Beer Snob Sobs Into Her Beer

June 4th, 2010

I just found out this evening that my favorite beer is going to switch from bottles to cans. The Tallgrass beer company which manufactures and bottles its beer just down the road from me is switching over to cans and cans ONLY.

Evidently the beermeister at the Tallgrass Brewing Company did some thorough research and concluded that the taste of beer from a can is completely indiscernible from the taste of beer from a bottle. I plan to conduct my own taste test as soon as the cans start appearing on the shelves and in the meantime I aim to raid every liquor store within a fifty mile radius and stock up on the bottled version of Tallgrass Wheat.

I just really, really, REALLY prefer that my beer come from a bottle!

Because it DOES tastes better!

It DOES!

Doesn’t it?

Besides!  It’s not just the taste! It’s also the difference between pressing glass to your lips and pressing a pointy aluminum opening to your lips.

And it’s also the difference between gesticulating wildly during heated debates with a smoky brown cylindrical bottle in your hand which tends to make one look smart and interesting versus jabbing the air with an aluminum can to dramatize your point which tends to make one look like a drunken fool.

You can read the Tallgrass ‘canifesto’ here, in which Jeff Gill, the founder of the Tallgrass Brewery explains his decision to switch from bottles to cans.  He claims it is a choice that will benefit both the beer and the environment, but he does not mention that canned beer will also increase his profit margin.  Not that I am against a local brewer making money!  Just not at the cost of my beer coming in a bottle!  Which is ultimately extremely ludicrous as I almost always pour my beer into a glass before I drink it.  Because I have to add salt and lemon to my beer.  I have to!  I can’t drink beer without salt and lemon.  It’s impossible!

I have a lot of beer issues.

And these days I only drink one beer.

Tallgrass Wheat.

So why are they SCREWING IT UP!

What do you think?

Is the bottle thing totally in my head?

Does an aluminum container have little to no effect on the taste of beer?

Is it possible that an aluminum can actually improves the taste of beer?

Look for a weekend taste test if I can still find both the cans and the bottles.

It may take a lot of beer tasting before I can make up my mind.

So if the post staggers all over the page and then jabs the air with an aluminum can…

You will understand won’t you?

Do you have a favorite beer?

And do you prefer it in bottles?

Or cans?

Comments

  • Guinness. If I HAVE to have it from a can or bottle, I must confess that the can tastes better. Better on tap, of course.

    In Boulder there’s this amazing brewery called Mountain Sun. They have a nitrogen tap that they use but they only have one so they rotate the beer that’s on nitrogen, which makes the beer incredibly smooth and creamy…almost like a milkshake. Mountain Sun crafts a “Java Porter” which they brew with coffee…so you get TWO BUZZES AT ONCE! Once in a while, we’d be lucky enough to visit when the Java Porter was on the nitrogen tap. THAT is my favorite beer of all time.

  • sd:

    I’m not a big fan of beer in general, but I am curious about the baking soda in your picture. And what’s up with the salt and lemon? Are you sure you’re not confusing your beverages with your cleaning products?

  • Clay:

    Maybe if you keep a mug in the freezer for those occasions it will be taste even better. Everyone knows beer is better from a mug. And if you drink enough of them you will completely forget that it came from a can.

  • sd – the photo is from a post when I was cleaning some copper pots. Because I am such a copper pot cleaner.

  • sd – Which I suppose begs the question why baking soda to clean copper pots? And the answer is because every once in a while my inner hippie/environmentalist/shaker/quaker/marthastewart/pilgrim gets a hold of the nape of my neck and slams me into a table full of old copper pots, lemon slices and baking soda. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often.

  • I know what you are saying with asthetics and tradition of the bottle, but I have tasted a very good Oregon IPA in a can. My husband is a home brewer and says that alot of breweries will probably be doing this. It does give superior protection from light (important per hubby), and is more economical to ship.

    We grow hops in our back yard and we have a 6 tap kegorator in our garage. My favorite beer is my husband’s IPA. I had a fresh-hopped IPA tonight that was so good. We live in the heart of wine country, but primarily drink beer.

  • Erin:

    I must admit I haven’t tried tallgrass – I’ll have to get it next time (and soon so I can get some bottles!) I love lemon in my beer – never tried salt …I’m definitely going to have to try that one.

    I’ve always preferred bottles, though I’m pretty sure cans get colder faster, so they do have that going for them. And cans are better for certain scenarios, such as hiding them in a coozy at the lake where you aren’t supposed to have beer in the first place!

  • I’ve been collecting cans since the beginning of the year…
    & plan on going to Parma, Italy with “can” money…
    So I chose cans… and YES, my middle name is Crazy, thank you for asking.

