On March 2, Saint Arnold released the results of the first canning in the brewery's history; the Fancy Lawnmower kolsch and Santo "black kolsch" ("which technically doesn't exist as a style," according to the website) are now available in six-packs of aluminum cans at your local grocery and liquor stores. In April, the brewery will release the Summer Pils seasonal pilsner in cans as well.
To help get the word out, the brewery held an event at the historic Beer Can House (222 Malone) on Sunday, with proceeds going to benefit the Orange Show. We were there to try the beer, and, since I'd never seen it before, explore the house.
First of all, if you're a long-time Houston resident, you probably don't need much information about the Beer Can House, but in case you haven't been, I recommend it. It's not only a feat of artwork itself, but contains a number of terrific artistic pieces and photographs inside. Beer enthusiasts and historians will be fascinated not only by the flattened, sun-bleached cans used to construct the outside facade of the house, but also by the well-preserved collection of beer cans inside from brands long gone.
As for the Saint Arnold, a major question for some readers might be: Why didn't you can your beer sooner? We were able to ask Lennie Ambrose, Marketing and Events Director at Saint Arnold, why. He told us that while the brewers prefer bottles, patrons of Saint Arnold had requested cans for some time, but the holdup was practical, not ideological: The brewery simply didn't have the space for a canning operation until they bought a warehouse across the street.
The first release of the can line is limited to Lawnmower and Santo, which makes sense: The primary benefit of canned beer is its ease in transport and use in open spaces (where many parks, pools, etc. will ban bottles for fear of broken glass). Heavier, more intense beers that are meant to be savored slowly aren't the kind you throw in a cooler on a hot summer day and head outdoors to drink.
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One thing I can tell you is that the beer suffers no loss in quality coming in cans. The Santo is still smooth, with a lot of flavor for its light body, and the Lawnmower is just as refreshing as ever. In fact, my partner, never a big fan of the Lawnmower (she prefers Weedwacker), actually liked the taste of it out of the can better than out of the bottle. I don't know that too many people will feel that way, but the cans are worth trying regardless.
I'm most excited for the Summer Pils release in April; that beer is one of my favorites when I want something refreshing, and being able to bring it to a pool or when floating down a river is a prospect that has me excited for summer.