The method of beer dispense often raises the hackles of even the most seasoned beer drinker. Some evangilise about living, breathing cask as being the one true way. Others heartily support the pressurised keg. The humble tinny has its fans. Lovers of bottled beer, either conditioned or pasturised, can be equally vociferous.I find that this is strictly a matter of preference. You can get great beer out of any of these beer dispensers.
Perhaps you think that one method magnifies a beer's impact. Perhaps you won't try a beer if it's dispensed in a way you don't agree with. Perhaps you've tried one beer that's been dispensed every which way.
The question is simple but your answer may not be: Cask, Keg, Can, Bottle: Does dispense matter?
Once you get over the fact that good beer is packaged in cans, your beer tastings can open up to some great beers. I have found that neither the bottle nor the can made a big difference to me. I like to pour the beer into a glass, to allow it open up to me. Allow for me to add sight and smell to the senses that the beer can affect. Sitting inside the bottle or can, the beer is masked and not allowed to perform at the level that it is intended.
The question between cask and keg can start a fight if you are surrounded by CAMRA hooligans. For me, I have found that both the cask and the keg can be different beers (even if they are the same beer). But I have found that when pairing a cask and keg version of the same beer next to each other, it is a 50/50 split on which I prefer (unscientifically researched). That being said, the cask version can seem more lively and smooth, where as I find that many times the keg version has more bold flavors.
Taking these opinions into account, when I walk into a well stocked bar, say Max’s Taphouse, I check out the casks, then the tap list and finally the bottle/can list. Give me a cask of anything Olivers, a keg Stillwater, a case of Troegs Scratch bottles and a case of Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale and I won't complain.