Open Thread: Quest for A Better Beer Can

Not at all my field of expertise, but (if only for its standing in the category rolls) I thought this Boston Globe story might be of interest to some readers:

The project’s code name — Bunker Hill — hinted at the formidable challenge Boston Beer Co. faced: could the craft brewery that revolutionized American beer put its Sam Adams lager in a can without sacrificing the taste millions of consumers expect with every sip?

For decades, company founder Jim Koch snubbed aluminum containers because of the metallic flavor they impart to liquid. His resolve cost the Boston-based brewer millions of dollars in potential revenue from airlines and sports arenas, a price Koch said he paid to preserve the quality of a brew whose tagline until recently was: “Take pride in your beer.”…

The quest for a better can took the Bunker Hill team to a plastic coffee lid collector in New York, a museum of beer cans in a Taunton basement, and tailgating parties at Gillette Stadium. The two-year effort cost more than $1 million, including the hiring of a renowned design firm and professional beer consultants, as well as the purchase of expensive canning equipment. Now, Koch is finally ready to release his precious Boston lager in a patent-pending can he claims is superior to the regular metal vessel most people drink from…

In summer 2011, they traveled to Ball’s factory near Denver to study the canning process — the thickness of aluminum, molecular properties, how beer pours from a can, and what impacts the flow. They hung out with well-lubricated football fans in Foxborough to understand why drinkers prefer beer in cans — they account for roughly 57 percent of the US retail market, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago market research firm. The Bunker Hill team interviewed taste experts around the world and examined thousands of plastic coffee cup lids to understand the range of drink delivery options (the peel, the pucker, the pinch, and the puncture).

The big discovery: Conventional cans don’t allow enough air into people’s mouths as they drink. Turns out, much of what consumers believe they taste is actually smell — that’s why food tastes so bland when people are congested. Increasing exposure to the beer’s aromas of hops and fruit can make a big difference in taste, said Roy Desrochers, a professional beer taster at GEI Consultants in Woburn…

94 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    All they had to do was ask Ball. They went along way for nothing.
    If they had done this and gone with cans some time ago, they’d be even richer.
    Why are they considered smart?

  2. 2
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    The beer they make just isn’t that good.

  3. 3
    freelancer says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Have you had their Oktoberfest? It’s fantastic.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    @freelancer: I’m not a beer drinker, but the few times I’ve had Sam Adams it’s been quite decent.

  5. 5
    👽 Martin says:

    @Maude: The reality of conventional wisdom is that it’s wrong. That’s why it’s called what it’s called. The most successful businessmen in America were profound skeptics. For every dozen million dollar opportunities they passed over, they discovered a billion dollar one that everyone else overlooked.

    It’s only a bad strategy if you lose money along the way, and pass over opportunities to be profitable. If you’re profitable, you’re doing something right. And Boston Beer is profitable, and doing a lot of things right. Much of their current standing is due to the fact that they avoided the ‘can beer is shit beer’ reputation. Sticking with bottles may well be a big part of their success.

  6. 6
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Not just beer goggles, designer beer goggles.

  7. 7
    Maude says:

    @👽 Martin:
    Sam Adams passed up having the beer in a wider market.
    That was my point.

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    actually prefer the stuff outta the Deschutes breweries better, but I’ve always felt that beer is a personal thing so I can’t say that there’s a “right” answer.

  9. 9
    👽 Martin says:

    @Maude: But that’s the myth of marketshare.

    Sam Adams isn’t competing with Budweiser. At least, they shouldn’t be trying to. The market they helped cultivate is “consumers willing to pay reasonable money for good beer”. The market Budweiser is cultivating is “consumers who will buy the cheapest alcohol available.” And that’s by and large the can beer market. Will chasing those consumers make them more profitable? Well, certainly from stadium and airline sales, it will. But I think it’s unlikely they’ll take much of a bit out of the stadium sales who tend to have unbelievably powerful marketing tie-ins with the big brands. And how large is the airline alcohol market anyway? From what I can tell, it’s pretty small. It’s bigger at the terminals, and they can serve bottles there just fine.

