Beer in a Can or Bottle?


I consider myself a reformed beer drinker.  Like a lot of people, when I first discovered beer, I was mostly interested in buying what I could afford, which almost always was cheap beer in a can.  You know what I’m talking about and don’t act like you didn’t do the same in your younger days!  Not the best quality stuff in the world either – Natural Light, Milwaukee’s Best, Keystone, etc. To this day I don’t know how I drank some of that stuff. To compound the error, you almost always drank it straight from the bottle or can. A beer glass or ceramic stein?  Heck no, give it to me straight!

Later, after I had established myself in that first job with steady income and a little cash in the bank, I passed on the cans and preferred a bottle. Beer always seemed to taste better and stay colder longer out of a bottle than a can.  Thinking back, it was probably just because I moved up to a better brand!  Somehow, without realizing it, I turned into a beer snob.  No way would I drink beer from a can – only bottles for me!

Alas, I have come full circle. I’ve realized that some great craft beers are packaged in a can.  Shazam! Ok, ok, ok, I know I’m behind the curve on this. But hey, this is confession time. I’ll admit it has been a difficult transition; trying get over my beer in the bottle bias. But I’m getting there.

So the question of the day, is beer better out of a can or a bottle.  This I quite intriguing to me because I know I have a bias.  I took some time to research the topic and this is what I’ve concluded. It really doesn’t matter either way.  What does matter, if you want to really enjoy a beer, is to pour it into a good glass.

If you look at the facts, cans have a slight edge. You might think that the aluminum of the can causes a slight metallic taste, but that is a myth.  Modern aluminum cans are coated on the inside so that the liquid never comes into contact with the metal.  If you detect a metallic taste it is actually your sense of smell picking up on the aluminum on the top of the can (assuming you are drinking straight from the can).  Cans have several other benefits over bottles.  They completely block out light, they are lighter, easier to transport and keep beer fresher, longer.

The major advantage a bottle has over a can is that it will stay cooler a little longer.  Otherwise, everything else is mostly subjective.  Bottles feel and look better.  Cans still have somewhat of the stigma of “cheap beer” hanging over them. All that being said, do you want to know what really makes the difference in your enjoyment this classic beverage?  Don’t drink straight from the container, whichever it may be, but pour it into a good glass.

A good pour is both aesthetically pleasing and serves a practical purpose. By pouring your beer into a glass you release the carbonation trapped in the beer.  You get to enjoy the aromas from the head, assess visual characteristics, and taste the complexities of flavors without the distraction of too much carbonation.  Not to mention you won’t feel as full while fighting off the burps after only a few sips.

Thankfully, I have gotten over my beer in the bottle snobbery that was keeping me from trying a lot of great beers. But, I will still insist on a good pour!


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