When Samuel Adams officially announced they would start to sell Boston Lager in cans, I read it on their Facebook page. The announcement didn't surprise me. The comments to their announcement did. A lot were surprisingly negative. It was like they announced Boston Lager was being replaced by Coors Light.
Boston Beer is not the first craft brewery to move toward cans. I'm a big fan of both 21st Amendment and Oskar Blues. Both are only in cans. Cans are portable, eliminate issues with light touching the beer, and have less air in them than bottles. There are a lot of benefits and the last two examples deal directly with the quality of the beer. Light can cause a beer to be "skunked" and air creates the potential for oxidation.
For me, it's not the can, it's what is in the can.
Now while Boston Beer is not pinoeering the canning movement, they are leading the charge to make the can "more drinkable."
After two years of research, they have developed the "Sam Can," a can designed to make drinking similar to that of a glass.
In order to experience the difference, Samuel Adams sent me the new Sam Can along with a traditiional can. Both contained Boston Lager.
The first noticeable difference is the lip of the can. It's shaped much like the tulip lip of their pint glass.
The next difference is the opening of the can. The Sam Can, on the right, has an opening which sits further back from the edge. By moving it closer to your nose, it helps accentuate the hop aromas. Admit it, there is nothing worse than drinking something out of a can and getting a big ole whiff of aluminum.
Finally, the combination of lip and opening help create more of a glass drinking experience. Translation: you don't have to tilt your head back as far.
In order to experience this for myself, I opened both cans and sipped. In the pictures below, my head stopped when the beer hit my mouth.
There was definitely a difference. The Sam Can also left me with the feeling I wasn't making out with my beer. Notice those mushy lips on the right? Yeah, not pleasant to look at and not pleasant to experience.
To me, one of the best things about Samuel Adams coming to a can is just that: it's Samuel Adams. You know why all of those people on Facebook where mad about Samuel Adams in a can? They think canned beer sucks. No surprise there, 98% of beer in cans does suck. Why are the temperature senstive Coors Blue Mountains so important? Because if the Coors Light wasn't consumed a few degrees above freezing you would have the possibility of tasting how bad it is.
We should be excited that Boston Beer invested a lot of money into not just bringing Samuel Adams to a can, but improving the can experience. I, for one, am looking forward to the new places I can enjoy a Boston Lager. Like, for instance, on an airplane. My flying experience just got a whole lot better.
Sam Cans roll out this week. Figuratively and literally.
Note: Samuel Adams provided me with the demo cans. I ruined their aesthetics by posing with them.