  • Action Squirrel:

    Mr. Action Squirrel is from SERIOUS wine country, and he came with a lot of Very Serious Austrian wine glasses (100 bucks a pop). Two types for whites, one type for reds, and of course one set for sparkling wine. Mine were from Ikea. He does not allow Ikea glasses in his world. I am a little more practical than that, and his glasses scare me.

    So over the next several weeks, he kept making me try wines. First in my glasses, then in his glasses. You know what? HUGE DIFFERENCE. The cheap glasses make good wine worse, and the fancy glasses made (some) cheap wines better. The shape of each particular glass sends the wine to different locations in the mouth; cheap wines just send it down the hatch, come what may.

  • Jerad:

    As a soda snob I most definitely prefer soda in bottles to cans (glass bottles are preferred to an even greater degree!)

  • I’m a big fan of Sam Adams which only comes in bottles so I have no basis for comparison but I do think you’re right, bottles are best.

  • NC Gal:

    I honestly cannot remember the last time I drank beer from a can. I don’t drink a lot of beer to begin with, but I definitely prefer it from a bottle.

  • I have lots of favorite beers, but I prefer them on tap! ;-)

    But, if that’s not an option, ALWAYS in a bottle. I hate cans. The only think I like that comes in a can is Strongbow cider, but even then I’m having it out somewhere and it’s getting poured into a frosty mug.

    Long story short: I’m completely with you on the bottle vs. can thing!

  • Trudy:

    To me, beer tastes a gazillion times better in a bottle. I believe I can taste the difference, therefore my choice will always be for a beer in a bottle.

    It’s probably a lot cheaper to can the beer rather than bottle, but it’s all about me….actually, I prefer bottled beer to draft, also.

  • Sharon:

    I prefer the bottle. I don’t drink a lot of beer in the winter but when it’s hot I do enjoy an ice cold Corona with lime. They sell it in can form as well but I can’t imagine trying to cram the lime in opening.

  • Wait! Go back! What’s with the lemon and salt? I mean, how do you use it? Do you pour your beer into a glass and then shake salt over it and squeeze a lemon slice into it or what? Or do you rim your glass with salt and then squeeze the lemon? This sounds very K-Marta to me, by the way. But, being that she used to be my idol (before you set me straight), I’m willing to give it a try.

  • Can = frat house, beer pong, tube tops and towering stilettos, pavilion and a bonfire, taco bell and wicked hangovers

    Bottle = patio, good friends, pretty dresses, awesome music, pets and kids running around, great snacks and wicked hangovers

    I’ll take bottle any day :-)

  • Melissa:

    Corona Light–in the bottle–with lime. And I use lemon and salt to clean copper pots….and it goes faster while drinking Corona Light-in the bottle–with lime.

  • jamoody:

    I much prefer the bottle, but when at home usually buy the cans (I drink Miller Lite, nothing fancy) because the trash can gets seriously heavy when it’s full of bottles, and we recycle the can. Out here in the middle of nowhere there isn’t anywhere to recycle glass (that I’m aware of).

  • I don’t really drink that much anymore, but when I do I prefer Rollong Rock. And yes, out of a bottle is a must. If I drink out of a can I feel like a hobo who lives down by the river(how I miss Chris Farley). It just seems to cheapen my already limited drinking opportunities.

  • Kathy:

    I like to drink my beer straight from the bottle. In my opinion, frosty mugs water down the beer…even pouring it into a mug flattens the taste. I like the bite from the carbonation. Favorites? There are too many good ones to pick just one!

    My husband and I have been trying all different kinds of beer. I even bought him cases of assorted beer two Christmases in a row which might make me one of the best wives ever. Not a sweater to be seen! He loved it!

    I actually drink more beer than pop. Healthier? Probably. I just have to watch my weight now that I’ve topped the big 4-0. :(

    We also love wine but don’t have the budget for high end bottles although we steer clear of Two Buck Chuck! Ooo! Here’s a debate…wine in a bottle or box? I can’t bring myself to buy a box of wine. It’s like eating cold french fries. You could, but why would you? I know…there are benefits to the box.

    My husband has been exploring the world of whiskey and we have a whiskey tasting party scheduled next weekend. He’s been getting into the single malts, but I’m a whiskey lightweight so my current favorite for sipping is Wild Turkey American Honey. I happened upon a crazy sale for Crown Royal Extra Rare so we have a few bottles of that we break out now and again.

