Bottles vs. Cans?

Beer served in its draft form is generally considered to be the best. It goes straight from the brewery to the keg and to you. Of course, not every drink can be from the tap. Beer is bottled and canned for mass distribution. The question as to what is the best method for beer quality is a complicated and highly contested one.

Cans

Cans protect beer from light and air, but some think it leaves a mettalic taste.

This is a hotly contested debate. Jim Koch, the founder of Samuel Adams made his company’s position clear on this issue, saying  “Beer shall be offered in bottles, not cans, so that no brew is jeopardized with the taste of metal.” Koch refuses to can his beer, forgoing millions in revenue from sporting events and other venues.

This anti-can opinion was not supported by all. Some brewers say that cans allow less light and air into the beer and thus make the beer better. The cans also allow the beer to get colder much faster than bottles. There is no winner to this debate, and in my opinion, I think that the actual taste difference is miniscule and the difference is all in your head. Some people just prefer holding that cold longneck!

Colors

Darker bottles prevent "skunking" more.

The question about which color beer bottle is best is another sticky issue.  Skunking happens when light reacts with a chemical in hops and produces a compound that really does smell rather skunky. Obviously the darker the bottle, the less skunking that can occur. Brown bottles are the best, followed by green and lastly, clear. Also, bottles in cases prevent sunlight and that of course, will further protect beer from skunking.

So, we have a good idea about what the different beer packing methods might be. But I will conclude stating my favored vessel for the end product. Pouring beer from the can or bottle allows the beer to “breath” and is suggested by most premium beers. Sam Adams has pioneered what it says is the ultimate beer cup.

Cup

Some say this cup was crafted by God himself...or maybe Sam Adams.

I acquired a Sam Adams cup at a Red Lobster several months ago and that cup has served many tasty brews since. This cup is made with space age technology. Laser etching at the base create bubbles for constant aroma release. There is a bead on the rim to create turbulence as the beer hits the mouth. The lip is turned outwards to deliver the beer to the tongue’s sweet-spot.

Interested in the cup? It will cost you $30 for a set of four. In my opinion, money well spent.

Bill Bowman

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10 Responses to “Bottles vs. Cans?”

  1. Really interesting stuff Bill. I want one of those Sam Adams glasses!

  2. Yeah. The details involving how exactly I acquired my glass will be kept secret haha.

  3. everything tastes better out of a bottle. period.

  4. Canned beer is for the beach only, good article Bill! I may have to look into investing in a set of those glasses. I started collecting a few months ago but don’t have a set in the collection yet.

  5. ah ! i was JUST debating brown vs green vs clear bottles – thanks for the clarification !

  6. There is something special about drinking from a glass but if I have to have a choice I prefer bottle. Who knows if metal actually makes a difference but I believe it in my mind so its hard to change now.

  7. Cassandra Hernandez Says:

    According to my boyfriend, there is no contest between bottles and cans. As someone who does not really drink, I do not have an opinion but his theory makes sense. As someone who is very experienced in this subject matter, he also says that the can leaves a tin taste and he would much rather either a bottle or out of a glass.

  8. According to what I read in the pro can article, most cans actually have a plastic layer between the beer and the aluminum. This serves to (supposedly) eliminate any metallic taste. Again, like I said – the taste is all mental. Most people seem to just prefer the bottle because of how it drinks and the aesthetics.

  9. Oh, the infamous acquisition of the Turbulator.

  10. […] In addition to the containment bottles, cans, and kegs provide (read about the debate between them here), the hops, are added to act as a preservative (and provide much of the […]

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