Remember ten years ago when getting boozed on wine required having a sober enough person on hand to pull out a cork? And remember how scandalised (and secretly thrilled) we all were when screw caps came along? Well the same thing is happening to beers. Great brewers and smart drinkers are starting to embrace cans and you should too.
Sure, the old tinnie has long been considered a poor quality, yobbo substitute for a boutique bottle of suds, but here’s a fun fact: “A beer in a can is completely cut off from life,” Chris “Hendo” Henderson of Southern Bay Brewing Company tells us. “Bottled beers can suffer from what we call light strike, where, if sunlight hits the beer in the bottle for even a short time, it can go skunky,” (technical term, and exactly what it sounds like, FYI).
Cut off from all light and air, cans are arguably far better vessels for storing brews, which for hoppy beers, can actually mean better taste. Not to mention the fact that they’re lightweight (hiking beers!), quick to chill, easy to recycle and transport, and, vitally, are welcome at glass-free festivals such as Meredith.
“So where can I get my craft beer in a can right now?” We hear you cry, and we agree. Well, Palais importers are bringing the tasty USA Brooklyn lager and Japanese Yo-Ho porters over the border, while specialist purveyors of booze are stocking as many as possible. “More and more cans are coming through all the time,” Slow Beer owner and can fan Chris Menichelli tells us, “Brewdog Punk IPA is always a winner and easily one of our most popular can items.”
For the time being Australian micro-brewers are still a way off from realising the mighty dream. “It’s a huge capital investment,” says Hendo, who reckons that while most craft brewers are keen as mustard to tin things, they’re producing batches too small to justify it at this stage.
But heed our words Melbourne, this is the future and downing a tinnie is now all class. Get on board at the ground floor.