Are there some beer brands you prefer in the bottle vs. cans?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by JackHorzempa, May 11, 2022 at 5:07 PM.

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    In the ongoing “If you had to pick: Which AAL is the best?” thread there are a number of BAs who have expressed that Miller High Life is ‘better’ in the bottle vs. cans. It seems like in craft brewing nowadays ‘can is king’ but perhaps for some beer brands which are available in both bottles and cans there may be a benefit to the bottled product.

    Are there any beer brands where you have a choice between bottles and cans that you prefer to buy the bottled version? And if so, why?


    P.S. One craft brewery which seems to still provide both bottles and cans is Sierra Nevada. Maybe in a few years they will only be packaging in cans?
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  2. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Weißbier. Because it's miles better when bottle conditioned and poured from the bottle. Matter of fact, I prefer most beers from the bottle. Our customers seem to agree, since we recently made the switch from crowler cans to reusable flip-top bottles. Their reasoning: the beer tastes better.
  3. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,772) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I feel like anything that relies heavily on yeast characteristics tastes more muted from cans. That's pouring them into a glass and (in some appropriate cases) swirling the last little bit to get the suspended yeast. I've felt this way about the Schneider cans, St. Bernardus cans, Delirium cans, Ommegang cans, etc. It's not a situation where I'd skip out on buying the cans, but simply that I prefer those beers from bottles.
  4. tolar111

    tolar111 Crusader (715) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a prime example. The bottled product is vastly superior to the canned product. The head formation, retention and overall taste of the beer are noticeably different. Along the lines of what @herrburgess is saying with regard to Weißbier, I would just say Sierra Nevada's bottle conditioning is better, to my taste, than their can conditioning. I'm fine with Torpedo and Celebration Ale. Torpedo isn't bottle conditioned and this years Celebration, I believe was tank conditioned
    #4 tolar111, May 11, 2022 at 6:47 PM
    Last edited: May 11, 2022 at 6:59 PM
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you know for a fact whether those canned beers are can conditioned? If the 'answer' is they aren't can conditioned that might be the difference you notice between bottled vs. canned for those specific brands.

    Beer can indeed be can conditioned with one example being Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in the can.

    bmugan likes this.
  6. JBogan

    JBogan Champion (890) Jul 15, 2007 California

    Most of them.

    Why? I enjoy Belgian beers, and I've never had a Belgian beer that was better from a can than it was from a bottle.

    Even most other beers that I've had which I've purchased in both formats were more enjoyable to me when poured from a bottle rather than a can.

    As covered many times before here, there are some advantages to cans, but to me the most important thing is taste, and bottles beat cans 9 times out of 10.
    #6 JBogan, May 11, 2022 at 7:47 PM
    Last edited: May 11, 2022 at 7:53 PM
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  7. beer_beer

    beer_beer Zealot (595) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    I think when having a choice it's 100% cans. Weighs less and is usually at least theoretically better, I do though respect your views.
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Some of the benefits of cans is that there are 100% impervious to light (i.e., the beer can not get lightstruck/skunked) and also 100% impervious to oxygen ingress which improves beer stability over time as compared to bottled beer.

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  9. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (395) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I like cans for a lot of logistical reasons but I do think that many beers taste better in a bottle, as the pour seems better and in turn there is a slightly less "flat" taste that I can get from canned beers. I have had cheaper beers e.g. Yuengling Lager in both cans and bottles and better beers e.g. Troegs Sunshine Pilsner with most things being as close to equal as possible and I have leaned towards the bottle in each case. Is it enough that I would be upset with a can only option? Not really. But I do enjoy bottled beer for sure.
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  10. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Disciple (356) Apr 9, 2015 California

    In my experience ipas could live in cans

    I dont give a fuck what my Non Adjuncted Russian Imperial Stout comes in ...just fucking send it. I'll take it in hermetically sealed pharmaceutical bottles, just send it.
    Everything else i cant speak sure the green bottle, basket beer people are a lil more picky than I. I wanna hear the cork speak:yum:
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  11. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,994) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I never buy bottles anymore it seems. I do like high life in bottles more myself.

    I could say I like prima pils in the bottle more. The can to me is drier which that beer definitely doesn't need to be any more dry

    Heineken cans for life. Pilsner urquell is also better in the bottle.
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  12. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (664) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Bottles are preferred for lawnmower beers. Cans have a tendency to allow beer to slosh out with bumps, and without precautions blowing grass clippings easily land on and inside the can. I prefer my beer without a mouthful of grass.
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  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    a can is only as good as the canning machine/process that fills and seals it. it's no better (or worse) inherently than a bottle in that respect
  14. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,045) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    I'll be CANTANKEROUS and say that cans are >bottles in every case where there was an ability to compare.( most definitely not at the same time)