    Not a total lush…I think! ;)

  • km:

    Try Smithwicks Rechelle. It’s dark. I think they sell it only in cans here.
    I love Magner’s from a bottle. The can reminds me of “gooning” on the beach. Gooning was drinking cider in freezing cold weather when you didn’t have enough money to go to the nightclub. Ah, college days. This loosely ties into the “sweet lord, aren’t these people freezing?” post.

  • I love me some long neck bottles – any kind of imported beer! Altho I love Alaskan Ale – but cannot get it in Alabama – imagine that!

  • “It’s also the difference between pressing glass to your lips and pressing a pointy aluminum opening to your lips.”
    Yes. YES.
    I am partial to Boulevard Wheat (w/ lemon, of course), and, more recently, Grimbergen’s Double Abbey and New Belgium’s 1554 Ale. Both dark, and both amazing. Must be in bottles, too.

  • Kathy:

    We’ve found Smithwick’s in bottles in NE Kansas. :)

  • Megan:

    Beer snob here too! We have so many great micro breweries, most of the beer I drink comes out of a growler. I love salt and lemon or lime in a Mexican beer on a hot summer day. If it ever stops raining in Seattle, maybe I will get to enjoy one again! I can’t tell you the last time I drank beer from a can. I think in my head it is equated to standing in the woods at 17 with a bud light. yuck!

  • Well since you asked:

    Smithwicks is my beer of choice, its only bottled, or at least I’ve never found it canned. If I have to stick with domestic, then Flat Tire (brewed in my home town to!).

    In fact, of all the beers I really like, they all only tend to come bottled, never canned… Guinness being the one exception and I prefer the bottles.

    So if I were given the choice of unnamed beers presented only in bottle or can, I have to admit my bias, I’d choose whatever was in the bottle.

  • oh and see, now I finish reading the comments and it appears km can only find smithwicks in cans. Thats too bad km, but at least you get to try the goodness that is Smithwicks. I stand corrected.

  • Inga:

    2 words for you

    Boulevard Wheat (bottles only)

    Brewed in Kansas City, KS, deemed the best beer around by my DH

    Inga

  • Kim K. in Western PA:

    My favorite beer is Yuengling. And yes, beer tastes better from a bottle (or on tap).

  • Kim K. in Western PA:

    Little unasked for personal tidbit – my great-grandfather learned to be a brewmaster in Chicago in the early 1900′s. He was a brewmaster at Latrobe Brewing in Pennsylvania until Prohibition and later was a brewmaster with Pittsburgh Brewing. Is the love of beer genetic?

  • Brian:

    In general, I always prefer a bottled beer. But either way, if in bottle or a can, a beer is always better if poured into a glass. Pouring the beer actually changes the PH of the beer which changes the taste.

    My favorite beers are anything from the Surly Brewing company (http://www.surlybrewing.com/) and the majority of their products are available either on tap or in cans (with a few very exceptions).

    It’s never too early for a Surly! Try the Coffee Bender. It’s great!

  • Kait:

    Must must must have a bottle. I am loving the Bud Lime and even when it wasn’t Bud Lime I STILL needed a bottle. Cans are icky and taste bad. If they ever outlaw bottles and only use cans I will stop drinking beer.

  • Homebrew. Lots of hops from the yard. Random bottles.
    GOOD STUFF!

  • I don’t drink beer, although my hubby does. If it’s a micro, it’s bottles. If it’s Coors Light (typical) it’s cans. Because 1) it’s typically cheaper 2) it’s easier to store large quantities in the mini-fridge, adn 3) they always get poured into a frosty mug with olives and tomato juice. (Called a red beer ’round here. Key ingredients seems to be cheap beer and good V8.)

  • Mindy:

    Ah, beer. Only… 4 months until I can drink again. Woohoo! *sigh* I like trying imports and crafted beers. Those usually come in bottles around here, so I can’t really compare. I really like Mississippi Mud, and that comes in a jug, lol. I do like using the Sam Adams beer glass, though. It really brings out the aromas.

  • This morning I was disappointed to find that I am not pregnant, as I had secretly feared (hoped). You have just reminded me of one good reason to be happy that is not the case. BEER.

    My husband works for the local Tallgrass distributer. I will ask him what his customers think of this change. I, for one, am not a fan.

  • Linda C:

    Corona with lime.

