Unless you’ve been largely buying your beer off the folding table of a guy named Skids at the corner of Down St. and Out Blvd., chances are pretty good that you’ve noticed the recent proliferation of canned craft product on the shelves of your favorite bottle shops.
Seriously, even I’ve noticed, and as my wife is fond of pointing out, I’m probably the least observant person ever. My office building could be on fire and I might, maybe, wonder idly why they turned up the damned thermostat again.
Yep, the beer industry is quickly on it’s way to using more aluminum than you’d find on the heads of convention-goers at ConspiracyCon 2012. The prevailing wisdom is that the adoption of your dad’s beer can is good for many key aspects of modern beer consumerism, namely, production and shipping costs, beer quality, and environmental impact, just to name a few.
Of course, there are still plenty of glass lovers out there too. Bottle boosters claim that cans give beer a "metallic taste", and not every brewer is jumping up to join the canning cabal. Dogfish Head, for one, apparently thinks that canning runs counter to their mission to "elevate beer".
That’s all well and good, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: which container is really the best?
That’s easy, I say. It’s obviously canning. And here’s why:
- Bottles are heavy and loud – Look, as sad as it is to admit, sometimes it just isn’t easy carrying a pack of bottles around. For instance, I often take a six or 12-pack of brew with me to my recreational hockey games for a little post-game camaraderie with my teammates. And when you’ve already got a bag slung over your shoulder filled with enough protective equipment to keep you safe in case Delta flight 6009 lands on the ice rink (due to budget cuts, of course) and a couple of hockey sticks in hand, the last thing you want to have to deal with is 20 extra pounds of beer bottles. Oh, and that clinking together business isn’t all that helpful either. When you play on a team like mine, spilling the beans on the post-game beer before the game can lead to a voluntary forfeit in the blink of an eye when everyone decides they’d prefer to enjoy the brews rather than wrestle themselves into protective pants designed for a guy with 100% less beer belly.
- Cans can be crushed – I don’t know about you, but the recycling bin the company gave us is about a quarter of the size of my trash cans, even though I generate a whole lot more recyclables than garbage (but, um, just don’t ask if that’s still true were we to ignore all the beers vessels involved). So, it’s awesome that I can save precious space by squeezing my empty beer cans barehanded, or stomping them like a real-world version of Itssssaaa meeeee, Maahhrio pounding one of those Mushroom guys*. And less wasted space in my bin means I’m not so likely to leave a Hansel-and-Gretel-like trail by dropping things from the overstuffed container between my garage and the street come Thursday morning. See? Definitely a plus.
- Cans don’t hurt – Deny it all you want, but the aluminum can is a less dangerous container than it’s glass counterpart. For one thing, if you end up on the wrong end of, um, accidental intoxication, dropping a newly-opened can of beer doesn’t include much likelihood of showering you and your kitchen with sharp, sinister, beer-soaked shrapneloids of glass. And when was the last time you saw a movie were some trouble-seeking ne’er-do-well cracked his can of High Life against the bar to produce a quick and dirty slashing weapon? I mean, sure, aluminum cans are hella sharp when you cut ’em open, but that’s not exactly likely to happen without intent and some real, concerted effort.
Are cans the end-all-be-all of beer consumption? Is their resurgence in our daily lives an act to a herald a coming Utopia?
Um, no. Probably not, at least.
Silliness aside, I don’t have much real preference for cans versus bottles. Because at the end of the day, what I’m really looking for is the best quality brew I can pour down my gullet. And if I can only get that from a old-school rawhide skin in the middle of the desert, well, then that’s my preferred delivery vessel of the moment.
In other words, bottles or cans, it’s the beer that’s key to me. But what do you think of the lowly can rising, phoenix-like, into prominence once again? Do tell!
*For the record, even though this sentence seems to be referring to illicit drug use, I totally just mean Super Mario Bros. I swear.