OK, here's a first for 2010 - my first craft beer in a can. Caldera's range seems to be can-friendly, like fellow compatriots Buckbean, but I have to admit that when I get the can of Ashland Amber out of the cellar, it's all a little rinky-dink for me. I stifle a little grin; it just looks like pop, is all.
The beer itself - which, packaging aside, is the main event - isn't bad at all. Amber Ale seems to have been taken to by our American Cousins, and in many ways I can see why. Ashland is smooth, sweet, dark amber in colour and with enough hops on the nose to suggest something 'craft', and a tight, tan head. It's just a touch lacking in body, but for a regular drinker it's not bad at all.
There's just something in the can that I can't quite get my head around. It's still so alien over here that to me, it does detract slightly from the product inside it. I know that only purists will argue about taste - to me, this beer had no different taste to a bottled beer - but that initial visual counts for a lot. I appreciate that we can get canned beer, but will that stigma of being 'the cheaper option' rather than 'The Good Stuff' ever disappear? Across the pond, more breweries are looking to canning as an option - Avery recently announced that they were dipping their toes in, alongside big hitters like Oskar Blues. Maybe in 12 month's time, we'll have to take notice of this quiet revolution.