  • Anonymous:

    Rechelle, put down the lemon and salt and slowly back away. Now get into your car and drive to Lawrence and go to any liquor store and buy some Free State, because four (4!) varieties are now being bottled!! Whoo Hoo!!!!! Distribution right now is limited to Lawrence and parts of JoCo and they can’t keep up. Mr. Kay in KCMO and I are going to try and scope out the JoCo situation

    Inga, I second your DH on the Boulevard (2501 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, MO in case anyone’s curious :) ), but the Bully!Porter is where it’s at, but it is not in any way a summer beer (found that out Sunday). For summer the wheat is fantastic as is the Pale Ale and their new pilsner. Have your DH try Bob’s 47 this fall, it’s unbelievable! Nutty and honey and yum. All Boulevard’s are wonderful (except for the Zon; too herby imo).

    Canned beer is just wrong, WRONG! I’ve never had Tallgrass and now it looks like I never will.

  • meme:

    Beer, soda, any drink is just nasty in NMHO. Thnk of the critters, etc that have crawled all over them in the warehouses and the backrooms of the package stores.

  • meme:

    should have said in cans.

  • Rechelle:

    Inga – I was a diehard Boulevard Wheater until I met Tallgrass Wheat. I may have to go back now that Tallgrass is switching to cans- but it will be reluctantly.

  • Jennifer:

    When I have a beer, I tend to buy bottles. In restaurants, I prefer anything they have on tap. I don’t think I even really ever have beer out of a can–so snobbish here, too. Cans sort of cheapen the look, you know? I don’t know if switching will necessary solve their problems–I really think it will seem far less premium out of a can. They’re making a mistake. Perception counts for a lot with consumer purchases.

  • Leslie:

    I’m with you Rechelle!! I was upset when I heard they were going to the cans. Tallgrass is one of my favorite beers and I most definitely prefer drinking from a bottle!! I just can’t drink beer from a can so my plan is to pour my Tallgrass beer into a frosty mug and freeze my fingers I guess. I growl every time my husband brings home any canned beer – it is usually cheap, drink-when-you-are-a-broke-college-student beer. Nasty! I’ve got to support the Gills since our kids go to school together so here’s to the change. Bottoms up, girl!!

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    Root beer. Home made. Sorry–just never got into beer! I know, I know, it’s an “acquired taste” meaning I could just get used to drinking something I really don’t like. However, this makes me the super fun always ready designated driver when we’re out at all the local micro breweries.

  • LucyJoy:

    Beer in a bottle is ALWAYS better! I don’t even like my coffee in anything but a ceramic cup or a in a pinch a paper cup. Metal makes everything taste weird…

    My favorite is Corona Light…

  • Carol:

    Preferring the bottle is aesthetic. We have a local excellent microbewery and they only use growlers or cans. And it doesn’t taste different once its in the glass.

  • barb:

    I prefer bottle. I can taste the aluminum in the can and worse I can smell it!

  • I never could drink beer. Maybe I’ll have to try the lemon and salt.

  • Spinny:

    Beer is yucky.

    Margarita on the rocks, please.

    However, my husband agrees with you and only buys beer in a bottle.

  • Michelob Ultra. Used to love it in a bottle. You know, a bottle snob? Good friend built gorgeous in-ground pool in backyard and banned bottles on deck. I adapted. Michelob Ultra in cans is best now. Because really Rechelle, what are you going to do—curse the darkness or light a candle?

  • Potco:

    As a texan, it is required that I love Shiner Bock, but it has to be draft, I love draft beer!!!

  • If I drink beer, it’s either Guinness on tap or Corona or Dos Equis in a bottle. But really, I’m sort of a mixed drink gal. I do agree that beer from a can tastes funny; I think it’s because it gets warmer quicker than it does in a bottle. I could be wrong.

    Boulevard here in KC has a great recycling program for their bottles now, too!

  • I prefer my store-bought beer in bottles, BUT- even then, depending on the bottle, I usually pour it into a glass because it tastes even better from a glass (really, it does. I’ve heard things about ‘decanting’ the beer, which I don’t really know about, but if nothing else it allows you to get a whiff of the beer as you go to drink it- and smell and taste are closely connected). *However* – green-bottle beers and the cheap domestic stuff, in my opinion, taste better when left in the bottle.

  • jilley:

    Beer must must MUST be in bottles. Absolutely no cans for me. Yes there is a taste difference as well as the obvious texture differences of can versus bottle. The feel of the cool bottle against my lips is an essential component to the whole enjoyment of beer loving!!

    No Cans!!

  • Zered:

    I used to feel the same way about bottles and cans. I always thought that canned beer was somehow lowbrow. Because what do you think of when you think of canned beer? Mill High Life, Bud Light, Icehouse and the like.

    Recently there has been a kind of revolution in microbreweries canning their beer. There are a number of good reasons to can instead of bottle beer that Jeff hits on in his Canifesto. Living in Virginia I have never heard of Tallgrass, but it sounds like this will be a good change. Especially since it will now come in pints!

