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Bottled/can beer that tastes the most like draft beer?

m
Magnum Apr 1, 2007 09:08 PM

Please tell me there's something better than Miller Genuine Draft.

  1. m
    mojoeater Apr 1, 2007 09:14 PM

    Hi magnum. Try Smithwicks or Boddingtons in the nitro can.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mojoeater
      a
      anothernotch Apr 4, 2007 04:44 PM

      Agreed. Boddingtons nitro can, when served at the proper temperature, is pretty close to the draft.

    2. Josh Apr 2, 2007 05:44 AM

      The way this question is asked doesn't make any sense to me. The differences in flavor that can exist between bottle and draft versions of beer are fairly limited. One possible difference is if you're dealing with bottle-conditioned beers. In that case, the carbonation is provided by continued fermentation in the bottle as opposed to CO2. CO2 can alter the flavor of beer because it emphasizes hop bitterness.

      Another possible variation you might find is draft beer that's carbonated with NO2 instead of CO2.

      Finally, you have the questions of how clean the tap lines are, and how old the bottled beer is and whether it had been exposed to heat or sunlight.

      Given all that, if you have fresh bottled beer that has been stored under good conditions it should taste pretty much identical to the same beer served on draft with clean tap lines.

      1. n
        nyfoodjoe Apr 2, 2007 05:53 AM

        Guiness(sp??)

        1. peetoteeto Apr 2, 2007 06:17 AM

          A can is a mini keg. As Josh said, it's all about storage. And perception.

          1. JessKidden Apr 2, 2007 09:12 AM

            Back in the simpler pre-craft beer era, when generalizations about US beer were much easier to make (and good beer was much harder to find), there was a major difference between draft beer and bottled/canned beer- draft was unpastuerized, kept refrigerated and, ideally, was consumed within a month of kegging and within days of tapping. Bottled and canned beers were heat-pasteurized, shipped and stored at room temp. and a longer shelf life.

            The main difference in taste was probably more to do with less carbonation in draft (because so many people drank from a can or bottle rather than pouring it into a glass and allowing the excess CO2 to be dispelled) than people who could “taste” the slightly “cooked” (or "dead") pastuerized beer. Jim Koch claims he can taste it and says he prefers it for his Samuel Adams. Ditto, folks who might have picked up the age of bottle or canned beers while it was still within it's "pull date" (skunkiness is another issue and one will find many Heineken drinkers who don't like it on tap, since it doesn't "taste the same"- no, 'cause it's not light struck!)..

            But, even in that era, there were “exceptions”- in the mid-West, many local breweries sold “Picnic bottles” of non-pastuerized beer in huge, long necked ½ gallon bottles and, eventually, some breweries started experimenting with micro-filtered, sterile-filled canned beers (a German technique developed during WWII, IIRC). In the 50’s, the Heffenreffer brewery in Mass. first tried it, as later did Coors, who’s best known for the process. On the East Coast a few years later, Piels marketed a micro-filtered beer as “Real Draft in a can” and it became popular enough that many breweries had “Draft style” cans of their flagship beers on the market (some even advertised “Pastuerized”, which made no sense at all, but US breweries never let logic get in the way of a marketing campaign)- Schaefer Draft Beer, Ballantine Draft Beer, Lucky Draft Brewed Beer, Ortlieb Genuine Draft Beer, Hamms Draft (in the keg shaped can), Lone Star Draft Beer, MeisterBrau Draft, etc. were all on the shelves in the 60’s and, a few, beyond that. Philip Morris’ Miller tried the technique again a decade of so later, and stuck with it as MGD (which is also available on tap- huh?).

            Today, with bottle conditioned beers and “flash pasteurized” kegs, the differences aren’t always as cut and dry and blanket statements can’t be made (tho’ people continue to find draft versions and bottled versions of the same beer as tasting “different/better/worse”- for all the reasons stated in the posts above).

            Sadly, I find a lot of draft beer lacking these days- with so many taps at even mainstream bars, I don’t think many beers turn over fast enough for great tasting draft from all 10-20 taps. OTOH, if you’re drinking directly out of an ice cold bottle or can, chances are a good draft beer at the correct temperature with a good head, is going to taste better to you.

            10 Replies
            1. re: JessKidden
              therealbigtasty Apr 3, 2007 01:34 AM

              Jess...would you please publish a book about the history of beer already? You're a genius.

              Just compile it all and self-publish it using a cafepress site or something. I love reading everything you write as no one seems to have as wide ranging and unsnobbish knowledge about beer.

              Thanks, friend.

              1. re: JessKidden
                therealbigtasty Apr 3, 2007 01:38 AM

                I might add that MGD is one beer I find positively disgusting and cannot drink it.

