Hands on test with Sam Adams new beer can

Colin Joliat

Much has been made of Sam Adams spending a small fortune to make minor changes to the standard beer can. The question is, does it really make a difference? A can is a can, right? I was sent me 2 Boston Lagers, one in a regular can and one in the new style. So could I tell them apart?

Yes, there is definitely a difference. It’s not going to change your life, but it’s certainly noticeable. You immediately get more of the hops and malt flavors because of the wider lid and recessed opening. They allow more aroma to reach the nose, which is really what it’s all about. That’s why glasses are always recommended over cans and bottles.

The new angle of the ridge, which mirrors that of their “Boston Lager Glass,” effectively puts the beer right at the front of your palate where you really get the sweetness from the malt. For those with a bad neck, it also means you need to tilt your head as far to pour those last few drops of glory down your throat.

If a brand that was already canning made these changes, I don’t know how much coverage it would have gotten. Because Sam Adams was free to start from scratch though, they could rebuild the can from the ground up. The changes are noticeable and beneficial, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other craft breweries adopt the new can given that Sam Adams is offering them the design specs for free. These are ideal for the added mobility (think beaches and park), but I’d still recommend drinking flavorful beers from a glass whenever possible.