Is it better to enjoy the beer we love out of a bottle or can? A lot of people will argue that enjoying a good beer is a matter of having a cold beer in your old beer mug.
But let’s focus on the question at hand and finally settle the score: which serves the better-tasting beer, the bottle or the can?
Beer Cans Vs. Beer Bottles – Who Is the Real King of the Beer Vessels?
To end this debate, we have to pit the can and the bottle against each other mano a mano.
We will judge the bottle and can through 5 different criteria. The beer vessel that scores the most in all these criteria will be crowned the undisputed king of the beer vessels.
The 5 criteria we will measure each vessel against are Portability, Beer Protection, Recyclability, Convenience, and Taste.
The mechanics to this most hallowed of contests are as follows:
- Best in each criterion gets 1 point (except for Taste, which we give 3 points)– The vessel that performs most effectively in each criterion is awarded the corresponding point/points.
- The vessel with the most points wins.
Let the Battle Begin!
Note that we will only test both vessels in a single bottle/can scenario context, since we normally consume 1 bottle or can at a time.
Crack open a cold one and pour yourself a beer in your old German beer mug because it’s time to find out if bottle or can is the way to go!
Portability is defined as the ease with which an object is carried or moved.
Let us compare a 330 mL bottle of beer to a 330 mL beer can in terms of portability.
Beer bottle – The bottle alone weighs an average of 210 grams with variations among brands. Add the 330 mL beer content, and you will be carrying around a beer bottle of a total average weight of over 500 grams. That’s half a kilogram you’re carrying, which is quite substantial.
Beer Can – An empty 330 mL can weighs around 9 grams. Virtually nothing compared to an empty beer bottle. A 330 mL beer can will be lighter and easier to carry compared to a bottle with the same amount of beer.
And also, dropping your can of beer will not result in broken shards of glass everywhere.
Decision: By being lighter and less dangerous, the beer can takes the Portability round from the beer bottle. One-nil to the beer can.
Beer Bottle: 0
Beer Can: 1
Beer protection is the ability of a vessel in keeping its beer contents fresh and palatable. Remember that beer exposed to light, oxygen, or heat loses its distinct fresh flavor.
Beer Bottle – Bottles do not do a great job against light damage, as light can pass through a beer bottle, causing beer to be “skunked.” Beers exposed to sunlight will taste nasty.
Bottles will do a good job of protecting your beer from oxygen but will heat up and ruin beer’s freshness if exposed to heat for extended periods.
Beer Can – Cans completely block light and oxygen from ruining beer but will also heat up and compromise beer’s freshness when left exposed to a heat source for long periods.
Decision: As cans protect beer from 2 out of three things that compromise its flavor, beer cans win this round.
Beer Bottle: 0
Beer Can: 2
Empty cans and bottles are both 100% recyclable materials. So, for this criteria, the winner must be the vessel that is more environmentally friendly.
Beer Bottle – Bottles are heavier and take up more space during transport. Thus, will cause more carbon emissions in their life cycle.
Beer Can – Cans are lighter and have a more efficient freight-to-fuel consumption ratio compared to beer bottles. A thousand crushed cans will take up only a tiny fraction of the same number of beer bottles.
Decision: If both bottles and cans are recyclable, then the winner of this round is the one that has less impact on the environment. The beer can takes this round yet again.
Beer Bottle: 0
Beer Can: 3
Let’s test each beer vessel’s capabilities in terms of ease of use.
Beer Bottle – Aside from a few brands that use easy twist-off bottle caps, you will need to use a bottle opener to open beer bottles. A bit of an inconvenience when you are out camping or on a picnic and forget to bring a bottle opener.
Beer Can – A beer can will always have an easy-open tab that any beer drinker can easily handle.
Decision: Beer cans are self-reliant in the convenience category, and take another point this round.
Beer Bottle: 0
Beer Can: 4
This is the most important and trickiest criteria to judge.
Some beer drinkers say canned beers taste like the can they came in. But that is not entirely true. High-quality, food-grade aluminum cans do not lend their taste to the beverage that they carry.
That is why we think that we should judge both beer vessels for this category as if they carried their beer contents in their most ideal conditions.
Beer Bottle – An ice-cold beer bottle that wasn’t exposed to light for long periods will contain beer that tastes as good as any other beer. All beer drinkers have experienced this and this is probably the reason why beer bottles are still used to this day.
Beer Can – Crack a good, fresh can of beer open and you will enjoy a great-tasting beer. A food-grade beer can that has not been exposed to heat will always contain good beer.
Decision: Beer does not taste good because it is drunk out of a can or a bottle. Good, well-handled beer will always taste good whether it is served out of a bottle, can, or a stein beer mug!
Enjoy beer from a can or bottle because, in this category, both cans and bottles get all 3 points.
Beer Bottle: 3
Beer Can: 7
This little contest was not as straightforward as we thought it would be. This effort to find out if beer tastes better from a bottle or can has only proven that both can and bottle will serve good-tasting beer!
Nonetheless, the beer can has to be crowned the undisputed winner!
The beer can is a more convenient and environmentally friendly way to enjoy the same great-tasting beer. It's more than a worthy reason to choose to drink beer from a can over drinking beer from a bottle.