By Lee Salawich.
As a beer geek and fan of craft breweries, I have to admit that I look down my nose at beer in a can. In looking at the list of beers consumed in the past several years, almost all have been in bottles or on draught, and of the bottled brews, the vast majority have been in brown bottles.
While The Brew Club has reviewed a few beers from a can, only one beer has been in a can so far for me! That beer was Don’s Riverside Light, consumed at the eponymous Don Laughlin’s Riverside Casino in Laughlin, NV, which, according to the beer log, rated a lowly 0.5 star and I think the half star was for the graphic on the can!
Canned beer makes me think of a Busch Light swigging friend who drinks to get drunk, cans of Old Style and Special Ex popped on the “tin beach” of the Delt House at college, and Natty Boh that high school friends and I drank when we were 18 because it was the cheapest beer around.
Can a decent craft beer come in a can? That’s what I intended to find out when purchasing a sample of Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Imperial Stout.
The beer poured an opaque black with a very minimal caramel colored head that dissipated within seconds. There was no carbonation and no lacing. Ten Fidy’s color was almost as dark as the molasses noted in the scent, with hints of coffee and chocolate thrown in the mix. Initially, the taste was sweet with a somewhat bitter, licorice-like aftertaste that lingered for some time. For as dark as the beer is, it has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
Ten FIDY definitely held up to the hot sauce infused ribs with which it was paired, and the taste got sweeter compared to the spices of the ribs. I really can’t see this beer paired with a dessert though, I actually think it would seem more bitter as a result. The brew doesn’t have a strong alcohol taste, but the 10.5% (Ten Fiddy) ABV packs quite a wallop.
The real question is how readers feel about bottles vs. cans. Without causing a can-troversy, does the packaging influence your purchase? Are cans just for the macros, or should craft breweries also pursue 12 ounce mini-kegs? What other canned beers are recommended?
Ten FIDY is a sipping beer, not a session beer, and makes for a good winter warmer. I prefer Sam Adams Imperial Stout, but the Cross-eyed, Cyclopean, Cancupiscent, Half-baked, Fully Roasted Ale merits 3.5 stars.