Friday, February 3, 2012

Making the case for canned beer


There is a stigma attached to canned beer. And hey, that's not surprising. For most American beer drinkers, the notion of beer in a can conjures up images of old men downing 12-packs on the porch, college kids chugging cheap piss by the 30-pack, meatheads crushing beers on their forehead, and rednecks tossing out empties of Bud nips in the woods.

But here's the thing: If you care about the quality of your beer, cans are actually BETTER for your beer. Really! Consider a few things:

1) No skunking. Despite what you may think about beer being old or being left in a hot trunk or whatever, the only thing that makes a beer get skunky is UV light. It's called being light struck, and it's why smart brewers use brown bottles instead of clear or green. Light reacts with hops in a bad way and causes skunky beer. That's why your Heineken and Yuengling are so often skunky. Their green bottles. Cans? They allow no light at all. And that's good for your beer.

2) Easy Transportation. Imagine you're driving to your buddy's barbecue or taking home a load of beer or coming home from a multi-state trip with a load of regional beers. Yeah, I don't need to say any more. Cans are better for transportation, aren't they?

3) No More Metal Flavor. Remember the days when canned beer tasted like canned beer? They're over. Modern canned are lined. No more can taste (unless you're silly enough to drink from the can, which is a bad idea because all you'll taste is the can). Modern beer cans are lined with the same crap that lines your cans of green beans and tomato soup*. So drink up, Johnny.

4) Drink While You're Out! Out at the park? At the beach? Hiking in the woods? Rafting on a river? Cans can go places bottles can't. They're easier to lug around (see #2), many parks ban glass but are okay with plastic and metal, and for those that don't allow alcohol, cans by brewers like 21st Amendment don't look like beer, paving the way for outdoors fun for all. And hey, what is better than enjoying a beer in a great outdoor setting?

5) Easy storage. They stack easier than bottles. They take up less space. You don't have to worry about random breakage. You can stack up a big ass pile of cases in your closet or garage or wherever and it'll be cool. Hell, you can throw them on their side and that's probably cool, too (though I don't know if the tops are lined, too, so don't take my advice here). So storage is awesome. Super awesome. Super duper awesome.

6) Better Recycling. Recycling aluminum rocks, and nothing is cheaper, easier, and more profitable for recyclers than aluminum. Want to know a bit about recycling and why it doesn't always make sense? Check out this video, along with part 2 and part 3. I won't deny that these guys are off base at times, but they're right about one thing: Recycling aluminum is cheap, easy, profitable, and benefits the environment. So hey, drinking canned beer is green!

7) Minimal oxidation. What the hell is oxidation? Essentially, it's stale beer. It is oxygen interacting with the beer. Here is a beer geeky essay on the topic. In some beer styles, such as barleywines, a limited amount of oxidation is desirable. LIMITED is the key word. In most cases, oxidation is bad. And yeah, guess what? A sealed can is far better than a capped bottle when it comes to protecting from this beer-killing phenomenon.

8) You Can Be Counterculture. You want to be hip, don't you? Of course you do. Yeah, you think you're already hip with your craft beer and limited releases and shit, but think about it ... are your other friends touting canned beer? Of course not. And make no mistake, canned beer is trending upward. Heck, even Sierra Nevada is canning beer! Now you can be ahead of the curve! Start cheering cans now and you'll look like a prophet in a few years!

9) Cans Looks AWESOME. Okay, this is subjective, but folks like 21st Amendment really know how to make beer packaging look amazing. And hey, look, we're all friends here, so we can admit that we're all shallow assholes who get sucked in by pretty things, right? Because I am. I really am. And I buy their stuff all the time because it looks so cool. (Of course, it helps that they brew fantastic beer.)

10) Number ten. This entry makes it an official top 10, even though it has no content. So, errr ... cans. Yeah!?

*In the interest of full disclosure, right now beer cans are lined with something that contains BPA. Even though many canned foods have this liner, it's new to beer. In addition, there are now some concerns about its long-term effects. So know your stuff before you commit. Personally I'll keep trying canned craft beer, but only because it's a minority. If it becomes a majority, I'll want to know more.

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  1. Raise your hand if you like it in the can!

  2. "My brother's in the can and won't get out 'till next July!

    AWWWWW!!!!!! C'MON, F***IN' GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!"

  3. I can see we have a couple of wiseguys here.

  4. Summer days/evenings on the water are the death blow for bottles. It just isn't friendly in any way to boating. For that reason alone I absolutely cannot wait for more canned choices of craft beer. While there are a few now, having even more, especially Sierra Nevada, will truly make me a happy beer drinker.