Friday Tastings: Our Favorite Canned Beers

Can it, cover it, drink it cold.

The microbrew industry has recently reconsidered its stance on the long-maligned beer can. Turns out the things protect your brew from light and air, travel better, and are better for the environment. But we have our own, less scientific reason for going aluminum this Memorial Day Weekend: patriotism. A can of beer is Americana; it’s Dad mowing the lawn on a drowsy Sunday; it’s koozies and back-porch barbecue, and the game on the radio. If you’re feeling similarly nostalgic, we’ve vetted some frosty options for your holiday weekend cooler.

Once a two-man operation peddling lager from a truck, Brooklyn Brewery has grown into an international brand. Their Summer Ale, available from April through June, is our favorite seasonal offering, with pleasant bread character and a snappy citrus finish. It’s brewed with English barley malt, plus German and American hops, and clocks in at 5% alcohol.

Pork Slap Pale Ale, from the Butternuts Brewery in Garrattsville, NY, offers what most silly-named labels do not: tasty beer. Two Row North American barley, English crystal malt and a skosh of ginger make for a malty and mild (4.3% ABV) beer that’s more pat than slap. But call it one for the East Coast locals; Pork Slap isn’t widely distributed.

Oskar Blues Brewery in Colordao is oft-credited with kick-starting the can revolution, and their flagship brew, Dale’s Pale Ale, is a worthy ambassador. But don’t neglect Mama’s Little Yella Pils, their newest offering, a quaffable Czech-style Pilsner made with 100% malt, and less muscle (5.3% ABV as opposed to Dale’s 6.5%), which is good for Frisbee throwing and staying awake on a sunny afternoon.

The Summer Solstice Ale from The Anderson Valley Brewing Company (solar powered, apparently) is the one to reach for if you’re thirsting for a smooth, unchallenging refresher with an undercurrent of banana chips and surprising potency (a not insignificant 5.6%).

Finally there’s Coors Banquet, beer of choice for Benjamin Braddock, Hud, and a certain member of the Gilt MAN staff. It tastes just like you remember, and suits a casual summer BBQ as well as any obscure, expensive craft brew.

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  1. Thadeous says:

    Obviously, I can’t disagree with your subjective favorites, but any offering from 21st Amendment Brewery Company is top-notch. Since they’re in San Francisco and I’m in Boston, it’s hard to find, but well worth it when I’m able to come across any. My roommate loves it so much that he specifically asks our local beer vendor to order it just for him. Quite an endorsement.

  2. null says:


    I was thinking the same thing about 21st reading through this. They recently started getting distributed at beer bars in the Ohio Vally, not sure if they have reached farther east, there is a stronger local microbrew culture to compete with on the east coast.

    Another notable addition: bars like Motr in Cincinnati that explicitly focus on canned beer that is not pabst.

    Also, coors banquet, really?

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