I’m always a fan of the “Ask a Cicerone” segments at SeriousEats, but this one is especially great. It simplifies a topic that is often confusing to consumers and breaks it down with examples.
In most cases, so long as the bottles or kegs and draft lines are well kept, I think there’s little difference. But if the beer is in a green or clear bottle, then you can run the chance of the beer being skunky, in which case it’s safer to go draft.
For tap beers, there are certain bacteria that can infect tap lines and cause off flavors and rancid buttery aromas.
And please: let’s have more beer in cans! Cans are better than bottles for the environment and for the beer. Cans are easily recyclable, light weight, and they stack well.
I prefer cans. They give you a great deal of control while pouring, and if you are stuck without a glass, I find there’s a far greater chance of the capping process on bottles leaving an odd metallic taste on the front end.
With the exception of beers with especially-heavy carbonation, I don’t really understand the need for continued bottling of new beers except for traditions of labeling and presentation but I’m no expert. If any readers have another good case to be made for bottles over cans, please let me know!