HOME | ON TAP | BEER
Photo © iStockphoto.com/Tjanze
Craft brewers with a can-do attitude are shrugging off the notion that canned beers are thin and uninspired by offering many of their best brews in eco-friendly and inexpensive aluminum packaging. These modern cans are lined with a thin wall of plastic that wards off any tinny flavors, while complete opacity keeps light at bay. Plus, their size and packaging makes them perfect for camping or a trip to the beach. Here are 10 of our favorites.
21st Amendment Brewery Live Free or Die IPA San Francisco, Calif. 7% ABV
A relative newcomer to the canned beer club, 21st Amendment’s IPA has an aromatic nose of big floral hops and a pleasantly bitter palate to match. Finishing smoothly with loads of creamy malts, this brew will pair with a variety of dishes, from macaroni and cheese to orange-glazed chicken.
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema Boonville, Calif. 5.6% ABV
This beer proves that not all summer seasonals are light and citrusy. Like a complex cream soda for grown-ups, this cerveza shows a creamy, sweet malt body backed by traces of vanilla and caramel. But it’s only released in the warm summer months, so stock up while you can.
Caldera Brewing Pale Ale Ashland, Ore. 5.4% ABV
Brewed with whole-flower Cascade hops, the frothy, ecru head of this pale ale gives off tropical, fruity aromas while the hopped-up piney flavor is a perfect match for campfire-scorched hot dogs.
Maui Brewing CoCoNut Porter Lahaina, Hawaii 5.7% ABV
Imagine drinking in all of the flavors of a gooey German chocolate cake—from a can. A rich brown head and delicate aromas of toasted coconut and blackstrap molasses make this porter—full of dark chocolate and caramel malt—divine on its own, but we’ll take ours alongside a nutty fudge brownie.
Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde Lager Lahaina, Hawaii 4.5% ABV
This Munich Helles-style lager is soft-spoken, but not subdued. Aromas of chamomile and hay open up to crisp carbonation and floral hops flavors, while a touch of toasted wheat rounds out the finish. Perfect for an afternoon on the beach.
New Belgium Fat Tire Fort Collins, Colo. 5.2% ABV
One of the most beloved craft beers got a makeover last year when New Belgium put its famous amber ale on the canning line. The same aroma and flavors that beer lovers have come to expect from New Belgium’s flagship bottled brew present nicely in the can as well, just with more convenient packaging.
Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Imperial Stout Lyons, Colo. 9.5% ABV
Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis was among the first craft brewers to can beer, and this imperial stout proves that big beers don’t necessarily come in bottles. Dark and thick as motor oil, Ten FIDY is not for the faint of heart. Intriguing, savory aromas of smoked meats and tangy olives unfold into flavors of earthy dark chocolate and roasted espresso beans. Try it with pungent cheeses or a rich, chocolaty dessert.
Oskar Blues Old Chub Lyons, Colo. 8% ABV
Seven different malts and a touch of beechwood-smoked grains make it into this Scottish strong ale from Oksar Blues, offering up sweet toast and chocolaty flavors throughout with a whisper of smoke on the finish.
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils Phoenixville, Penn. 4.9% ABV
Grassy and almost vegetal with just a hint of lemon, this is German-style pilsner at its best. Pour it into a pint glass and sip alongside grilled bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Surly Brewing Furious IPA Brooklyn Center, Minn. 6.5% ABV
Brewed with four different American hops varieties, this bold IPA drinks almost like an imperial. Tangy citrus aromas of grapefruit and tangerine are met with a pleasant caramel malt body that will have serious hopheads raring for another sip.
Check out our list of 10 of the best bottled beers brewed in unexpected places. And get a sneak peak of the 100 best bottled beers in the world; for our full list of 100 of the best bottled beers in the world, check out the September/October 2009 issue.
Try an amazing recipe for beer can chicken.