Host Nathan Pierce has asked contributors to write about Cans or Bottles for The Session #98?
A dozen years ago Oscar Blues founder Dale Katechis was pretty much out their on his own, advocating that small breweries could package their beers in cans. His was Dale’s Pale Ale. He turned out to be right and his empire just keeps growing.
At the time, I had this question for him: “What about the aroma (hops and malt) you that we expect and enjoy from a beer like this?”
And he had this answer: “Well, no, not directly from the can. I tell people, when I drink a LaChouffe, I don’t drink it right from a bottle. I pour it into a glass. People see the can and think they need to drink right from it. You’d never drink a full-flavored beer from a bottle. This is a better, safer package than a bottle. It’s draft beer in a mini-keg, and you don’t drink draft beer right from a full-size keg.”
It hasn’t exactly worked out like that. People drink Heady Topper and La Cumbre Elevated IPA directly from cans. I’m a fan of beer in cans done right (they still don’t make bad beer or badly packaged beer better) for all the reasons you are bound to see elsewhere today. But I’m also a fan of beer aroma, and I’m not inclined to want to stick my nose up to that half-inch wide opening in the can and inhale deeply. That would definitely be fussing.
Granted, hop aromas (citrus, resiny, fresh berries) burst out of that opening when you pop open 21st Amendment’s Down to Earth Session IPA. It tastes fine right out of the can. But it has more aroma and flavor poured into a glass. It is more complex, yet at the same time seems less demanding. That makes for a good session beer, with aroma and flavor when you want to pay attention, but not so needy that you can’t keep paying attention and instead can do something else, like engage in conversation.