I play rec league softball (On the Walker Texas Rangers, the greatest rec-league softball team in the world), or, as I call it, "Beer League." And, as I'm constantly reminded when I arrive at the fields, there are no bottles allowed. Only beer in cans is welcomed. This is a shame because that restriction severely limits what beer I could bring to the field since most, but not all, craft beer is sold in glass bottles. Because of the whole "can thing" my team usually settles with "BL and Heavy" (Budweis style beer from Missouri; I refuse to say their name) and "Pibber" (The one with a blue trophy from the 19th Century on the side).
In the "beer-geek" world, many people (including myself) turn up their noses at beer in aluminum can form. Most will claim it's because beer in cans takes on some weird metallic flavors, but I would contend that it's mostly a subliminal stigmata that derives from the styles of beer that are most associated with canning. Up until a few years ago there was really only one canned beer option that didn't contain "American-style Lager" (piss-in-a-can). Oskar Blues Brewing really caused a stir when, in 2002, they began selling their beer in, of all thing, aluminum cans.
(Dales Pale Ale has long been a personal go-to in situations where bottled beer is inapropriate. From: Westword)
But recently, more and more breweries, especially in Colorado, have been turning to cans. Seeing the environmental benefit of the easy to recycle (and lighter) beer delivery medium, Breweries from Ska Brewing, to Wynkoop, and even New Belgium have begun to can some of their main line brews. (One of my favorite beers of the moment is Ska's Modus Hoperandi, which just happens to be one of their canned beers. It's a definite must try for hop-heads. Wynkoop's Rail Yard Ale is a tasty one as well, and is becoming more and more available.) Canned beers make for the perfect accompaniment for all of those outdoor activities that Colorado is famous for: hiking, climbing, skiing, outdoor team sports, etc. You can "Pack-it-in and Pack-it-out," as they say. While it may take longer to can than to bottle (according to the linked article, New Belgium's can line runs at 60 cans per minute, white their awesome bottle line goes at 700 bottles per min), the portability of cans makes it a viable consumer choice. In addition, canning opens up new markets, such as sporting venues, outdoor concerts and golf courses.
(Modus Hoperandi in cans outsold it's bottled brother 2-1 last year)
So Wednesday night, I bought beer for "Beer League." I swung over to the local liquor store and purchased some Upslope brew (which I discussed last month) which is only available (as far as I can tell) in cans. I'll tell you, it was a welcome respite from the pale yellow swill that I normally get on game nights, and I didn't even notice any off flavors. So fine, I'll accept good beer in cans as legit.