    I think this story might be a bit of a ploy. A ‘look how much we care about how our beer tastes’ effort which materializes in nothing. They’ve been marketing straight down this line for years, and here they get their message out for nothing but a tale.

  10. 10
    Punchy says:

    About to get nailed by 12 inches (of snow). Theres a “now I know how the wife feels” joke in there somewhere…

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    His resolve cost the Boston-based brewer millions of dollars in potential revenue from airlines and sports arenas,

    The parasitical vermin of Wall Street see this as a negative.

    I see it as quality and love of the product over hookers and brew for MBA asshats.

  12. 12
    Gretchen says:

    I think cans are better for the environment – cheaper to ship because they weigh less, and easier to recycle. So I’ve felt guilty buying the bottles from my local brewer (Boulevard out of Kansas City – their Irish Ale is the best) rather than the cans of Tallgrass out of Manhattan, KS.

  13. 13
    Gretchen says:

    It seems the environmental impact is more complicatded than I thought:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....ingle.html
    So If I buy the local bottle, it may be better than cans trucked in from Boston. Or maybe I should just stick to box wine in recyclable cardboard?

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    Don’t drink beer often but a Sam Adams is decent enough and easy to get at the grocery. (At a bar I like ale/stout more.)

    Back in the Peekskill days, we had access to a big distributor and we bought all kinds of fancy imports. I forget the name now but I developed a taste for a Japanese beer. Fancy imported beer and pig and fungus pizza on Friday night — heaven.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    If aroma is the sticking point, then shouldn’t drinking directly from the bottle be verboten?

    If they recommend pouring from the bottle into a glass to imbibe, then recommend pouring from the can into a glass.

    It ain’t rocket science, folks.

    BTW, anyone else remember the ill-fated marketing of plastic soda cans?

  16. 16
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I like some of the Sam Adams beers for the reasons you mention, but my supermarket is erratic. They seem to quit carrying the flavors I like–Black Lager, Irish Red–and the one they always have, Boston Lager, I’m not crazy about. I’d settle for Boston Ale, but they don’t even carry that regularly.

    I have been saved lately by a couple of lonely six-packs of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

  17. 17
    John Revolta says:

    If canned beer sucks because of the smell factor, then why does bottled beer always taste better than canned? Seems like you smell bottled beer even less………………..

    And I must heartily agree about the Boulevard Irish Ale. All their product is good but this stuff is great. Too bad it’s a seasonal thing but the Amber Ale’s a pretty good substitute.

  18. 18
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    Related question: Most American beers are pilsners, right? So what’s a good, widely available pilsner that isn’t swill? Or least bad mass-market beer? Is that a better way to put it?

  19. 19
    John Revolta says:

    I mean to say, drinking from the bottle vs. drinking from the can.

    As NotMax points out, you really shouldn’t do either, but you know, circumstances.

  20. 20
    piratedan says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet): well most of these can be found in most grocery stores that sell sixers….granted some of them are lagers, but hey….

    Pilsner Urquel
    Stella Artois
    Fosters Lager
    Anchor Steam
    Sierra Nevada
    Mirror Pond

    although harder to find, the Full Sail Brewery has a nice selection as well, but ymmv

  21. 21

    Sam Adams is okay, it’s better than anything churned out in this country by Molson-Coors/ABInBev/Diageo/whoever, but really, it’s not that great.

    @Steeplejack (tablet): I have no idea how widely available it is, but the Gordon Bierssh Czech-style Pilsner is pretty good.

  22. 22
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Back in my drunken, I mean drinkn’ days, I used to like Alaskan Amber Ale. For a long time, it was difficult to find south of Portland, so it made my business trips up to AK a bit more tolerable.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    Anyone else remember Maximus Super beer from the 70s? 8.9% alcohol, roughly double that of regular beers.

    Howzabout Bob & Ray as Bert & Harry Piel for Piel’s Beer?

