As the craft beer industry grows, many beer styles were resurrected and packaging is now a huge calling card for many breweries.
The beer can was once thought of as a sub-par packaging choice and one that was only used by big breweries. As some craft breweries such as Oskar Blues began canning its beer, some drinkers were unsure about it. There was a stigma associated with canned beers only holding bland, watered down macro beer.
When canning first took off it was mainly for pale ales, IPAs, pilsners, and other lighter American beer styles. The idea of canning some “fancier” styles such as Belgian beers and barrel aged ones seemed laughable.
Belgian breweries such as the Huyghe Brewery, whose most famous beer, Delirium Tremens, has received the canning treatment. The can is now a staple and many smaller breweries use it exclusively for limited releases.
As the use of the can has grown, the sheer volume of delicious canned beers has grown with it. So as summer winds down, a great canned beer is a good way to get out and soak up what is left. Here is a short list good canned beers.
Terrapin Beer- RecreationAle: Session beers came on strong a few years ago as the demand for beers with a little less ABV punch grew. Terrapin released its RecreationAle as a wonderful 4.7% ABV full-flavored and hop forward pale ale. The balance is phenomenal in this beer that still packs a strong hop punch. This is one of the best beers to pack up for an afternoon with friends whether relaxing by the pool or hiking in the woods.
Night Shift Brewing- One Hop This Time: This one may be more difficult to find because the Massachusetts brewery doesn’t have a huge distribution footprint. This is part of a series of beers the brewery releases featuring one hop each time (get it?). The latest release features the citra hop.
Almanac Beer Co.- Mandarina: This is a new release from a brewery that has gained a huge following based on its world class sours beers. Mandarina is a tart farmhouse ale brewed with tangerines and oranges with a hefty dosing of Mandarina Bavaria and citra hops. The bright character of this beer makes it perfect for hot summer days. The 4.3% ABV makes this a phenomenal go-to beer for any day spent relaxing in the sun.
Cigar City- Jai Alai IPA: This has long been at the forefront in the IPA category and continues to be a favorite among hop lovers. The strong hop flavors and aroma emanate from the can and the 7.5 % ABV make for a beer that is best enjoyed when you have some time to unwind. The brewery has a few variations on this beer and one that is a must try is a white oak-aged version.
The canned beer craze is not slowing down but growing with many of the most sought after breweries including Tree House Brewing, Trillium Brewing, Sole Artisan Ales, and Carton Brewing Company, all releasing canned world class beers. Whether you love beer from a can there is no denying that some truly incredible beers are now available.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.