This week certain markets will start seeing cans of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager hit their shelves. Colorado might see some of these cans first since we have some of the bigger canned craft market (Oskar Blues did pilot that shit, and they host an event every year celebrating it). However, before they set to the task of canning their beer, Sam Adam’s had to first reinvent the can.
Sam Cans are the result of brewers meeting industrial engineers in an effort to create something that they feel will truly accentuate their product. It is no secret that the vessel you drink from greatly impacts the overall flavor of the beer. It is why Black Shirt Brewing only serves their beer in the Offero stemware. Sam Adams already has a glass of their own that looks like a spaceship. It is also why Coors Light only ever seems to be served in a plastic cup. When it comes to the packaging of the beer, every brewery has different philosophies but generally the same idea. Bottles are brown and about 12 ounces. Cans are cans. Everyone has a different label. Growlers are 64 ounces, or 32 ounces, or 40 ounces, or whatever.
Hell, different styles of beer are supposed to be served in differently shaped glass. Nothing new. So why a different can? Apparently the slightly wider top will work to give you “a drinking experience that is closer to the gold standard for us, which is drinking Sam Adams out of a glass.” It will also save you from having to tilt your head back so far to get the last drops. Also, there is a ridge that will “push out flavors” as the beer is agitated over it. Also, you’re drinking beer from a can. Let’s not forget that part.
I love Sam Adam’s as much as the next guy, but I think some folks are getting a little crazy with their cans. Budweiser tried to get more attention for their cans by making them bow-tie shaped instead of doing something really crazy, like making a beer that isn’t yellow swill.
So if Sam Cans are going out and taking up shelf space next to the Sam Adam’s bottles, and we are truly concerned with the experience of drinking the Boston Lager, why wouldn’t we just drink from the bottle? Or pour the bottle/ can into one of Sam’s special glasses to enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed? Maybe the goal isn’t to make a can that suits the beer, but to design a beer that suits being in a can?
When it comes down to it, if the concern is “preserving the taste” then go with what works – bottles and kegs. If the goal is to get into the canned beer market, then make a beer that is unique to the can and only available in a can.
For novelty’s sake, I’ll likely buy a sixer of Sam’s Cans. I will be the ass that is paying special attention to how my taste buds react to the experience of having a Boston Lager straight from a can as I stuff down a styrofoam plate’s worth of barbecue. I will drink it side by side with a Sam Adam’s bottle, looking for particular notes, and in the end feeling jilted because it’s the same product in a different package.