Lets talk about growlers today. You know what a growler is don't you? It is a jug (64oz (a half gallon)) that you can fill up with beer at most local beer making places. Here is an example of New Belgium's half gallon beauties:
And here is a link to BeerAdvocate.com's quick study-up on the freshest way to take beer home. The origin story of this container is fascinating and the BeerAdvocate article only brushes the surface. If you start to poke around the interwebs in looking for answers to this quandry the information is border-line endless. But the real question about growlers is why? and the answers to that one are many as well. Let's hit a few of the answer highlights here today:
1: Super fresh beer. If you walk into your favorite brew pub or brewery and purchase a growler you get beer that is right of their draft system, ensuring that it is about as fresh as the beer in question can be. You get a great flavor and a super freshness that in this day and age is hard to find. The flavor has a shelf life as well, albeit short, but it is not a drink that has to be instant for the goodness. The growler of beer will live in your fridge, unopened for 7 to 10 days (some breweries are using super-sealing caps and say that the beer will be good for a few more weeks than that even (I have very little experience with these types of lids and can therefore offer no corroboration)). If you open the jug the beer should be enjoyed with a little haste, maybe 1 to 3 days from point of opening.
2: Perfect amount: These 64oz's of beer are the right portion to share between you and a loved one (or maybe a stranger (making new friends is easy when beer is involved)). It counts to round about 5 and a half good size glasses of beer, and in the course of a conversation 2 to 3 good size glasses of beer per conversationalist are good serving sizes to really get things rolling. And if it proves to not be enough beer to get the topics covered a second growler may be employed (a third is when the conversation can take a major turn, for better or worse (be forewarned)). It is also the perfect size for trying new things, branch out and buy the re-fill of the beer that you haven't had before, 64oz's is an amount you can drink even if the beer you buy turns out to be unfavorable to your palate.
3: A growler is maybe the most sustainable way to enjoy a cold one: When you purchase a growler (or in some cases put a deposit down on one) you buy the packaging and re-fills are the future, no more new glass or cans. This is re-use, (the first of the three R's) which takes a lot less energy than even recycling. New glass or aluminum doesn't have to be made and it's even coming out of a stainless steel, very re-usable keg. This is doubling up the re-usability and in buying a growler and re-filling it with beer you are joining the green team, and that team is always going to win.
4: It is very economical: Purchasing 64oz of beer in a growler at New Belgium is $6.50, and the purchase price of the jug itself is $4.00. This adds up to $10.50 for your initial investment and refills are back to the $6.50 price point. A six pack of craft beer is somewhere between 7 and 10 dollars (estimate (actual prices may vary)). A six pack is 72oz of beer, a scant 8oz's more than a growler. For a growler, the price is right.
5: Supporting local business: The only way to buy a growler is to walk into a local brewery or brew pub and buy their beer. This is a great to help your local economy and support your local brewer of beer. And who doesn't want their local economy to flourish? Nobody, that's who.
So go out into this world my friends and refill your growler, it will be worth it.