Canned Craft Beer. Inspiration or Abomination?

In my first blog post, I admitted to being a beer snob as I talked about my experiences drinking beer in the Midwest.  Most of the beer we drank (pilsner lager) was usually sold and consumed in cans.  So when I think of canned beer, I usually think of fine beverages named Miller Lite, Bud Light, Hamm's, Stroh's, Shaefer, Milwaukee's Beast—sorry Best, etc.  While these names may conjure memories of happy, carefree college days, they all have one thing in common—they're nasty.

So when I moved to the beer promised land, I thought I had consumed my last canned beer.  Of course, cans of Miller and Bud are omnipresent, but it was easy enough for me to hold my nose as I waked past these on the way to the craft beer case. 

So imagine my sheer, unbridled terror when I saw CANNED BEER in the craft beer case.  Was this some dreadful mistake?  A very early April Fool's Day prank?  It was neither.  Canned craft beer is an emerging trend.

An article in Imbibe Magazine lists a growing number of craft brewers who are scrapping bottles in favor of cans.  The reasons are compelling...

Oskar Blues, from Lyons, Colorado states that using cans enabled them to reduce their shipping costs by ~35%.  Caldera Brewing, from Ashland, Oregon says cans go places were glass is not allowed and appeal to those who enjoy active outdoor lifestyles such as boating, hiking, fishing, snowboarding, etc.  Though in my humble opinion (unlike chocolate and peanut butter) snowboarding and beer drinking are two things that don't go well together.  But that's an after-school special for another day...

While all of this may be true, what about beer quality?  Well these days, cans offer some compelling quality advantages.  Cans prevent exposure to light—which is bad for beer.  They also use feature a thin water-based layer that prevents the beer from touching the aluminum.

So I decided to give canned craft beer a chance.  I went shopping and found canned beer from several craft breweries.  I will be tasting and writing detailed reviews for each of the following:

I'll review these in the order requested by my readers (all three of you).  So if you'd like to hear about one of these sooner, please leave a comment.  Also, please let me know if you've tasted any canned craft beer.

While I may be willing to give canned CRAFT beer a chance, I'm still a beer geek, and refuse to drink canned macro beer.  Sue me.

2/11 update:  I finished sampling all these beers.  As far as cans are concerned, it's a non-issue.  I think canned beer gets a bad wrap because of the inferior macro beer that is usually put into them.  Put a great beer in it, and a can will take great care of it!


  1. Those are all good beers. I am totally on board with the micro in a can movement. must pour it into a glass: 1. to remove the "tin" smell when you put it up to your nose to take a drink and 2. to get a nice head on it. Cans are actually more like draft beer (my fav) than bottled beer when you pour it. Like you, I wouldn't drink a macro even if you put it in Waterford crystal. PS I'm proud to one of the "three" :)

  2. Thanks for the tip Mark. I'll be sure to pour it into a glass. BTW, I'm glad to have you as one of me three. Thanks for your frequent comments as well!

  3. I guess I won't be taking you to my favorite place in STL -- The Tin Can -- 100+ beers available all in cans! Starts with your $1.50 Old Style and ends with, well, I've never gotten past the buck fitty Old Style!

  4. Jeff, I MUST go there. Seriously, it could make for an interesting social experiment. We could see how long it takes for the locals to spot a beer snob. Besides, I'm no longer avoiding all canned beer by the plague anymore,

  5. Jeff, I found your blog through 21st Amendment Brewery's Facebook page and decided to poke around here for a bit. I'm a self proclaimed "beer snob" and would like to make a canned beer suggestion...see if you can get your hands on some of Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues. It's a beast of a canned beer, Russian Imperial to be precise!

  6. Hey Mike. Glad you found the blog. Beer snobs are welcome here. Thanks for commenting. Funny you should mention Oskar Blues...I'm planning to visit their brewery this Saturday and I'm looking forward to trying Ten Fidy!


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