A couple of years ago, a craft brewer set up shop at the farmer’s market near our house. Of course, he happened to be the cousin of one of our good friends… that’s the way it goes in Saskatchewan. But more to the point, he sold beer in glass growlers which we could come any Saturday and have refilled. That’s how our refillable beer journey began.
Fast forward to today, and there is now a microbrewery with a storefront just a few blocks from our house. For social events, my husband stops by and has the growler filled instead of buying a bunch of aluminum cans or glass bottles. We don’t drink beer exclusively this way, but it has replaced a good half of our purchases.
If you are new to using a growler (which is really just the resurgence of an old method of getting beer) here are a few tips to enjoy growler life the most:
1) Don’t wash them with soap. It’s hard to get the taste of dish soap out entirely. Just rinsing with hot water and leaving it upside down to drain is best. Most brewers can sterilize the bottle for you at the time they refill it.
2) Leave the cap off or loose when storing between fills. We keep ours with the lid off in the cupboard above the fridge which allows the container to dry out. Closing the cap tightly after rinsing can seal in beer and moisture which can lead to mold or mildew. Yuck! Treat it like a glass in your cupboard and let it dry thoroughly.
3) Consume quickly. Beer will last for 3-4 days in a freshly filled and sealed growler, but once opened, it doesn’t stay fizzy for more than a few hours. So drink up!
4) Buy the right sized container for your needs. Since the beer goes flat soon after opening, it is best to have a smaller container than one too large. We have a jug that holds about 3-4 pints which is nice for having a couple of drinks and sharing with friends, but you can get containers that just hold one pint, or many.
What about you? Have you joined in the popular rise in drinking local beer from refillable growlers? Comment below with your experiences.