It’s been a long time since I’ve had a beer which is pretty odd for a guy who grew up in a town and at a time in which beer was considered completely acceptable to feed to babies. I honestly don’t know whether I was given any as an infant and there’s no one I can ask any more but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was. Here’s a report at the American Chemical Society about a study that investigated whether cans or glass bottles were better ways of storing amber ale and India Pale Ale:
Cans and brown bottles of amber ale and IPA were chilled for a month and then kept at room temperature for five months to mimic typical storage conditions. Every two weeks, the researchers analyzed the metabolites in newly opened containers. Throughout this time, the concentration of certain metabolites in amber ale — including some amino acids and esters — differed significantly depending on whether it was packaged in a bottle or can. IPA, however, was much less sensitive to packaging type, possibly because of its higher concentration of polyphenols from hops. These compounds not only prevent oxidation but also bind to amino acids, thus retaining them in the beer rather than allowing them to get stuck to the inside of a container.
The researchers also found that the metabolic profile of both amber ale and IPA changed over time, whether packaged in a can or bottle. However, amber ale in cans showed the greatest variation during aging.
meanwhile this article by Jared Corbett is pretty insistent that lager beer fares better in cans:
The verdict on taste: as long as you are not a can-sniffer, cans win out on taste. However, you should really be pouring your beer into a glass. Beers poured from a bottle or a can into a glass taste equally good, as long as they haven’t been skunked. Around here, we believe a Sprecher pint glass provides the best taste experience of all. But there’s more to the equation than taste.
When I was working in Germany the Germans were pretty confident that beer did not travel well. I don’t know what the situation is now but back then there were only two brands sold all over Germany: Löwenbräu and the beer brewed in the small town in northwest Germany in which I was working which had the reputation of being the worst beer in Germany. It was pretty awful. Since they didn’t ship beer over distances just about every tavern served different beer, brewed locally, There wasn’t much controversy about cans vs. bottles because it was all straight out of the keg.