    I reckon that I did @woodchipper proud, eh?
  15. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,045) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Of course. I meant @woodychandler. Duh.
  16. readyski

    readyski Zealot (587) Jun 4, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    I like cans over bottles normally, but I am forced to get the large format bottles if I want a specific beer. And I wonder if that larger format does have certain inherent advantages (besides being "bigger") :thinking_face:
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  17. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,024) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    The only beers I specifically recall being better from bottles than cans were Zombie Dust to a small degree, and alpha king more so. Alpha King from the bottle was one of my favorite beers. Malt profile was strong but not sweet, hops were piney and Citrus. Both the times I had AK from the can I was unimpressed. The malt profile is lacking, and the hops are one note pine.
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  18. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,726) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I'm not against cans, I've been drinking a lot of canned beer and I just came home with another 4 pack... but the tunnel vision embracement of them over everything else by craft drinkers might be one of the most damaging things for niche beer that I've seen in the last decade. Are there beers that I prefer in bottles over cans? - Yes... and at the top of that list are beers that were designed for bottles.

    At it's best, craft beer encouraged a marketplace space for eccentricity, tradition, and pride of process from brewers. The can homogeny has shown that consumers might actually value the hypothetical option of drinking expensive beer at a pool or golf course over any of those other qualities. I know how harsh or silly that sounds - but those things are always brought up as reasons for why people prefer cans. How often do people talk about recipe changes for beer that transitioned to cans?

    Beer geeks can never understand why certain lager brewers use green glass and compromise their beer as a result. The reason is it sells. The situation with cans isn't totally different. Each packaging type can force compromises. One difference between cans and green glass is the reversal that beer geeks seem to be the happy recipients of marketing with cans... while we look down upon the happy recipients of marketing with green glass. Are there beers that I prefer in cans over bottles? - Yes... and at the top of that list are lagers packaged in green glass.
  19. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Poo-Bah (1,780) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    Beers under the Wild / Sour Style category are the only ones I would prefer in bottles over cans.

    The two exceptions I can think of beyond this are SNPA and Deschutes Obsidian Stout, both bottle conditioned beers I really enjoy.
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  20. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (552) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    I'd prefer bottles more because they are more flexible. Growlers can be reused. That's a positive "green" aspect, but that can be negated if I need to drive too far to get it filled. Also, here in NY, I can recycle either bottles or can, either by returning for deposit or in normal recyclable trash. Return for deposit is probably a better route but has its own obstacles to efficiency. Glass is essentially inert in contact with beer, and a (non-twist) crown is highly reliable. Small runs of packaged beer might be cheaper in bottles. Recent supply issues with cans have limited small run can availability. Imperfect can closures and linings could affect beer flavor. For homebrew, bottles win. They are reusable and easy to cap. No need to worry about light-struck beer because you can control the storage conditions. A little oxygen isn't a big problem because live yeast is generally in the beer, and protects it by tying up oxygen. I also prefer the aesthetic aspects of pouring from a bottle.
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  21. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,095) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Anything, beer included,, that can be purchased in a bottle rather than a can, and at a reasonably similar price, is my choice always. I'm one of those green "nut job" environmentalists who lives what I preach, and aluminum is a bad choice. Pretty sure I wouldn't be able to tell which is which if the same beer was poured into glasses from a can and a bottle.
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    this was another big reason we switched from cans to reusable bottles. the sheer amount of waste from the single-use cans was staggering. add to it the weekly delivery costs and fuel consumption/carbon footprint -- not to mention the increasing price and decreasing quality of some of the aluminum being used -- and we felt like we had to do something. we asked our customers to pay bottle deposits like in the old days (or the current days in germany). we weren't sure how this would go, but we told them of our dedication to sustainability...and to sustaining lower prices (our liter beers to-go cost $5). we found some bottles, worked out a process that actually reduces o2 contact with the beer, and made the change. turns out ppl were happy to change and pay the deposits. saved us money. saved them money, saved some significant landfill space. and ended up being preferred for flavor/freshness (the seamer we had been using wasn't made for the volumes we were selling) over cans. when we open our brick-and-mortar we will expand our reusable bottle offerings to half liter flip-tops as well...and add reusable 5 l party kegs to the mix.

    we know some people prefer cans. some people also prefer IPAs to lagers or variety to curated quality. doesn't mean we have to provide either of those former options. the customer may "always be right," but s/he doesn't always have to be right everywhere s/he goes :sunglasses:
    #22 herrburgess, May 12, 2022 at 9:47 AM
    Last edited: May 12, 2022 at 10:00 AM
  23. shadyside

    shadyside Disciple (385) Feb 27, 2011 Georgia

    Most of the Belgian beer I drink is better from the bottle in my opinion. One exception is Unholy Trippel from Coppertail, but I have never seen it in a bottle. In general, for all styles, I'll pick the bottle over the can.
  24. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,095) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Good job! Man, that is so excellent! Refillable packaging, and environmentally sound packaging for things that can't be "refilled", is crucial, and will become more and more necessary.. We are at the tipping point, and I am glad to see your customers are on board with your wise choice. Cheers!
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Which is sorta a 'funny' thing since it wasn't all that long ago that craft beer consumers associated cans with crappy mega-brewed beers; they demanded their beers to be in bottles. Oskar Blues Brewing was one of the early adopters for canning their craft beer and I recall a fair bit of 'push back' on BA (and other places) about putting 'good' beer in a can. At some point in time 16 ounce cans became the in thing and now craft beer consumers want their beers (e.g., Juicy/Hazy IPAs, etc.) in the four-pack/16 ounce can format. Maybe at some time in the future there may be a reversal in with craft beer consumers wanting their beer in bottles but what I am seeing in my area does not support that change.