    Some of our favorite beers come in cans. 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Fransisco makes some fantastic cans of beer. Their Hell or High Watermelon is a perfect summer beer.

    Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado has a ridiculous 10.5% ABV imperial stout called Ten Fidy.

    I would highly recommend getting on the Can band wagon and trying some of these amazing beers.

  • Alison:

    I drink Corona in a bottle with lime. I’m from Florida and a Jimmy Buffet fan so it’s required drinking. Being from the south I always saw canned beer as kind of redneckish–not that there’s anything wrong with rednecks-I’m just sayin’. My friend’s husband only drinks Bud Light in a can. He’s built this awesome can crusher so he can recycle his cans. You crush the can and then it goes down a chute to a recycling bin. I drink the canned beer over there just because that thing is so cool. Rednecks are an industious bunch when it comes to machinery. NASCAR, tractor pulls, demolition derby, mudbogging–good times!

  • jalf:

    I’ve never been able to taste the least difference between cans and bottles. (until a few years ago, virtually every brand of beer here came in bottles, but since then, cans have really caught on, so it’s not that I’ve only ever tried one or the other)

    You’re right that gesticulating wildly works better with a bottle than a can, but otherwise, cans don’t really bother me. (And let’s face it, they are more practical: not so heavy, more compact, more environmentally friendly)

  • It sounds like you need to conduct a taste test. I plan on doing some beer shopping this afternoon, and I’ll pick up some cans.

    You inspired me to buy some Tallgrass. I haven’t tried it, but it would be cool to attend one of their tours and tastings.

    I’m not a beer snob, but buy bottles 99 percent of the time. I do know this about beer:

    1. The taste of beer improves with the quality of the company you keep.

    2. A beer kept in a cooler full of ice seems to always taste better.

    3. Beer always tastes better after doing manual labor, like planting trees and such.

    4. The older I get, the more I find myself enjoying 1-2 beers in a sitting, and then I’m able to stop.

    5. I love beer paired with some good music.

    6. Crawfish might be the perfect food for beer. However, on the Great Plains I settle for good cheese and crackers.

    I buy a lot of Boulevard, but I also love me some Leinkugels and Shinerbock.

    I vote that we call the afternoon off, and everyone drink beer.

    take care,
    muddy

    PS… I was very impressed with your boys at Man Camp. You and your husband have done a great job raising them. I would be willing to pay a dowry if you’d allow my daughter to marry one of your sons.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Hubby, who is a home-brewer and beer snob, heard about the Tallgrass can switch too, so I’ve started casually stockpiling the bottles of Wheat while they last. I pretty much hit the stores on the west half of town, so you can have the east half. I may cat-fight you if we cross paths in the middle.

    I definitely don’t like the metal feel/taste of the can with a GOOD beer. It’s fine for chugging some Miller after mowing the yard, but quality beer that needs to be really tasted should be in glass.

    Like Anonymous, I really like the Boulevard Bully Porter. And now I’m hungry to go eat and drink at Free State. Yum!

  • In Roanoke glass is not accepted at the recycle center, all those bottles go into the landfill. Sooo, cans are okay with us even though beer from a bottle just seems to taste a little better.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  • Carry:

    I’m a bottle girl myself. Thankfully my favorite beer still comes in a bottle you *can* buy it in a can, but I don’t and won’t.

  • I definitely prefer bottles, but you might consider keeping a few mugs in the freezer and drinking your beer from that. My all time favorite beer is Old Speckled Hen. If I’m in the mood for a dark beer, it’s Fuller’s London Porter.

  • I prefer mine out of a bottle as well although I don’t normally drink it out of the bottle but pour it into a pint glass.

    My beer choices vary with the season. My current favorite is Shock Top Belgian White for summ-ah!

    Our local brewery, Victory Brewing Co, only packages in bottles. I can’t imagine them ever doing cans.

  • Rechelle:

    Muddy – Depending on how the teenage years go, I may pay YOUR DAUGHTER to take one of them.

  • Assuming the beers are the same freshness/age and have both been stored properly, you would not be able to taste the difference between canned and bottled in a blind taste test. Cans protect the beer from light better, so an older canned beer will taste better than its similarly aged bottled counterpart. Like screwtop vs corked wine — the technology and quality of product has changed dramatically and its time to shed our old perceptions.

    Sure, I’d rather hold a bottle than a can any day. But any brewer will tell you, that you need to pour that beer into a glass. It needs to breathe, it should have a little head on it. If you love your beer, pour it in a glass.

  • mrzero:

    Too bad they are not going to make the wheat beer anymore.