Twelve years ago, I lived in Bucktown on Chicago’s northwest side, and one day I noticed a new bar had popped up along my commute on Damen Avenue with a simple name: Cans.
I thought to myself, “Why would anyone want to go to place that serves beer in cans?!?” Consequently, I never set foot in the place.
Though Cans was probably conceived as a trip down memory lane for fraternity brothers to put back a few of their favorites from the bottom shelf, more and more of today’s craft brewers are turning to cans to package their beer.
While the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered the first canned beer to its faithful following in 1935 (History Channel has the full story), it used to be that canned beer was only for the big boys of fermentation and synonymous with the cheap stuff. Certain canned beers are also popular with the hipster crowd.
But in 2002, Oskar Blues Brewery founder and owner Dale Katechis decided to package his craft beer in cans and launched a revolution.
SKB was pretty early to this revolution and in 2009 became the 53rd American Craft Brewery. Today, there are more than 500 brewers who can.
As my friend and SKB co-founder Clay Robinson is fond of saying, cans are a “superior vessel” for packaging craft beer. The reasons are plentiful. You can take it more places, it chills faster, and it blocks out beer’s two enemies: light and air, which in turn, maintains freshness and enhances quality.
On top of that, it’s a greener product as aluminum is infinitely recyclable and weighs less than glass. Since it lighter, less energy is necessary to get the product from the brewery to your local retailer. Another bonus for the can is more room for art and storytelling. Last and certainly not least, technological enhancements in the can liners have eliminated concerns of metallic taste.
The point of all this is the humble can deserves a celebration and some love. So what better way to honor craft canned beer than by inviting a bunch of great breweries that can to Indianapolis for the Second Annual Sun King CANvitational!
The CANvitational is the biggest celebration of canned beer this side of the Mississippi and throws down an exclamation point on Indiana’s growing list of breweries – currently at 92. While we’re bragging, Thrillist.com slotted Indiana at 18th in a recent ranking of each state by its beer.
Need more reasons to join us on Georgia Street and Pan Am Plaza on September 20 for the CANvitational? How about the chance to sample the newest CANlaboration between SKB and Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Ill. Solemn Oath and Sun King will produce 30 Minute Coma, a Belgian Session IPA (yes, yes and yes). And just like last year’s scrumptious Royal Brat CANlaboration by SKB and Three Floyds, this is a brew that’ll only come around once – miss out at your own risk!
With 40+ breweries from around the country and two from the UK, you’ll also get the opportunity to taste a ton of beers that you simply can’t find in Central Indiana or even the Midwest.
And just like the famous month of May in Indianapolis, Septembers in Indy usually feature excellent weather. Let’s hope for a picturesque day downtown just like last year.
My advice: Don’t miss this unique celebration and make a weekend out of it. If you’re not from the area (or even if you are), check out some of Indy’s downtown restaurants, ride the Pacers Bikeshare around the highly acclaimed Indianapolis Cultural Trail and stay at one of Indy’s downtown hotels.
There’s still time to get your tickets for the CANvitational at a discount of $10 before the day of the event (if they last, that is).
One more thing, tell us which brewery from this list that you are most excited to taste and why in the comments section and we’ll select one commenter to win two tickets to the big event.
Ryan Puckett is principal of two21 LLC, a communication firm focused on sustainability. Sometimes people confuse him for the bartender at The Libertine. Contact Ryan at email@example.com or on Twitter @rmpuckett.