                1. re: therealbigtasty
                  j
                  jonathon Apr 4, 2007 12:33 PM

                  Being a beer drinker for many moons, all the major advertised brands of beer are light and really are "neutral" in their flavors........a brand like "Morretti" from Italy
                  or a Shiner Blonde from Texas and widely available offer cleaner and crisper tastes
                  across the palate than any brand advertised......We did a tasting in our "group"
                  of 10 famous brands with the 2 above and in a blind vote,Moretti was #1 and Shiner
                  #2 with MGD, Coors and Bud in the basement.......

                  1. re: jonathon
                    JessKidden Apr 5, 2007 04:21 AM

                    Wait a sec...did I read that right?

                    The "group" favored beers that are "cleaner" and "crisper" than beers that are "light" and "neutral in flavor"?

                    I guess I won't be sending in my membership fee...<g>

                    1. re: JessKidden
                      j
                      jonathon Apr 5, 2007 08:46 AM

                      Isn't "cleaner" and "crisper" more desirable than "light" and "no flavor".........
                      If you want your beer to taste like nothing then continue to support the
                      advertised "bellywash" brands...........Please try a "Moretti" or "Shiner"
                      and see what you think...............

                      1. re: jonathon
                        JessKidden Apr 5, 2007 11:12 AM

                        To *me*, "cleaner" and "crisper" implies "EVEN lighter" and "MORE neutral (if there is such a thing)".

                        A beer cleaner than light, crisper than neutral? No, thanks.

                        It all sounds like the sorts of words used to describe all those bland "light lagers" (none of which I've "supported" for the last 30+ years), be it BMC OR Moretti or Shiner.

                        1. re: JessKidden
                          j
                          jonathon Apr 5, 2007 11:35 AM

                          "Cleaner" is intended to mean none of those "metallic" flavors that comes
                          with the Big Brands.........."Crisper" meaning a refreshing "snap' that one
                          is expecting from beer of this style............

                2. re: JessKidden
                  Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 04:38 PM

                  To that point of bars with a whole lotta taps (this may be a little off topic) what's the deal at many of these places where:
                  1) Many of the beers taste like a blend of other beers (due to dirty lines)
                  2) The typical clientele appear to be Bud drinkers
                  It must be expensive to provide so many craft beers. And if your base customer doesn’t appear to drink them and they’re many times ruined by dirty lines for those who like them what’s the point?
                  Most of these places I’ve noticed are at airports or are in college towns. It’s always very disappointing. I ordered a Sierra Nevada at a spot called Floods in Stroudsburg, PA this past Monday. It tasted like cider. After the second sip I paid and left.

                  1. re: Chinon00
                    l
                    LMT Apr 4, 2007 05:05 PM

                    Monday at Floods...is that still "kill-a-keg-" night, where draft imports are $1 until the keg is done??? (I'm an ESU alum)

                    1. re: LMT
                      Chinon00 Apr 4, 2007 07:45 PM

                      Apparently not. I paid $3.75 for a pint of Woodchuck cider flavored Sierra Nevada pale ale. Everybody else was smoking (and I mean everybody) and drinking basic domestic (i.e. Bud, Pabst, etc).

                3. h
                  hammerhead Apr 4, 2007 12:48 PM

                  Dale's Pale Ale, and Old Chub. Get ya some.

                  1. h
                    hammerhead Apr 4, 2007 12:49 PM

                    Forgot to mention, Bitburger Pils can be found in half-litre cans. Pretty decent German Pils, perfect for summer. And I was finding it for about a buck a can ( 4-packs ).

                    1. c
                      Chicago Mike Apr 5, 2007 11:18 AM

                      I'd say almost any well-made microbrew.... Take Alpha King IPA for example... it's great out of the bottle and great on tap, perhaps a tad fresher on tap but not by much...

                      BUT HERES THE KEY... You have to "decant" a bottle of great beer the same way you would decant a fine wine.... Do it with a hard-pour into the bottle, then allow the suds to subside... this is what gives you that draft taste... If you don't, then the beer will taste on the bitter side...

                      Foaming the beer with a hard pour allows it to oxygenate and all the flavor nuances to come out, and especially the aroma of the great beer.

                      As a matter of fact almost no "great beer" can be drank straight from the bottle... they all need to be poured into a glass so the flavor nuances can develop. That's why alot of people aren't crazy about micros, because they try to taste them directly out of the bottle.

                      1. t
                        Thirsty Dog Apr 6, 2007 11:51 AM

                        Ever wonder what the "Genuine" in Miller Genuine Draft actually means? Or does anyone really even care?

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Thirsty Dog
                          m
                          mojoeater Apr 6, 2007 12:08 PM

                          Genuinely bland? I liked MGD in high school. Now I'm more of an IPA/Belgian Ale gal.

                          1. re: Thirsty Dog
                            JessKidden Apr 6, 2007 03:52 PM

                            Well, at the risk of answering a rhetorical/sarcastic question...(<g> sorry, my interest in beer and brewing history even extents to beers I would never buy...altho' I have ocassionally sampled some of them at a party and then hand it to my wife and say, "Here- you wanna finish this?" I think she just usually will leave it on the kitchen counter or something. That's how I tasted the skunkest beer I ever had- a Corona Light (light? they made a *light*!) pulled out of an open bucket of ice sitting on a sunny deck (just like in a Smith & Hawkins home entertainment catalog!).

