Does it really Matter?
Any serious beer drinker should be screaming a resounding, “Yes!” to that question. Although you may not know the exact reasons for the difference of a bottled to a canned to a draught beer, each method of storage can change the taste and aromas of Beer. While some beers may only come in one option, most of beers at least come in a bottle and draught. Is one better than the other? That’s typically for you to decide. Let’s review the pros and cons of each to help you understand why certain beers may be better served in a specific package.
Draught beer comes from kegs and is typically served in bars. The kegs are stored underneath the bar and connected to piping, which carbonates and delivers beer to your glass. Draughts have great protection against light as they are stored by metal casing, which gives no worry for spoiled beer. A draught’s flavor concentration can often have better results than a bottle or a can due to the fact that you must drink draught beer from a glass. This allows the beer to breath and releases some of its aroma. However, cleanliness and carbonation can become an issue, as they’re both at the mercy of the bar. The piping used to deliver draught beer to your glass must be cleaned regularly. If a rather lax bar doesn’t clean the lines properly, bacteria and mold can develop within the piping and drastically affect the taste of your beer. Carbonation is very similar, though brewers can recommend a level of carbonation for their beer, a bar might not follow the suggestion. Even the slightest change in carbonation can make a good beer go bad.
Typically the second option when drinking beer, just like draught, bottles have their advantages and disadvantages, the first advantage is their portability. They’re obviously much easier to carry around with you than a keg. Even if you’re drinking in a bar, the glass you’ll have your draught beer in can easily spill over the sides while a beer bottle keeps every last drop of your brew inside the glass. Secondly, breweries are very conscious of their cleanliness and keep all bottles sanitized before processing which keeps the beer fresh with its original flavor. Speaking of flavor, the concentration of flavor can vary, but for the most part, a bottle is very good at keeping the aromas and flavors snug tight in the bottle. One great thing about bottled beer is that, if you want your brew to breath, you can always pour it into a glass. The carbonation of a bottled beer is controlled by the brewery, which helps keep the intended taste of the beer in check. Unfortunately, the bottle’s biggest downfall is its vulnerability to light. “Light struck” is a term used when a beer is exposed to UV rays. Bottles are very vulnerable to this, as they provide almost no protection from the sun.
Some breweries use them, others don’t. It’s often thought as a cheaper option, and not for the good. However, in reality, cans offer just as good of beer than a bottle or draught with some more positive results. Similar to bottles, cans are very portable (more portable than a bottle actually), easy to open, and the brewer determines carbonation and cleanliness. However, unlike bottles, they can protect the beer from UV rays and prevent the beer from being “light struck”. Many people complain about the metallic taste that cans give off, however, that statement isn’t actually true. Since 1935, most beer manufactures add a thin plastic lining to their aluminum cans to deter that taste. Their one drawback is canned beer tends to lose its cold the quickest.
So when one asks if it really matters if beer is stored in a can, bottle, or keg, now you can answer with confidence. However, to argue which tastes best is completely a preference. While one drinker may think beer from bottles taste best, another may say draught. Though you may think the difference in storing beer is an aesthetic and flavor-affecting choice, it’s mostly based on cost and efficiency. It’s cheaper to ship a large amount of beer in a keg compared to the amount of glass bottles it may take or even cans. So when seeing a fancy beer handle at a bar which the bartender is pulling cold delicious beer from, that may not have anything to do with quality, just convenience. While bottles may keep beer colder, cans don’t break as easy and are stackable, good for selling. All of these factors mean one thing: you should drink beer the way you enjoy it most, because though everyone wants good flavor, the best beer is one that comes with a good experience.