Beer blog: Anyone for a ‘tinnie’?

Perceptions of canned beer are about to change

Perceptions of canned beer are about to change

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What’s the first visionary thought that comes to mind, when you see someone drinking beer out of a can?

For many it will conjure up a vision of a person who is content to be quaffing a mass produced, bland tasting lager, from the local supermarket.

Perhaps our vision is of “colourful characters” on park benches, quaffing high octane lager.

Or maybe more “respectable” brethren, at a local cricket ground, swigging copious amounts of the canned, fizzy, yellow stuff .

However, I am of the opinion, the above visionary perceptions of canned beer, are about to change. “So, why will it all change?” you may ask. Let me explain.

Okay, firstly I think we are in general agreement that canned beer has always been the poor relation to bottled beer. Any self-respecting ale drinker would always prefer glass to metal. But I think over time, our preference could possibly be swayed towards a tinnie – shock, horror!

The reason for this is some “craft” brewers have realised their tasty tipples are most flavoursome in a can, as well as in a bottle.The myth that beer drunk from a can had a partly metallic flavour is now perceived as a load of old tosh by discerning ale quaffers and brewers alike.

It may have been true yonks ago, back in the 70s and 80s. But now, metal cans are of such a high quality, with their very thin, water-based lining. They eliminate the metal, impairing the flavour of the beer.

Suddenly, we are witnessing quality craft beers in a can. One brewer, Vocation, based near Hebden Bridge, is having to rapidly expand its canning operation (I think they call them micro-canning machines) in order to cope with the increasing demand.

I have tasted two of their brands, namely Heart and Soul (4.4%) and Life and Death (6.5%). I was truly wowed by this belting brace of flavoursome IPA style beers.

Even some of the traditional brewers are climbing aboard the tinnie truck. Adnams for example, have commenced canning one of their most popular beers, Ghost Ship. This malty, strong pale ale, is one of my favourites on draught. The can version won top tipple at last year’s Indie Beer Can Festival. Yes, you heard that right, a canned beer festival.

The brewers, of course, recognise the advantages of can over bottle. Most importantly, it’s protected from oxygen and light. They must be bottled beers worst enemies. Had a “skunky” bottled beer? I bet you have!

There’s also an advantage in relation to packaging and storing. Shelf life will be longer too. They are lighter and cheaper to produce. And of course, cans are safer than bottles, especially if you happen to fall over after a few – and there’s still one in your jacket pocket.

Hands up those who agree that sneaking a can into a sporting or musical event, is easier than smuggling in a glass bottle. Of course, I would never condone such a cunning plan of action!

For me, the jury is still out on metal over glass. However, what is not in doubt, is the burgeoning growth of canned craft beer in this sector of the drinks market.

Okay, some traditional beer drinkers will take some convincing. Sadly, some will dismiss “craft in a can” without even trying it – and I suppose I respect that – to a degree. Perhaps some are of the opinion that the major breweries who do canning still produce unexciting and unimpressive ales.

Hey-Ho, thankfully there is now a plethora of exciting new – and not so new brewers, that are providing discerning beer drinkers a flavoursome choice of ales in a can.

A tasty range that will have us dancing with delight. Anyone for the can-can?