Canned Culture

“Nice cans!”

This is not something to yell outside of the dressing rooms at Victoria’s Secret, or at the wave pool on a crispy Saturday afternoon—or anywhere else, really. You creep.

“Nice! Cans!”

This is indicative of excitement and enthusiasm; it is an expression of that feeling you get when you’re standing in the aisle of a Costco looking at entirely too much pudding, or that sense of eudaimonia one develops when walking away from their favorite craft brewery carrying 16 ounces of the good stuff sealed away in sweet, sweet aluminum.

Recent studies show that, as craft beer has grown, so has the usage of aluminum cans. According to the Brewery Operations and Benchmarking Survey, almost 31% of the total packaged volume of craft beer in 2017 was comprised of cans, with new or smaller breweries focusing even more so on the trend. These smaller breweries had a heavy focus on cans in 2016, saw growth in 2017, and leaned into canned culture as the year progressed.

What’s so great about cans, you ask? A lot, actually! Let’s look at the positives together, and afterwards I’ll tell you about a few can releases you can attend yourself this week at some of the Burgh’s best breweries.

1. Sealed Up Tight

Aluminum-on-aluminum seals do not allow any oxygen into the can. Oxygen is good for us. We need it. Or we’ll die. Too much oxygen for beer, though, and it’ll go stale.

2. Photophobia

Turn off the lights! Isohumulones—chemical compounds in hops that contribute to the bitter taste of beer—are light sensitive. Exposure breaks the chemical down into free radicals which turns the brew foul. Aluminum cans prevent this, whereas those glass bottles of Miller your uncle brought to the Labor Day picnic to sit in the sun all day will most definitely taste and smell like pee.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

There is no arbitrary limit on how many times aluminum cans can be recycled. Within a span of several weeks, that empty can you made the conscious effort to put into the recycling bin can be smelted into an aluminum sheet, turned back into a can, and placed on your wholesaler or distributor’s shelf. Not to mention, cans weigh less than bottles—meaning more efficiency when shipping them or packing them onto pallets.

4. Express Yourself

Cans allow breweries the opportunity to stand out in the cooler. Funky beer names and artwork are as much a part of craft beer culture as the actual beer itself these days. Aliens and tightly-swirled neon colors may adorn the façade of your Interstitial Cosmic Contradiction New England Style IPA—a fake beer, but one you can imagine nonetheless. Can artwork has become a way to outwardly express the art that is found on the inside of the can, freshly packed behind those aluminum walls.

Listed below are a few local can releases slated for the week ahead. Get out there and experience some of this Canned Culture.

Wednesday, June 13

Jam, Dancing Gnome

Thursday, June 14

Chance A’ Shahrs Pale Ale; Seedless Watermelon Gose; Highway to Huell; Pedal Pale Ale; BigHop; Monkey Boy Hefeweizen; Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale, East End Brewing Company

Saturday, June 16

Exquisite Beast, Dancing Gnome

Sunday, June 17

RGB: Triple IPA, Hitchhiker Brewing Co. w/ Oakmont BBQ Food Truck

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