The beer-drinking dad debate continues! The ongoing debate that has been raging for years is whether beer is better in glass bottles or aluminium cans. With breweries offering their brews in both options, the question of taste and preference has become even more relevant.
As an ex-owner of a popular pub, here in Seoul, I understand the importance of this debate. And as a fellow father, and beer snob, who enjoys a can or two a week, I must say that beer tastes so much fresher in cans. But, that’s me~
So I’ll get into the pros and cons of glass bottles and aluminum cans, exploring their impact on taste, freshness, portability, and environmental factors. So, grab a cold pale ale and join me as I go through which beer packaging is the best option for you.
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Cheers With Beers
The Brewing Process: Protecting Beer from Light and Oxygen
Traditionally, beer was always brewed in dark glass bottles to protect it from over-exposure to sunlight and oxygen. Both of these elements can have a negative impact on the flavor of beer and can cause beer to get skunky.
On the other hand, cans are highly effective at blocking out sunlight and oxygen due to their opaque outer shell and airtight seal. However, dark glass bottles also provide an excellent barrier against these elements. Therefore, there is no clear winner regarding light and oxygen protection.
Winner: Draw… Well almost!
Staying Cold for Longer: The Battle of Insulation
One aspect that beer enthusiasts often consider is how well a container can keep their beer cold for longer. Glass bottles, with their thicker walls, naturally provide better insulation against heat compared to cans. This becomes more significant when enjoying a beer outdoors in the sun or without a stubby cooler to insulate it.
Glass bottles have the upper hand when it comes to preserving that refreshing coldness. My can of beer rarely has the time to get to room temperature. Chug-a-lug!
Winner: Glass Bottles
Price Points: The Cost of Enjoying a Cold One
The cost of beer can vary depending on various factors, including the brand, location, and distribution. However, when comparing cans and bottles, the packaging and quantity can play a role in the price point. In general, cans tend to be cheaper than glass bottles. This cost difference can make cans a better choice for those concerned about their wallets, although it’s important to note that, in some cases, cans typically hold slightly less beer than bottles.
Are there any craft beer drinkers out there? Sure! I am… Think about your favorite small craft brewers, most of them distribute craft beer cans. Yes, they are a little pricier than your run-of-the-mill beer but worth every drop.
Winner: Aluminium Cans
Portability: A Companion for Your Adventures
When it comes to portability and ease of transportation, cans have a clear advantage. Cans are lighter and more compact than glass bottles, making them easier to carry, pack in an ice box (cooler), or take on outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, or going to the beach. Glass bottles, while still portable, can be heavier when carrying multiple bottles, making cans the obvious choice for those on the go.
Winner: Aluminium Cans
Maximizing Your Fridge Space
Fridge space is a precious commodity, and the stackability of cans gives them an edge when it comes to storage efficiency. Unless you have a large fridge with ample shelf space, the ability to stack cans neatly can help maximize your refrigerator real estate. Picture the satisfaction of opening your fridge door to a perfectly organized row of cans after a long summer’s day. Yes sir! I call that a homestyle canning line baby!
Winner: Aluminium Cans
A Sustainable Sip
The good news is that both glass bottles and cans are recyclable, making them environmentally friendly choices. In many parts of the world, recycling programs exist to ensure that cans and bottles are properly disposed of and reused. While glass bottles are more energy intensive to transport due to their weight, cans use less energy during shipping. Ultimately, the can could be seen as having a smaller carbon footprint.
Winner: Cans can be yummy too!
Myth of the Metallic Taste
One of the most prevalent myths among beer snobs is that canned beer has a metallic taste. However, blind taste tests have consistently shown that there is no significant difference in taste between beer from glass bottles and beer from aluminum cans. The metallic taste that some people associate with cans is usually not present, thanks to the polymer coating inside the cans that prevents contact between the beer and the aluminium.
So no worries, your beer will taste just as good, whether in a bottle or a can. Many speculate that the metal taste people refer to is actually having your nose close to the can when you’re taking a sip from it. Smart conclusion! It’s said that 90% of the sense of taste comes from smelling.
A small point to ponder~~ Have you ever had a cold draft beer? Did the metallic taste of the ‘keg’ it’s stored in bother you? It never did because you had your favorite beer from pint glass. So, there’s no metal near your nose. Yes, I know that kegs are mostly now made out of metal and not aluminium, but I’m trying to prove a point.
Aesthetics VS ultraviolet light protection. You may have noticed that beer bottles come in various colors, including brown, green, and transparent. These colors serve both aesthetic and practical purposes. Brown and green bottles offer better protection against UV light, which can quickly degrade the quality and flavor of the beer.
These darker colors help filter out harmful UV rays, preserving the taste and freshness of our cold beer. Clear bottles, while visually appealing, offer minimal UV protection and are more susceptible to light damage and hurting the flavor compounds.
Last Sip! A Personal Choice
In the ongoing brew-haha between bottled beer and cans, personal preference ultimately reigns supreme. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately comes down to individual taste, convenience, and environmental considerations.
Whether you’re a bottle-lover who appreciates the classic aesthetics or a can-guy, like me, who values portability and freshness, there is no wrong choice. “Beer is beer” as a friend used to say. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying a good beer in the company of friends and loved ones.
So, next time you reach for a cold one, savor the moment and raise a toast to the incredible life we have and the beauty that is all around us.
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