Cans

"Micro-canned" real ale wins CAMRA accreditation

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Champions: the Bristol-based brewery have made history after winning CAMRA's accreditation
Champions: the Bristol-based brewery have made history after winning CAMRA's accreditation

Related tags: Real ale, Beer

A "micro-canned" beer from a Bristol brewery has become the first winner of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA's) real ale accreditation.

The organisation has hailed the Moor Beer Company's brew as real ale.

Tests were carried out on the “micro-canned” beer at the Great British Beer Festival​ and the beer qualified as real ale under CAMRA's definition.

The beer contained live yeast and its carbonation was created by a natural secondary fermentation, which was discovered in the 'quality control' lab at the festival which defines it as "real ale" and the "micro-canning" is a term which comes from the brewing industry which has developed ways on conditioning beers in a sealed can.

Developments

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said the brewing industry had seen many developments and the body had been working hard to ensure they were understood and fit in with its real ale definition.

He said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to show that “micro-canned” beer under the right circumstances can qualify as real ale, which means that more drinkers can get access to what we believe is the pinnacle of brewing skill – live beer that continues to ferment and develop in whichever container it’s served from.

“We’re hopeful brewers will continue to innovate and find ways of making real ale as accessible to drinkers as possible through these sorts of developments.

“We look forward to granting the accreditation to many more breweries producing canned beers in similar ways to Justin and Maryann Hawke's Moor Beer Company.”

Passion for ale

Justin Hawke moved from California to its UK base in Bristol because of his love for real ale. “When I made the decision to can our beer, there was only one way we were going to do it – fully can-conditioned with live yeast,” he explained.

Hawke went on to say they had invested heavily in their canning line and process control to get things right, which was a huge risk, being the first to go down that route.

He added: “Cans had a horrible reputation, but actually it is the best package type for portability because it blocks all light and oxygen from getting in and ruining the beer.

“It is also a much more environmentally friendly container, being lighter in weight, more recyclable and safer than glass."

Hawke also explained that the brewery worked in conjunction with designer Ben Kin from Ich Bin Ben to manufacture the can, the outside of which he described as being as “awesome” as the beer inside.

The beer itself is amazing and getting CAMRA’s recognition gives us a huge sense of achievement,” he added.

Canning

Christian Townsley, co-founder of Leeds-based North Brewing Co, introduced canning to the brewery’s repertoire last May and he said: “Cans themselves have many benefits, such as the beer is not affected by the light because it can't get through a can. 

"They are also lighter than glass, which means they are more efficient and are also more economical to transport as well as beneficial to the environment."

Townsley also explained that the size and shape of the cans meant he could fit more in his fridge.

He said that in terms of packaging, it was really exciting to have the whole surface of the can as a canvas, whereas with bottles a fair proportion of the surface was made up of glass.

He also said that North Brewing Co had canned "five or six times" and that they now felt frustrated when they run out. "We can't keep up with demand as the cans are selling very quickly," he added.

Last month (August), CAMRA slammed alcohol guidelines​ and called for a "common sense" approach.

Related topics: Beer

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