Beer in cans?

Beer in Cans? Just the way Dad used to drink it.

On a Friday night a few years ago I was talking with the manager of Kappy’s in Medford. I was looking for Wachusett Green Monsta IPA. He found some 12-packs of their other varieties but no 12’s of #GreenMonsta. We started talking about beer. Imagine that!

He said he brings the canned beer in carefully, he’s not sold on it yet. Some breweries do a better job with the cans than others. I’m sure I looked like an un-educated fool as the look on my face probably said “whadda ya mean?”

I got the impression he felt that quality ale and beer in cans was a bit of a fad. Eventually connoisseurs would go back to drinking craft beers from bottles and quit buying anything in cans.

At the time I thought he may be right. In 2014 craft brewers were just starting to use cans.

I drank crappy beer out of cans for years and was perfectly happy. I was all of 22 when I discovered Bass Ale in bottles.

So many breweries are putting their fine ales in aluminum cans now. Even Sam Adams is canning beer. A few years ago the Mega Breweries used cans, but the craft breweries only used bottles or kegs. Aluminum was blasphemous. Bite your bottle opener! I love all of the fine craft ales. The past twenty years have been a great time to be a “beer” drinker.

Love life, love Harpoon!,beer

I never really cared about the argument over green glass versus brown glass. My beer never hung around long enough to notice any difference. Good beer in glass bottles was good beer.

I drank my first Sam Adams Boston Lager in 1986 at a cast party at the Huntington Theatre. It was in a bottle. I had my first Harpoon IPA at a bar in Kenmore Square that same summer. At the time Harpoon was only available on tap, or so I was told.

When that first Sam Adams Boston Lager hit my palate I felt like I had finally tasted beer. This was what beer was supposed to taste like. Much like finishing a marathon, my life was changed for ever by that experience. The Revolution was on.

I had always been searching for flavor in beer. Bud, PBR, Michelob were all variations on American light. My friends and I started drinking Bass Ale and Newcastle in the bars when we could find it. It wasn’t until I came to Boston in the Summer of ’86 that I had my first American Craft Beers. It’s been 35 years of mostly joyful drinking with a few nasty hang overs sprinkled in over the years.

About ten years ago I began to see craft brews in cans at the local package stores. I looked them over, but for the most part I wasn’t familiar with the brewers. I like to try new brews but felt I wouldn’t get the true flavor in a can.

At about the same time a friend of mine brought some fantastic cans of beer to the Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester. As we sat on the grass and had a few post race cold ones, I began to realize that delicious nectar can come from a can. I was coming around.

ale, IPA, beer in cans

Last summer I bought a few 12-packs of Cisco Brewers of Nantucket ales. I like to sit in my hot tub and have a beer or two. Wrestling with a bottle opener can be a pain, and there’s always the chance of dropping a bottle on the patio. Wet hands and all.

The idea of taking a can or two out to the hot tub seemed like a good solution. Cisco makes some great ale and the cans didn’t seem to affect the flavor at all. Sitting in the hot tub, I drank the beers from the can. Only a dummy takes a pint glass out to the hot tub.

Since those initial experiments with beer in cans, I’ve tried different breweries canned offerings. Except for a cheap 12-pack from a brewer I had never heard of before (Lion’s Head), they have all been quite enjoyable.

What do you think about beer in cans?

I’m sure that you have tried craft beer and ale from a can. They are everywhere now. All of the breweries use cans and it seems to be the favorite container for the newest breweries.

Do you always pour these into a glass or do you drink from the can? What’s your favorite canned offering?

Since those first craft ales in cans a few years ago I’ve come to appreciate them.

What ever they have done, the can doesn’t seem to effect the flavor.

Cans are also easier to deal with. You don’t need an opener and they rarely break.

Drink well my friends, and be smart.


Home Brewing

Home Brewing Time!

I started this project the Saturday before the Boston Marathon. Everyone was out of the house that day so I took my opportunity to boil a batch of wort. No one in my house likes the smell of hops and malt.

It took a little over a day before the yeast became active. Then it just took off and fermented vigorously. The little cap on the top of the bubbler kept getting blown off and I’d hear it bouncing across the basement tile.

home brewing, hobbies
Active fermentation

This picture was taken as the fermentation was just taking off. Later that day the bubbler was full of wort and the cap to keep air out was bouncing across the floor!

This is a great project to have going while training for a marathon. After I spent a few hours making the wort and setting up the 5 gallon carboy, there wasn’t much to do except watch and take a whiff from the top of the bubbler!

My whole basement smelled like a glass of IPA for almost two weeks. I’d come home from work, sit down at the computer and almost instantly have a craving for an IPA. It was crazy.

Since I was in taper mode and needed my carbs, I did tend to have one IPA per day. When drinking a substantial ale, I usually find that one is enough. There are times when several beers or ales taste great, but for just kicking around the house it’s usually one for me.

IPA, fermentation, home brewing
Fermentation has ceased
Fermentation has ceased

While fermentation looks to be complete, it’s always a good idea to check the specific gravity of the wort. You want to make sure that most of the sugar has been fermented. This keeps your bottles from blowing up during the curing process. The yeast needs some sugar for conditioning, but too much can make a mess and can be dangerous.

In my old house I had a closet where I would put the bottles for conditioning. It was cool in the summer and kept them away from the kids. It’s not that they were interested in the ale, but kids are curious. I didn’t want them picking up a bottle to look at it and then dropping in the cement floor. Or worse, having them near a bottle when it exploded. Sometimes while I was watching TV upstairs I would hear a bottle explode!

When we moved out of our house I found a lot more glass in that closet than I had expected. I thought I had picked things up as they happened, but apparently not. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

For this batch, I’ve placed the bottles in a heavy cardboard box and put them in the garage. The temperature should be fairly constant, around 50-55F. I also put a 10lb bag of salt on top of the box in case something happens.



Run well my friends,


© anagelin 2014