As craft beer in cans becomes more common, breweries have realized that what’s on the outside of the can is just as important as what’s inside. Cans have far more real estate for design than the paper label on a bottle, allowing them to become true works of art.
One of the most striking examples of can design comes from Stillwater Artisan Ales, the gypsy brewery run by Baltimore’s Brian Strumke. Yacht, a “dry-hopped session lager,” is packaged in a sleek tallboy with a matte-silver front and soft blue-and-gold racing stripes.
The nautical colors and sans-serif font make the package seem elegant, almost regal. It’s an eye-catching piece of marketing: I ordered one at a Capitol Hill bar last week, and a guy a few stools down leaned over to ask what I was having. That almost certainly wouldn’t have happened if my beer had arrived in a pint glass.
The beer itself is fantastic for a summer afternoon: a dry, biscuity lager with a nose of lime and citrus. Flavors are relatively mild, though the earthy, grassy hops stand out before a quenchingly bitter finish. At 4.2 percent alcohol, it’s a very easy-drinking beverage, and it’s very easy to have more than one.
Stillwater Yacht. www. stillwater-artisanal.com. Four-pack of 16-ounce cans around $11.
— Fritz Hahn