Best buys | Sixpoint Bengali Tiger - in a can!

Best buys

Sixpoint Bengali Tiger - in a can!

This week’s post on the Guardian’s Word of Mouth section about Wetherspoon reminded me that I hadn’t yet tasted the three cans from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery they’re now stocking.

I confess I’d made up my mind they weren’t going to be much cop - after all beer in a can was almost uniformly rubbish back in the day when I was first drinking beer. But technology has moved on and canning has apparently become all the rage among craft brewers in the US.

They also have practical advantages as set out in this article on the Wetherspoon site by beer writer Jeff Evans. Cans are lighter, easier to stack, quicker to chill and effective at excluding both light and oxygen.

But is it any good? I must say I wasn’t overwhelmed by The Crisp, a 5.2% Pilsner that did seem to me to have a bit of a tinny taste despite being told that new canning technology avoids this. (The cans are lined with plastic which I’m not totally convinced is a good thing though it obviously avoids metallic taint.)

I quite liked the rich hoppy Sweet Action (5.4%), described as ‘part pale ale, part wheat, part cream ale’ though, as the name suggests, it is on the cloying side.

But the 6.4% Bengali Tiger IPA was a very decent drink indeed with a nice note of bitterness to counterbalance the big wallop of hops. You could, as they suggest, easily drink it with a steak.

There’s a lot of over-the-top blurb on the cans including, in the case of Bengali Tiger, a quote from Blake “What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” (wonder what they had to pay to use that?) as well as wittering on about how the beer ‘strides forward with a malty cadence then leaps with a wave of bitterness ....slashed with a giant paw of citrus, pine and resin.” But they’re not designed to appeal to cynical hacks like me.

Anyway sounds like we’ll be seeing a fair few more upmarket beers in cans over the coming year. Brewdog (natch) and Camden are both reported to be investing in the technnology, according to Evans. And I have to admit these new beers will be terrific for beer-can chicken (recipe here).

The beers are available exclusively at Wetherspoon pubs at £2.89 a 355ml can or £5 for two (except in Scotland which doesn't allow multibuy deals) though prices may vary from pub to pub.

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