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The Aluminum Debate

The Elk makes the case for beer in a can this weekend

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For a long time, the beer can got a bad rap. It’s become a symbol of the lesser when it comes to the brewing hierarchy. Stores even relegated it to the wayward end of the beer aisle. That, as you should have noticed by now, is changing. The beer can is getting some hard-earned respect because — and this might surprise you — it’s superior to the bottle in more ways than one.

This weekend, the Elk Public House is standing up for the beer can, hosting the second annual Spo-Can Craft Can Beer Festival for two days in Browne’s Addition. The festival is set to feature more than 40 different craft beers, all of them served in good ol’ aluminum. There’s also live music to accompany your sipping.

“A big part of this weekend is definitely the educational piece. We’re trying to get rid of the stigma about canned beer,” says Marshall Powell, the Elk’s general manager.

Craft breweries are just starting to put their beers in cans, and not merely for novelty purposes. Ely Johnson, a Spokane-based “Beer Ranger” for Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing (the makers of Fat Tire) says that the benefits of canned beer is why his company has continued to focus on cans.

First, the opaque aluminum can prevents light from affecting the beer, something even dark brown bottles can’t accomplish. Also, aluminum cans ship much cheaper than bottles, which are both heavy and awkwardly shaped. Add to that the fact that aluminum recycles much more efficiently than glass and you’ve got a convincing argument.

Powell and Johnson also contend that beer just tastes better out of the can rather than straight out of a bottle — although Johnson says that if you can pour a beer into a glass, you should do it.

“With a bottle, there’s almost no way to smell the beer. With the can, there’s a larger opening and the way you put your mouth on it allows some aromatics to come out,” says Johnson.

Please, give the can a chance. 

Spo-Can Craft Can Beer Festival • Sat, June 1 from noon to close; Sun, June 2 from noon to 8 pm • Elk Public House • 1931 W. Pacific Ave. • 363-1973

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