A New Orleans refrigerator, stocked with local canned craft beer for Mardi Gras.
As we are in the midst of Mardi Gras parade season, permit me to reflect on the wondrousness that is canned craft beer.
It wasn’t long ago that cans were assumed to contain crappy, flavorless beer. But over the past few years, more and more craft brewers nationwide have been proving that stereotype wrong.
Canned beer, first sold to the public in 1935 by Gottfreid Krueger Brewing Company in New Jersey, is a boon to all beer-drinking New Orleanians, since our open container laws prohibit drinking alcohol in glass out on the street. But craft brewers all over the country point to the can’s light weight (for ease of shipping) and opacity (to block out all skunk-causing light) as compelling reasons to can rather than bottle. Also, since Orleans Parish doesn’t recycle glass, aluminum cans are an environmentally superior option.
Here are my favorites to enjoy along parade routes, or at festivals, beaches, crawfish boils, or any New Orleans outdoor occasion:
● NOLA Brown is a great beer to be sipping by the six-pack on parade days. With an ABV of 3.9-4.0 percent, this full-flavored but easy-drinking beer is the first one I reach for when choosing cans.
● Tin Roof’s Parade Ground Porter. The coffee flavors are great for waking up the palate after a few hours out on the neutral ground.
● New Belgium’s Shift Pale Lager. It’s 5 percent ABV and drinks clean, refreshing and flavorful.
● On occasion, I’ll have the occasional higher ABV beer like NOLA Brewing’s Irish Channel Stout, Santa Fe Brewing’s Black IPA or Southern Prohibition’s 2014 IPA.
● I’ve heard great things about Terrapin’s RecreationAle, but haven’t tried it yet. I will as soon as I see it, though.
“No glass” no longer means “no class.” Everyone raise a can (or pour into a to-go cup) and enjoy!