For a professional beer writer, this is a big deal.
As a professional beer writer, I’m not really supposed to have any firm beer loyalties. It’s my job to continually view brews objectively on their own terms, while also considering how they fit into — and have changed with— the industry zeitgeist both past and present. But I’m also a human, and like any respectable human, I have a favorite beer: Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale.
Despite my regional bias (I spent most of my 20's in Philadelphia), Yards Philly has always been, and still is, an incredible beer: a super-pale session brew that’s been aggressively dry-hopped with Simcoe hops for an intense citrus character. Sure, like any hop-driven beer that’s been around since 2000, it’s had its highs and lows: Slight variations in production and freshness mean that not every bottle will be as stunning as the last, but as recently as last year, I had a bottle of Philadelphia Pale Ale that knocked my socks off.
And yet, part of what I love about Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale is its consistency. At a time when the craft beer crowd is constantly enamored with the next big thing, the Yards beer I fell in love with around 2003 is still the same. Don’t get me wrong: I love trendy beers, too — they’re the majority of what I drink (if only just to keep up) — but in the modern beer world, reliability is overlooked.
That being said, Yards Brewing Company is finally jumping on a craft beer bandwagon I can appreciate: It’s offering cans. “For the first time in Yards’ 24-year history, the regional craft producer has started canning their flagship beers: Philadelphia Pale Ale, Brawler and Signature IPA,” the brewery announced yesterday. “These go-to brews are available in traditional 12-oz. and 16-oz. pounder cans.”
Needless to say, I’m ecstatic, and not just because it will make tossing Yards into my checked luggage easier than ever (though that is a huge plus). Since the legend of Heady Topper began to spread back in 2011, the can has reinvented itself as the go-to packaging for the hippest hoppy beers on the planet. Sure, cans are almost certainly a superior container for protecting hop character, but trendy or not, at their core, cans are also the people’s container: making beverages more portable and letting your favorite beer go with you wherever you want to go.
And when you have a favorite beer, you want it to go everywhere with you — whether that’s down the block or across the ocean to your new home in England. Even as I sit here nearly 3,500 miles from Yards Mid-Atlantic distribution area, I got excited to hear that Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale is now going to be available in cans. Of course, next time I am back in Pennsylvania, I’ll still grab plenty of the buzzworthy new beers du jour, but I’ll also probably buy an insane amount of Yards Philly cans — no clanking, no awkward arranging to account for the necks, no worries of caps popping off. You might see me wandering the streets with a backpack full of them. If you’ve ever had a favorite canned beer, you’ll understand why. And if your favorite beer doesn’t yet come in cans, I hope it gets canned soon so you can feel my joy.