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Jun 13, 2012 12:14 PM

Does a can "de-value" a craft beer?

Just asking.

I happened to see this article on Chow [ ] and it made me wonder if beer aficionados look at a can possibly in the same way wine geeks seem to look at screwtops. I HAVE had people tell me that the can may effect a beer's taste, so there's more to be concerned about with beer.

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  1. LOL, exactly. I just purchased some Shift from New Belgium and I have to say that opening that can felt wrong. I immediately drew the analogy to the cork / screw top issue with wine in that it was the mechanics of opening the can that felt wrong like not pulling a cork feels wrong.

    I'd like to see more aluminum bottles like the one seen in the referenced article be made available as opposed to a standard can.

    1. Actually, the can preserves the beer's taste far better than glass. Many craft brewers are turning to cans, and the results are exceptional. Interestingly, I just had lunch with a winemaker friend who said he was abandoning the screw cap. Not because it is ineffective, but because of the (incorrect) perception that it is bad for the wine, or makes the wine "cheap".

      8 Replies
      1. re: dulcie54

        Any details on why the can is better?

        I'm assuming the winemaker is a higher-end producer? "Makes the wine 'cheap'" yes......... but what proportion of consumers know anything about the idea that screwcaps may result in 'reduction' (which can be bad for the wine). We can move this to the Wine board if we need to. I thought only wine dorks knew of such things.

        1. re: Midlife

          Beer can get light struck in glass.

          1. re: JAB

            Cans also have less air than bottles, reducing oxidation.

            I love cans, by the way. They chill quickly and take little space.

            1. re: Jim Dorsch

              It still depends on the equipment, experience, and skill of the canner, just as it does for bottlers....

              A semi local brewer here started off with cans, and their ipa tastes horribly oxidized within only a month of canning.

                1. re: LStaff

                  All things being equal (in terms of canning/bottling and handling) the can is superior. I've NEVER had a skunked pils in a can that was properly handled. I cannot say the same about bottles. Cans are lighter and take up less space as well.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Every, and i do mean every Heineken that i had in a bottle tasted skunked to some degree. Cans, of course didn't. For a long time I thought this was the way they were supposed to taste.

                  2. re: LStaff

                    Absolutely true. Apparently Adam Avery spent a ton of money on equipment for canning that eliminates the oxidation problem. I tried a local canned IPA and it tasted extremely oxidized.

          2. Surly Brewing in Minneapolis only sells canned product. Popular locally and rated highly by BeerAdvocate. Their moto is: Beer for a glass, from a can.

            1 Reply
            1. A true beer geek knows that there are advantages to beer in a can, the same way that a true oneophile knows not to discount the quality of a wine by the use of a screw cap or a synthetic cork. It's those who maintain stigmas borne of ignorance and misinformation while posing as knowledgeable that you should be concerned with.

              1. Personally, I would prefer a can over a bottle in most cases. However, with Belgian beers fermented in the bottle, a can would present problems when trying to pour the beer out while leaving the yeast behind.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Tripeler

                  Cans also suffer a lack of elegance at better restaurants.

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                    In the past month alone I've had Sierra Nevada IPA, Magic Hat #9 and O'Sirus IPA in cans and didn't notice a difference in taste and all of these are very good if not great beers.

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                      Cans actually cannot be found in better restaurants.

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Depends on your definition of "better" restaurants. Was at Talula's Garden last night in Philly and they had Sly Fox in cans.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          But why not? If one buys wine by the glass, or a cocktail, they don't bring those bottles to your table - even if a specific brand is ordered. Why can't the bartender open a can, pour the contents into a glass and the server bring the glass of beer to the table?

                          1. re: JessKidden

                            It's what Jim Dorsch says. There is a lack of perceived elegance. Personally, I would choose a can over a bottle (except for certain bottle-fermented beers), but the common perception is that cans lack class. In a few years, that will begin to change, I think.

                            1. re: Tripeler

                              Ha ha! And in a few years we end up with...

                              Welcome to the future!

                            2. re: JessKidden

                              That could be done, but it's not normal procedure, as restaurants typically bring the beer bottle to the table.

                              I don't have an issue with this. I'm a huge proponent of cans, but frankly, I believe a bottle is more appropriate in fine dining situations. It's juist how people feel, and there's nothing wrong with that.