For years we have been raised to believe quality beer is only available on draught or in a bottle. When you first think of canned beer, flashbacks of college come to mind (case races, beer pong, shotgunning a can…etc) but in none of those memories is a quality beer. Stepping up from the “college beers” of Natural Light or Keystone to a better canned beer, most would then think of Coors or Miller Lite. Now some of the highest rated and best tasting beers are available in cans. Actually some are only canned, not bottled.
Light is what will spoil (“skunk”) beer, not aluminum. That is why glass bottles are normally brown or green to prevent light from affecting the beer. Cans do not let light in, or air, making them better suited to protect beer than other packaging. Also the epoxy in the can has evolved so the metal taste is not present. The main hurdle with moving to cans is perception. Bottles have always been seen as a more classy way to enjoy a beer than cans. Now that the science has proved cans to be the same quality, breaking the perception is the big hurdle.
With the understanding that good beer can be put in a can and not lose the great flavor, craft breweries are embracing the canned beer movement and making more beers available in cans. Some of the ever growing beers available in cans:
Cigar City – Jai Alai IPA – One of my favorites and a great summer beach brew from Florida. Citrus hints in the IPA bitterness. Check out an early article to learn more about it (click on my name for past articles).
The Alchemist – Heady Topper – the top rated beer on Beer Advocate. IPA coming out of Vermont, but only sold locally in the state. Once I get my hands on some, you can count on a Thirsty Thursday around it!
All Sixpoint Brewery and 21st Amendment beers are in cans only. 21st is from San Francisco and along with great names, each can has great flavor. Try Brew Free or Die IPA or Bitter American Ale. For more info on Sixpoints, check out my prior article for a breakdown of each of their offerings. Bengali Tiger or Crisp would be a good choice for the summer.
Surly Brewing – Furious – This IPA from Minnesota packs plenty of flavor in a can. Surly is another brewery offering cans only with a variety of brews. Abrasive Ale is a seasonal release Double IPA that doesn’t lack in quality or taste, and all out of a can.
The next time you head to your local beer shop, don’t just brush off the cans since there is some great beer available. Cheers!