I stopped by 21st Amendment yesterday to pick up a six-pack of their Watermelon Wheat in cans for a tasting later tonight. I had some on draft first and then had one out of the can. I couldn’t really detect any difference in flavor apart from the cans having more carbonation. It’s possible that’s because they were only filled a few days before and will settle down some but the cans I watched popped open all had a tendency to foam up out of the can. But that’s the only negative thing I can say, and that’s not much. But out of the can the beer was every bit as flavorful as on draft and I could detect no metallic flavors whatsoever. That evening, my wife and I each had a can with dinner — homemade chicken corn chowder that was a little spicy — and it worked quite well with our meal. My wife commented that since she’d been “trained to drink beer out of a glass” she was having a hard time drinking it straight from the can and she also noted the carbonation. Of course, I swelled with pride since I was the one who taught her that from before we even started dating. So just to see the difference, we poured about half of the beer from our cans into a glass. It produced an excellent pillowy white head and smoothed out nicely once the carbonation dissipated. The color was a clear light golden hue. Light and flavorful, it had that signature subtle but omnipresent watermelon character that defines this unique beer and which has led to its popularity. It’s an excellent thirst-quenching beer, a fruit beer for people who don’t think they like fruit beers. And it has a wonderful ability to cut through spicy food.
If people can get over the hurdle of the bias against beer in cans, they have a sure winner on their hands, I think. But since I share that bias against canned beer myself, I can’t see it happening overnight. I think part of the full drinking experience includes seeing the beer, watching it pour into the glass as the head rises up like a volcano threatening to escape the confines of the glass. Seeing the lace stick to the insides as the carbonation races into the air leaving the head to sink back down like a falling cake is almost magical. So I know I’ve romanticized drinking beer but it’s hard to shake such a potent image, even if I created it myself. But I’m also keenly aware that there are plenty of times when good beer in a can would be a godsend and I’d happily quaff one out of the can on those occasions. Hopefully, enough people will be curious enough about the novelty of it to give it a try. And I think if they do, they’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that beer out of a modern can manages to taste quite delicious and all our prejudice is rooted in remembrance of things past rather than on today’s reality. The technology is pretty amazing, that’s for sure. It’s gotten to the point where the only real criteria is how good is the stuff in the can. And in this case, the beer is quite delicious.