Lately the craft beer scene has been exploding and the use of growlers is becoming more and more popular. If you consider yourself a beer enthusiast you most likely own or at least have heard about growlers. They are a great way to bring home some beer from your local brewery. They can also be used to transport your own homebrewed beer to share with a friend or family!
What is a Beer Growler?
For those who haven’t heard of growlers, they are a vacuum sealed container used to store beer. At first they were just basic jugs with a lid with a tight seal. Now they are many different types and they are becoming more and more advanced. Typically, they are made out of glass, stainless steel, or ceramic and they range from 32 oz to 128 oz in size. Some come with a simple screw on cap, while others are more complex including features like insulation or a built-in pressurization system to keep the beer carbonated. No matter what you are looking for in a growler you should be able to find your perfect growler that meets all your needs.
How did Growlers Get Their Name?
Surprisingly no one knows the exact origin of the name growler. However, there are a few common theories. The most popular theory is based on the original growlers. They were made of steel buckets and had a metal lid. As the lid would move around during transportation the CO2 from the beer would be released causing it to making a rumbling sound. Many people believe that is how they got their name of growlers.
Beer Growler Buyers Guide
Since there are so many different types of growlers there is no definitive “best” growler. What one person may consider to be the best growler for them may not be the best for someone else. So, to help you find the perfect growler for your personal needs here are some of the best growlers in each category of growlers.
Best Insulated Growlers:
Yukon Insulated Beer Growler
This growler can be used to store beer or other beverages and will keep it cold for over 24 hours. It also will keep hot drinks hot for over 12 hours. The growler is 64 oz, which is equivalent to four pints, or more than five bottles of beer. It is vacuum sealed and has a leak-proof lid. It also is double walled eliminating condensation build up on the outside. Unlike growlers made of glass this one is very durable and will not break. You can also purchase a neoprene case for an easier way to carry it along with additional insulation and protection. For someone looking for a basic growler this is the one for you.
Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Growler
Another great option is from Stanley. This is another 64 oz growler made with stainless steel. They also offer a smaller 32 oz grumbler for those who want a little smaller option. This growler keeps your beer cold up to 24 hours. The stainless steel used cannot rust and is food grade safe. It comes with a heavy-duty handle making is easy to transport and pour. The inner lid is also made from stainless steel and there is no plastic that comes into contact with your beer. Another benefit of this growler is that it is dishwasher safe. It comes in three different colors and also has a lifetime warranty.
Another popular growler on the market is the Miir insulated growler. It is 64 oz and keeps your drink cold for at least 24 hours and hot up to 12 hours. This growler comes with a buckle lid making it easy to open and close. The lid also features a locking mechanism so it will stay open while you are pouring it, that way it wont close on you during mid-pour. Another feature of the lid is the thread-less seal to keep it carbonated along with preventing any leaks. It also has a built-in handle for easy carrying and pouring. It is double walled and is vacuum insulated and it will not sweat. One thing that sets the Miir growler apart from the others is the company. Miir donates a percentage of all of their earnings to a trackable giving project. Some of their current projects include water for third world countries, donating bikes, and providing education for those in need. Not only are you getting a great growler if you purchase this, but you are also helping someone less fortunate than you, it is a win-win!
The final insulated growler I would recommend is the Avex growler. It can hold up to 64 oz just like the previous growlers. What this growler does best though is temperature control. It keeps your drink hot for up to 22 hours, and cold for up to 43 hours! The bottle is double-walled, vacuum sealed, and insulated. It also is easy to open and has a texted grip making is glove friendly. The handle is small and not obtrusive like other growlers but it still works just as well. It may look like a basic growler but don’t let that deceive you, it is definitely a top tier growler.
Best Pressurized Growlers:
uKeg Pressurized Growler
For those who want their beer to stay fresh longer than a classic growler can offer should look into GrowlerWerks. They offer a series of growlers that come with a CO2 injector system to keep your beer carbonated. These growlers are offered in 64 oz and 128 oz sizes. They will keep your beer fresh and carbonated for up to two weeks. Similar to the other growlers there are constructed with stainless steel and are vacuum sealed. They also come with an adjustable cap with a pressure gauge so you can adjust the carbonation to your preference. The dispenser also features a lock and interchangeable handle allowing you to customize it as you see fit. A sight tube is also installed on the side so you can quickly see how much beer is left. GrowlerWerks offers a one-year warranty and lifetime customer support for these growlers. One thing to note about this growler is that you need CO2 cartridges to use it as specified. Without the cartridges it is like a typical growler and the tap system will not work.
Nostalgia Homecraft Beer Growler
A fairly new pressurized growler was released by Nostalgia. Like the other growlers, this one also has a 64 oz capacity. It also features a quick connect regulator allowing the carbonation to be between 0 and 30 psi. It also comes with a pressure relief value to prevent over pressurization of the jug. This growler supports threaded CO2 and NO2 cartridges. It is double walled and vacuum sealed and keeps beer cold up to 24 hours. The lid also has double silicone rings guaranteeing it is leak-proof. The handle is also easy to use and is spring loaded. Even though it is new, Nostalgia definitely earned a name for themselves with this growler!
How to Fill a Growler
Once you have a growler you are probably going to want to fill it up, otherwise why would you buy one? But don’t worry, filling up growlers is very easy. First you need to find a local bar or brewery that offers growler fill ups. This can be done through a simple google search. Once you found your location make sure your growler is clean first and then you are ready to fill it up.
There are three common techniques used to fill growlers. The first is bottom-up filling, which is probably the most popular method. A tube is attached to the tab and then placed in the bottom of your growler. Then beer is then filled up from the bottom to the top. This technique reduces spills and fills it in less time. One problem with this method though is that it may introduce more oxygen to your beer causing it to lose its freshness faster. Another technique used to fill growlers is through CO2 pressure filling. This method starts out by purging your growler and removing all oxygen from it. Then the growler is filled with beer. Since there is little to no oxygen in the growler this helps the beer stay fresher longer. The final way you can get your growler filled is simply from a tap. They will just place your growler under the tap and fill it up. Some downsides of this method are a lot of foam build up along with potential spillage. This is not an ideal method to fill a growler and the other techniques should be used first if possible.
In almost all cases the bartender will fill up the growler for you as they are properly trained on how to do it. However, it still is good to understand the best way to fill a growler for your own personal use. For those who are visual learners and want to see a growler pour in action, you can watch this YouTube video from Anheuser-Busch.
Pros and Cons of an Insulated Growler
- Easy way to store and transport beer
- Keeps beer cold for up to 24 hours
- Keeps beer fresh for up to 36 hours after opening
- Able to purchase beer from local breweries that doesn’t come in bottles
- Cheaper than the pressurized growlers
- For some people 36 hours is too fast for the beer to go flat after opening
Pros and Cons of a Pressurized Growler
- Easy to store and transport beer
- Can also keep beer cold up to 24 hours
- Keeps beer fresh up to two weeks after opening
- Larger than a classic growler
- Have to purchase additional CO2 cartridges
- More expensive than the classic growler
Growlers are a great way to store and transport beer. It can be used for your own homebrewed beer or a fill-up from a local brewery. There are several different types of growlers, but you should be able to find one that meets all your requirements. Whether you are buying it for yourself or a friend, a growler is something that every beer enthusiast should own.