I don't think "tinniness", a convenient term to describe the way some import canned Euro beers taste, comes from the metal in most cases. I too have heard cans are lined with some type of enamel or other material to prevent contact with the metal. I think the off-flavours usually come from long storage and maybe some international shipping conditions. There is something about trapping European beer (particularly lagers) in a can which seems to produce these flavours after many months in transit, warehousing or on the shelf, I think too best-by dates are often kind of theoretical, optimistic one might say. A beer may last 3 months tolerably well, but 12 months or more? Well, some will, but not that many I think. I do feel I can tell when some beer is pasteurised too hard, there is a burnt caramel ("cooked") taste that sometimes gives this away. The problem is less severe than in the past, industry has gotten better at pasteurisation. And it has gotten better too at shipping beer internationally. Today, it is rare that a beer even in a green bottle is plain old skunky, that "stinky" taste that too often was a staple of many beer imports in the 1970's and 80's. But the bar is set higher today. We are used to fresh, unpasteurised beer now due to our micro producers who, when their beer is served in very good condition, make some of the best beers anywhere. So we expect more of our imports. Pilsener Urquel, which in my view is better in the can than in the bottle, innovated in this area by ensuring some years ago that its beer was brought in quickly. It is always very good now. And that DAB beer was very good, in my view quite a bit above any domestic commercial (big brewery) beer. Heineken is much better now too than it was 10 and 20 years ago. Heineken moved to all-malt production (about 10 years now I think) and that boosted quality too. I am not a fan in general of Heineken, but it is fair to note these remarks.
I exclude bottle-conditioned beers from these comments, they seem to do fine as imports and that is simply because they don't oxidise as fast if properly processed. The yeast in the bottle absorbs oxygen, neutralises it in some way, this was explained on another thread recently, maybe it was Perry who noted that.
Obviously the issues faced by local small producers to ensure their beers are served in good condition whether on draught or in bottle are different, I'm simply saying that some Euro lagers when brought in fast can show their stuff and in this sense offer inspiration to our brewers to live up to the best of the European bottom-fermented tradition. Theoretically our craft brewers should be able to exceed it but rarely have I had a Canadian micro lager as good as that DAB was. Obviously some are, e.g., Steamwhistle is very good now, so is the lager at that brewpub on St-Denis Street in Montreal (its Czech-style pils). There are other examples. But all things being equal, in my view the "typical" bottled (and even draft) Canadian micro lager just doesn't offer the complexity and style of that DAB, or Urquel. This is intended constructively of course. When beer is as good as it can be in one part of the market, beer in the other parts will get better, it is a mutually reinforcing thing. Indeed I think some exporters to our shores realised they had to get their beer here in as good a shape as possible because of the lure of fresh craft beer in the export market, so certainly I wouldn't argue it doesn't work both ways.
Last edited by old faithful
on Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.