  24. 24

    @Steeplejack (tablet):

    I have been saved lately by a couple of lonely six-packs of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

    Dogfish is the only IPA I like. Its awesome.

    People who say they don’t like Sam Adams -do they realize that SA makes like dozens of beers. Their Lager is only one of them.

  25. 25

    @NotMax:

    8.9%? Try Dogfish Head 120 min. IPA. Its 22%. its also $10 a bottle.

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I’m with you on that! Their most common beers are not anything special. Their special beers can be pretty good but not often enough that I go out of my way to have one.

    57% of beer is sold in can & you can’t taste the beer as well – that would explain why lite beer is so popular, it comes in cans.

    Even bottled beer tasted better if you drink it from a glass. If you care about the flavor get a glass. If you are looking for a cheap drunk lite beer in a can is OK I guess.

  27. 27
    bd of mn says:

    @The Other Bob: ugh, DFH 120 tastes like soy sauce. It’s a waste of time and money…

    Victory Hop Devil and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale are two of the better IPA’s that are widely available that aren’t “imperial” (sorry but only in very rare circumstances is twice the hops worth it…)

  28. 28
    cminus says:

    They hung out with well-lubricated football fans in Foxborough to understand why drinkers prefer beer in cans — they account for roughly 57 percent of the US retail market

    Patriots fans account for roughly 57% of the US retail beer market? No wonder they’re always so annoyingly enthusiastic!

  29. 29
    kc says:

    @John Revolta:

    Guys I know won’t drink beer from a glass cause they think it’s less manly.

  30. 30
    steveday says:

    @👽 Martin: AS a brit friend says, Budweiser is like like making love in a canoe: F’kin’ close to water. . .

  31. 31
    RSA says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The market they helped cultivate is “consumers willing to pay reasonable money for good beer”.

    Also, as a couple of others have suggested, “consumers willing to pour their beer into a glass before drinking it.”

    Back in the 1970s Budweiser ran a radio ad campaign in which they gave advice to people about how to drink beer. (I’ve heard a bunch of commercials recently, listening to recorded radio theater.) They’re pretty funny, uninintentially: advice included pouring the beer into a glass; remembering to put the beer in the fridge beforehand, because adding ice cubes doesn’t work very well; and letting the beer sit in your mouth for a bit so you can taste it, instead of just guzzling it down.

  32. 32
    Cassidy says:

    I think you guys are missing the trend in beer. Lots of small batch brewers are putting their beer in cans now, especially the ones who like organicy, fu-fu, recycling, green, mother earth stuff.

    I’m kidding on the last part, but seriously, I’ve seen an uptick in small brewery cans across several states the last few years. I reccommend Florida Cracker if it’s in your area.

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    And IPA’s….ugh. If I never tast another one, it’ll still be too soon.

  34. 34
    Clockwork Buddha says:

    For the IPA fans here – see if you can get your hands on Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA. It is becoming more widely available and it is a fantastic example of a balanced and disciplined brew.

  35. 35
    Patrick says:

    Sam Adams showed you could make beer without rice and corn and make money. But their flagship beer is more like a mass-market import (Bass, Becks) then real widely available American craft beers (Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat). They do market well and cans are handy when camping or boating.

    Cans are probably a big segment because a two 30-packs of bottles is just not as easy to transport as two 30-packs of cans. This is a segment that will not pay for Sam Adams.

    Dales made big in roads with canned craft beer and many are following them. But this segment is more for craft beer lovers going to State Parks or fishing.

  36. 36
    Cassidy says:

    If you can, check these people out.

  37. 37
    Slim Shady says:

    Hold on here, there’s such a thing as a professional beer taster? You get paid for this? I’m on the wrong career path, where do I sign up? I can work in Woburn, even if it means travelling on 128.

  38. 38
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Gretchen: Actually, they’ve done studies on the environmental impact of beer packaging, and the glass vs. aluminum choice depends on how far the product gets shipped. Aluminum is easily recyclable, but glass is reusable (though much of it isn’t). The big difference is it takes a lot more energy to make an aluminum can than to make a bottle, so unless you’re shipping a long ways the energy saved by its reduced weight doesn’t equal the extra energy required to manufacture the cans.

