atlanta-based SweetWater with 110,000 barrels of production. The next smallest, Kona, is part of the larger Craft Brew Alliance that pumps out roughly 675,000 barrels. New Belgium (765,000 barrels) and Woodchuck Cider (not nearly as big, but the second-largest cidermaker in the country after being bought by Ireland's C&C) round out the lineup.

Just so you're aware, the lineup does occasionally change. San Francisco-based brewpub chain Gordon Biersch just notified us that they're sending some items along, while Lyons, Colo.-based Oskar Blues and Boston's own Boston Beer and its Samuel Adams brand have as well. I don't solicit these items, but won't refuse unless its value is exorbitant (in this case, even low two figures puts me in a tricky position).

As a result, the mailbag is a bit smaller this month. It is, however, packed with just enough summer offerings to make us curse the fact it's still early May. Seriously, could we part with just a few extra degrees and put that whole Polar Vortex nonsense behind us at some point in the near future? The only chill I want to feel within the upcoming months is that from my beer fridge as I reach for styles resembling those below:

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