    It seems to me that canned craft beer is here to stay and my guess is that we will see more craft beer packaged in cans in the future.

  26. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,880) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Bottles, if I have a choice. Every time. Preferably seven-ounce brown-glass refillable bottles, but that's a discussion for another day. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around St. Bernardus in a can, but maybe that's just me.
  27. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    as the can crunch hits harder (printed cans were set to require an order of 1M minimum recently) I suspect we may see more and more places moving to bottles. and they'll prolly start extolling the virtues of such in their marketing. way of the world....
  28. Providence

    Providence Crusader (790) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Agreed, this is great. Would love to see more stuff like that around here. I was down at Fox Farm a few months back. Awesome spot. I bought a case of cans and have enjoyed them immensely. I would be thrilled if I could have gotten bottles that I could then bring back to be refilled. I'd pay a little extra for that option.
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  29. dele

    dele Initiate (110) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    Two beers I've found taste better out of the bottle than out of a can: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Wormtown Be Hoppy. Not sure why, but the results are pretty consistent.

    Also, though I pour 90% or more of my beers into a glass, on the rare occasions I don't do so, I find drinking out of a bottle a much more enjoyable experience. The beer stays cold longer because the glass container insulates it better than a can would.
  30. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Crusader (726) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Sierra Nevada. Mostly because of nostalgia. Pale Ale was my gateway beer and drank a lot of it from the bottle. Then celebration from the bottle. Even though I pour my beer into a glass those bottles have fond memories built into my basis.
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  31. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,490) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Doesn't matter that auto-fill accidentally had you reference me, I too think cans are superior and the science supports it.
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  32. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (12,452) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I CAN only hope so (that's how it's done @Bitterbill )!
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  33. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (12,452) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I CAN't think of even one. Heck, a Slimline CAN of Samichlaus was just dropped off for me by @tone77 ! Viva The CANQuest (tm)!
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  34. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (12,452) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    It makes me wonder what other @Woods are on here! You are the third that pops up and only the seCANd with an avatar, behind @WoodBrew and ahead of @WoodMaven . Les Hommes du Bois!
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I just read in an other thread about the packaging update from Narragansett for Bohemian Pilsner:


    Narragansett is responding to the four-pack/16 ounce cans customer demands.

  36. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (552) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    How do you recycle the bottles? Bottle return for local recycling has the potential to be a good contribution to conservation. Can you wash and reuse the bottles that are returned? I'm not aware of small-scale beer bottle washers. There are also environmental costs associated with the bottle washing process that need to be minimized.
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  37. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    we had to research this. learned that germans use commercial dishwashers to do the initial cleaning of the bottles (folks pay their one-time deposit on, say, 8 bottles, at $5 per bottle and then as long as they bring the same number of empties back, we replenish with freshly filled ones). before filling we do a manual sani rinse with our usual solution of either diluted PAA or starsan. haven't had a beer go bad yet. but, again, we aim for consumption to occur within a few weeks at most. kinda like with crowlers. obviously if you wanna keep your beer for months or more, certain higher end equipment, packaging materials, and processes are gonna be necessary. to guarantee that kind of longevity. personally, i prefer and seek out places that provide fresher beer than months-old stuff.
  38. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Disciple (339) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I think all beer tastes better straight out of a bottle than a can.
    Pouring the beer from said container into a glass however I would have to say I've never done a side by side tasting.
    Something to do this weekend?
    Except for Miller High Life and Coors Banquet, most AAL is fine out of the can. Michelob MUST be drunk from the bottle or poured into a glass from a can for best results.
    I'll often buy sixers of 16oz cans of Yuengling Black & Tan, just because they no longer do 16oz glass.
    That takes me to the returnable/refillable post. Those days were great. $10 for a case of pounders with a dollar deposit.
    I guess they lost a lot of bottle inventory to homebrewery. Inconspicuous whistle.
    I would never drink a good Belgian out of a can.
    Leffe, Palm, Stella, sure, why not?
    Guinness Pub style draft tastes better out of the can to me for some reason? Dunno if it's the widget or what?
    I do like the "new" 12, 16, 32 oz crowlers that are now available.
    The beer distributor has Schneider Hopfenweiss on tap and it's nice to get a cold fresh pour to go. I can get 2 pints without having to drink a quart before it gasses off. Not that that would be an issue.
    To sum it all up, I guess it all depends on your tastes.
  39. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (142) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    MN people might understand this.

    Grain Belt Premium, cans have a metallic taste. And bottles are outstanding.
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  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you perceive any "metallic" in cans of Hamm's?