Does beer taste better out of bottles or cans?
There is a surprising amount of debate around this issue. It’s actually a fairly simple question with a simple answer. It doesn’t really matter. The can vs. bottle thing is similar to arguing Beatles vs. Zeppelin, Ford vs. Chevy, or chocolate vs. vanilla. They are all good – it’s just a matter of preference and personal taste.*
That being said, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some major considerations to be taken into account. According to NPR, the number of small breweries switching to cans from bottles increased by something like 1200% between 2009 and 2014. The perception that canned beer is synonymous with mass-produced and flavorless (albeit refreshing) beverages is being replaced by respect for the versatility of the can.
For starters, cans don’t allow light exposure to turn your brew into skunk juice. Clear or green bottles do. Cans are lighter, easier and cheaper to ship and pack for distributors. This is a clear money saving incentive for beer makers, which helps explain the uptick in can use.
Consumers benefit as well: It’s easier to toss a few cans in a backpack or cooler for a day of hiking or fishing than to have fragile clunky bottles fill up your gear space. When you throw cans in the fridge, they cool down quicker than bottles. Also, what would those college years have been like without the ability to shotgun a cheap ass can of beer?
There is, apparently, a dark side to canned beers. Their insides are lined with BPA, a substance recently banned from baby products such as bottles and pacifiers. BPA is purportedly the cause of all sorts of ailments and diseases.
Can drinkers can take solace in the fact that research on the negative effects of BPA is inconclusive at this point. (One online commentator astutely pointed out that you are probably more likely to die from alcohol than BPA.)
Taste aside, it seems like cans are more durable, portable, lighter and outdoors worthy than their classic counterparts. Case closed? Not necessarily, but the can has a lot going for it.
*(The Beatles are scientifically a better band than Zeppelin.)