Picture this scene. You have a friend round, maybe two. You suggest cracking open a beer. Seeing as you’ve just been to your regular independent beer shop you grab something a little special; a bottle of the latest, freshest Double IPAs or sweet, thick Imperial Stout. It’s a 330ml bottle; or maybe 500 and its been out the fridge for just a few minutes, beads of condensation forming on the outside of the bottle. As you line up two or three small glasses on the sideboard your friend shouts over “People on Twitter are going mad about that one!” Your reply is just a wry smile. You lift up the bottle in your left hand and with the right you take the bottle opener to the cap and the top flicks off. A small hiss of gas escapes the bottle and fills your nostrils with dank hoppiness or sweet malt. The bottle cap flip flops down onto the sideboard making a low, twinkly rattle.
You lift the first glass up to the neck of the bottle and begin the slow and delicate pour trying to create the perfect head. As you eye up an accurate pour in the first glass you move onto the next; doing everything in your power to maintain the angle of the bottle with the steadiest of hands, trying not to disturb the sediment gathered at the bottom. Once poured your friend takes their nose to the glass, takes a sip and picks up the bottle to admire the label or look at the description to confirm the flavours they are tasting. You give each other an acknowledging nod… “That’s fantastic…”
Now picture the same scenario with a can of beer, 330ml or 500ml; it doesn’t really matter. I tend to grab a cold can out of the fridge and with one hand slip a finger under the ring pull, cracking the can wide open with a loud snap. Some froth forms at the opening but that gets slurped off the top of the can. I don’t share my can with a friend; I chuck him his own can whether it’s that new DIPA or 10% Imperial Stout. The can doesn’t get poured into a nice stemmed glass; you just plonk yourself down and stick on some music or carry on your conversation. It’s not a macho thing; just more relaxed. There is no theatre.
Don’t get me wrong; I love cans for all the reasons other people do but when we talk or read about “Bottles Vs. Cans” it’s all about UV protection, ingress of oxygen and saving shelf space. Many of our favourite breweries using cans more and more but personally I will never tire of that feeling from sharing a fantastic bottle of beer.