Drinking beer from a can used to mean you knew nothing about beer. These days, though, several microbreweries — enticed by cheaper shipping costs for aluminum, the eco-friendly appeal of metal over glass, enhanced flavor benefits and the allure of retro packaging — have shunned that stereotype and begun packaging craft beers in cans. Scan the shelves at your local liquor store for these beers, or hunt them down on the road. You’ll be (pleasantly) surprised at the quality now available in a can.
21st Amendment Brewery and Restaurant (San Francisco)
In 2006, the brewery started packaging two of its beers in cans — Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and Brew Free! or Die IPA — previously available only on draft. Fireside Chat and Back in Black IPA eventually followed suit, and this spring, Bitter American joined the group to round out the canned lineup.
Baxter Brewing Co. (Lewistown, Maine)
This brewery — the first in New England to offer its entire lineup of beer only in metal containers — released its first two varieties, Pamola Xtra Pale Ale and Stowaway India Pale Ale, in January.
TailGate Beer (San Diego)
Blacktop Blonde is the San Diego brewing company’s first canned beer. It also became available in January.
Milwaukee Brewing Company (Milwaukee)
Last June, two beers (Louie’s Demise and Flaming Damsel Real Blonde) from this 14-year-old brewery were released in cans.
Southern Star Brewing (Conroe, Texas)
This 3-year-old canned-beer brewery offers three varieties — Bombshell Blonde Ale, Pinebelt Pale Ale and Buried Hatchet Stout — and has caught the attention of specialty grocers like Whole Foods and Central Market.
New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Its flagship beer (Fat Tire Amber Ale), along with longtime favorite Sunshine Wheat, has been offered in a can since 2008. The brewery introduced Ranger IPA in 2010.