Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caldera Ashland Amber

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.


Cooking Lager said...

For the UK market it's all just marketing. Bottles have an image for selling single units and you can charge a couple of quid. Cans are not sold individually, unlike other european countries, and I gather supermarkets don't want to flog single cans of beer as they think they will have to throw tramps and pissheads out of the store.

Of the premium ales that are in both bottles and cans these are the more well known familiar premium brands where punters know they want a few to go at and are not just trying something different. The cans sell at a lower unit cost per litre.

I don't think you'll see Tesco stocking single cans of craft beer anytime soon. They'll expect the single units in bottles.

Bailey said...

I'm not squeamish about cans. The only thing is, I'm sure some beers are brewed differently for tins than they are for bottles, London Pride being one example.

Leigh said...

Bailey - any details on what they do differently?

Bailey said...

I'm not sure, but I remember reading somewhere that Fuller's add hop extract to the bottles to give them a bit of extra character -- maybe they don't bother doing that with the cans? I'd be interested to know if anyone else has spotted the difference or if it's just my imagination.

Leigh said...

hmm...time for a taste/aroma test, methinks. another beer, I know, but over xmas I had Well's Courage Best in a can, and then in bottle straight after - aside from mouthfeel, there was a difference - the bottled was spritzier, and a little harsher in taste.