Why does draft beer taste better than cans?

Answered by Randall Whitlock

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that draft often tastes better than beer from cans for several reasons. The most significant factor is the freshness of the beer. When beer is poured from a keg, it is typically consumed within a short period, ensuring that it is at its peak flavor. On the other hand, beer in cans or bottles may have been sitting on shelves for weeks or even months, causing it to lose some of its freshness.

Freshness has a significant impact on the flavor of beer. When beer is first brewed, it has vibrant flavors and aromas that are best enjoyed when it is fresh. Over time, however, exposure to air and light can cause the beer to oxidize and degrade in quality. This can result in off-flavors and a less enjoyable drinking experience.

Draft beer, being poured directly from a keg, is not exposed to as much oxygen or light as beer in bottles or cans. This helps to preserve its freshness and ensures that the flavors and aromas remain intact. Additionally, draft beer is often stored and served at colder temperatures, which further enhances the freshness and crispness of the beer.

Another reason why draft beer may taste better is the carbonation level. When beer is poured from a tap, it typically has a higher carbonation level compared to beer in cans or bottles. This can contribute to a livelier and more effervescent mouthfeel, making the beer more enjoyable to drink.

Furthermore, the process of pouring draft beer can also affect its taste. A skilled bartender or server knows how to pour beer properly, minimizing the amount of foam and ensuring a smooth and even pour. This can enhance the flavors and aromas of the beer, allowing them to fully develop as you drink.

Personal experiences have also shown me that the environment in which you consume draft beer can greatly impact its taste. Enjoying a fresh pint of beer at a local brewery or a pub with friends can create a unique and enjoyable atmosphere that enhances the overall experience. The ambiance, the company, and the overall vibe can all contribute to the perception of the beer tasting better.

Draft beer often tastes better than canned or bottled beer due to its freshness, carbonation level, pouring technique, and the overall experience of consuming it in a lively environment. The lack of exposure to oxygen and light, as well as the proper storage and serving conditions, help to preserve the beer's flavors and aromas. So, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend trying a pint of draft beer for a truly fresh and enjoyable drinking experience.