A growler is a container commonly used for transporting craft beer. It is not merely a vessel but a symbol of the craft beer movement, representing a means to share and enjoy fresh beer straight from the tap. It allow beer enthusiasts to take home their favorite draft beer from breweries, taprooms, and bars.
History and Evolution
This concept dates back to the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home in a pail. The term “growler” is said to come from the sound that the CO2 made when it escaped from the lid of the pail. Over time, it evolved from a simple pail to a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel container with a closure system designed to maintain the beer’s freshness and carbonation.
Types and Materials
There are various sizes, typically ranging from 32 ounces to 128 ounces, with the 64-ounce version being the most common. They are made from different materials:
- Glass: The traditional and most common type, usually clear or amber to protect from UV light.
- Ceramic: Heavier and more opaque, offering better light protection.
- Stainless Steel: Durable and insulated, keeping beer colder for longer periods.
Why You Should Use It?
Growlers are favored for their ability to keep beer as fresh as possible outside of the keg. The seal, when properly filled and closed, can maintain the beer’s carbonation and prevent oxidation, which can affect the taste. The draft beer is the first choice of most people, and this item is the best solution to take your favorite beverage home from a bar.
It is an eco-friendly option. They are reusable and reduce the need for individual packaging and the waste associated with cans and bottles. This reuse cycle significantly cuts down on the environmental footprint of enjoying craft beer.
Community and Culture
Growlers foster a sense of community among beer lovers. They encourage visits to local breweries and taprooms, supporting small businesses and the local economy. They also serve as conversation starters and collectibles for those who appreciate the culture of craft brewing.
Care and Maintenance
To ensure the quality of the beer, it is crucial to clean it after each use. This involves thorough rinsing with hot water and, occasionally, using a mild detergent followed by complete air drying. Proper storage is also essential; a growler should be kept in a cool, dark place until it is ready to be refilled.
When filling, it’s important to minimize the beer’s exposure to air to prevent oxidation. Many breweries and taprooms have specialized equipment to fill growlers under CO2 pressure, which helps preserve the beer’s quality.
Lifespan of Beer in a Growler
Once filled, a growler of beer should ideally be consumed within a few days, and once opened, it should be consumed within 24 hours to enjoy the beer at its best quality. The beer’s lifespan can vary based on the beer type, the seal’s effectiveness, and how the growler is stored.
Advantages of Storing Beer This Way
One of the primary reasons to keep beer in a growler is to preserve the beer’s freshness. They are designed to seal tightly, which helps maintain the beer’s carbonation and protect it from exposure to air. This is particularly important for craft beers, which often don’t contain preservatives and are more susceptible to changes in flavor when exposed to oxygen.
Optimal Taste Experience
Beer stored in a growler can often taste more like the brewer intended. This is because the short time from tap to growler to glass minimizes the chances of the beer’s flavor profile changing. It’s a way to enjoy the nuanced flavors of the beer as if you were having it straight from the brewery’s tap.
Convenience and Portability
Growlers offer a convenient way to transport beer. Whether you’re heading to a picnic, a party, or simply want to enjoy a draught at home, growlers make it easy to carry your favorite beer with you without the need for individual bottles or cans.
To keep beer at its best in a growler, it’s crucial to ensure that the lid is sealed properly. A good seal prevents carbon dioxide from escaping, which keeps the beer fizzy and prevents flatness. It also stops air from entering the growler and starting the oxidation process, which can alter the flavor of the beer.
Beer should be kept cool, and growlers are no exception. Storing a filled growler in a refrigerator will help maintain the beer’s intended flavor profile and prevent the growth of bacteria that can spoil the beer.
If the model is made of clear glass, it’s essential to protect the beer from light, especially direct sunlight, which can cause a reaction in the hops and result in a “skunky” flavor. Amber glass, ceramic, or stainless steel growlers provide better protection against light.
Even with a perfect seal, beer in a growler is best consumed within a short time frame after filling—ideally within a few days. Once opened, it’s best to drink the beer within one day to enjoy its optimal taste and carbonation.
What Are the Best Types?
Growlers come in a multitude of styles and materials, each with its own set of benefits. Choosing the best type depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and how you plan to use it.
Classic and Clear
The classic glass model is a standard in many craft breweries. They are typically the most affordable option and allow you to see the beer inside, which can be appealing. However, they are fragile and don’t offer much insulation.
Amber Glass for UV Protection
Amber glass provide better protection against UV light, which can degrade the quality of beer over time. They are still relatively inexpensive but offer a slight advantage over clear glass in preserving beer quality.
