I’ve always been interested in how the container affects the beer – it’s a hot topic after all, considering it’s the fundamental difference these days between CAMRA and the rest of the world (well, that and beards; clearly I have a foot in both camps).
I’ve previously compared bottled and draft London Pride, which was an experiment that came to no real conclusion other than that comparing beers at wildly different temperatures is bloody hard.
For this test, therefore, I’ve been able to get Flying Dog‘s Snake Dog IPA in bottled and canned form, and store them both in my beer fridge side by side, so when it came to the tasting they were both exactly 14 degrees, and both in identical glasses. It’s almost scientific!
Visually, they’re very similar beers – although this disguises that the canned version (on the left) exploded quite significantly on opening; if nothing else, it was a lot more lively than it’s bottled brother. This explosive opening contributed to a more open textured, less lingering head and also resulted in a slight murkiness. Aside from that, they have the same nice rich, golden orange colour to them.
The nose on both is similar; sweet sugar, orange fruit and a touch of peaches. The sweetness is less pronounced on the bottled version, while the overall aroma is stronger from the can, but they’re very closely matched.
It’s a big, magnificent tasting beer – a sticky syrupy start, rich with a ripe orange fruit overtone that’s met head-on with a big, floral, deeply resinous hop attack washing away the sweetness and leaving you with a satisfying but not overwhelmingly bitter finish.
The canned version has bolder flavours but they’re less refined – the sweetness is more sugary and the hop finish curtails too quickly. In the bottle, there’s a fruitier feel – the hoppy resin comes in more gradually and the finish lingers nicely. Even the bubbles are better from the bottle – finer, foamier, almost champagne like.
It’s no surprise, then, that the bottled version is my favourite – more controlled and complex. Which begs the question – why is canned beer suddenly getting trendy?!