What to Choose:
Beer Bottles vs. Cans of Beer
Picture it: it’s been a long day at work, your feet are aching and your throat is scratchy. All you can think to do is kick back with a refreshing cold one, so you head to your fridge, pop it open, and find yourself faced with a dilemma:
Bottle or Can?
It may sound like such a minuscule quandary, but there can be an immense difference in that first sip if taken from one over the other. We want you to be able to kick back and enjoy your beer without being faced with any decision, even one that may seem as simple as choosing between glass and aluminum.
If this dilemma sits in your ice box right now, take a gander at what we have to say to see which decision is best for you.
Size Does Matter
Scour the internet and you’ll find that the debate over bottles and cans is one that will probably never be settled. It all boils down to a personal preference, but there are aspects of each that can be easily pointed out to make deciding between the two a little easier.
First and foremost, and the most obvious difference between a bottle of beer and a can, is the size. In one glance, it’s very easy to determine which one you’ll want to have to transport in a cooler. On top of alleviating any worries about breakage, cans of beer let you store more in your cooler, and when it comes to beer, more is absolutely better!
The portability of beer cans allows you to enjoy them in situations where they’re most called for – say on a boat or as a celebration after a strenuous hike. There’s also a very nice convenience that comes with cans of beer that some may initially overlook – if you happen to forget a bottle opener, you can still enjoy a cold brewsky.
A Nice, Chilled Brew
There’s really no point in drinking a beer if it’s totally warm. Beer is intended to be frosty and cold, and in the battle of bottle vs. can, we have another decisive victory in favor of aluminum. To throw a little bit of science your way, it all has to do with how conductive the metal can is. As it draws in more cold air, the process of convection transfers those colder molecules to the warmer liquid inside the can until you have yourself a frosty brew.
Now, while cans are favorable in that they’re quick to cool down, even if just placed in a cooler full of ice, you should also consider that they may also be quicker to warm up. Chances are, though, if you’re popping open a can of beer, the intention isn’t to nurse it over an extended period of time.
So, when it comes to which material is best for an ice-cold beer, it may wind up being situational. If you’re out on a boat, chances are you’ll want an aluminum can as your companion unless you’re a really slow drinker. Then a bottle, especially one you can throw a cap back on, may be a better option.
Taste and Quality
Now to the most important question in this debate – is there a difference in taste?
Chances are you’ve heard all about how aluminum cans alter the taste of beer and give it a metallic flavor. Well, if your tongue happens to touch the lid of the can, that may be accurate, but otherwise, the chances of your beer’s flavor being altered by the interior of the can are really slim.
Most cans these days are lined to avoid the transfer of that off-putting metallic taste and the linings used don’t give off a flavor. If you’re unconvinced, have someone set up a blind taste test between a draft and can of beer. While the draft may taste fresher, you won’t be able to distinguish the can for any sort of metallic aftertaste.
Now the bottle, on the other hand, is a different story. While everyone was so busy worrying about the metallic flavor of a can of beer, they were overlooking one of the biggest flaws of the bottled beer – the actual glass. Aluminum cans keep the beer inside from being exposed to light and oxygen, which are known for being able to turn a beer skunky and unpleasant.
Ever wonder why beers and other alcoholic beverages are distilled in generally dark spaces in opaque vessels? When it comes to beer, light is not your friend!
A CO2 Capsule?
It may not be as important an edge over glass bottles than, say, portability and size, but whether or not your beer has a CO2 capsule in it can give you an entirely different experience. These capsules, found in beers like canned Guinness, help give the beer its head and provides it with a slightly more refreshing flavor.
You won’t find it in every beer, but you certainly won’t be finding a CO2 capsule in any glass brews. It’s a small benefit but certainly, one that you’ll want to consider if faced with the choice between a bottle or can of beers like Guinness, which offer the option of instant carbonation.
The Bottom Line
It’s completely up to you which you’d prefer to drink out of, but it is clear that cans tend to have a general advantage over glass bottles. Regardless of what may be true, you’ll still find people that are adamant that cans give beer a metallic taste, to which we say: Stop licking the top!
One final note: something thing you never want to use to determine which you opt for is price. Generally, there is a very marginal difference between the cost of bottles and can. If one appears to be considerably cheaper, pay attention to quantity and volume to avoid falling into the pitfall of buying something you don’t really want because of price.
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