Yes, it’s National Beer Can Appreciation Day today, commemorating that storied day in 1935 when the world was introduced to a beautiful and paradigm-changing concept: canned beer. Krueger Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia walked into a grocery store carrying a steel can that weighed in at almost 4 ounces and opened with a church key. Not long after, beer cans fell out of vogue. Not so anymore: today, the beer can industry is overflowing with smartly designed graphics and artwork on canned beer. Many believe that today’s wave of craft beer in a can began with Colorado’s Oskar Blues, who claims to be the first modern craft American craft brewery to can its beer. Since Oskar Blues’ inception in 2002, breweries have followed suit. In appreciation of Beer Can Appreciation Day, Peaks & Pints presents an in-house flight of notable canned beer — a flight we’re calling Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Beer Can Appreciation Day. So, enjoy Beer Can Appreciation Day. Until tomorrow. Jan. 25 is “Opposite Day,” which means you’ll reach for a beer bottle.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Beer Can Appreciation Day
A tip of the cap to the iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that makes all the others in this flight possible. First brewed in 1980, Sierra was the craft that started appearing next to Bud and Miller handles, thus shifting the beer landscape of what people wanted to drink. It was a victory of flavor over, uh, liquid. It has a deep amber color and an exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. Magnum and Perle gives this this craft beer a clean, bitter taste. Generous quantities of premium pine-meets-grapefruit bitterness Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.
You know cans have totally taken over the craft beer space when even Brasserie Dupont‘s Saison Dupont is now available in this format. This delicate, unpasteurized, living beer is well-protected from damaging light in this container, so who are we to argue? Dupont’s flagship saison is generally cited as a benchmark – perhaps the benchmark – for saison, and it’s easy to see why, having been produced by the farm brewery since 1844. Re-fermented in the bottle, or the can in this case, the natural carbonation builds a robust cap of foam. The nose is alive, like fresh raised bread, estery with citrus and spice notes. Full-bodied and malty, it sparkles on the palate and finishes with a zesty hop and citrus attack.
Founded by Dale Katechis in 1999, Oskar Blues Brewery began life as a simple brewpub. The people of Lyons, Colorado, visited and drank often, but none of the place’s beers were available anywhere except draft lines in the immediate area. It wasn’t until that fateful day in November 2002 that Katechis decided to package his brews, and then he had a decision to make. Would he invest, as most emerging craft breweries were, in a bottling line and a responsible order of 12-ounce bottles? Or would he go all in on cans, a more expensive option that at the time was the realm of the big brewers and soda producers? Katechis ignored the status quo, and by 2003 the “Canned Beer Apocalypse” had begun. Yes, their Barrel-aged Ten Fidy Imperial Stout is in a can — one of the first big beers to be canned. Aged through four seasons and from a blend of the top bourbons around, Ten FIDY has morphed into a monster of cranked up flavor. Espresso, burnt sugar, rich chocolate, caramel notes are now driving alongside the vanilla, oak, bourbon from the barrel and been smoothed out during maturation.
In 2002, after eight batches, Manny Chao and Roger Bialous high-fived in their Seattle backyard after nailing their Manny’s recipe — a pale ale that went on the be Seattle’s beer. Chao was the first employee at Mac & Jack’s Brewing where he learned the craft beer business from washing kegs to selling beer. Chao and Bialous relocated their Georgetown Brewing Company to the historic Seattle Brewing and Malting Plant, where Rainier Beer was once produced. In 2008, the duo relocated the business to a larger Georgetown neighborhood space keep up with Manny’s demand. In May 2017, the keg and growler fill brewery began to offer its Bodhizafa IPA, Lucille IPA, and Roger’s Pilsner in 12-ounce cans. When the coronavirus pandemic forced restaurants, bars, and breweries to shut down unless they can offer takeout, Georgetown introduced their much-loved Manny’s in cans. For this flight, we offer their canned Warchild double IPA, Warchild packed full of pungent tropical and herbal aromas and flavors.
In 2009, Mike Runion and Travis Guterson sat in their Gig Harbor offices pondering how to package their 7 Seas Brewing Co.’s craft beer. The duo became the first to can in Washington state. Not focusing on the cost, owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson canned their beers for quality and environmental reasons. Light is destructive to the organic compound in beer. Cans block light and are an effective barrier to oxygen, meaning the only thing limiting the freshness of 7 Seas beer in the can is the time it takes to get from the brewer to a beer lovers’ mouth/glass. Their Edward Resin Hands, which is canned, follows the same plot as the obvious film reference — boy is created by a mad-but-loving inventor, has only scissors for hands and enters suburbia as a lost boy in a man’s body — but 7 Seas heightens the otherworldly nature of the tale by removing all the dialogue and telling the story purely through hops. Brewed with Cryo Azacca, Simcoe, Idaho Gem, and Experimental HBC-586, this ultra-dank and resinous hazy imperial IPA is smooth bodied, and mildly malty. Tune-in Grit & Grain Podcast Episode 49 to hear Runion talk cans.