Thank Oskar Blues of Lyons, Colo., for serving Dale’s Pale Ale in a can back in 2002. Ten years later, there are dozens of craft breweries making their beer available in cans.
But why cans? Doesn’t it ruin the taste of the beer? Actually, just the opposite is true. Modern cans, unlike cans from more than 20 years ago, have a water-based polymer lining that prevent the beer from touching any metal while in the can. Canned beer has a better seal than bottles, locking out oxygen that can damage the beer. No light can get inside, which means a canned beer will never be light struck, or skunked. Environmentally, cans are more easily and more often recycled than glass, and because cans are lighter, they take less energy to ship. Finally, cans are much more portable and can go many places where glass cannot.
In no particular order, here are my top 15 craft beers in a can.
The Alchemist Heady Topper Double IPA
Heady Topper by The Alchemist brewery in Vermont is a fantastic and well-crafted double IPA. Not only is it one of my top beers from a can, it’s one of my top favorites in general. Heady Topper is a smooth and well-rounded double IPA with a hop bouquet that is floral, herbal, dank, grainy, and full of citrus. What is amazing about this beer is the similarities to fresh grapefruit juice: intense aroma, pithy bitterness, a tinge of sweetness, and a slight touch of sour.
Maui Brewing CoCoNut Porter
If it weren’t for craft beer in a can, Maui Brewing’s beer would not be available on the mainland. The lightweight can makes it economical for Maui to ship their award-winning beer. CoCoNut Porter is made with toasted coconut, which makes it a lot like a gourmet version of an Almond Joy candy bar. It’s dark, rich, smooth, and silky with aromas and flavors of fragrant coconut, dark chocolate, coffee, cola, and nuts. It is the perfect blend of a well craft porter with coconut added as a special treat.
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy — Imperial Stout
These pioneers of craft beer in a can have several of the best available, including their 10.50 percent "Ten Fidy" imperial stout. Although this beer looks like motor oil with a head like espresso créma, it is truly a treat of a beer, like rich, gourmet dark chocolate syrup. Ten Fidy tempts you with the aroma of brownies, fresh-baked oatmeal cookies, and freshly made espresso. It sounds like dessert, but it is still very clearly beer with roasty malt flavors and 98 IBUs of bitterness, which is as bitter as many double IPAs.
Oskar Blues also makes another one of my favorites G’Knight (also known as Gordon Beer/Ale), which is a hoppy imperial red ale.
— David Jensen, Menuism