Tasting Sesh Goes Canning: Keweenaw Brewing Co.

I visited Paul in Chicago for my last free weekend in the Midwest. With me on my trip, I brought two canned brews from Keweenaw Brewing Company. Over recent years, microbreweries have been switching to canned beer for several reasons. Cans are cheaper to produce, more environmentally friendly/recyclable, and, for the consumer, often more convenient.

These beers came in standard 6-pack plastic duck traps. I liked the design of the cans, which, when giving up the aesthetics of a bottle, is at least something to consider. The two we had were the Widow Maker Black Ale, and the Lift Bridge Brown Ale.

Kewanaw Brewing

Canned Black and Brown ales

We’ll start with the black ale. Let me first say this: Ow. I felt like I was drinking tinfoil. 100% of the aroma was metal. No hops, no malt, just metal. It gave me a pain at the base of my skull just sniffing it. The flavor was little better. Metal again was the dominant force in the mouth, with a few nutty malt notes, but little else. It was over-carbonated, and had the texture of Sprite. Paul and I fought over who had to finish it.

The brown ale was a little better, but, well, not normal. Here, the metal was significantly reduced, and the nose had a noticeable malt aroma, with a few notes of chocolate. The head was extremely frothy, almost milky, and mixed with the chocolate malt notes, gave it a strange milk chocolate taste. This, strangely, didn’t translate to the heavy body you’d expect, and left me feeling confused. As with the black, there was almost no hop aroma or flavor, and while the metallic taste was less than the black, it was still there, scraping across my tastebuds.

Now, I don’t want to come out and say all canned beers are bad and metallic and damn close to undrinkable, but, wow: D+ would not buy again. I don’t know if we just got a few bad cans, but even through the metal, there wasn’t much there in the beer to really interest me. The brown wasn’t awful, but I didn’t feel like I was drinking beer. I felt like I was drinking carbonated chocolate metalmilk. I want to try these same beers, non-canned, for comparison, but as it stands, if you some brown cans with a nifty design chilling at your local beer store, take a sidestep and try something else.