You might think that ordering a beer is a pretty simple task. Canned, bottled, or from the draft, it’ll all taste good, right? As it turns out, beer packaging can actually influence how your beer ends up tasting. Some options are a bit better for certain brews than others…
Beer Packaging: Bottle, Can, or Draft?
Bottles are the oldest form of beer packaging out there. These days, the most common bottles are the 12-ounce brown or green options. Brewers commonly use green bottles for lagers, especially in Europe, although these bottles cause beers to “skunk“. Brown bottles are a bit more resilient, and are better for heavier beers.
As a result, bottles, the brown ones especially, are good for beers which benefit from more fermentation. A little bit of extra aging can help these beers develop better flavor profiles. Also, while bottles take longer to chill than say cans, they also keep colder for much longer.
Cans have a reputation as the less “fancy” of the beer packaging options. In fact, many drinkers tend to associate canned beers with mass-produced and cheap brews. Some even claim the cans give the beer a metallic flavor. As a result, they tend to write cans off as nothing more than a cheap solution.
However, cans actually do have their benefits. Many in the craft beer industry actually prefer cans over other options. Mainly, it’s how cans completely block out harmful UV rays. This means that your beer’s flavor won’t get compromised by any kind of light.
Draft beer is usually the most common beer packaging option at places such as bars. Drafts tend to be best for “fresh” beers, or beers that are younger and dry hopped. However, draft beers do get poured into glasses, which, depending on the size, can impact how much you drink in a negative way.
Also, draft beers have to go through the tap lines to reach the drafts themselves. If the bar or restaurant doesn’t keep these lines clean, it could cause bacteria buildup. Therefore, when you’re concerned about if the lines are clean, order a bottled or canned beer instead.