It is generally accepted that the best freshest beer is when it is right out of the keg. On draft or on tap. After that, the packaging that is used can affect the condition of the beer after a little time. Bottles and cans are mainly what breweries use for portable, “single serving” vessels.
For a long time, there was a stigma about cans in that it was somehow considered cheep, lower class or somehow less desirable. I suppose mainly because of most of the beer that was in them was of the American Macro Swill variety.
Over the last ten years or so, this has changed as craft brewers have started adopting cans as their choice for packaging and distribution. One of the first to do this was Oskar Blues Brewing as far back as 2002. “They said we was daft to put good beer in cans, but we did it all the same…” Their Dale’s Pale Ale and Old Chub were pioneers in the canned craft beer shift. You can even get their beer in 32oz “Crowlers” now. Other brewers have since picked this up and now more and more good beer is showing up in supermarkets and “bottle” shops in cans.
Cans are a better container for beer for a few important reasons. One is that they do not transmit light and light can damage beer and sometimes give it that skunky flavor, which is why most bottles are dark brown. Keep that in mind when you see those sixers of Heineken and Corona in the cooler.
Another is that they are more environmentally friendly and are recyclable. Emptys are light weight and compact-able. Taking a few cans with you in your back pack is a lot easier than bottles. Especially when you consider packing the empties out. Which you always do..right?
While glass is a good insulator and the thin aluminum can is not, the latter can be cooled down quickly plus you can use one of those cool little foam can “cozies” if you want. www.craftcans.com is a site dedicated to craft beer in cans with beer reviews, a canned beer database and an interactive map showing craft brewers that can.
There will probably always be bottles but seeing good bee…in a can is no longer remarkable.