Canned beer is having a moment. Long associated with mass-produced, watered-down drivel, the can's resurrection has been championed by the craft beer community, who are finally appreciating it in all its awesomeness. Brewers love them because cans keep out sunlight better than any glass, and you can't beat the metal seal in the fight against oxidation. Cans also get cold faster. For consumers, cans have a visceral appeal. It's all about the grip and rip of the tab. It's the sound of refreshment. And, let's not forget, cans allow for incognito beer consumption, if that's how you roll.
To honor the can — and all that it provides during these dog days of summer — here are some amazing canned beers and some great eats to pair them with.
Highland Park Brewery Bonkers IPA, West Coast IPA
IPAs will forever be the flagship beer of the American craft movement. Met with equal parts scorn and celebration, this style is done best right here in California. My favorite find is Bonkers IPA from Highland Park Brewery. They're a tough get, only available at the brewery, on a limited schedule. The can resembles an energy drink, so it's great for when you need to camouflage alcohol consumption around your obnoxious/fit friends.
Pair it with: Howlin' Ray's: Only for those down to turn the heat up. The hot chicken at Howlin' Ray's is already super hyped, but a good IPA makes it hurt so good. And at 7 percent, Bonkers won't push you too far in the red. 727 N. Broadway. #128, Chinatown; (213) 935-8399; howlinrays.com.
Dudes' Brew Kolschtal Eddy, Kölsch
I'm glad breweries in California dig this style. It's warm-fermented like an ale but conditioned as a lager, giving it the best of both worlds. The Dudes' Brew version is light and crisp, but there's some sweetness from the 5.5 percent ABV. Overall, it's a smooth ride.
Pair it with: Berlin's: There's no reason you shouldn't pair this delicious Kölsch with a great doner kebab. And the one served at Berlin's is serious business. Great sauce, great meat and great bread. Kolschtal Eddy cuts right through the middle. Berlin's is opening new shops in Koreatown and Venice Beach, but it also delivers, so you can try this at home. 8474 W. Third St., Beverly Grove; (323) 746 5409, eatberlins.com.
Figueroa Mountain Weiss Weiss Baby, Weissbier
A great weissbier is a thing of beauty, indeed. Buellton's Figueroa Mountain Brewing does right by fans of this style with the unfortunately named Weiss Weiss Baby. The hops don't overpower the sweet and slight malty backbone here, as is often the case with California breweries. It respects tradition for the most part, and in turn makes an amazingly refreshing summer staple.
Pair it with: Best Fish Taco in Ensenada: If I'm within half a mile of Best Fish Taco in Ensenada for any reason, I make a stop. It's cheap and delicious, with a boss outdoor spot that's never busy. Best of all, it's BYOB. A Weiss Weiss Baby pairs well with the whole vibe here. 1650 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 466-5552; bestfishtacoinensenada.com.
Modern Times Lomaland, Saison
Ah, saison. That beer craft breweries have been trying to force down your gullet for the last five years, but you just won't bite. You should. They're amazing, and Modern Times makes a great one. A touch of cloud like a white beer, refreshing like a lager.
Pair it with: Rita's: Saison pairs well with briny seafood and grilled pork and sausage if you're keeping score at home. But for a hard left turn, get a mango water ice with vanilla custard from Rita's (an ice cream-truck orange creamsicle works in a pinch). 11073 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A.; (310) 445-3939; ritasice.com.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
The beer that launched a thousand craft breweries. For many beer lovers, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was their gateway brew. Here we are 35 years later, and it's still one of the most versatile American beers ever made. It's an emergency beer, too, which you can find at any grocery or corner market.
Pair it with: In-N-Out Burger: What better way to enjoy an iconic California beer than to pair it with In-N-Out Burger? Grab a sack of double-doubles from Culver City and take a sixer of SNPA with you on a train headed for Santa Monica. Then maybe sneak some sips on the beach. 9245 Venice Blvd., Culver City; (800) 786-1000; in-n-out.com.
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