Don't Kick the Can 

We test a trio of newly available cans

Think of cans as mini-kegs; after all, brews on tap aren't packaged in glass. Cans have distinct advantages over bottles. They are lighter and more recyclable; they chill more quickly; and most importantly, they keep the beer fresher. This week, we have a trio of newly available cans: the anxiously awaited roll-out of full-metal-jacket Sierra Nevadas and the latest gluten-free entry.

Joseph James Brewing Fox Tail Gluten-Free Ale

In the glass, this brew is crystal clear with a pale golden hue more like ginger ale than beer. The head is very thin and fades quickly. The aromas are light but pleasant with soft citrusy hops and a touch of sweetness. In the mouth, the beer has subdued carbonation and smooth hops. A nice citrus tang comes through on the finish, along with a touch of spice. If you're on a gluten-free diet, give this one a try. It's a refreshing ale that's more beer-like than some others I've tried.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Can Conditioned

How do you make a classic pale ale better? You put it in a can. As good as the bottled version is, this is even fresher, and to my taste has a slightly bigger hop bite. This beer pours a lovely amber with an admirable head that persists nicely. There are floral hops, biscuit and citrus on the nose, with creamy smooth malt and impeccably balanced hops in the mouth. This California classic is available in 12 packs.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

In the glass, this beer looks a lot like its pale ale cousin, but in every other way it's amped up. There are bigger pine-laced hop aromas with nice grapefruit and a touch of black pepper. The brew maintains a beautiful balance on the palate, where resiny hops wrap around tropical fruit, apple and herb. Packaged in 16-ounce four packs, this one is a world-class favorite.

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