As the temperature climbs and the Fourth of July creeps nearer, cookouts will inevitably be a part of my plans. The question, for me, is never what food to bring to cookouts (cheddar brats…duh), but instead what beer to bring. Luckily, one of the hottest trends in the beer world is looking to make this dilemma quite a bit more interesting.
Admittedly, prior to this spring, I hadn’t drunk beer from a can in a very, very, long time. There are great benefits from drinking beer in a can, including the most satisfying “crack” of opening it and its welcome spot at any outdoor event. Despite this, a few things always disturbed me about beer in a can. First, the metallic tinge of flavor that was added when drinking beer from a can always was a huge turn-off for me. Secondly, there are simply only awful choices of beers available in cans. That is, until now.
I can thank the hot brew trend of the season, craft beers in cans. I’ve tried several of these this spring and summer, two of which came from 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Francisco, CA. Most recently, their Brew Free! Or Die IPA has been resting comfortably in our fridge.
First of all, this beer gets points for awesome name and can design. It really stands apart from the other beers in the distributor, which it should, because I would be quick to dismiss boring cans in the sea of fancy bottles. Out of the can it is a rich golden color with a moderate amount of thick head which stuck around. Its flowery aroma is pretty standard for an IPA, although less impressive than similar brews. While the mouthfeel of this beer is very pleasing, with a thick, satisfying, slightly carbonated sensation, I feel that its taste was good, but nothing to write home about. I was left hoping for a little more hoppy bitterness with this beer. The sweetness of the malts in this IPA was a bit too present, definitely not allowing the hops to take center stage. This characteristic made the beer quite drinkable, though, which leads me to decide that it passes my “cookout worthy” test.
While I found the beer enjoyable to drink, it left me unfulfilled as an IPA. Is this a consequence of the can? I don’t know the answer to that, but I feel that 21st Amendment Brewery can be proud of their success of improving the state of canned beer. I recommend it for your Fourth of July bash, as well with lunch or dinner. Finally, I feel that this IPA, because of its lack of bitterness, may be a more universal craft brew for those used to drinking the current “triple hop brewed” canned beer selection.
Let me know what you think about this beer if you have the chance to try it. Also be sure to check out my last beer review, Sweaty Betty Blonde.
By Beth Kerr