At the bar the other night I wanted to change things up a bit from my usual draft fare so I ordered a 21st Amendment’s Allies Win the War. I’ve heard a lot about it, thought I’d try it, so I ordered my beer, the bartender nodded and when he came back he placed a beer glass and a can in front of me. You read that right. A can. “When was the last time I got a can of beer in a bar?”, I thought.
After all many beer drinkers may believe that beer in cans is, well, NOT craft beer. It’s the watery stuff. The mowing the lawn in the summer stuff. The standing over a hot grill stuff. The stuff you stole out of your father’s beer fridge when you where young. You know, the stuff you don’t want to think about anymore. Part of the reason I drink now is in an attempt to forget what I drank out of cans way back then (yeah, I’m looking at you Meister Brau).
But things are changing. After years of people believing that good craft beer comes in bottle, more and more brewers are now going back to cans. Oskar Blues and 21st Amendment are two examples of brewers who’s beers come packaged for sale exclusively (as far as I know) in cans. And we’re talking great beer here. Oskar Blues’ scotch ale Old Chub, and their imperial stout Ten FIDY are both excellent. And 21st Amendment offers such great beers as Fireside Chat, Monk’s Blood and the aforementioned Allies Win the War.
And other breweries are joining the canning movement. Anderson Valley, Six Point, Butternuts and Caldera all offer beers in cans. Maryland brewery Brewer’s Art just started canning their Resurrection. And more commonly available breweries like Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat and Blue Moon offer beers in cans – with Magic Hat #9 and Blue Moon Wit available in 12 packs! I dream of the day when I can walk out of the liquor store with a 30 pack of Arrogant Bastard in cans.
But although this canning craze might seem new to some, it’s steadily been building for years. Oskar Blues kicked it off in November of 2002 when they introduced their Dale’s Pale Ale. But it wasn’t until their canned beers started winning medals that other brewers started to give canning serious consideration. Then in 2007, Sly Fox brewing won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest for it’s canned Pikeland Pils. Now, CraftCans.com counts 152 craft breweries in 41 states (including Twin Lakes Brewing here in Delaware) that can at least one of their beers.
So next time you’re at your beer bar and are looking at the beer list, don’t be surprised if you see a section on cans next to the bottle list. And what ever you do, don’t skip past it. Trust me, there are some very good beers on it waiting for you to try.
Time for another beer, maybe a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale or Jai Alia IPA….in a can of course.
Coming up: Evolution Brewing tap take over at Two Stones Pub and the end of year BBQ review.