Hey, tinnies are back, you haven't heard? No longer confined just to average lagers at glass-free festivals, cans are back, baby, and they're better than ever. Once renowned as metallic-tasting tubes of terrible swill, can technology (it's a thing) has blown up in recent years, putting tinnies at the forefront of beer receptacles. It's proven that cans keep the beer chilled longer (as well as cooling quicker), and protect those precious hops from their greatest enemy – the sun. Like Mr Burns, cans only dream of blocking out the sun for our benefit. And while it seems that every brewery is doing something in cans, it can be hard to know where to start. Well, here's 5 of your best local choices for backyard tins or festival smashers.
Co-Conspirators – The Matriarch NEIPA
The New England India Pale Ale (or NEIPA for those with less time on their hands) has been blowing up in the US for several years now. Hopped into oblivion, the style retains residual yeast particles and a small percentage of oats to increase that mouthfeel and gives the beer its characteristic haze. Expect tropical fruits in abundance, with a distinct breakfast juice vibe making this a true anytime beer. Complemented by Melbourne's Pocket Beagles' cartoon design, this is a winner from start to finish and the perfect companion for when that heat rolls in.
Exit Brewing – Pale Ale
Fresh from the opening of their Bridge Road Richmond 'Bar Uitgang', ex-IT (Exit – get it?) workers Frase and Grum have jumped on the can-wagon with their ultra-drinkable pale ale. Lush citrus and tropical fruit aromas is backed by a strong-enough malt skeleton make this a perfect prospect for those wanting to balance flavour and drinkability. Plus if the can colour doesn't have you singing Icehouse's Electric Blue then you've come to the wrong place.
Balter – XPA
The term XPA provides a great deal of confusion considering the style itself is relatively uncomplicated. It stands for 'Extra Pale Ale' (the X makes it sound cool), a designation referring to the paleness of the malt, whilst also displaying those big, tropical hops that everyone wants. Balter's XPA is among the best of a growing bunch (including Wolf of the Willows and Hawkers in recent months, among others), having just taken out the top gong in the GABS 2017 Hottest 100. Not too shabby for a beer that until recently clutched Mick Fanning's co-ownership as its biggest draw. The beer itself is a study in balance, blending a very dry malt to a tropical hop bill but restrained bitterness. It's going to be the new gateway beer, so Stone and Wood best be looking over their tanned shoulders.
Wolf of the Willows – Acidulus II
Okay so in the summer, we're drinking beer. It's a sure thing, and you know it as well as anyone could. But if there's one thing that quenches a thirst like no other, that few beers truly achieve, it's acidity. It's the reason a lime-heavy gin and tonic or crisp riesling just gets the job done. Wolf of the Willows know this, and their Acidulus II (sounding as some ancient Babylonian king) marries a light, fruity pale ale with enough lactobacillus to sour it right up. It won't strip the enamel off your teeth like some of the bigger sours out there, but it provides a counterpoint to bitter, fruity hops and is almost too drinkable. Get your stubby holders out because this is one for the backyard.
Moon Dog – Beer Can
Look, they didn't have to spend forever coming up with the name, so they must have spent that extra time perfecting the beer inside. It's not complex, but it's not a pushover. It's not a flavour bomb, but it's not Corona. It's a subtly tropical lager, packaged in lots of 10 (or 30, if you're thirsty) and designed to aid in that most noble of summer pursuits – refreshment. Moon Dog spend much of their time testing the boundaries of good taste when it comes to beer that it might seem to the casual observer as if they're only in it for the weirdness (Mi Goreng brown ale and bluer-than-blue Fruit Tingle IPA spring to mind). The Beer Can, however, is their ode to simple summer pleasures. Of all the beers on the list, this will be the easiest drinker. Take a 10 pack to a family barbecue and watch the dads suddenly drink a craft beer. Makes that Peroni lose its lustre, hey?