The 10 Best Beer Growlers
10. Lovit Scientific Swing Top
9. Icy Hot Hydration
8. EcoVessel Boss
7. Miir Bottle
6. Yukon Growlers Vacuum
5. Stone Swing Top
4. G Francis Swing Top
3. Euro Amber
2. Stanley Classic
1. Hydro Flask Vacuum
Beer Here: The Mechanics
Simply put, the use of a growler is to transport draft beer from breweries and bars to the comfort of one's own home. They are designed to be airtight; to keep the beer as fresh as when it is poured directly from the draft.
Growlers are made from three different materials: glass, steel, or ceramic. The benefit of glass is that you can see inside of it. But the fragile material comes at a cost; glass growlers are subject to cracking, chipping, or possibly shattering. This does not make them the most durable option, especially if you are traveling with your growler. If properly cared for, however, they can be used for many years.
The stainless steel models of growlers have grown in popularity in recent years. They are the most durable and insulated of all growlers. It's no surprise that steel growlers dominate our list. The slight downside is the fact that you cannot see inside the growler. This issue is quickly resolved when the patron picks up the growler and determines how much beer is inside by weight. Ceramic growlers tend to be more expensive, less durable, and certainly heavier than their steel and glass counterparts. They are very effective at blocking sunlight and UV rays which may taint the beer, but they are not as insulated as stainless steel growlers.
Growlers must have a lid to guarantee freshness. Whether a screw-on or gasket cap, the lid is designed to seal in carbonation and to protect the beer from unwanted bacteria.
While stainless steel growlers usually have a steel coat finish, the color is of no importance. Glass growlers, on the other hand, vary in two colors: amber or clear. The amber color blocks out more sunlight, preventing the beer from spoilage. A clear glass growler subjects the beer to more sunlight, creating a risk of tainting the beer. For this reason, clear glass growlers tend to be the cheapest option.
The last component of the growler is the handle. Glass and ceramic growlers almost always have a ring style handle, while stainless steel growlers might not include one at all. The handle eases pouring the beer and carrying it while in transit.
What Your Growler Can Do
The benefits of the growler are plentiful. While their popularity waxed and waned in the past century, the resurgence of home brewing and the craft beer revolution have consumers considering growlers once again. The obvious advantage is that a growler allows you to take beer on the go. If you cannot commit to purchasing a keg of beer, but you demand a large volume, this is the best option. Also, some beers are only available on draft at a brewery. This is usually because the beer is a small batch or seasonal brew. This allows the consumer to have the brewery experience outside of the establishment.
Growlers are designed to transport beer. They are lightweight to carry and usually have a handle. Before you bring your growler to your local brewery, make sure that they are allowed to be filled. Not every brewery will condone it and you must adhere to the brewery's rules. Check the Brewer's Asscociation for a listing of breweries that accept growlers.
If you are a home brewer, using a growler becomes the simplest way to share your beer. Individual bottling is time consuming, uses more sources, and the margin of error is high; particularly in regards to sanitation.
The downsides of the growler are few, but should be addressed. There is a high risk of oxidation of the beer. They are also difficult to keep pristinely sanitized. Since they are used for transportation, it becomes harder to avoid sunlight with a growler. Lastly, the freshness of the beer in a growler will wane faster; beer should be consumed within two to three days after filling for optimal taste.
A Brief History of Beer
The origin of beer dates back to ancient times in Mesopotamia over seven thousand years ago. Processes of fermenting bread originated in the cultures of the Fertile Crescent and it has been reproduced all over the world. Beer is even mentioned in ancient world literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest written examples of beer consumption.
The basics of brewing beer, or a beer-like substance, is achieved by a grain's sugar creating a fermentation process which produces yeasts. The yeasts carbonate the substance giving beer its characteristic suds. Given the wide array of the processes, large varieties of beer existed in ancient times due to the relative ease of brewing.
The history of the growler, however, is much more recent. The name most likely comes from the late 1800's when a metal pail was referred to as a growler by bartenders and patrons. The pail was used to transport beer from the bar to an individual's home. The origin of the growl moniker is disputed. One theory is that the bartender is growling because the patron got more than a pint to take home. Another source insists that the growl is the hiss of Carbon dioxide escaping the pail when it is being transported.
As far the future of the growler, they are ever-expanding due to the popularity of home brewing. Some grocery stores now carry growler fill-up stations. Restaurants and more breweries are catching on to the trend as well. You will see more and more growlers at watering holes near you.