In the beer aisle, nothing is so sexy and suave as a curvy glass bottle. Crumply cans, meanwhile, carry a stigma of overproduction and poor quality. But all that is bound to change as a growing number of craft breweries nationwide begin investing in aluminum to package and distribute their juice.
While aluminum is more costly to extract from the earth and refine into a useable product than glass, the benefits snowball once the beer is in the sealed cans. Aluminum prevents light from ever damaging the beer. Cans are 100 percent airtight, eliminating oxidation-important for laying down cans in the cellar. An aluminum can is much lighter than a glass bottle, so carbon costs are reduced during transportation of canned beer. Canned beer chills faster, and hikers and bikers can carry them off-road with ease. And aluminum is 100 percent recyclable, capable of being melted down again and again. Glass is not; its structural integrity deteriorates with each meltdown, meaning that “recycled” glass often carries no more than 30 percent reused product. So make way for the following canned beers:
Maui Brewing Company, well established in Hawai’i, has just begun distribution to Southern California and intends to spread north and east. Be sure to try its Coconut Porter. Aged in rum barrels, the 5.7% ABV brew is silky, sweet, rich, and laced with a seductive coco-coffee essence.
For more punch, consider Oskar Blues from Lyons, Colorado. The company’s four heavyweights-a strong pale ale, Scottish ale, red ale, and imperial stout-should be sipped slowly. Also watch for canned craft drafts from 21st Amendment, Caldera Brewing, and New Belgium. Lay out the white tablecloth, bring out the blue cheese, and light the candles, for in a world of glass, these brave beers deserve the royal treatment.