Everyone loves beer. It is loved so much that beer can be claimed as the national drink of Americans. Sure you can grab a Bud light or a Miller stored in cans at your convenience store but there is no true taste than draft beer. The beer that comes out of a tap tastes better than the one stored in cans/packages.
One of the biggest challenges with draft beer used to be that, since it has low shelf life, you can only have at the bar. But growlers have made it easier to take your favorite tapped craft beer home and have it with friends.
What are Growlers?
A growler is a specialized jug used to carry drafter beer while retaining its freshness and carbonations. Growlers are generally made of glass or stainless steel with a a screw-on cap or porcelain gasket cap. Since the growlers protect the beer from exposing to external environment, a properly sealed growler will retain the carbonation indefinitely.
Some of the modern growlers come with valves that allow replacing carbon dioxide that is lost. Also, in the last 10 years of so growlers have become collectible. We can find growlers in various intricate designs and special shapes these days. I know of a friend who owns more than 30 different growlers as I type.
What are growlers made up of ?
Growlers are generally made in one of the following:
- Glass Growlers
- Ceramic Growlers
- Stainless Steel Growlers
- Copper Growlers
Glass growlers are the most common variety of growlers you find. They are omnipresent and come in amber and clear glass types. Our suggestion is to “never buy a clear glass growler”. Beer in the clear glass growlers will lose its freshness if exposed to sun or UV rays. The whole purpose of draft beer is to retain the freshness.
Glass growlers are available everywhere and it is highly likely that you will find it at your craft beer outlet. One negative of glass growlers is that they are brittle and hence need to be handled with care.
Ceramic growlers are expensive and less common variety of the growlers. Ceramic growlers are very common to be used as a collectible since they are aesthetically pleasing and have the royal look. That said, they are very heavy to carry and are also brittle like glass growlers.
Also, unlike Glass growlers they are not translucent and hence you cannot see the insides. But the freshness is bound to retain as there is no external exposure. One may buy ceramic growlers just for their looks.
Stainless Steel Growlers
Stainless Steel growlers have gained prominence in the recent century. After glass growlers, they are the second most popular type of growlers in the market. They are unlikely to break when dropped and are easy to carry around due to their low weight. Stainless steel growlers insulate the draft beer and hence the beer remains cold for a longer period of time. In fact, they are the best among the list to retain coldness.
They are light weight and hence popular for people who go on a hike or camping. Like ceramic growlers, stainless steel growlers are not translucent and hence you will not be able to figure when your growler is going to run out of beer. If you are looking for a stainless steel growler, look at our review for Yukon Growlers insulated growler
Products like uKeg sell copper-plated stainless steel growlers give the authentic retro feel to your growlers.
How big is a growler?
Until few years ago, growlers used to be available only in 64 US fl oz. Modern growlers are available in others sizes like 32 US fl oz, 128 US fl oz , 1 liter,2 liter etc.
A 6 pack beer has 72 US fl oz volume and hence regular growlers are considered to be of size less than 6 pack. Growlers of 32 US fl oz are called as “howlers” (a portmanteau of half and growler ).
How long does beer last in a growler?
If unopened, the beer in a well-sealed growler stays for a long period. Some of the best pressurized growlers (growlers with ability to inject carbon dioxide) can retain the freshness of beer for few weeks. A typical growler can keep the beer fresh for a week or two if unopened.
If opened though, the beer will go bad very fast. Hence, once opened, the beer in a growler needs to be consumed within a day or two. Some of the growlers come with taps ensuring that you never need to open the growler until finished. These features help the beer to stay fresh even if a part of it is consumed.