Canned Beer Is Great!

Posted on 01.28.08 7:10PM under Canned Beer, Stories

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale AleI can hear the groans now. Cans are for Bud Miller Coors, right? Wrong. That is not a fancy photoshop trick. That beer in the picture over there came from that can. And let me tell you, it tastes as good as it looks.

Cans can hold the best beer around. They can hold anything, and don’t negatively impact the quality of the beer in any way. Cans are environmentally-friendly. They are lighter and thus require less energy to transport the same volume of beer. Plus, you can take cans places glass bottles can’t go. Like the beach or the park or many other glass-free zones. Furthermore, cans don’t let any light in to the beer, thus making it skunk-proof. And if that’s not enough, cans have less air space in them, and so reduce beer-spoiling exposure to air. And also, cans are safer than glass. If you drop a pack of cans, they probably won’t explode into hundreds of tiny shards at your feet. The only negative I can come up with for the can is that it is harder to get a gentle pour from a can than from a bottle.

Now the astute reader might also note that you could get many of the same benefits from a light weight PET plastic bottle. Maybe you can, but what fun is that? A can of beer is so iconic. Better yet for it to be full of hoppy pale ale, or malty scotch ale, or whatever your favorite type of beer is. And there are cans of all sizes. You know those 22-ounce bomber bottles that all the fancy beers have? There are 22-ounce cans, too. I suppose you can’t cork and cage a can like you could a 750-ml bottle. But you know that when the beer’s packaged in a can, you’re not paying two bucks for a fancy ceramic bottle with a gold-trimmed swing-top closure. And there’s no way you’re paying extra for the manual labor of wax-dipping the bottles. Sure, there are times for elaborate packaging, but sometimes, you just want the liquid assets inside the package, and the package is just an obstacle to enjoyment.

Man, even putting down an empty can on a table has an unfamiliar, yet eerily familiar clanking sound that it makes. It reminds me of days past, when value was the beer-buying mantra. Then I look at and taste the beer in the glass, and suddenly remember that I am not working on a 30-pack of Busch Light. But rather I am drinking good beer. Cold sweats cease and I am at ease as I wander over to the fridge to pop another can of craft beer.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by The Dude on 01.29.08 11:17 AM

    Excellent post Keith! As a longtime collector of beer cans I appreciate the kudos given to the most misunderstood and negatively stereotyped vessel in beerdom. Of course, homebrew-wise, cans are beyond my reach.

    One of the best things about the old cans was some of the awesome artwork and creativity that went into their design. Remember the keg-shaped Hamm’s cans of years past? How about some of the awesome wildlife scenery on Schmidt’s cans (not to be confused with Schmidt’s of Philadelphia)?

    Now join the creativity of those old cans with the new and improved can design of today and the better beer to go into them and you’ve got yourself a winning combo. Just makes me wanna go all Hank Hill I tell ya!

  2. Posted by Bailey on 01.29.08 5:39 PM

    I’ve been dying to do a blind taste test of Fuller’s London Pride from a can and from a bottle for ages. Must get round to it. I have a sneaking suspicion that cans can’t be all that bad, and this only confirms that suspicion.

  3. Posted by Keith Brainard on 01.29.08 6:05 PM

    I have run into tons of canned-beer-related information just since writing this article. Clearly, some forces are working to teach me about how great cans are for holding beer.

    Dude – I would love to be able to package my homebrew in cans. I intend to check into it, but I don’t think I’m prepared to buy a $10,000 canning line and 7,000 cases of cans just to try it out…yet. I have unfortunately never seen a Hamm’s or Schmidt’s can. I googled them a bit, and managed to find a deer on a Schmidt’s but no keg-shaped Hamm’s. Got any photos?

    Bailey – I recently saw something like Pils Urquell that normally comes across the Atlantic to me in a green bottle, and wondered if the canned version might be fresher tasting. Also, there’s the relatively new Guinness bottle with widget, for a direct compare with the nitro can of the legendary stout.

    Thanks for reading guys!

  4. Posted by The Dude on 01.29.08 10:39 PM

    I don’t have any photos handy of the Hamm’s Keith, but I can take some of my collection. I’ll try to snap at least one of the Hamm’s can and email it to you. It ain’t a pretty can, but it is unique. Been busy lately though, so it may be a bit before I get to it. Meantime, check out this session entry from last year:

    Hamm’s used a dancing bear to advertise their brew. Whatever it takes to sell the beer I guess.