Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beer in a can, tk 2

A few weeks past we had our first guest post on canned beers, and the quality thereof. Bon Appetit Magazine must've read that post, as evidenced by this article sent me by a deaconite on the trend of craft brewing in a can:

For this skeptic, tasting was believing. I confess that while I've been a fan of Dale's Pale Ale for several years, I'd mentally filed the beer under the novelty category. (Wow! A great beer in a can!) My true conversion came when my favorite Fat Tire Amber Ale from New Belgium, which had previously only been available in brown bottles, came out in a can two summers ago. Here is where things get crazy. Taste the can and the bottle—side by side—and judge for yourself. The beer from the can tastes rich, toasty, and creamy. By comparison, the same beer in the bottle tastes a little flat, less fresh. Turns out there's a reason why. New Belgium adds a slurry of active live yeast to its Fat Tire cans just before sealing to take up oxygen and prevent stale off-flavors. The result is a fresher, more complex beer. Think of it as a mini keg.

Sure, sure, sure. But is there any reason why craft breweries couldn't add live yeast to bottled beer? Allagash certainly does (pour, swirl, pour again!). There's no question that craft breweries ARE putting good beer in a can, and that it's cheaper and easier than bottling. But a brown bottle and metal can of the same beer side-by-side? I'll reach for the bottle 100% of the time. Call me old-fashioned, I guess.

Garrett Marrero at Maui Brewing Co. adds, "Even the large domestic breweries will tell you that cans are a better package for the beer. The myth of the metallic taste goes back to 50 years ago when tin cans were soldered with lead." Today's aluminum cans feature a water-based polymer lining that eliminates any metallic contamination. That is, the beer never comes in contact with the aluminum. "You'd have to bite the can while you were drinking from it," Marrero jokes. "Coors has done the best job of marketing cans with the Frost Brew Liner to seal in freshness. That's the same liner that has been in cans for more than 20 years now, and it does exactly what Coors says it does."

Coors comparisons? Meh. I wonder where the block quotes are from all the craft brewers who still mass market exclusively (at greater cost and MUCH greater annoyance) with bottles? Not that I'm skeptic or anything. I'll drink a schmidts anytime of day. Generally around noon, though, when I'm a beer or two off my limit. It goes great with Floyd's beer cheese.

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