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My Doctor’s Cans

March 20, 2011

My old friend the doctor feels a bit neglected. He’s still out in California and we continue to keep in touch. But I haven’t talked about him much on the FLB. He was the one who took me to Philz for the first time, I’ve enjoyed numerous Super Bowls with him, and he’s best buds with Chef Cory.

He asked to be called Doc.

So Doc posted a picture to Facebook recently of him shopping at BevMo! with his new infant sleeping in the shopping cart. I fully support daddy and daughter excursions to the liquor store. Little Miss Fussy is partial to All Star Wines because they have a koi pond, while Young Master Fussy prefers the player piano at Exit 9.

Anyhow, I look at the photo and try to identify what items he has in his cart. Not that I’m judging, it’s just that I’m curious. Oddly, there are a bunch of cans with blue tops that I just couldn’t identify. It turns out they were Boont Amber Ale, which was a surprising revelation.

More surprising was that he has switched to only buying beer in cans.

Beer that comes in a can is very similar to wine that is sealed with a screw-cap: it carries a stigma of lower quality. I have never looked down at cheap beer in cans. It’s not great, but I think it certainly has its place. But this is not the beer I’m talking about.

Doc’s Boont Amber Ale comes from a craft brewery in Boonville, California, and it’s good stuff. Mrs. Fussy and I visited the brewery once and shared a tasting flight of their wares before a fine dinner at the Boonville Hotel across the street. Luckily we were spending the night, because those tasting pours can really sneak up on you.

I had heard that canning technology was getting more affordable and that smaller breweries were going to be able to use this superior form of packaging. But I was not aware that the Canned Beer Revolution was upon us.

This came by stumbling upon CraftCans.com and their ongoing efforts to publicize this superior form of packaging.

Yep. Superior.

That big Budweiser advertising campaign about fresh beer tasting better wasn’t complete B.S. I’d take an older Sierra Nevada Pale Ale over a fresher Budweiser any day. But in an apples to apples comparison, the quality of beer fades from the moment after it is made.

I’ve been aware of this for a while, and there were some dark days when I’d make my beer selections based on the subset of brands I wanted cross-referenced with their “brewed on” dates. Granted, I had to keep a lot of data in my head because different breweries used different alphanumeric codes to print these dates. It was a mess.

Anyhow, canned beer helps with that problem because light and air are the two biggest culprits of any form of decay. Cans can keep them out better than bottles, protecting the precious beer inside.

Even knowing this, I still sometimes opt for bottled beer over cans just because I enjoy the feel of a beer bottle in my hand. It happened during this last Super Bowl when I picked up some of Yuengling’s Lord Chesterfield’s Ale to drink as I cheered on the team from Pennsylvania. They had cans at the store, but I still bought bottles instead.

It’s time to follow my Doc’s advice.

Luckily the good folks at CraftCans have a database by state of breweries that are putting their beer in cans. Saranac is canning their Pale Ale and Brooklyn is canning their Lager. Now I’ve got yet another reason to take a trip to Brooklyn.

Hopefully I can get down there before it gets too hot. Although besides beer, I also hear they’ve got some pretty good egg creams to keep me refreshed.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    March 20, 2011 10:43 am

    Cans carry a note of nostalgia for me: my dad’s Schlitz at dinner. He rarely finished the whole can, so I drained the balance.

  2. RealFoodMom permalink
    March 20, 2011 1:16 pm

    Does the aluminum from the can, or plastic, if it’s a plastic-lined can, leach into the beverage?

  3. Jenny on the Block permalink
    March 20, 2011 6:54 pm

    Love the website link. Now, I have to find somewhere that I can find Heinnieweisse in a can. What a name!

  4. Ellen permalink
    March 21, 2011 1:59 pm

    It looks like beer cans are still lined with BPA:

    http://www.fledglingbrewer.com/rants/liner-notes-is-bpa-in-beer-cans-a-cause-for-concern/

    I personally would stick with bottles until BPA-free cans are introduced.

  5. March 21, 2011 8:40 pm

    The parallel to corks vs screwtops for wine doesn’t work for me. That’s purely about the best way to keep air away from the wine, with the rest of the drinking experience being the same.

    But when it comes to beer, drinking out of a bottle mimics our earliest and most pleasurable memories while quaffing from a can is initially awkward and becomes downright dangerous as the evening progresses. Or if you’re going to pour into a glass, the disadvantage with a can is that you can’t judge volume and the way the head is building. Also, regarding the issue of light spoiling the beer in bottles, that is only an issue if you don’t drink within an appropriate timeframe or store in direct sunlight, which will cause other problems.

    It’s true that I would never drink Genny Creme out of a bottle (even though it’s packed that way for the benefit of ironic out-of-state hipsters who buy it at Whole Foods in Austin or some such) but neither would I pay $2 a can for Dale’s Pale Ale.

    And the BPA issue seals it for me… thanks, Ellen. I’m sticking to bottles… preferably a great big bottle, AKA growler.

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