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.
Historically, “Growlers” were galvanized “pails” in which folks could bring beer home from pre-prohibition small town local breweries. They called them growlers because they supposedly made a growling noise as the CO2 escaped from the lid while they were bringing it home. Today, they are typically glass bottles with screw top caps (to keep all that carbonation where it belongs) and is still a convenient way to get good beer right from the tap, “to-go” Typically they are 64oz but there are also 1qt “growler-ettes” out there as well and some are double-walled stainless steel containers that do a pretty good job keeping the beer cold for quite a while.
Most, brewpubs offer growler fills for 10-15$ depending on the brew, plus another 5 or 10$ for the empty one if you didn’t bring yours in. Some places are even specializing in growler fills. Dedicated growler “fill-stations” they are calling themselves. I think it is a great idea. There is one opening up here is Boise called “PreFunk”.
The site for “PreFunk” in Boise
They are even planning on offering a call ahead and online check-in service with your order so you can drive up and they have it ready for you. This is sounding better and better all the time. Not to mention that is in a perfect location. Every 9-5’er leaving downtown west bound drives right by this place just as Front street funnels into the west bound “connector”. Their website is not quite ready yet, nor could I find a Facebook page for them after a quick search.
It will be interesting to see what beers they are able to get. With 20 taps, they plan to have half of them representing local Brewpubs, according to a recent Statesman article. I’ll be checking the place out this week
It’s been a couple weeks since the local rags blurbed about the new startup Crescent Brewing and only now have I had the chance to drive out to one of the 2 known locations it is on tap. I am at Wingers in Nampa and I spotted the Crescent Brewery Amber Ale right off when I walked in.
The very full glass showed me very little sign of a head and the first sip confirmed that it was under carbonated. The soft woody flavors are nice but there is a little sourness that is a bit reminiscent of cider. Still cider (see above). There is also a tang that I didn’t expect from an amber and the IBUs are a bit on the high side. Still, tasty and is washing down my complimentary popcorn just fine.
I’m excited to see a new brewery pop up here in the Treasure Valley and will continue to keep an eye out for Crescent Brewery’s next outing. My server mentioned that it may be a Porter.
Can’t wait for that.