I remember handing a growler to the food editor of a major newspaper asking him to hold it for a moment while I organized a few belongings. He asked, “What is this?” Yikes, in my mind he is a food editor. He should know what a growler is, but maybe that is hoping for too much.
The New York Times seems to have recently discovered the growler (see Jan. 26 article ‘The New Old Way to Tote Your Beer’), while many of the 1,000 brewpubs in the United States and millions of beer lovers have been using them for decades.
Why is the growler good? It’s reusable. It often brings you to the source of craft beer and the package means you are getting the freshest draught beer possible.
If you have a favorite local brewery that offers growlers to-go, consider giving this type of packaging a try.
Note: You’ll want to consume the beer quickly (within a few days of opening), plus you’ll want to re-cap it after each pour to preserve the carbonation. Over time, the carbonation from an opened growler disappears plus the beer will chemically change as oxygen exposure (oxidation) alters the aroma and flavor. This is normal and the change to the beer is no different than what happens to a bottle of beer or wine, once opened. The good news is a growler can easily be re-capped, put back in the refrigerator and enjoyed from again.
Since many of today’s brewpubs do not bottle and only serve their beer on draught, a growler to-go can be the next best thing to having it brewed in your kitchen!
GROWLER — A jug or pail-like container used to carry draft beer bought by the measure at the local tavern. Growlers are usually 1/2 gal (64 oz) or 2L (~68 oz) in volume. Brewpubs use them for to-go beer. Often a customer will pay a deposit on the growler but can bring it back again and again for a re-fill. Note: Growlers to-go are not legal in all US states.