So you drive a Prius (or even better a bicycle), use cloth bags when you go shopping, recycle all the things, buy organic, fair-trade, shade grown coffee and you even spend a few weekends planting trees. Nice work Eco-Pants McHippy but have you ever stopped to think about how much strain recycling all your empty cans and bottles have on the environment? Bet’chya didn’t, and it does. Whatsmore, extracting aluminium from the ground uses extremely toxic chemicals that kill the nice animals that your vegan diet has been so desperately trying to save. Additionally, craft beer tends to be rather pricey. Not everyone can drop $15-$20 every time they want some good quality beer. Let’s face it, times are tough. Penny pinching is the name of the game.
So what’s a hipster beer runner to do? Growlers, my friend, growlers.
For those of you thinking a growler is either a slang term for a bowel movement or someone who growls, in this instance you’re way off base. A growler is a glass jug that usually holds just under 2 liters (64 fluid ounces) or roughly a six pack of fresh, delicious beer. But wait, why is it called a growler? Glad you asked. In the 19th and early 20th century you could bring beer back from the pub in a galvanized bucket, as you stumbled your merry way home, with the beer sloshing around in the bucket Carbon Dioxide would escape under the lid making a growling noise, thus “growler”. Any more brain-busters? No? Let’s move on, I’m getting thirsty.
Growlers allow you, the common person, to taste the beer as the brewer had intended, as fresh as possible from the brewery as you cut out the bottling/canning line, the shipping and the clumsy liquor store clerk.So where can one acquire one of these mystic jugs of epicness? Normally you can pick them up right at your favorite brewery and very often at brewpubs as well.
This is how it works:
- Go to brewery. This is very important because if you don’t you can’t buy anything.
- Buy growler. Now you own one, it is yours. Love it. Cherish it. Take care of it (more on this laterz)
- Get it filled with whatever you want. From now on you’ll only have to pay for the beer that fills your growler.
- If the growler is clear WRAP IT UP! A shirt, a blanket, a towel, even a bag; anything to keep sunlight from destroying the precious liquid you just purchased.
- Consume the entire contents within 12-24 hours TOPS
- Profit from knowing that you get awesome beer, you saved some cash AND the environment
Due to the increasing popularity in growlers many breweries are selling their beer at liquor stores in the growler, I highly recommend purchasing them as they are awesome and nothing says “I am awesome and know more about beer than you” than a jug of craft brewed beer.
Just like Uncle Ben said in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility” and growlers are no different. Some easy maintenance will let you keep filling your growler for a long ass time. Some people will tell you to get some brewer’s sanitizer and a bottle brush. That’s overkill unless there’s something growing in it. All you need to do is rinse out your growler with HOT water as soon as it’s empty, leave it uncapped to air dry and then put the cap on to seal it when it’s totally dry and you put it away for storage. Clean your growler right away or you’re going to have some crazy things growing in there, that’s when you’re going to have to clean them with brewer’s sanitizer and a brush, then rinse with hot water, air dry and cap it. Before you get it filled give it a quick hot rinse, then a cold one, a cold growler foams less when it’s being filled which means you get more beer and less head, which in this case is a good thing.
Fresh, less expensive, quality beer in a format that’s safer for everyone, what’s not to like about growlers? Some people will tell you that due to the unpredictable nature of how growlers are maintained they can give the beer off flavours, or that growlers are prone to having oxygen seep in easier than a standard bottle or can and clear growlers are susceptible to exposing the beer to UV rays causing skunking. All I have to say is haters gonna hate. Keep your growler clean, ask for a new cap every fill and cover up your clear growlers covered up when you step out into the midday sun, it’s all pretty common sense stuff.
So next time you go for a beer run think about picking up a growler. You won’t be disappointed.