    The basic conclusion is that if you live on the eastern seaboard, buying bottles shipped from east of the Mississippi is superior to buying cans from an environmental standpoint. If the beer is coming from further West than that, there’s less pollution generated if you buy products packaged in cans.

    Sam Adams is using this as marketing – they want to make it OK to drink their “good beer” out of a package that is associated with “bad beer”. So they make a big show of finding a can that doesn’t compromise the drinking/taste experience. They could have just gone with the same aluminum longneck bottles Budweiser uses in stadiums across the nation, but that wouldn’t have given them as much marketing buzz or publicity. Viewed in that light, spending the money makes some sense.

  39. 39
    Ronnie P says:

    The big discovery: Conventional cans don’t allow enough air into people’s mouths as they drink.

    Don’t drink beer straight from a can or bottle! If nothing else, beer look pretty when you pour it.

  40. 40
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Back when beer cans were made of steel-reinforced tin, can manufacturers lined the inside with a plastic called Vinylite in a process called keglining (which became a trademark of the American Can Company.) I don’t know if there is a way to line the inside of an aluminum can to eliminate the metallic taste it gives to beer.

  41. 41
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Here’s an article describing the history of beer cans, which describes the keglining process.

  42. 42
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @piratedan: Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada aren’t Pilsners. Pilsner Urquell is, and is in fact the world’s original version of the style. It is still considered one of the world’s best pilsners.

    Stella Artois might be – it’s in the pilsener family (golden lager) but whether it’s a true pilsener or some other variant (there are a few different styles of golden lagers), I’m not sure.

    I live in the DC area and Rhino Czech pilsner from Lost Rhino is good, but not widely available. Bells Lager of the Lakes (not sure it’s a genuine pilsner or some other golden lager style) is pretty good. I love Victory Prima Pils, but it’s much hoppier than most pilsners. Bitburger is a pretty good version of a German Pilsner that’s widely available.

  43. 43
    cleek says:

    @Patrick:
    i tried Dale’s once, and hated it. flat, flavorless, blah.

  44. 44
    ThresherK says:

    @RSA: I’m old enough to remember Chris Schenkel touting that “The good taste of beer-it comes in a bottle.”

    And to me, seltzer in cans tastes like a can, but seltzer in a plastic bottle tastes like seltzer.

    @👽 Martin: The market Budweiser is cultivating is “consumers who will buy the cheapest alcohol available.”

    Actually, from our vantage point it’s not easy to remember, but AB has some standards, compared to their peers. My tastes run more to Sam Adams, but I’ve read several books about the consolidation history of American brewing, and the list of once-large American beer brands is littered with names like Schlitz for a reason: Cheapifying ingredients and/or hurrying the process and bean-counting the input without thinking it would affect the drinkers’ choice of product.

  45. 45
    Reformed Panty Sniffer says:

    Finally, a topic I can embrace.

    Couple of thoughts:

    I think one of the ideas at work here is also the question of storage and shelf life. Beers in glass containers can be “light struck” which reactivates the beer and leads to that skunky taste at the finish. Beers in clear glass and green glass are more prone to this, especially in package stores with bad (too bright) lighting. Most craft brewers use brown glass bottles, which inhibits the light from reactivating the beer. Beer stored in cans has a longer shelf life (no light), but the metallic taste is there. If Sam Adams has a better can, the beer will last longer and can be more “tote-able” for people (coolers, etc.)

    I’ve always preferred glass bottles for the taste issue, but cans make sense for a lot of people and events (concert halls and stadiums want to avoid glass because of risk issues (violence, accidents). Also, thsi will give Sam Adams ebntry into the genre of lawnmower beers and after softball beers (heavily used in warmer months).

    In terms of styles, ales are top fermented at higher temperatures, while lagers are bottom fermented at colder temperatures. Lagers can be made a bit more quickly; lagering refers to the time taken to cool and settle the beer. There is a saying that “all ales are lagers but not all lagers are ales,” which is arguably true in context.

