Canned beer is the next big step in craft beer. Distributing kegs is one thing, but getting your beer into the hands and homes of beer drinkers is another ballgame. Canning and bottling beers extend a brewery's reach to, well, anywhere the beer can travel.

Canned beer is the next big step in craft beer. Distributing kegs is one thing, but getting your beer into the hands and homes of beer drinkers is another ballgame. Canning and bottling beers extend a brewery's reach to, well, anywhere the beer can travel.

Compared to bottles, cans better protect your beer: they seal better, they shut out light, they preserve carbonation, they're cheaper, and they're better for the environment. Let's take a look at who's canning their beers (so far) in Columbus:

Land-Grant Brewing Co.

Beers in cans: 1862 Kolsch, Stiff-Arm IPA

Land-Grant is the first Columbus brewery to own its own canning line - as opposed to using mobile services - and just recently committed their 1862 Kolsch and Stiff-Arm IPA to 12-ounce cans. Their Greenskeeper session IPA is headed for the can, too.

Seventh Son Brewing Co.

Beers in cans: Seventh Son American Strong Ale, Humulus Nimbus Pale Ale

Seventh Son has so far put two of their signatures into 16-ounce cans, their namesake strong ale and super pale ale, both marked with their signature red and blue stripes, respectively.

Hoof Hearted Brewing

Beers in cans: South of Eleven double IPA

With the recent move to their production facility in Marengo, Hoof Hearted began putting beer into 16-ounce cans. They put out a call for volunteers to help can and assemble their first outing, the South of Eleven Double IPA, which was quickly distributed to accounts across the city. Next up: canning their award-winning Musk of the Minotaur IPA on July 19 (they'll reveal their new tasting room that day, too).

North High Brewing

Beer in cans: pale, IPA, milk stout

North High has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past year, moving from a simple brew-on-premises bar to a fully-fledged production facility. Last April they began canning three of their staples - their pale, IPA and milk stout - and their popular hefeweizen will hit the can in a couple months. Expect to see more cans coming from North High: they're soon installing a canning line that blazes through 120 cans per minute.

Elevator Brewing

Beer in cans: Bleeding Buckeye Red Ale, Bear Ass Pale Ale

Elevator has dabbled more in bottling their beer - you can expect to always find their bottles on grocery store shelves - but they've tested cans, too, most notably their Bleeding Buckeye red in 16-ouncers and Bear Ass pale in 12-ounce size.

Four String Brewing

Beers in cans: Big Star White IPA, Brass Knuckle Pale Ale, Suncaster Summer Wheat, Vanilla Porter

Four String has been on the forefront of canning beers around town. They've been canning almost every week at the Grandview brewery and taproom using Buckeye Mobile Canning. They'll even solicit volunteers to help assemble six-packs (you get beer and pizza as payment). They began by canning two standards in 12-ounce cans, the grapefruit-y Big Star White IPA and hoppy Brass Knuckle Pale Ale, but most recently added their Vanilla Porter and Suncaster Summer Wheat. Expect more cans from Four String in the future; they're soon moving to a new 25,000-square-foot facility with a canning line.

You can bet more cans are on the way. Actual Brewing is testing their light lager in cans, for instance, while The Daily Growler launched their crowler truck to fill 32-ounce cans on demand.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at http://BreakfastWithNick.com and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," with a second edition coming in 2015. He leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.