The Evolution of Canned Beer by Danny Flad


by Michael Garrison

Since the 1930’s, beer cans have been produced in all shapes and sizes in the U.S. and have contained all sorts of beer from different regions all over the country. By the end of the 1980’s, however, the old steel cans that your father or grandfather once drank from had all but disappeared and the new aluminum cans produced by large national breweries had taken over the U.S. market. Over the next thirty years, sales of imported bottles and American Craft Beer bottles began to grow dramatically as consumers began to search for more flavorful and interesting beer than the large U.S. brewers had to offer. As a result, canned beer began to be seen as an inferior product and was largely ignored by those who took their tastes for beer seriously.

In recent years, however, American Craft brewers have begun to take an interest in the many assets that canned beer has to offer. Cans are cheaper to produce than bottles, they are easier to store and distribute, and they completely block out any harmful light. Cans are also sealed completely and don’t have caps that could twist loose and compromise the beer inside. Most cans also have liners inside to prevent the beer from acquiring a metallic taste. As the quality of beer being canned has increased, more and more beer drinkers are exploring canned beer as a viable option for everything from an outdoor celebration to a long day of yard work. If you have yet to try any of the fine canned beer being produced today, be sure to treat yourself to one soon. Below are a few suggestions:

Bitter American Pale Ale, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, California
A 4.4%ABV (alcohol by volume), and a crisp fruity flavor with notes of apple and pear make Bitter American a great beer to enjoy if you’re planning on having a few in one sitting. Its light, malty body goes down easy and its slightly bitter finish smacks of floral and citrus notes. While its mild flavor may turn off beer drinkers looking for something more complex, Bitter American is a great beer for a midday picnic or a day out fishing.

Caldera India Pale Ale, Caldera Brewing Company, Ashland, Oregon
If you’re looking for something with a bit more kick, look no further than Caldera IPA. Copper in color with an off-white bubbly head, Caldera has a good malt backbone and a slightly fruity flavor. An ample amount of grassy, citrus hops more than balance out the flavor and aroma of the beer and the 6.1% ABV provides an above average kick for those more accustomed to your average light beer. It’s slightly bitter finish will leave hop lovers yearning for another sip.

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery, Lyon, Colorado
With a 10.5% ABV, Ten Fidy is not a beer for the faint of heart. Darker than dirty motor oil, its flavor is quite malty with lots of coffee and chocolate notes. Hints of caramel and a touch of hop bitterness round out this beer nicely and it has a surprisingly smooth finish. A rich, potent brew, Ten Fidy is a beer that will leave those with a taste for things dark and complex asking for more.

White Rascal Witbier, Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, Colorado
A Belgian Style wheat beer, White Rascal has a beautiful, opaque, straw colored hue and a spicy aroma with notes of banana and a touch of clove. It has a light, creamy body and a complex flavor that combines more banana with orange zest and coriander. The complex flavor profile fades into a crisp refreshing finish that’s a perfect complement to a warm summer day.




Michael Garrison
Michael Garrison

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