    An important distinction is the range of styles between the two categories types of ales vs. types of lagers, use of yeast, and choice of hops, etc. I generally prefer ales (Pale and IPAs with side trips into porters and stouts during the colder months). The range of different lagers out of European countries is quite astounding and worth exploring at your local beer cooler of choice.

    Yes, most American drink lagers that are based on the Pilsner style, but the macro-brews sacrifice taste for quicker production times and cheaper ingredients (rice and other adjuncts added). Pilsner Urquel is thought to be the best rendition of the Pilsner style for a reason.

    I would encourgae any macro-drinker to try a craft version of their beer and go from there. In fact, the price of imported beer has dropped in recent years and there’s not much price differential to agonize over if you have an extra buck or two to spare. Life’s too short to drink cheap beer (unless you absolutely have to [college, beer pong, quarters]).

    Cheers

  46. 46
    Sloegin says:

    In the PNW we’ve got several new micro-cannery operations selling premium swill; these micro-canneries aren’t much bigger than a small room and are fairly amazing from a gear-head standpoint. As for taste? eh. The other thing I’ve seen lately is beer sold without any sort of opener built into the can, requiring church-keys to get into them.

    That shit is just hipster.

  47. 47
    kindness says:

    So, any pics of the can?

  48. 48
    Steeplejack says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Lots of good information here. On reflection, I realize I often face a “feast or famine” situation: the choices are limited at my go-to supermarket, but on the other hand I can get overwhelmed when I walk into Total Wine and see the bazillion different beers on offer.

    And sometimes I want to savor the taste of the beer for itself; other times I just want a halfway decent one to go along with food or the game.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @kc:

    Oh. So enjoying the taste of the beverage makes them a wussy.

    I see.

    They’re only in it for the buzz.

    Typical. These are the guys whose last words are “Hold my beer and watch this!”

  50. 50
    Maude says:

    When Bud was sold, it had been using top quality ingredients. Now, they are lower quality. Anything for a buck.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ThresherK:

    bean-counting the input

    If you let the MBAs near your product, you are going to be in another line of work shortly…and they will walk off with your retirement fund.

  52. 52

    @Sloegin: From what I can tell from the various bar offerings, Pabst Blue Ribbon still enjoys a following among hipsters. I cannot fathom why anyone would drink that godawful sewage.

  53. 53
    LanceThruster says:

    I miss Holland Brand beer in the white bottle. Anyone know if it’s available anywhere? I also actually miss Lucky Beer (12 pack of stubby bottles) with the rebus under the cap. And I miss Olympia (my uncle always shared a sip or two with me – didn’t know till later that he bought it cuz it was cheap. I really liked the flavor).

  54. 54
    Cassidy says:

    @The Other Chuck: I like PBR. It’s my go to cheap beer. When it comes to the Coors Light, Bud Lite, PBR level of beer, they’re all the same, it’s just a matter of preference.

    ETA: And I’ll drink a PBR out of the can before some hopped up IPA crap any day. Yeah, I’m looking at you 90 Minute IPA (and all your cousins from the hop craze).

  55. 55
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Cassidy: One of the country’s best beers only comes in a can and they recommend you drink straight from it. Double IPA haters can ignore the link.

  56. 56

    @Cassidy: Yeah the proliferation of overhopped beers is getting to be a pain, they’re crowding out the porters and brown ales I actually want to drink. I like a good IPA too, even a bitter one. I also like coffee, I just don’t want to chew on the beans.

  57. 57
    Cassidy says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: I just don’t like IPA. I understand why people do, but they all taste gross to me. I just like messing with bandwagon IPA drinkers. ;)

  58. 58
    Cassidy says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: I’m always partial to wheats and Belgian styles. I like Raison D’Etre from DFH. I used to drink a lot of ambers, but I think quality has declined across the board in that style. I haven’t found a really tasty amber in a long time. I’ll try anything, though, pilsner, lager, ale, stout…everything deserves a taste. I even try an IPA about every 6 months or so just to make sure I still don’t like them.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    @The Other Chuck

    Back in the day, Pabst would annually bottle a bock beer for a limited time (usually a couple of weeks around Easter) that was quite good.

