Missoula Gets Canned: New Big Sky Canned Craft Beer


One of Missoula’s beloved breweries, Big Sky Brewing, announced it will be releasing its Big Sky I.P.A. in cans next spring, joining the ranks of its other canned craft beer options: Moose Drool Brown Ale, Trout Slayer Ale, Scape Goat Pale Ale, and Summer Honey.

While canned craft beer is nothing new for Missoula — Kettlehouse became the first brewery in Montana to can beers back in 2008 and it currently cans all of its main beers — seeing the state’s largest brewery continue to push the canned beer movement forward, Big Sky is continuing a positive trend. In fact, Big Sky Brewing is bringing in three new fermenting tanks next month that will allow for this addition to their canned craft beer lineup.

So what’s so great about canned beer? Sure, they’ve been great for our college days of shotgunning, head-crushing empties, and tossing to buddies on the couch while watching football, but there’s a lot more to the beer can than meets the bloodshot eye.

First, they are environmentally friendly. Kettlehouse’s 16-ounce “pounders” are made from 80% recycled aluminum, and aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times. Aluminum cans are one of the most-recycled containers in the world and one out of every two cans sold does get recycled. A used aluminum can can be recycled and returned to a store as a new can in less than two months. Cans also weigh a lot less than bottles, which means it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly to transport cans of beer than beer bottles.

But what about the beer, man? Will it make my beer taste like licking a car key? No! The aluminum cans used for beer have a water-based polymer liner that will eliminate any metallic contamination or off-flavors. Mind you, the outside of the can is not lined, so to completely eliminate the chance of tasting off-flavors it is best to pour your canned beer into a glass if possible.

Beer cans stack easily, allowing you to put twice as much beer in your fridge than if you stock bottles. Beer will chill faster in a can than in a bottle (cause who likes warm beer?). Cans won’t break, so no more party fouls by your clumsy, accident-prone friends at your next potluck. Canned beer can be taken on rivers (bottles are banned on the Blackfoot River), to campsites, and thrown in your backpack. In short, you can go outside and play while enjoying your beer!

And the best feature of the can, the reason why it’s considered a serious improvement for beer, is that it eliminates light and oxygen from reaching your beer, which are the two main culprits behind “skunky” beer.

Plus, cans are cool. Currently, according to CraftCans.com, 144 breweries in the U.S. are canning 435 beers, representing 67 different beer styles in 41 states, including DC.

So, to everyone out there with a can of beer in your hand right now or in your fridge waiting to be opened, I high-five you because you’re cool!

Get canned, Missoula! And watch for the newest canned craft beer in spring 2012 — Big Sky I.P.A.


Thirsty for more? Missoula’s beverage expert, Ryan Newhouse, has more on tap: Beer Brings Jobs to Montana, BeerTrips.com Creates Getaways for Beer Lovers, and The Best Bars for Celebrating a Birthday.

Looking for a local bar or pub? Check out our Missoula Restaurants and Dining and Missoula Nightlife sections.

   Visit the Drink It Missoula archive.


Ryan Newhouse has lived in Missoula since 2002 and has tipped his glass in most of the town’s establishments. He is (in no particular order) a full-time writer, husband, and parent, and a part-time zymurgist. He makes a mean hard cider and pairs his cocktails with dishes from his blog, Cooked Animals: Recipes for Wild Game.