Another Entry into Canned Craft Beer, You Will See More Soon.



Sixpoint “Sweet Action” Wheat Cream Ale is one of a growing number of craft beers now available in cans.

Next week, Long Trail will add its name to the list of Vermont breweries offering its beers in aluminum cans following a growing trend in craft brewing. For years, there have been very few canned options for craft beers. Most consumers had to “trade down” and select imports, such as Heineken, Bass, or go domestic if they needed cans to take to the beach or on the boat.

A few years ago, some brewers started to take note of innovations in canning technology. The aluminum cans require a special liner inside to prevent the metal from leeching into the beer, and this technology has advanced rapidly in the past decade. No longer are beers prone to that “metallic” taste.

Another contributing factor seems to be the economics of canning. Empty cans are shipped as sheets of aluminum and the volume-to-quantity ratio for transportation is vastly superior to that of shipping empty glass bottles to a brewery. Once they are filled, cans are lighter weight than full bottles, cutting down on shipping costs again.

Some breweries are claiming that cans are more eco-friendly as well. Recycling centers can process aluminum cans quite efficiently. Aluminum cans weigh less all around, reducing fossil fuel usage to transport them at every stage of their life cycle.

And the benefits to active consumers are numerous. If you like to go hiking, boating, fishing or to the beach, canned beer is where it’s at. They’re lightweight to carry and when they’re empty, you can crush them and bring them back in a compact form. (Although, you might lose your 5 cent deposit as some redemption centers don’t accept crushed cans.)

The number of micro-breweries jumping on board is encouraging. In Vermont, Long Trail is joining Harpoon, Magic Hat and The Alchemist, which already offer some of their beers in cans. At better beer stores you should also be able to find canned offerings from Sierra Nevada (Calif.), Brooklyn Brewery (N.Y.), Sixpoint Brewery (N.Y.), Butternuts Beer & Ale (N.Y.), and Cisco Brewers (Mass.). And the list seems to be growing weekly.

One way cans absolutely affect the flavor of the beer is that they protect the liquid from harmful UV rays. Bottles allow light penetration, which can produce that “skunky” flavor that a lot of us have had the misfortune of experiencing. It’s called being “light-struck” and is a chemical reaction between the hops and UV rays.

So no more trading down when you’re heading out this summer — reach for a can of craft beer!

Weekly picks: Sixpoint “Sweet Action” Wheat Cream Ale (smooth and refreshing); Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (crisp and hoppy); and Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale, which is brewed with just a touch of fresh ginger to refresh your palate.


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