Food » Beerguzzler

In Praise of Cans

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Ask the question, "Which is better, beer in bottles or cans?" and you are likely to start a heated debate. In the end, bottles will usually win out, with cans being condemned as adding a metallic taste. I, for one, like cans. The big plus is that they are impervious to light and guard against that skunky quality that results from such exposure. As for the metallic taste, a water-based coating lines the interior of modern beer cans, making the point moot. Their biggest downside is that most higher-end brews aren't available in cans. Here are three of my favorite exceptions:

Guinness Draught

With this, you get the bonus of the now-famous plastic widget. When the can is opened, the widget releases a small amount of beer and nitrogen, resulting in that swirling surge of froth and brew that could only be had on tap before. This is the ultimate smooth and creamy charmer with touches of chocolate, dark fruit and coffee. It's an easy drinking pleasure.

Newcastle Brown Ale

This has always been a favorite, but one I seldom drink unless I find it on tap. Why? Because it's packaged in clear, light-absorbing bottles. Enter the can—problem solved. This is a smooth and silky quaff that's gentle on the palate. You can just taste the hops, and the malt is light and fruity with a little nutty caramel in the background. All in all, a great all-around ale.

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale

Putting beer in cans used to be an expensive proposition before a Canadian firm came up with an affordable alternative. Colorado-based Oskar Blue was the first to take advantage of the new system. Their Dale's Pale sports enough hops to please most anyone, with the malt to keep things in balance. Lots of nice fruit-laced flavors come through along with a light touch of butterscotch. Refreshing, but with a bit of complexity.

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