                            Anyway, I take it that the "Genuine" in Miller Genuine Draft means it's a "true" draft-beer-in-bottle since it's not pasteurized but cold-filtered. I still don't understand how they can then sell it as a kegged draft product, tho'- that seems redundant or something.

                            1. re: JessKidden
                              Jim Dorsch Apr 6, 2007 07:18 PM

                              But draft beer (in a keg, that is) isn't cold-filtered, right?

                              1. re: Jim Dorsch
                                JessKidden Apr 7, 2007 04:09 AM

                                Oh, I'm not in any way defending the process or agreeing with Miller or other brewers that suggest the beer is somehow "better" than pasteurized bottled beers- I'm just explaining what the conventional usage of the term "draft" means for US bottled beers. (As I said elsewhere, during the heyday of "Real draft beer in a can" [which actually predates MGD], some brewers started to label them "pasteurized"- another head scratcher...and probably suggests that they didn't want to put in new "sterile fill- cold filtration" equipment but still wanted on the "draft" bandwagon and, as is typical in the US industry, simply slapped a new "hot" term on their product.).

                                Certainly most macro lagers are "filtered" before kegging, but not to the extent that Miller and Coors filters there non-pasteurized packaged beers. After all, they are claiming they can filter out yeast, so chances are they are also "catching" many other things that contribute to beer's flavors. (And, some suggest that "cold filtered" is more just a way to rush lagering time.) Somewhere I've seen photos of these "filters" and they are amazingly thick and dense things that look as if no liquid could ever make it through them.

                                I don't quite understand how Miller claims to be the only "Cold Filtered" beer, since Coors is generally recognized as being one of the pioneers of the technique in the US and for many years required ALL their beer to be shipped and stored cold - perhaps Miller simply copyrighted the the term "Cold Filtered" or pays the copyright holder for it's use in the US?

                                (Coors also ran into the a problem early on with having asbestos in their "Enzinger" filters, which came from Germany-oops.)

                                1. re: JessKidden
                                  therealbigtasty Apr 7, 2007 06:57 PM

                                  Seriously, when are you going to write a book? I may have to copy and paste all of your responses into a word file and self publish it for my own entertainment.

                                  About Corona Light...why does it have that burnt popcorn fart taste? It's disgusting.

                                  And Corona as well, to quote the Simpsons...needs more dog.

                                  1. re: JessKidden
                                    TongoRad Apr 8, 2007 06:34 AM

                                    Just to piggyback on the information in this post for a little bit (and this info is pretty general, though a good way to look at things. There are bound to be exceptions.)-

                                    Draft beer is run through a coarse DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filtration unit that removes most of the yeast and other gunk- the range is about 5 microns, and some yeast is bound to make it into the final product. It is a pretty good balance between stabilizing the beer and not stripping away too much in terms of flavor. The kegs have to be refrigerated and will last abouut 3 months.

                                    Bottled product is then run through a 'sterile' plate filter which is much smaller (1/2 micron) and results in a much more stable product- the pull dates are generally 6 months from bottling. Of course, some believe that more character is stripped from the beer this way, but it is a better option than pasteurization. (IMO pasteurization may be just fine for some less aromatic styles so long as it is done correctly. It just isn't what I would call an option for most of what is being produced by the craft beer sector of the industry. If something has a pull date of 12 months I'd venture a guess that it has been pasteurized.)

                                    Also- just because something is 'bottle-conditioned', that doesn't mean that it hasn't been run through some sort of filter before having a dosage of yeast and sugar added back to it. I bet that happens quite a bit, actually.

                                    Oh- and all 'filtered' beer is cold filtered (more marketing-speak there.)

                                    1. re: TongoRad
                                      JessKidden Apr 8, 2007 07:13 AM

                                      "Oh- and all 'filtered' beer is cold filtered (more marketing-speak there.)"

                                      I suppose it's to further distinguish it from the (also redundant) "heat pasteurization" phrase that's so popular in the same marketing-speak proclamations. I guess there are chemical means to kill some of the same yeasts and bacteria that pasteurization does, but no one would ever refer to that as "pasteurization", would they? (I do see where some other marketing types want to call irradiation "cold pasteurization", but I don't think that's part of the language of the beer marketeers- yet.)

                                      I do wonder if someone (Miller or a supplier) owns the copyright to the term "Cold Filtered" in the US? A quick Google shows the term used by brewers in Canada and Australia, but Miller claims to be "only beer that uses cold filtration technology". I'd give a link to the website, but it's one of those excruciatingly annoying sites, with little or no information, but lots of fluff and graphics and bells and whistles (well, I guess- I keep my "Mute" button when I surf).

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