I’m not going to bore you with the details of the decades-old debate between can and bottle advocates, but rest assured, cans have their place in the beverage world. They’re easy to recycle. They keep the sun out. And they’re light to carry. So do what my cousin taught me to do back in high school: line your backpack with a few garbage bags brimming with ice, rip open a few cases of canned beer and then crack a can of craft goodness as you enjoy one of the best summers of your life!
Craft breweries in the DMV are on the cutting edge in more ways than just taste and unique styles. When DC Brau hit the city’s streets back in 2009 – the first in the nation’s capital since 1956 when Heurich House went under – they were intent on filling local coolers with city pride. Their signature punchy pale ale and subdued IPA, Corruption Ale (shout out to you, Congress!) are canned and ready-made for anything the outdoors brings your way in the coming months.
But other local breweries are now catching up with DC Brau and the canning revolution. Atlas Brew Works’ flagship brews, Rowdy and District Common, are both available in cans and sold locally. And the Eastern Shore’s RAR – or Real Ale Revival – is now widely available in stores throughout the DMV (try their Reaper, which, at 8.3 percent ABV, you may want to be sitting down for). You’d also be wise to hop on a mini-road trip and hit up their Cambridge, Md. brewery, which is walking distance from the Chesapeake Bay and the freshest crabs around.
Down in Virginia, Devils Backbone is also getting into the canning business. They came out of the gates with a refreshing 4.7 percent ABV Hefeweizen – the Trail Angel Weissbier – so whether you’re hiking in the Shenandoah or listening to wofty jam bands, make sure to grab an orange or two to accompany your Hef.
Throw Your W’s Up
No one knows the outdoors better than our brothers and sisters out west, so let’s start this tour in Colorado – a craft beer mecca. Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins just started canning their Loose Leaf Session Ale. It’s only 4.5 percent ABV, which means you’ll be able to sip it all day and keep standing until the stars come out and you leave the fest for a friend’s backyard BBQ. Oh, and their remarkable canning setup is cranking out more than 300 cans per minute, so I don’t think we’ll be suffering any Leaf shortages this summer.
Be That Guy: Bring Nitro to a BBQ
You wanna turn a head or two at a cookout this summer? Grab a four pack of Sam Adams’ new nitro cans. Nitro was made famous by Guinness, but we’re Americans, damnit! Just like the original Boston Tea Party way back in the day, the Boston Beer Company is taking an idea from across the pond and making it vastly better. They’re currently available in three varieties: Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA and Nitro Coffee Stout. You’ll wow anyone when you pop one and the heady foam bubbles up. These are better for a park concert than a festival, because once you pop it, you’re advised to immediately pour it into a glass.
Can’t Make Up Your Mind
Let’s face it. It’s summertime and you likely checked your brain at your office door on Friday before catching a happy hour. We’ve got you covered. If you don’t know what you – or your BBQ hosts – are in the mood for, just scoop a variety pack of CANundrum by Oskar Blues. It includes four of their staple Dale’s Pale Ales (which in its signature blue and red can often passes as a Pepsi at any place that discourages BYOB), four tasty yet muted Mama’s Little Yella Pils and four powerful Old Chub Scotch Ales. You can’t go wrong no matter what direction your taste buds direct you.
Sure, glass bottles are debatably better – or, at the very least, easier to consume – when you’re close to your own fridge, but this is the season to get outside and embrace all of the DMV, nature and whatever your wacky friends throw your way. Besides being easier to enjoy at outdoor venues, craft beer cans have made monumental strides this season. Why not show your appreciation, and cutting-edge style, by ditching the glass and grabbing a sixer next time you hit the local beer store? Oh, and don’t forget to pack plenty of water, too. It’s gonna be a hot one. Don’t be that wobbly one at the fest.