Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Can I offer you a "tinnie"?

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 and strong cider. 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 beginning to change. "So, why is it all starting to change?", you may ask. Well, 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 70's and 80's. But now, metal cans are of such a high quality, with their 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 their 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, namely, Ghost Ship. This malty, strong pale ale, is one of my favourites on draught. I think the can version won top tipple, at a "Beer Can Festival" in London . 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 "light-struck" bottled beer? I bet you have! That sour , musky flavour. It's sometimes referred to as being skunky.

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, if you just 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 - and I understand that opinion too.

Hey-Ho, thankfully there are 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?

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