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Really, Excellent Canned Beer

1009-DE-KTDK-02

The phrase canned beer likely evokes high-school memories of Milwaukee's Best, but the scorned packaging—which chills faster than a bottle and blocks light—is awesome, and now the brew inside can be sublime too. It's time to savor the sound of a popping tab. Rob Willey

THE RECOMMENDATION

1. Steamworks Steam Engine Lager
Origin: Durango, Colorado
Yes, it tastes similar to Sam Adams, but it's preferable by a long shot, with a sweetness and a peppery tang. (steamworksbrewing.com; $10 for six)

2. Caldera Ashland Amber
Origin: Ashland, Oregon
Crisp on the way down, This ale has a citrusy punch—courtesy of uncut hops—that improves a Tuesday night. (calderabrewing.com; $11 for six)

3. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Origin: Lyons, Colorado
The consistency and color of engine oil, this stout has just enough bitterness to make it feel like a drink, not a meal. (oskarblues.com; $13 for four)

4. 21st Amendment Brew Free! or Die IPA
Origin: San Francisco
Six different hops go into this bracing ale, yet bitterness is not an issue. (21st-amendment.com; $11 for six)

5. Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
Origin: Royersford, Pennsylvania
This isn't your average ballpark pilsner. Malt and hops give it a subtle heft that most pale brews lack.
(slyfoxbeer.com; $10 for six)

6. Butternuts Heinnieweisse Weissebier
Origin: Garrattsville, New York
This yeasty hefeweizen isn't so different from its German relatives—except that it's fresh when you get it. (butternutsbeerandale.com; $10 for six)

7. New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale
Origin: Fort Collins, Colorado
The tough-to-find canned version of this fruity, biscuity twist on red ale is worth the effort it takes to track it down. (newbelgium.com; $9 for six)

WHERE TO EXPAND YOUR DRINKING OPTIONS
When you're in the mood to try a new brew, look no further than these hops spots.

1. Chicago, Hopleaf Bar
Yes, Belgian brews get tons of play at this mellow North Side tavern, but the menu also includes French farmhouse beer, Italian chestnut ale, and Polish mead. (5148 N. Clark St., 773-334-9851; hopleaf.com)

2. Washington, D.C., Granville Moore's
Head to this out-of-the-way gastropub for almost 80 Belgian options. Top 'em off with the impeccable frites. (1238 H St. NE, 202-399-2546; granvillemoores.com)

3. Brooklyn, Beer Table
The select menu at this spartan beer cellar changes almost daily, and it always includes at least one choice you never knew existed—like a German Leipziger Gos. (427B Seventh Ave., 718-965-1196; beertable.com)

THE WIDE-MOUTH CAN

In beer-can physics, flights of imagination inevitably collide with hard-particle reality: No matter how wonderful near-frozen Budweiser feels when it hits your lips, that shit comes out only so fast. Thank goodness, then, for wide-mouth cans. Coors rolled out this feat of engineering over a decade ago, but it's more vital now than ever: When the stuffy guy on the next barstool swirls his stout, you can drown him out with a thundering cascade of ice-cold refreshment.

1009-DE-KTDK-03

READ MORE:
Craft Sodas
Unassuming summer wine
The best way to drink tequila

Photographs, from top: By craig cutler; Istock photo
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