The Cans of Summer

What do you do when you are in the grips of a record-setting summer heat wave? A heat wave that makes history?

We’ve been spending a lot of time at the pool, where we can relax with a cold beer among the shady trees in the picnic area, and then jump in the pool to cool off when we get too hot. Rinse and repeat!

Our pool has a strict “no bottles” policy, so we bring craft beer in a can, which is surprisingly easy to find these days as more and more brewers are packaging their beer in cans. Washington Post beer writer Greg Kitsock recently asked, What’s wrong with canned brews? and my answer to that is nothing – nothing at all. Over three years ago, I was promoting craft beer in a can and I like the light, tight package even more today.

My favorite line from Kitsock’s column: Cans create more “drinking occasions,” says Ryan Dailey, Magic Hat brand manager. “Cans are perfect for outdoor concerts, music festivals and other venues where bottles are typically not permitted.” Like the pool!

[For pictures of all of the cans, see the photo gallery below.]

I find a lot of canned craft beer at Magruder’s in Chevy Chase Circle, including:

  • Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA (Charlottesville, Virginia, 6.5%)
  • Breckenridge Avalanche Amber (Denver, Colorado, 5.4%)
  • 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon (San Francisco, California, 5.5%)
  • 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA(San Francisco, California, 7.0%)

Magruder’s also carries canned brew from DC’s own DC Brau:

  • The Public, an American-style Pale Ale (6.0%)
  • The Corruption, an IPA (6.5%)
  • The Citizen, a Belgian Pale Ale (7.0%) (added on 7/25/12)

Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel, MD carries a lot of cans. Leinenkugel’s mixed summer 12 pack of cans was a great find! This 12 pack of light brews included:

  • Honey Weiss (4.9%)
  • Sunset Wheat (4.9%)
  • Berry Weiss (4.7%)
  • Summer Shandy (4.2%)

From Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Canned beer has instant credibility when a brewery like Sierra Nevada starts canning. I bought a 12-pack of canned Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – a classic session brew that is perfect for cans. I also found tall boy four-packs of the fabulous Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. My tweet says it all.

Remember my last post on the Saranac 12 Beers of Summer 2012? And the new Blueberry Blonde Ale? Well, they can it and sell it by the 12-pack. Beth loves blueberry brew, so this 12 pack is perfect for her.

And by far, my favorite beer can find is Fat Tire. I buy 12-packs of canned Fat Tire at the Harris Teeter in Arlington. We brought Fat Tire on a camping trip to Southern Maryland — perfect with freshly caught Maryland blue crabs! Hell, perfect any time!

Updated: October 28, 2012

New Belgium also sells Tall Boys – 16-ounce cans of Fat Tire and Shift Pale Lager (see pic in the gallery below).

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