    Apropos of nothing, worst beer name ever, IMHO, was Blatz.

  60. 60
    Eric says:

    John Revolts,

    Glass doesn’t smell while aluminum does, so the smell of the can is ruining the taste.

  61. 61
    Silver says:

    Best pilsner? Victory Prima Pils or Lagunitas Pils. Oscar Blues makes a good one too, and in a can. Has been for years.

    Best Pilsner is like smartest person at the Breitbart operation. It’s a low bar, unless you count that Mikkeler imperial pilsner as part of the style, and that’s a stretch.

  62. 62
    LanceThruster says:

    @NotMax:

    I remember Blatz. Didn’t they get bought out by Duff?

    xD

    “Duff beer for me, Duff beer for you, I’ll have a Duff, You have one, too,”

    Try imported Düff.

  63. 63
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Cassidy: The older I get, the more bitter I like my beer. I blame Obama.

  64. 64
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    Heh, I’ve always loved the name Blatz. Wish it would make a comeback, ironically or not. Either way works for me.

  65. 65
    joel hanes says:

    Grew up in the crap canned beer culture of the northern Midwest. Blatz, Schmidt, Old Milwaukee, Hamms, Buckhorn, Shlitz, Grain Belt. My people thought of Miller as a premium beer, and Michelob as elegance (’cause bottles.)

    Then came Army/Germany, a culture where the idea of canned beer was regarded as an affront, and it seemed that a different great local beer was on tap in every gasthaus.

    I have a picture of a Fugger Pils beer truck.

    Turned my back on canned beer as completely as possible while still a broke college student — to be honest, probably for tribal/class marker reasons as much as any other — we were so broke we often bought Heileman’s Old Style, but in bottles.

    A can warms up much more quickly, especially in the hand.

    While not an IPA addict, count me among the lovers of hops. My preferred range extends from Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome and Maredsous Tripel on the smooth end to Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, Torpedo, and Celebration. I can appreciate Full Sail and Red-Tailed Hawk, but they seem a bit much for regular consumption.

    If you ever get a chance to take the tour of the Anchor Steam brewery in San Francisco, do so. The hop room is redolent — and strongly reminiscent of the skunky odor of the flowering tops of its botanical cousin. When I was on the tour, about half the visitors took one whiff and went “Oh! Ahhh…”

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:

    @LanceThruster:

    I think there was a Capt. John Duff Special Reserve, too.

  67. 67
    LanceThruster says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I like that. Thx.

  68. 68
    LanceThruster says:

    My current fav is Pacifico and I’m drinking it in the 7oz bottles. I live in the high desert, hate warm beer and am a lightweight, so the 7oz goes down cold to the last swig. Always thought the 7oz Coke’s were a teaser, but it works for me in bottled beer.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    I think you guys are missing the trend in beer. Lots of small batch brewers are putting their beer in cans now, especially the ones who like organicy, fu-fu, recycling, green, mother earth stuff.

    Yep — our very local microbrewery uses cans. Samuel Adams is just hopping on the bandwagon and trying to make it look like they came up with the idea.

  70. 70
    LanceThruster says:

    Some great toasts here

    I used to know a clever toast,
    But now I cannot think it,
    So fill your glass to anything,
    And damn your souls, I’ll drink it!

  71. 71
    Mark Lass says:

    it is not the metal
    beer is brewed in metal
    draught beer is delivered in metal
    all in their heads
    cans keep out light which is more detrimental to the beer

  72. 72
    LanceThruster says:

    Here’s to Hell!
    May the stay there
    Be as much fun as the way there!

  73. 73
    LanceThruster says:

    I’ll drink to the Girls who do!
    I’ll drink to the Girls who don’t!
    But…I won’t drink to Girls
    Who say they will and won’t!

