Many of you might remember all of the purist uproar on the quality of beer in cans not too long ago and how according to Ray Daniels and Jim Koch there is a taste difference with cans. Can you imagine what would happen if one craft brewer were to use plastic? I think plastic is not the proper container for beer no matter what they do with it, I don't like it for any liquid because of the chemicals that might leak into the liquid. I am astounded that SAB Miller is trying to improve a poor package instead of improving their brewing methods so they don't have to advertise the size of the bottle or can opening to pour from.
What about cans and beer quality? After Jim Koch and Ray Daniels did their little twitter act about can quality I was suspicious that Ray was coming out as a favor to Jim in order to help Jim convince his stockholders there is a reason that he's not going to can his beer.
So, I contacted George Reisch, Masterbrewer at A-B, on can quality because I've talked to brewery people during A-B tours in the past about the canning process and what I was told and saw led me to believe that the quality is even better in a can. George confirmed my thoughts and we discussed oxygen levels as probably being the only problem and he said that the levels are only very slightly higher than in a bottle and will not make a difference in the taste of the beer. And because the can keeps out ALL light it is actually a better package than bottles and you can point to kegs as an example of quality in a dark environment. He also mentioned that people could argue that kegs aren't a great package because of some of the plastic or rubber parts that come in contact with the beer even though the effect is nothing.
The key to cans is how you consume it. He told me to pour filtered water halfway to the top in two large mason jars. Seal one of the jars and then place a can of beer in the other jar and seal it. Leave them on a counter overnight and see the difference the next day. The jar with just water will look the same but the jar with the can of beer in it will have dark water which is all of the dirt, dust, and bacteria coming off the outside of the can.
There is nothing written that bottles won't do the same thing so might want to try that test with a bottle and place it so the crown is underwater. Bottles allow more air into them after time than cans and try an import that's been on the shelf for a while and notice that wonderful flavor. The best way to enjoy beer is to pour into the proper glass with the correct amount of foam so as to consume it the way the brewer intended it to be enjoyed. You can see a video on it here, http://craftbeerplaces.ning.com/page/resources