Craft Beer Canning
I’m really trying to be a trooper here. I understand that there are benefits to canning beer, both from the brewery’s side and as a consumer. But I just can’t get used to drinking beer from a can. With new canning operations from Terrapin and Cigar City and long time pioneers like Oskar Blues leading the craft beer community, there is a big change in the way beer is showing up on your store shelves.
Yes, I do pour my beer into a glass (except for Heady Topper, where I’m explicitly told NOT to do that). Buying cans, carrying cans, popping the top – it all just seems wrong, taking me back to the days of cheap college beer – or reminding me of my dad’s Saturday afternoon Löwenbräu. Maybe I’m responding negatively to something that many see as another trend in the craft beer world, a world which is quickly running out of gimmicks (remember Bacon Doughnut beer?).
Stubby aluminum is just not the same as long-necked brown glass. Taking a frosty cold bottle and getting the instant satisfaction of prying a cap is invigorating. Pulling back a pop-tab and hearing the spew hiss seems lame in comparison, no different from opening a soda. So what’s the point?
Why the Canning Revolution?
I can’t be the only one who feels this way, so why are small craft breweries moving toward canning, formerly only the realm of the big boys? Respect for the environment is a major factor. Aluminum is easy for people to recycle right back into more aluminum. It’s a more energy efficient material as well and makes for lighter delivery vessels, saving on shipping costs. Finally, since no light can enter, it keeps the beer fresh for longer. The bottom line is cost. Cans are cheaper, all things considered. Craft breweries are businesses and if they can deliver a quality product for less money, then it’s in their best interest to make it work.
My Can Concessions
There are a few cans that I’ve convinced myself are okay to buy, if only because I want to be able to drink these delicious brews anywhere and cans are the perfect choice for the beach or boat.
What’s not to like about this beer? We’re big Cigar City fans around here – but for a light, easy to drink but still complex and interesting beer, I’m hard pressed to find much competition for Florida Cracker. It’s dry, well carbonated and not as yeast-forward as your typical white ale. That being said, the notes that it does hit are spot on and it makes for a quenching, easy to drink sessioner.
One beer that definitely gives Florida Cracker a run for its money is White Thai. While both being wits, they are so different in taste that it’s hard to consider them in competition with each other. A delicious ‘Asian’ take on a witbier, it puts lemon, lemongrass and a light hopping on the palette while still being super refreshing.
I know I’m being petty and not making much of an argument against cans other than meager personal aesthetics and personal experience. Ultimately, if the beer is good and the savings help keep my favorite breweries in business and put less trash in the landfills, canning is good for everybody. I just need to get used to the new boss and hope it’s as good to me as the old one.