  74. 74
    LanceThruster says:

    For every wound, a balm.
    For every sorrow, cheer.
    For every storm, a calm.
    For every thirst, a beer

  75. 75
    mattH says:

    Full Sail has a series of beers called Session. I’ve tried two, the regular Session and Black, both easy drinkers and a good way to start on the less macro-brew side of things.

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: Unibroue is owned by Sapporo and yet I’d still say they make great Belgian-style beers.

    @piratedan: Deschutes makes what I would argue is the best porter in the US.

  76. 76
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Silver: I disagree entirely – pilseners can be delicious. Many US craft brewers craft brewers have introduced pilseners or other golden lager styles over the past decade, so I can’t be the only craft brew afficionado who likes them. They don’t have the huge flavor of an imperial stout but, when done right, they’re crisp and refreshing and have enough flavor to be interesting without becoming overwhelming.

  77. 77
    Gus says:

    I like hoppy beers, but not exclusively. I can’t think of a beer style I don’t like. I think the reason that so many breweries push super hoppy beers is that they’re relatively easy. Extreme hoppiness can cover a multitude of brewing sins.

  78. 78
    Gus says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Yes. I’d guess they’re harder to make, too, based on how many don’t measure up to their European cousins.

  79. 79
    LanceThruster says:

    I also like Tsingtao (better than Kirin IMHO)

  80. 80
    Hungry Joe says:

    @NotMax:

    worst beer name ever, IMHO, was Blatz

    I’m from Milwaukee / And I oughtta know / It’s draft-brewed Blatz beer / Wherever you go …

    What’s the worst beer you ever tasted? Me, I can’t remember if it was Mickey Big Mouth or Old Milwaukee. Both pretty vile.

  81. 81
    fidelio says:

    @NotMax: Ever heard of Griesedieck beer? It was one of the old St. Louis breweries. Another branch of the family ran Falstaff, after acquiring it from the Lemp Brewery. (The Lemps came to a bad end. Their brewery was built over some of the caves in the St. Louis area, which they used for their storage, and the family home was connected to the brewery through the caves.)

    Say it out loud, bearing in mind that in German ‘ie’ sounds like ‘ee’ and not a long i. Local pronunciation tended to lengthen the vowel in the second syllable and shorten the last one…

  82. 82
    Bobby_D says:

    “When Bud was sold, it had been using top quality ingredients”

    Um, no. Bud has used rice in their beer long before the company was bought. I’ve toured a couple of their mega breweries, as long ago as ’91, and they were using the same stuff then. What makes Bud (and other bud products like King Cobra) taste so shitty is the rice. Blindfolded, I can easily pick out the AB product by smell…that rancid rice/saki aroma is foul.

    Cassidy seems pretty clued in. The outdoor rec contingent (i.e. backpackers, boaters, climbers, mtn bikers, etc) have really embraced the canned craft stuff. Most notably from Oskar Blues brewery in Colorado. Their “Old Chub” is a fantastic ale (pretty malty/sweet, essentially a Scotch Ale). The same hipster dirtbag crew that put PBR back on the radar is drinking this kind of stuff when they aren’t slumming on the PBR.

    As for Boston Brewing, totally subpar products compared to actual good craft breweries. Yes, they make several styles…and they are all medicore IMO. There are literally hundreds of craft breweries on the west coast that absolutely demolish anything coming out of Boston.

    If you ever find yourself in Portland, OR, the Rogue brewhouse is possibly the finest pub (for the beer) I’ve ever been in. Given that this is a standout, in hands down THE best beer city in world (that is no exagerration, PDX is called “Beervana” for a reason), should emphasize how good this place is.

    If you enjoy IPAs, one of my buddies owns/runs a brewery out of eastern Oregon (Terminal Gravity) with the best IPA I’ve ever tasted (and living in PDX for some years, I tasted a hell of a lot of them).

    I’m confused why Boston would spend all that time and money to re-create the wheel. Didn’t Keystone start using a specially lined can about 20+ years ago?

  83. 83
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    What’s the worst beer you ever tasted?

