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September 16, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Can Revolution: Are You Ready?

Cans of beer have been associated with cheap, mass-produced lager and rowdy drunkenness for too long. The time has come for society to wake up to the virtues of wrapping your malt beverages in glorious aluminium.

Detractors of canning beer often say it gives the beer a metallic taste, due to it being in contact with the aluminium. This argument is no longer valid, as modern cans have an inner lining keeping the beer separate from the metal. The reason your canned beer tastes metallic is either because you’re drinking it out of the METAL can, or simply because your beer is badly made. Neither is the fault of the can.

The advantages of canning are numerous. The seam of a can is much better at keeping pesky oxygen out of the beer than crown caps, meaning beer lasts longer before becoming oxidised.

Cans are 100-per-cent light-proof, meaning no chance of light-struck beer (that skunky flavour you get from green-bottle lager in direct sunlight). Cans also crush easily, making them attractive for trampers and boaties who have to carry back all their rubbish. They are also lighter and more space-efficient, meaning freight is cheaper and greener—you can carry twice the beer for the same weight!

All of these advantages kicked off the ‘craft can’ revolution in the US a few years ago, and signs are that New Zealand is about to catch up. Aro Valley’s Garage Project likes to be on the cutting edge of brewing, and as such has been the first brewery to make the move to cans. From their small canning line they’ve put Pils ‘n’ Thrills, Angry Peaches, Smoke & Mirrors and Death From Above in cans.

My pick of the four is Death from Above, an ‘Indochine Pale Ale’. Indo-Chinese inspired ingredients like lime, Vietnamese mint, mango, and a touch of chilli all meld perfectly with aggressively fruity US hops to make one of the most unique IPA experiences around. Look out for Garage Project cans at bars and supermarkets now, with four-packs planned shortly.

The Garage seems to have kicked off an avalanche of craft cans. Leigh Sawmill Brewery is reinstating their disused canning line for their crisp refreshing pilsner.

New brewery ‘Hot Water Brewing’ (opening soon near Hot Water Beach) has ordered a canning line, and intends on canning their entire range exclusively. Harrington’s Brewery in Christchurch is installing a canning line in their new Wigram brewery, which should be up and running by early 2014. Harrington’s do a bit of packaging for other Christchurch breweries, so we may see others taking advantage of their new toy.

So rise up and rebel against the glass overlords, and support your canning comrades!

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