Crafty stuff: Can you dig it?
THE 'bottle v can' debate is probably one that will rumble on, probably with no conclusive resolution (sound familiar?) but it's undeniable that metal-encased beer is becoming more and more prolific.
Huddersfield-based brewers Magic Rock have long been leading lights in canned craft beer, but their recent line of 500ml cans – generally referred to as 'tall boys' – has cranked things up a notch.
I picked up couple in the Drink Link in Newry last week and wasn't disappointed.
Fantasma pours an amber colour and has a nice hazy appearance. There are some beautifully juicy aromas going on, I got some peach, mango and grapefruit on the nose, which really gets the mouth watering.
There are some fantastically complex flavours in there too. There's a dank taste and those juicy aromas certainly signpost the fruity flavours to come.
There's a nicely rounded stone fruit taste and tropical hints of papaya and mango. It has a soft bitter finish, nothing overly eye-watering and it's quite a gulper – a bit worrying as it comes in at 6.5 per cent abv.
Still, it's very refreshing and packed with flavour, it's also gluten free, which is good news for coeliacs.
Telepathy has a slightly murky look to it and also pours an amber colour. It has aromas of orange peel and pineapple and there's a whiff of sweet malt to it too.
They have used oats in the brewery which gives it an every-so-slighly creamy mouthfeel and certainly contributes to a smooth beer.
In terms of flavour, it's quite cirtrusy and piney, with a slighty herby hint to it. It has a quite long finish and some of the bitterness lingers for a little, but it has a fresh, satisfying taste.
It's just north of 7 per cent abv, so a few will have you feeling as hazy as it looks.
Four Pure are another pioneer of canned craft and while in the Drink Link I also grabbed their very own tall boy, Juicebox. The labelling makes it look like a soft drink, but it's anything but, coming in just shy of 6 per cent abv.
But it lives up to its name perfect. Lovely fruity aromas, with a bit of orange peel and tropical fruits and flavours of mango and citrus and rolling, soft bitter finish.