    Worst beer I ever tasted was some high-alcohol (like 15%) beer in a bottle in Paris about 10 years ago that had a picture of the Devil on it and may have been called “Diable” (though I can’t find it on the great Google, so maybe not).

    Tasted like someone took cheap pilsner and upped the alcohol content by pouring in high-proof grain alcohol. Horrible stuff.

    Worst before that was Columbia beer (I remember a six-pack of cans cost $.69 back in ’73). Had a picture of the Statue of Liberty on it.

    Worse than Hamm’s or Old Milwaukee or Keystone or Coors Lite, even.

    The brewery (in Tacoma, WA) has been defunct for some time.

  84. 84
    Gus says:

    @Hungry Joe: Lot’s of regional crap breweries made beers that no longer exist, at least not in the same form. My college roomies and I were always searching for the cheapest beer that we could stomach. Fox Deluxe, Cold Spring, MeisterBrau, White Label and Carling Black Label would all have to be candidates. We might have bought one of those when we couldn’t afford Old Milwaukee.

  85. 85
    Cassidy says:

    @Bobby_D:

    Cassidy seems pretty clued in. …The same hipster dirtbag crew …

    All in the same paragraph. I’m not sure if i’ve been flattered or insulted. Thanks? Maybe? lol

    I consider Sam Adams like Starbucks. It’s not amazing, but their is a consistency to it and you know what you’re going to get and it tastes decent enough to be pleasant. You can do a lot worse than a 6 of Sam Adams…much worse…you don’t know the horrors I’ve seen. Does no one remember Red Dog?

  86. 86
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Bobby_D: They’re inventing a better can because it’s a way to get their more discerning clientel to buy beers in cans. Despite the fact that some really good craft brewers have started canning their beer, most people still associate cans with cheap, crappy beer. Sam Adams is “reinventing the wheel” to hammer the point that you can get good beer in a can home.

    Some of it could be their desire to do things differently -they reinvented the beer glass a few years back, but their new improved beer glass doesn’t seem to have caught on.

  87. 87
    Tbone says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet):

    If you get Avery’s, Joe’s Classic Pils is great.

  88. 88
    Tbone says:

    @Clockwork Buddha: @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    No doubt. Most lagers/pilsners are incredibly difficult to make well, since there’s nothing to hide any flaws. I will give props to the mega brewers who can consistently put out a quality product time after time.

    There’s lots of room in the craft brew market for lagers & pilsners, I think over the next couple years the lager category will be what the IPA category was for the last 5 years. And sour beers as well.

    Upslope also makes a great craft lager, for those of you on Colorado’s front range.

  89. 89
    Djur says:

    @Bobby_D: TG IPA is nice, real drinkable and not too much of a hop overload. And you see it on tap at a lot of places in PDX these days.

  90. 90
    cleek says:

    @Hungry Joe:
    What’s the worst beer you ever tasted?

    my dad bought a bottle of some awful smoked German beer last time he visited (and we made our standard trip to the beer store). tasted like a British ale with a bottle of liquid smoke mixed in.

    MeisterBrau

    oooh. that’s a classic. we’d buy that when we couldn’t find our standard, Golden Anniversary – which we could sometimes get at $8/case, back in ’92. MeisterBrau was a bit more expensive, and definitely not worth the extra $1.50/case

  91. 91

    @cleek: hey cleek, thanks for the pie filter update. Werks like a charm.

    I drank some of my dad’s novelty Billy Beer when I was a kid. It was farging awful.

  92. 92

    Worst beer I’ve ever had is damn near any “Christmas Seasonal Beer”. Like drinking the urine of the gingerbread man.

  93. 93
    John Revolta says:

    OMG Fox Deluxe!! I hadn’t thought of that crap in 30 years. On purpose.

    OTOH, that Holland Brand stuff in the white bottle was amazing. Haven’t been able to find it in a long time.

  94. 94
    Mo MacArbie says:

    No one’s mentioned my favorite Pilsner yet: North Coast’s Scrimshaw Pilsner. Not too hard to find here in Cal.

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