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About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.

Cheers!
Mike

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Better Beer: Can or Bottle?

When I have a beer I prefer it in a pint glass, or a plastic cup if glass is not available.  This is not only for aesthetic purposes; since I can taste either the residual from the bottle cap or the rim of the can with every sip, the taste of the beer is slightly ruined because of the receptacle itself.

I've avoided beer in cans since cans are normally pretty filthy.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, next time you are about to drink from a can, take a wet napkin or paper towel and just wipe off the top.  Take a look at the napkin/paper towel after and you'll see what I'm talking about.  Therefore I generally buy beer in bottles to save me from having to take this extra step (and from wasting too many paper towels).

However, speaking of waste, while you can recycle both bottles and cans most of us throw out the bottle cap. While I did find this company that turns bottle caps into fishing lures, I am not a fisherman nor am I sure whether they will accept "donations" to turn any bottle caps into lures   But that doesn't seem very cost-effective to send bottle caps to Canada either.  My local metal recycling facility accepts bottle caps but at $265 per ton, that also doesn't seem cost-effective to collect hundreds (maybe thousands) of bottle caps and drive there for only a couple of bucks. Maybe one could start a collective with friends to collect and return enough caps to earn money to pay for the gas to drive out there and buy more beer to celebrate your new greener ways?  Again, this will probably require thousands of bottle caps.  Otherwise, I can only find suggestions for making crafts and knick-knacks out of bottle caps and no real information on recycling.  So bottle caps will continue to go into the garbage. 

Furthermore, bottles are heavier and bulkier than cans.  Consequently, shipping costs for bottles are higher since more fuel is necessary to ship them.  Cans are arguably more "sustainable" than bottles in that sense.  Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with the production of either bottles or cans so I cannot say for sure which one is truly "greener" in the production process. 

This "bottom line" mentality (cans are cheaper to ship than bottles) has, along with the "filth factor," lead to my avoidance of beer in cans - if a company is concerned with the cost-savings in shipping it is probably cutting corners in the quality of the product as well.  This is also why I avoid liquor that comes in plastic bottles.  True, any business wants to be as cost-effective as possible but quality should not be sacrificed to do so.  Most canned beers have been from "macrobrewers" so you can understand why I associate 'low quality" with canned beer too.

However, some "craft beer" makers have been releasing canned beer over the last few years.  Butternuts Beer & Ale makes some good beer.  As does Oskar Blues - like this Deviant Dale's India Pale Ale (which, by the way, is great):

Even the "bigger" craft brewers like Sierra Nevada, have been switching to cans.  I was surprised to see their Pale Ale in a 12-pack of cans - so surprised that I purchased it.  While it does take up much less space in my fridge than 12 bottles of beer, the lining of aluminum cans can release BPA.  While you'd have to drink 940 cans a day to get to levels determined to be unhealthy by Canada, I don't like the idea of trace amounts of unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals in my body.  To be fair, that's what alcohol is: unnecessary and unhealthy.  At least it's natural.

So how can I drink beer without feeling like I am slowly killing the Earth or myself?  Fresh from a keg filled with beer made by a local brewer.  Or home brewed beer.

In the end, in this "can v. bottle" debate perhaps one receptacle is no better than the other.  However, it's like the old saying goes - it's what is on the inside that counts.

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