The 10 Best Beer Growlers
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Now you can take home your favorite craft beer from your local brewpub or brewery using one of these stylish and durable growlers. They're great for keeping your drink cool, carbonated, and tasting like it's fresh out of the tap. The models on our list come in designs to suit a variety of personal preferences, including steel and glass constructions, and at prices that fit into any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 22, 2020:
Even though stainless steel growlers do a far better job of keeping their contents cold than do glass versions, we've kept two of the latter for those who prefer the classic appeal of amber glass. These are the Amber Glass Half Gallon and the Euro 2-Liter. The Euro model has a large metal handle, while the former do not; it's also pricier, but with a more robust lid to make up for the higher cost.
For a travel-friendly, strong, metal version, it remains tough to top the Hydro Flask Vacuum, known for its strength, usability, and fun color choices. We've removed the relatively popular Stanley Classic, however, over concerns about the durability of its lid. Those who love the brand might consider the Stanley Go, instead. It has a sturdy handle and is safe for the dishwasher, so it is easy to use from start to finish. If your budget is a factor, there's also the Coleman Stainless Steel. It was designed for easy handling, even in cold weather, and its attached lid should be hard to lose.
Finally, we've opted to add one pressurized growler, the GrowlerWerks uKeg. It uses a CO2 cartridge to keep your beer fresh, and it even comes with two of these for your convenience. It doesn't have a government warning label on it, however. If you intend to fill it, or any other growler, in a state that has specific labeling requirements, you may need to add your own label. In fact, this is true of many growlers, although there are a few exceptions, like the Miir Bottle and the DrinkTanks Crimson. These have a warning label stamped right on the bottom.
Shutterfly Make Your Own Statement The Shutterfly Make Your Own Statement allows you to do just that, as you can have a personalized message etched right onto its stainless steel body. To ensure it suits its recipient even better, there's also a choice of two finishes, matte black and copper. shutterfly.com
Duluth Trading Company 64-Ounce Tote either beer or coffee everywhere you go with the Duluth Trading Company 64-Ounce. Unlike many, it's dishwasher safe, with perfectly smooth interior walls that prevent the growth of unpleasant molds or smells. And because it's bright red, it is easy to spot no matter where you stash it. duluthtrading.com
Discount Mugs Amber Considering the price, the Discount Mugs Amber is a good value for those who are looking to distribute a fresh brew. You can add your own artwork to the label, and if you're struggling to get the design just right, don't worry — the website offers options for having a graphic designer help. discountmugs.com
Beer Here: The Mechanics
While stainless steel growlers usually have a steel coat finish, the color is of no importance.
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.
The downsides of the growler are few, but should be addressed.
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 name most likely comes from the late 1800's when a metal pail was referred to as a growler by bartenders and patrons.
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.