Don't Kick The Can

Celebrating the canning of craft beers.

Today we celebrate a milestone in brewing--perhaps even in American culture: The birth of the beer can. Exactly 76 years ago, the first can of Krueger's Finest Beer was sold, the result of a small New Jersey brewery teaming up with American Can to release a beer in a new package. And it actually tasted good.

For the next 55 years, canned beer was only for the big boys like Budweiser and Pabst, who went long on volume but short on taste. But everything changed 10 years ago, when small-batch canning was championed by Colorado brewer Oskar Blues, who decided to sell his signature Dale's Pale Ale solely in cans. It was one of the first craft beers in a can and it's still one of the best. Dale's opens with bright and bitter hop flavors, followed by sweet, malty notes and a clean, refreshing finish. We also like the Pikeland Pils from Sly Fox, a German-style pilsner that's crisp and refreshing with a dry finish.

Believe it or not, many of the best breweries are moving away from glass. Cans are lightproof and therefore prevent skunking--the nasty flavor created when the sun sees your beer before you do. Modern cans also have high-tech linings that ensure the beer tastes like beer, not like the can. Cans are also better for the environment: They're 100% recyclable and lighter than bottles, resulting in a lower carbon footprint during shipping.

Have a favorite craft beer in a can? Tell us about it below.