Saturday, 12 February 2011

Fancy a can?

Well, it seems that most readers don’t very much. I asked the question “Do you drink canned beer?” and the 76 responses broke down as follows:

No, never: 16 (21%)
Only when it's free: 18 (24%)
Yes, occasionally: 32 (42%)
Yes, regularly: 10 (13%)

Not a huge wave of enthusiasm there, although 55% were at least occasionally willing to fork out their own money for canned beer, and only 21% would refuse a can if offered one at a friend’s house or party.

I’m not trying to be a cheerleader for cans – and my answer was “occasionally” – but it is worth pointing out that cans do have advantages over bottles in terms of better recyclability, lower weight (thus reducing transport costs), more space-efficient storage and protecting beer from light.

If the taste issue can be overcome, which my recent sampling of Courage Directors suggests is possible, then I can see an increasing number of “quality” beers appearing in can in the future, although there are still a lot of preconceptions to overcome. As on other issues, BrewDog are putting their nose out in front – it will be interesting to see how many readers will be trying canned Punk IPA once it hits the shops.


  1. One thing to remember was "do you drink canned beer" not "would you drink canned beer", I think there's a difference.

    I don't drink canned beer as there's not a lot of interesting ale in cans but I am looking forward to buying & trying Punk IPA in cans and could see me buying that over the bottles.

    I've also just bought a number of canned US beers from AlesByMail...

  2. This is a bit unrelated to the post but could we have a third option in the craft beer poll please of "I'm not sure if it really helps define anything?"

    I don't think it's a snob term but I'm not sure that it helps define a type of beer - after all Young's brew excellent beers but I'm sure people wouldn't class them as "craft" as they are not small enough.

  3. Blogger doesn't let you change polls after they've had a response. Obviously I understand where the proponents of "craft beer" are coming from, but the term

    (a) is impossible to define precisely, and
    (b) excludes many very good beers, and indeed most of the beers that in practice I drink

  4. Taste is a funny thing. I much prefer lager from cans and dislike it in bottles as I find the taste different (my perception is that the bottled stuff is sweeter) and have confirmed my preference with Warsteiner and some others.

    As far as beer is concerned it must come out of a pump or a bottle. Prior experience with canned beer means I would not accept it even if free.

    Strange, but that's the way may taste buds work (and yes, they are a pain in the butt).

  5. The trouble is beer tastes better from glass. I don't know if it's pyschological or scientific but it does. We've all drank from plastic glasses and hated them, ditto metal tankards. The trick may be to offer canned Punk IPA poured into a glass and then look for comments.

  6. Yes, personally I'd never drink beer directly from either a bottle or a can.

    There remains a widespread perception that beer tastes better from bottles than cans, caused by:

    (a) in the past, cans did often impart a metallic taste to beer, and
    (b) also, in the past, pretty much all beers sold in cans were crap to start with

    I think that's changing, and keg Punk IPA may well help the process.

    I would really like to stage a bottle vs can blind tasting, but unfortunately can't find enough CAMRA members to volunteer...

  7. "but unfortunately can't find enough CAMRA members to volunteer..."

    Oh, I'm sure you could if you asked the right people,. I can think of a few without much effort. How many have you asked? You've certainly not asked me.

  8. I;ve had quite a few cannd US offerings that have tasted fine; and thats it for me - as long as it tastes good, it's good. Will be trying this out, of course.

  9. I shall certainly give punk ipa a go from thr tin


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