Among topics tirelessly debated by the craft beer community is the importance of packaging. Are cans better than bottles? Is draft beer superior to all? Is it even possible to answer these questions objectively given the sheer number of scientific and sentimental variables at play?
Like many things in beer and life, it all depends on whom you ask. On the one hand, beer is beer, says Ralph Marion, a bartender and brewer who runs the Instagram account @BeeredBlackMan. “When you’re making a beer, it all comes from the same batch. One batch isn’t going to be only for the cans or only for the kegs. They’re the same beer.”
Still, several factors affect how and why a draft pour might taste different from the same beer in a can or bottle, Marion says. Some are related to how the beer was packaged, others are more dynamic.