Pop The Top: The 15 Best Canned Beers

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Food BY Bobby Bernstein

There’s no denying that cans are more convenient than bottles. Cans are lighter, less breakable, and they’re also better for the environment.  But canned beers come with a stigma–that they all taste metallic and are, therefore, inferior to bottled brews. This may have been the case when canned beers were first introduced in 1935, but both brewing and canning technologies have come a long way since then, right?

There are now a growing number of canned suds that satisfy. Even Samuel Adams began canning their brews in 2013, paving the way for smaller craft breweries to follow the trend. But now when you go into your local beverage center, you might see a wall of beer which all look similar–which includes the less-tasty offerings from the big brewers. In fact, some of the big guys are now masking their mediocre beer with a craft-style can design (we’re looking at you, Anheuser-Busch). So without further ado, here are the 15 best canned beers.

Southern Star Bombshell Blonde

Southern Star Bombshell Blonde

Southern Star Brewing has more than a few great canned beers, but none of them are better than their Bombshell Blonde Ale.  It’s brewed with rahr special pale vienna malt and sterling hops that blend together for a smooth and creamy body.  This blondie is light and just a tad bit fruity, and is as refreshing as putting your face in a pale of ice water–drinking this is a better idea, though.

Tallgrass 8-Bit

Tallgrass 8-Bit

8-Bit Pale Ale is made with galaxy hops and has a slightly tropical flavor that is a great introduction to Tallgrass Brewing.  We have no idea why they named it 8-Bit Pale Ale, but the can’s graphic design is worth the purchase alone.  You’ll buy it for the can, but you’ll come back for the brew contained within. A brew that tastes out of this world.

Abita Purple Haze

Abita Purple Haze

The first thing I think about when I hear “Purple Haze” is Jimi Hendrix, and that’s the reason I originally picked up a pack of Abita’s Purple Haze.  It’s brewed with raspberry puree that is expertly added after filtration, which gives this wheat beer a fruity aroma and sweet taste, as well as a slightly purple coloration.  Pair it with any barbecue for ultimate enjoyment.

Half Acre Akari Shogun

Half Acre Akari Shogun

Sporting one of the most impressively designed cans in the beer industry is Half Acre’s Akari Shogun.  This brew is all about the citrus, with flavors of orange, lemon and grapefruit that are brought out by its carbonation, which is slightly above average.  A wheat and slightly nutty flavor follows the citrus, pleasing the palate more than words can describe.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist Heady Topper

Heady Topper is like the Kevin Durant of beers–you’re going to go to it over and over again because you know it’s not going to let you down.  If you like overpowered hoppy brews, then Heady Topper is definitely for you.  With tastes of tropical fruit, honey and citrus, you won’t find another can of beer more satisfying than this.

Santan Mr Pineapple

Santan Mr. Pineapple

Santan Brewing knows how to quench your thirst, and it’s probably because they’re located in Arizona.  They called this “Mr. Pineapple” for an obvious reason–the pineapple juice that’s added to it.  The fruitiness compliments its wheat base in a unique way that you just have to experience to truly appreciate.

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

It’s rare that I recommend stout-in-a-can, but Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy is the exception.  This expertly crafted brew is pitch black with a blend of chocolate and coffee that mask its 10.5% ABV–which is why it is called Ten Fidy.  It’s heavy and rich with medium carbonation.  It’s not for the beach or the pool, but if you need a convenient stout, this is the best of the bunch.

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Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Dale’s Pale Ale is the complete opposite of Ten Fidy, except that it’s just as enjoyable.  Oskar Blues knew what they were doing when they put their beers in a can, which is why they have two spots on this list.  Dale’s Pale is exquisite, with orange and pink grapefruit notes and piney, floral hops.

New England Brewing Gandhi-Bot

New England Brewing Gandhi-Bot

Aside from its awesome name and cool can design, Gandhi-Bot does so many other things right.  It expertly blends three varieties of American hops for a flavor that is floral and sweet. Beers with hyper-hoppy flavor have been done to death, but Gandhi-Bot stands out in the saturated market.

Cisco Brewers Whales Tale Pale Ale

Cisco Brewers Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

Ironically enough, we first tried Whale’s Tale Pale Ale after a whale-watching cruise off the coast of Boston, and weren’t disappointed.  It’s delightfully dry with a creamy caramel flavor and a malty, spicy finish that remains smooth throughout. Whale’s Tale is the best canned American example of an English pale ale.

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Harpoon IPA

Another American interpretation of the classic English style ale, Harpoon IPA is nearly just as good as Whale’s Tale, but is more likely to be available at your local grocery.  It has a smooth caramel flavor, balanced with the right amount of hoppiness. With a slightly fruity spin, Harpoon IPA is perfect for a backyard barbecue.

Brooklyn Summer Ale

Brooklyn Summer Ale

Summer in Brooklyn can be hot–hotter than people unfamiliar with the area might think.  But, Brooklyn Brewery crafted the perfect refreshment to beat the city’s summer heat: Brooklyn Summer Ale. This brew is all about the light honey and citrus undertones that is light on the palate and impossible not to enjoy.

Sixpoint Sweet Action

Sixpoint Sweet Action

Sixpoint Sweet Action is truly hard to define, as it blends typical pale ale flavors with hefeweizen and saisons to craft a creamy, spicy and very enjoyable brew. It’s much sweeter than your typical pale ale, fruitier than a hefeweizen, and not quite as spicy as a saison.  With a hint of smokiness, Sweet Action is an enjoyably unique mix of many different styles of beer.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon

Watermelon and beer sound like they go together about as well as peanut butter and rocks would, but that’s simply not the case.  The watermelon flavor is a very subtle addition to its wheat base, and it’s light body and earthiness make it the quintessential beach beer from a can.

Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

We love just about everything that Leinenkugel Brewing does (excluding its Berry Wheat), but its best brew is still their introduction to witbiers: the Sunset Wheat.  It’s taste is widely compared to that of Kellogg’s Fruit Loops, but it actually gets its flavor from blueberry extract.  It’s flavor is unlike any other brew, and you could easily down a few cans without a buzz, since it’s only 4.90% ABV.

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