Artistic and Opaque
Ceramic growlers are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal. They are heavier and more robust than glass, providing excellent protection from light. The opacity ensures that the beer is not exposed to light at all, making them a great choice for collectors and those who appreciate a more traditional look.
Stainless Steel Growlers
Durable and Insulated
Stainless steel growlers are the most durable. They are perfect for outdoor activities where breakage might be a concern. Many are insulated, which can keep beer cold for hours without refrigeration. They are also impervious to light, ensuring the beer’s flavor is well-preserved.
Models with Special Features
Pressurized growlers, often made of stainless steel, have a CO2 cartridge system. This pressurization keeps the beer carbonated for longer periods, making these growlers a great option for those who might not consume their beer quickly.
Insulated ones can maintain the temperature of your beer for extended periods. They are ideal for hot days, camping trips, or any situation where refrigeration isn’t available.
How to Choose the Right Model?
When selecting the best model, consider the following:
- Frequency of Use: How often will you use it? If you’re a regular at your local taproom, durability might be key.
- Transportation: Will you be traveling with it? If so, a sturdy, insulated stainless steel growler might be best.
- Beer Storage Time: How long do you plan to keep the beer? For longer storage, a pressurized or insulated growler is ideal.
- Aesthetic Preference: Do you value the look of the growler? Ceramic options offer a classic appeal.
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend? Glass growlers are more budget-friendly, while specialized stainless steel options can be more of an investment.
Explore the market and compare different models to find the one that suits your preferences. Here are the most popular options.
|Type||Material||Capacity||Unique Feature||Ideal For|
|Classic Glass||Glass||64 oz||Transparent design||Budget-conscious consumers, short-distance transport|
|Amber Glass||Glass||32 oz – 128 oz||UV light protection||Those storing beer for a short time, avoiding light exposure|
|Heritage Ceramic||Ceramic||64 oz||Handcrafted designs||Collectors, enthusiasts valuing aesthetics|
|Stainless Steel Insulated||Stainless Steel||64 oz||Double-wall insulation||Outdoor activities, keeping beer cold for long periods|
|Pressurized CO2||Stainless Steel||128 oz||Integrated CO2 tap system||Preserving carbonation for extended periods, home bars|
|Mini Keg||Stainless Steel||128 oz||Keg-like shape, tap handle||Events, parties, keg experience at home|
|Hydro Flask||Stainless Steel||64 oz||TempShield insulation||Adventure seekers, maintaining temperature in extreme conditions|
|Novelty||Various||Varies||Unique shapes and designs||Gift-giving, display pieces, conversation starters|
|Eco-Friendly||Recycled Materials||64 oz||Made from recycled materials||Eco-conscious consumers, sustainability focus|
|Artisanal Stoneware||Stoneware||64 oz – 128 oz||Hand-painted, bespoke artistry||Art lovers, supporting local artisans|
Can I personalize my growler with custom artwork or logos?
Yes, many companies offer personalization services for growlers. You can have them etched, printed, or painted with custom artwork, logos, or text. This is especially popular for gifts, weddings, or as branded merchandise for breweries.
Are there any legal restrictions on filling growlers?
Yes, some jurisdictions have specific laws regarding the filling of growlers. These can include requirements for labeling, seals, and the types of establishments that are permitted to fill them. It’s important to check local laws to understand what is allowed in your area.
How long does beer last in a growler once it’s been opened?
Once opened, beer in a growler should ideally be consumed within 24 hours. After opening, the beer begins to lose its carbonation and can start to oxidize, which affects the taste.
Can growlers be used for other beverages?
Absolutely! Growlers can be used for a variety of beverages, including cider, kombucha, cold brew coffee, and even homemade sodas. The same principles of freshness and carbonation preservation apply.
Can you ship a filled growler?
Shipping a filled growler is generally not recommended due to the risk of spoilage and the potential for pressure build-up which can lead to leaks or breaks. Additionally, there are legal restrictions and carrier regulations that may prohibit shipping alcohol in this manner.
How do I know if a growler is properly sealed?
A properly sealed growler will have no leakage, and you should not be able to hear or feel any air escaping when you press on the lid. Some growlers also have a tamper-evident seal that indicates whether it has been opened since it was filled.
Keeping beer in a growler is a fantastic way to extend the taproom experience to your home. It allows for the enjoyment of fresh, flavorful beer with the convenience of portability and the satisfaction of supporting local breweries. Proper care and handling of the growler will ensure that the last glass is as enjoyable as the first.