Bottles versus cans has been one of the greatest debates that beer lovers have ever had, and while there are a great number of people who won’t touch beer from a can, I’ve never been one to avoid them. There are a lot of good reasons to buy beer in cans, including the fact that a 100% light-proof can is able to keep beer fresher than even the best bottle. Unfortunately, beer in cans has become associated with cheap, mass-produced low quality beer, stigmatizing aluminum as a symbol of the horrid, flavorless swill that craft beer lovers abhor.
Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing was one of the first craft brewers to start putting their beer in cans, and I don’t think the quality of their Fat Tire Amber or Sunshine Wheat has suffered one bit from the aluminum option. Since then, I’ve sampled other craft beers poured from aluminum cans, and I’ve been as pleased with the flavor and quality of those brews, proving that glass isn’t necessarily the only way good beer can be stored.
The main reason for beer in cans, though, is the simple fact that many places like beaches, parks, and concert venues don’t allow glass containers, due to the fact that nobody likes stepping on broken glass when enjoying the great outdoors. Sticking with glass has therefore limited the places where good craft beer can be enjoyed, a fact that has slowed the spread of delicious beer to the active, beer-thirsty masses. And until just recently, there wasn’t a single Arkansas beer that could be taken on the go, which given the increasing quality of our local brews is just a damn shame.
So imagine my pleasure this weekend at finding six packs of Springdale’s Core Brewing beer in cans during a visit to Colonial Wine and Spirits. Jesse Core has been producing some really great brews over the past few years, and I really fell in love with his products during last year’s Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival. I’d seen bombers (22 oz. bottles) of Core’s tasty line-up of beers in a growing number of Central Arkansas stores, but this was the first time I’d seen the cans, so I had to grab a sixer to take home. The beer in question was the Leg Hound, a Märzen / Oktoberfest style with a rich, malty flavor that’s nice and dry on the finish and goes down smooth and good. So how was it from the can? In a word: fantastic. Having had Core’s beer off the tap, I have to say that pouring it from a can produced no drop in quality, and the eye-catching can design is sure to make it stand out on the shelf.
Bottle-lovers may never convert to beer in a can, but if you’re looking for a beer to take to a place that bans glass, Core Brewing offers a nice way to promote great local beer — and a nice way to avoid those cheap, watery canned beers that have given aluminum such a bad wrap. I hope this is the start of a new phase of Arkansas brewing, which continues to grow into something that can compete with any national brews you can think of. It’s a great time to be a beer lover in Arkansas, and Jesse Core deserves credit for giving us another way to drink local, no matter where we go.