Beer Growler Basics - Take Draft Beer With You

Ditch the bottled beer at your next get together and bring along some draft beer. Nothing really compares to the taste of fresh draft beer and while it would be a dream to have a kegerator in every place you visit, it's not a reality. If you're a true beer lover, your favorite way to drink beer is fresh from the tap and the magical beer accessory known as, the growler, allows you to do exactly that, wherever you are.

What is a beer growler?

The term growler is said to be from the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from a local pub in a metal pail and as it sloshed back and forth, it made a sound like a growl. However, there are many interesting speculations and stories of the origin of the name. No one knows for sure the origin of the name but we do know, it's become a beer enthusiast's staple.

These large airtight jugs that are reminiscent of a gallon jug of milk are meant to easily transport draft beer while maintaining the quality and taste. Growlers often come in a variety of sizes but are most commonly found are the 32 oz, equivalent to 2 16 oz pints, and the 64 oz sizes, which are equivalent to 4 pints of beer. These smaller growler servings sizes are easy to travel with, stay fresh, and are a good way to take home craft beers.

Types of Growlers

Growlers come in a variety of styles and are made of several different materials, which serve a variety of purposes. Choosing a growler will depend on how you plan on using it and each type has its pros and cons. These are the most common growler types:

Glass Growlers

Glass growlers are the most common growler you will come across. Often found at breweries, pubs, and bars, these glass jugs can be made of clear glass or amber glass.

Clear glass growlers allow you to easily see while you're filling it and allows you to admire the beer in the container itself. However, clear glass allows UV light to penetrate the beer, causing it to break down rapidly. They also lack insulation and they are best stored in a refrigerated space to maintain the quality for longer.

Amber glass growlers are the most popular option for glass growlers because the amber tint helps filter UV light and prevents the beer from expiring prematurely. Like the clear growler, these are easy to see while filling and pouring because they are translucent.

Glass growlers are not insulated and require refrigeration if not drank immediately. They are also prone to cracking, chipping, or shattering. Their fragility makes them a little less than ideal for traveling. We recommend using them to transport beer from your local pub to your home or for storing and transporting your home brews.

Stainless Steel Growlers

Stainless steel growlers are popular for traveling and transporting beer because they are made of sturdy metal and are significantly less likely to break if they're dropped. Stainless steel growlers are made of double wall stainless steel, which insulates the growler, maintaining your cold and crisp beer. These insulated growlers ensure your beer stays cold for much longer and because it is opaque, it protects the beer from UV light exposure and maintains the quality of your beer.

The biggest downside of stainless steel growlers is that they are a bit harder to fill because you can't see through the container and it is harder to tell when your growler is almost empty.

Ceramic Growler

Ceramic growlers are not as popular these days and are much more difficult to get your hands on. Designed for aesthetic appeal, ceramic growlers are nice for storing some home brewed beer or gifting some beer to a friend but they aren't ideal for traveling because they tend to be quite heavy.

In addition to their heavier design, they also tend to be difficult to clean and fill because you can't see the inside of the container. Ceramic is also more delicate and is prone to breaking, chipping, and cracking.

Pressurized Growlers

Pressurized growlers can be made of glass, stainless steel, or ceramic and contain technology that allows the beer to remain cold, fresh, and carbonated for up to two weeks. This is the closest you can get to straight-from-the-tap-taste because like a kegerator, these growlers use carbon dioxide to dispense draft beer.

While these growlers will give you the most authentic draft beer experience on-the-go, they aren't the most cost-efficient, especially if you plan on finishing the growler within a day or two. These growlers require special CO2 cartridges and the cleaning process is more difficult and involved than traditional growlers.

What is the purpose of a growler?

Easy to transport

While we'd all love to wheel around a freestanding kegerator everywhere we go, we'd probably get some strange looks. Luckily, growlers provide an easy means to travel and transport draft beer. Often designed with a convenient carrying handle, growlers are meant to be easily carried about. You can even find specialized carriers or pouches that make it even easier to travel with your growler in hand.

Growlers are designed to maintain the quality and freshness of your draft beer while you're on the go and with the rise of craft breweries across the country, growlers are becoming popular again. They are the best kept secret among beer enthusiasts for great tasting beer on the go.

Bring draft beer home

Growler bottles allow you to bring your favorite beer home from your local bar, pub, or brewery. Many breweries will sell you a growler and some will allow you to bring in your own to fill for a smaller fee. This is a great option for those who enjoy a local brew that is only available at the brewery or those who don't own your own kegerator. Draft beer at home just got so much easier and affordable.

Share your homebrew

Many homebrewers brew up large batches of beer and store them in kegs for easy dispensing and preservation. However, dragging a keg to a friend's house isn't exactly practical and if your friend doesn't own a kegerator, you won't be able to share your brew. Growlers will allow you to deliver the same great taste of your homebrew without the hassle.

Tap a new keg

For bars and party hosts, a growler is an extremely useful and functional tool to have on hand. When a keg is running low, the remaining beer can be filled into growlers for guests or customers, while a new keg is being tapped.

Since tapping a new keg can take a while, having growlers full beer prevents gaps in between service or guests having beer available to them. Growlers are a great way to have a constant flow of fresh beer, even if you don't have a tapped keg or a kegerator.

Gift a growler

Growlers make an amazing gift for any beer lover or homebrewer because they're so practical. Whether you fill it with their favorite brew or personalize and empty one for your favorite beer aficionado to fill, growlers are a gift that is always appreciated.

Did you know here at Kegco we customize growlers and glassware? Simply send us your artwork, design, or concept and we can print a custom growler for you or your friend!

How long does a growler last?

An unopened and sealed growler can last anywhere from 2-5 weeks. It is best to refrigerate growlers immediately to preserve its freshness and while their caps are designed to be fairly airtight, they are still not meant to sit unrefrigerated for very long. Since they are often filled with fresh beer and they aren't sealed like canned or bottled beer and therefore, their quality will diminish a bit with each passing day.

We recommend filling your growler only 24 to 48 hours before you plan on drinking it for the freshest and best taste. After a growler has been opened, the beer will only remain carbonated and fresh for 24 to 48 hours. If you are concerned about finishing your growler within that time, we recommend purchasing a smaller sized growler.

How do you clean a growler?

It is extremely important to keep your growlers clean to ensure bacteria won't form and to ensure your beer is always tasting its best! Luckily, it's a simple process.

  1. Rinse the entire growler immediately after use, at least three times with hot water. (If you can't immediately rinse your growler, keep it refrigerated until you can.)
  2. Add a growler cleansing tablet or a touch of dish soap and allow to soak for about 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.
  4. Store upside to drain and air dry.
  5. Don't recap your growler when storing it! Recapping your growler will result in stagnant air and bacteria build up.